Thursday, October 11, 2012

Washington DC: Obama Ate Here!

Gonna be a short post, but I had to give Ben's Chili Bowl its own!  Ben's Chili Bowl is one of those... places that's made famous by their famous patrons and the history of the place.

Brief history of the place and why it is famous: essentially, Ben's Chili Bowl opened in 1958, and since it was near a theater, plenty of celebrities frequented the place.  Bill Cosby was one of its biggest supporters, and there's pictures of him all over the wall!  It's been through several riots, and played a significant role throughout the city's history, serving food through these troubling times.  In 2009, President Obama also dined at Ben's and you can see that all over the place as well.  There's even a little note on the cash register that says "only Bill Cosby and President Obama eat for free!"  

With over 1700+ reviews on Yelp, although very mixed, I convinced my co-worker to take the Metro with me to check it out.

Ben's Chili Bowl
1213 U St NW
Between N 12th St & N 13th St
U Street Corridor
Washington, DC 20009

ben's chili bowl
Right outside the U Street Metro stop is Ben's Chili Bowl!

ben's chili bowl
Closer look.

half smoked dog & chili cheese fries
Of course, Ben's Chili Bowl is known for the chili, so decided to go crazy and went for their famous Half Smoke Chili Dog and the Chili Cheese Fries.  Quite pricey... the whole meal was around $15 with a drink!

half smoked
1/4lb. half pork and beef smoked sausage on a warm steamed bun and topped with mustard, onions, and spicy homemade chili.

hot dog
Michael strongly recommended this half smoke over the regular dog cause the casing had more of a snap.  Didn't really feel the snap, but I was too busy thinking about the chili!  It has a little bit of heat and it is all meat!  All meat chili trumps chili with bean any day. 

gooey cheese
Chili cheese fries.  Good, but to be honest, nothing too crazy about the fries, but wow they put a lot of nacho cheese sauce over it.  You're really getting it as a different vessel for the chili!

I actually liked Ben's Chili Bowl a lot!  I can see why people would dismiss it or think it is overhyped, because in the end, it is just a hot dog with chili over it, and you can get that everywhere.  Not the best chili I've had, but I do like the chili here and would even pay for a whole bowl of it!  It's just one of those joints serving simple American food and been doing the same way forever.  With all the history behind the place, it's just cool to check it out.  Plus, I can say I ate at the same place as the President now :P


After eating at Ben's, co-worker and I decided to stop by a bar to relax.  Ended up at Buffalo Billards in Dupont.  Just so happens they were showing the Presidential Debate on TV!  I find it weird that they would show it at a bar that oddly reminds me of Busbys in LA, but it is DC after all!

Plus, anything is interesting after a few pints of Yuengling :P