For my maiden entry I was faced with the obstacle that I don't often take a camera with me when I go out to eat. In fact, I very rarely allow or appreciate when people take photos of me while I am devouring whatever is in front of me.
However, as I searched through my photo files I realized there was one place where pictures are always in order, because generally if you are eating at this establishment you have probably already had quite a bit to drink. I am talking about the legendary Ben's Chili Bowl.
Some of you may be familiar with The Chili Bowl as it gained some notoriety during the Inauguration because President Obama made a Saturday afternoon stop there for lunch. There is nothing quite as reassuring as watching Hope Embodied devour a chili dog the size of his fist in a few quick bites.
In actuality, I have never really liked chili dogs or even chili cheese fries. On the average day I would generally sit around picking out the fries with only cheese and the slightest amount of chili on them, but at Ben's I usually find myself ignoring all reason, pushing aside thoughts of the oncoming stomach aches and eat everything in front of me. I should also point out that I have never been at Ben's when the sun is out and usually aim more for the 2 - 3 AM window when I am a good 2-3 sheets to the wind. It is at times like that when the gooey greasy goodness of Ben's Chili Bowl really hits its stride. That also (P.S.) is usually when you start to look at your food like it is the most amazingly attractive person you have ever seeen (see photo at right).
The magic of Ben's it that the long lines and the famous people from Bill Clinton to Bill Cosby and Bono hanging on the walls totally legitimizes your decision to eat crazy amounts of heart stopping-food in the wee hours of the morning. For the average DCer that you meet, the review on the quality of Ben's food might be relatively ambiguous. In fact, many may not be able to remember exactly what it tasted like, but the knowledge and the photographic proof that you stood in line and cleared your plate means that above all else...YOU had a good night.
1213 U St NW
My hipster honey in Colette's Negroni.
5 years ago