Wish Upon A Dish: DC Gem - Ben's Chili Bowl ♥ Oh, Mr. Obama, where are you? ♥

January 3, 2014

DC Gem - Ben's Chili Bowl ♥ Oh, Mr. Obama, where are you? ♥

In NW Washington DC is this little gem of a chili joint called Ben's Chili Bowl. If you watch any of the best places to eat ..... on the Travel Channel, chances are you saw this place showcased.
I would not leave DC this time around without either eating there or getting a pint to go. Luckily it was on the way to I-495 and there was a spot right out front. They open at 6:00 and at 10am when we pulled up, there was a line for take-out. When I asked for a container of just chili, the server didn't know what to do or how much to charge me. I guess it's ordered with a dog, on a burger or in a single serve bowl with grated cheese, diced onions and crackers. They couldn't understand why I would not want "the works". When the guy asked me if I wanted a gallon, I actually had to think about it but The Nudge would have killed me. He didn't even want to stop. I think he thought it would be in a rough neighborhood. Such a weird man, this place was famous and I am sure no one in the hood would allow any problems and yes, I was the only white woman in there at 10 in the morning.

If you haven't heard of Ben's, here's a little history........On August 22, 1958, Ben’s Chili Bowl opened for business.
From the tumult of the late 60’s race riots to the tough times in the 70’s and 80’s and finally to the revitalization of the U Street Corridor beginning in the 90’s, Ben’s has seen it all.  Bill Cosby and thousands of others attended our 45th anniversary in August 2003.
And just ten days before his inauguration on January 10, 2009, President-Elect Barack Obama visited and ate lunch here.
After a 50 plus year journey, business is booming and the Ben’s brand is red hot.  Ben’s has also expanded by opening a new restaurant and bar called Ben’s Next Door [www.bensnextdoor.com], in addition to outposts at Nationals Stadium and FedEx Field.

Tonight I pulled a package of Nathans Famous from the freezer, chopped an onion, grated sharp cheddar cheese and put 4 ales out on the stoop to chill.
It's been ages since we had a chili dog, so long in fact, I can't remember when.

I was really looking forward to these.
At Ben's they told me they sell more chili atop a smokie (smoked sausage) and I have to admit I almost bought a few bratwursts but The Nudge is a diehard beef dog lover, you know the kind that snap when bitten into.

I was worried the reputation of Ben was what made this place famous and loved but one bite told me that Ben's made serious chili. Very meaty beef chili with large chunks of ground beef (no sausage here), kidney beans and large pieces of green onion (not sure if bell or poblano). The spice level was around average (to appeal to everyone) so I grabbed my Tabasco, yum!

This should be easy to replicate and it's already on the list. Now, it all depends on what The Boss thinks as to how many times it makes an appearance. Since he ate three fully loaded, I have a feeling he'll be asking for this on SuperBowl Sunday. I will make extra for Nachos and Enchiladas.

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