Monday, May 10, 2010
City Jewel: WDC
Special thanks to Rich and Bethany for sending this in.
If traveling during the Spring or Summertime in the D.C. area and you're looking for something to do, visit Nationals Stadium and pick up a Nats game. It's a new facility and the great thing about their stadium is that they allow local popular restaurant franchises to open concessions in the stadium, the best of which is Ben's Chili Bowl.
Ben's Chili Bowl original location is located in the U-Street Corridor in D.C. and is very very well known. The name gives away that they specialize in chili. The original Ben's Chili Bowl was founded and opened its doors to business in the 1950's and endured the riots in D.C. following Dr. Martin Luther King's assassination. Just recently, the owner and founder Ben Ali passed away and it was major news in D.C., not only was he the founder of the Chili Bowl, but he did a lot of good for the community. Many famous politicians, celebrities and athletes visit Ben's Chili Bowl and in fact the franchise in Nats stadium is the first and only one built due to Ben's interest in keeping quality high. One thing that leads to some personal concern is that the family, after Ben's passing, is now speaking of franchising further. Somehow I think this is wrong.
What to Get
Anyways, we went to the Marlins vs. Nationals on Saturday, after attending several games last year, we were eagerly anticipating eating some good ole' chili whilst watching the hometown Nats. We got there about a half hour before game time, enjoyed a beer, walked the stadium and found our seats. We made it to the break in the first inning and then went to Ben's. The line is usually the longest at the Chili Bowl, but it is worth the wait. I ordered the Traditional Half Smoke, which a Ben's is a blend of hot dog and smoked sausage meat in one fat casing and is served slightly charred. I got it with the special Ben's chili, melted cheese and mustard. Ben's chili is meaty and pleasantly spicy, and is good enough that they sell a lot of it simply by the bowl. I'm not sure if its because of the fact that we purchase tickets that are close to The Bowl or something else, but the Half Smoke always remains hot when you get back to your seat. Bethany ordered the Ben's Chili cheese french fries, which were basic hearty cut fries topped with the melted cheese and famous chili. The fries are basically chili-delivery sticks. The simple paper lined cardboard is the perfect serving plate for this sublime yet simple stadium grub, which is gone in way less time that you waited in line. The only bad thing about Ben's is that its so good that over the span of the game, we always find ourselves tempted to go for another round. This is of course enjoyable, but a liability when the next day rolls around if you know what I mean.