Thursday, October 24, 2013

Blowing My Cover for a Half Smoke

Ben’s Chili Bowl
1213 U St., NW
Washington DC

No one knows who Suit757 is.

I think my mom has some suspicions, but even she doesn’t know for sure.

Why all the cloak-and-dagger mystery?

Dude, have you been watching the news lately?

NSA spying. FBI drones. CIA waterboarding. Gestapo IRS agents targeting conservatives.

You’ve heard about the Homeland Security “No Fly List”? How do you think that would work with Suit757’s travel schedule?

Yeah. I’m not taking any chances.

So I was a little nervous about eating at Ben’s Chili Bowl.

No, not because Suit757 is a white guy looking for chili dogs along Washington DC’s “black Broadway.”

Heck, thanks to the combination of urban gentrification, the gluttonous bloat of the federal government, Ben Bernanke’s money printing and skyrocketing real estate costs, there are as many white yuppie bureaucrats and Hill staffers populating U Street these days as native black folks.

Nope. I was nervous about blowing my cover.

What if I bumped into Barack Obama and he found out about my subversive clandestine activities while cruising the country for spicy junk food?

Could an IRS audit or TSA enhanced body cavity search be far behind for Suit757?


Our President would never use the federal bureaucracy to attack his political opponents like some Third World banana republic dictator.


Ummm. Yeah, right.

See? Just because Suit757 is paranoid doesn’t mean Obama isn’t really out to get me.

So while I was really excited to check out Ben’s Chili Bowl’s famous hot dogs and half smokes, I was on the lookout for Ben’s most famous patron, President Obama.

Obama famously stopped by Ben’s in 2009 just before his first inauguration.

Ever since, this black culinary institution in our nation’s capital has been inextricably linked to America’s first black president.

A sign by the cash register states in no uncertain terms: “Bill Cosby and President Obama and family eat free. Everyone else pays.”

Hilariously, a bumpkin tourist on a visit to the White House used his once-in-a-lifetime 5 seconds of conversation with Michelle Obama to ask this profoundly important question:
“Um. Hi.  Where can I find Ben’s Chili Bowl?”

Obviously not a follower of Suits in Strange Places.

While Michelle seemed a little thrown off by the directions request, I could have pointed him to Ben’s by telling him to follow the savory smell of simmering chili and spicy sausages browning on the grill by the front door.

Famous for its “half smoke” sausage, Ben’s ladles a delicious thick chili packed with peppery seasoning over the browned meat tube.

As its name implies, the sausage has a faint smoky flavor perfectly complimented by the punch of the chili.

The hot dog is top notch too with a slight spicy kick.

Chili dogs are among life’s greatest pleasures. But when you upgrade the components the way Ben’s does, you can see why it attracts the attention of the world’s most powerful man.

So by all means, if you are in our Capital city, I encourage you to stop by Ben’s Chili Bowl and enjoy one of the greatest sausage/chili combos of your lifetime.

But if you find yourself at the lunch counter rubbing shoulders with Barack, please do me a favor.

Don’t tell him Suit757 sent you.

Rating: Bought the Shirt!

  Ben's Chili Bowl on Urbanspoon

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