I Dream of Chili!

Two weeks ago, my husband and I took a trip to D.C.  Over the four days spent exploring the city, we toured museums, became overwhelmed at Arlington Cemetery, shopped ‘till we nearly dropped, and ate our way through D.C.’s impressive dining scene.  We tried restaurants both fabulous and forgettable, but one meal still floats through my dreams.

On our third morning, we took the Metro to the Arlington Station.  We headed back towards D.C. on foot across the Potomac.  We toured nearly every monument and memorial between the riverfront and the Smithsonian museums.  After being tempted to punch a woman who thought it appropriate to drape herself across the Vietnam Women’s Memorial as if auditioning for America’s Next Top Model, soaking up the celebratory atmosphere at the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial, and touring the immense World War II Memorial, Jay and I were ready for lunch.  We had walked at least a zillion miles and had earned a tasty meal!

We hopped back on the Metro and headed north to U Street.  (My feet were extremely grateful for the 10-minute rest on the train.)  As we stepped off the escalator, we looked across U Street to see our destination:  Ben’s Chili Bowl.

Thanks to a lifetime of loving Bill Cosby and, most recently, paying attention to President Obama’s inauguration, I had been tipped off to the wonderful delights of Ben’s Chili Bowl.  Jay, on the other hand, had never heard of the place and wondered why we should bother leaving one area rich with dining options to go to an entirely different part of the city just for lunch.  Once I told Jay that we were to have what Bill Cosby claims is the best chili dog in the world, he was game.  (And I win the Wife of the Year prize for suggesting chili dogs for lunch!)

Ben’s Chili Bowl did not disappoint!  Reasons why I love, love, love this place:

  1. The chili sauce is hands down the most delicious chili I have ever had!  Slightly spicy, slightly sweet, completely savory!  (I am a little sad at how much better this chili is than my own.  My ego is bruised.)
  2. For only $5.70 you can have 1/4lb. half pork and beef smoked sausage topped with mustard, onions and chili sauce.  (If you are concerned that one dog will not be enough, I recommend sharing an order of chili fries with your group.  They are delicious, but finishing that much food on your own would be a monumental task.)
  3. The staff is super friendly and did not treat me like an idiot when I asked, “What is a half smoke?”  (A half smoke is half pork, half beef smoked sausage.  I felt kind of stupid after asking the question.)
  4. Even though the line is always long, it moves fast!  You will be feasting on your chilidog in no time!
  5. The owner obviously has a sense of humor.  I found the “healthy choices” section of the menu hysterical.  This is not a place you go for good health.
  6. I can order the chili sauce and half smokes online and enjoy all the deliciousness at home!  (Guess what Jay’s next birthday dinner is going to be?  www.benschilibowl.com/)

So, the next time you find yourself in D.C. put your diet on hold for a day and head to Ben’s Chili Bowl.  Trust me, you will be dreaming of chili, too.


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