The cousins Wiseman, men behind the hot, artisan Jewish deli (hot artisan Jewish deli?!) DGS Delicatessen of Washington, D.C., have turned their attentions to seafood with their month-old Whaley’s, a raw bar in the Washington Navy Yard, facing the Anacostia River, near Nationals Park. Tom Sietsema of The Washington Post has given the restaurant his imprimatur, particularly praising the small plates and raw bar offerings (as well as the soft-shell crab entree). Rina Rapuano, writing for Zagat, identifies five must-try dishes at Whaley’s, highlighting some of the very same dishes as Mr. Sietsema, including those tempura-battered soft-shell crabs, a plate of clams casino where chorizo replaces the bacon, and some shrimp-stuffed fried squash blossoms. Continue reading
The “next generation” Jewish deli DGS, of Washington, D.C., does their own brining, curing, smoking, pickling… as much as possible is done in-house, but the bagels, which really have to be made in a bakery, are brought in. When they opened in 2012 they were unable to find a local bagel of high enough quality to be served with their meats and fish, so they bought par-baked Montreal bagels from St-Viateur and finished them off in-house. This worked just fine except for one thing: they couldn’t make bagel sandwiches because Montreal bagels are too small and the hole is too big. Continue reading
The Ali family, longtime owners of Washington, D.C.’s famous Ben’s Chili Bowl, has maintained a steadfast public loyalty to entertainer Bill Cosby, who has been something of a mascot to the restaurant for decades. He famously eats free at Ben’s, his giant portrait adorns the mural on the outside of the original U Street location, he cut the ribbon at the opening of their Arlington restaurant in 2014 — the Alis say he is family and one does not turn their back on family when the going gets tough. There have been recent signs, however, that the Alis are having second thoughts. Continue reading
The chili at Ben’s Chili Bowl tastes burnt, a “one-note heat and salt lick,” the half-smoke “surrendered any juices it may have, long ago, had,” the bun is “soft, white and tasteless.” The chili half-smoke is proclaimed by Washington Post food writer Tom Sietsema, in a word, “awful.” Lemonade? “Ringer for a mix.” Burger? Would “taste of nothing” without cheese and ketchup. Lemon cake? “Equal parts sugar and artificial flavoring.” Does he like anything? Yes, the slaw, potato salad, and breakfast. Mr. Sietsema acknowledges the history, the significance, the nostalgia. The rest? Ouch!
CaramelCrisp is making its Washington D.C. arrival soon as Garrett Popcorn Shops is opening their first area store in Arlington, VA, in the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City. The most delicious caramel corn on earth, originally made in Chicago, can now be found in the U.S. in Atlanta, Dallas, Detroit, Las Vegas, and New York, as well as across Asia and the Middle East. No Garrett near your home? Not a problem; they deliver!
From the perspective of American Jews, two important things happen on Christmas: one, most people are home celebrating with family. This means that movie theaters, which do not generally close for the holiday, are devoid of crowds. Two, most restaurants are closed for Christmas, but Chinese restaurants usually remain open. And so a Jewish Christmas was born: Chinese food and a movie out! Lately, newfangled Jewish delis have joined in the fun by presenting Chinese Christmas meals. We know of two delis that put out a Chinese spread for the holiday: Continue reading
Let the debate begin! Tom Sietsema, food writer for The Washington Post, did some extensive dining across America, with the goal of determining the nation’s top ten eating cities. Some results? The top three cities are all on the Pacific coast! Houston beats Philadelphia, and both beat Chicago and New York! We’re glad to see the recognition for Charleston, SC and New Orleans, two truly fabulous and unique food cities. Gotta hand it to Mr. Sietsema, agree or disagree, it took a lot of research and a passion for eating (and big brass ones) to produce such a list. There is a ton of great info here for future travelers, and a lot of appetizing reading. See for yourself.
We love America’s classic old soul food restaurants, especially the 1944 Florida Avenue Grill in the nation’s capital. It’s easy to forget that these are not museum pieces but actual businesses struggling to turn a profit. To that end, the Florida Avenue Grill has applied for a liquor license. They say their dinnertime business just isn’t there and they need to serve alcohol to make the nighttime meal more attractive to potential customers. They are not, however, trying to turn the place into a bar. If that’s what it takes to keep ’em around, we’re all for it.
It began in 2009 with Citi Field, home of the New York Mets. When the stadium opened, Shake Shack was there, and it instantly became a huge hit. In 2011, Shake Shack traveled down I-95 to Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. where, despite its New York origins, the Shackburger and Nats fans have become fast friends. Latest word is that, when the Atlanta Braves open in the new SunTrust Park in 2017, Shake Shack will be there for the first pitch. At least, that’s what they’re hoping for, as the two parties are still in negotiations. All that’s left in the National League East would be Philadelphia and Miami. There are already Shake Shacks in both cities but our money is on Marlins Park, as Citizens Bank Park just added Wayback Burgers this year.
As controversy and scandal continues to swirl around Bill Cosby, organizations and groups have been rushing to sever their ties to the entertainer — Disney is the latest example, as they recently removed a Cosby statue from their Hollywood Studios theme park in Orlando. Yet Ben’s Chili Bowl of Washington, D.C. has not turned their back on Bill Cosby and appear unlikely to do so. Why is that? Tim Carman has written an interesting story on that subject, exploring the relationship between the two that goes much deeper than business. There are issues of family, loyalty, and morality at play, and the Ali family, longtime owners of Ben’s, has never shown an inclination to put their restaurant ahead of their sense of right and wrong. Read the full story here.
Ben’s Chili Bowl of Washington, D.C. will be opening a new location in D.C., at 1001 H Street NE, on July 8th. This will be their third “regular” restaurant — the others are the original on U Street and one in Arlington, VA. Ben’s is also available at the two area ballparks and the airport. So you should never be without a chili-topped half-smoke!
We first became acquainted with the trend in Washington D.C. with the U Street Taco: get yourself a chili-topped half-smoke at Ben’s Chili Bowl, then walk down the block to a pizza joint which sells giant slices. Wrap the dog in the slice and eat! Now comes the Philly Taco (we think South Street Taco is catchier): wrap a cheesesteak from Jim’s on South Street with a big slice of pizza from Lorenzo’s, also on South Street. Ken Silver of Jim’s figures you’ve got about 2,000 calories of Philly eatin’ right there. Continue reading
Now that marijuana is (sort of) legal in Washington, D.C., the blog DCist presents a timely story on the best stoner cuisine in the District. For instance, as seen in the video above, try a U Street Taco. You start with a chili-topped half-smoke from Ben’s Chili Bowl, then take it down the street to a pizzeria that sells giant slices. Wrap half-smoke, bun and all, in pizza, and voilà! U Street Taco. Or try one of the homemade Pop Tarts from Ted’s Bulletin. Or fried chicken and bacon sandwiched between halves of a maple brioche donut bun topped with buttered pecans at GBD!