HOME > Chowhound > Washington DC & Baltimore >
Brewing beer, curing meat, or making cheese? Tell us about it
TELL US

I Misjudged Obama-He's Got Soul

guttergourmet Jan 10, 2009 11:22 AM

Just saw a photo of Mr. President ordering a half smoke with chili and the works at Ben's Chili Bowl. NOW I have hope for this country. If Ben's catered the inauguration, we could use the money saved to bailout some more banks ;)

  1. Glencora Jan 10, 2009 11:34 AM

    Your title got my attention. Could you please tell an ignorant Californian what you mean? half smoke? the works?

    6 Replies
    1. re: Glencora
      Gonzocook Jan 10, 2009 12:30 PM

      Oh my... Here's a veritable treatise on the half smoke, from Washington CityPaper: http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/di...

      1. re: Gonzocook
        beauxgoris Jan 10, 2009 12:54 PM

        Was he there recently?

        1. re: beauxgoris
          d
          Denise Jan 10, 2009 12:59 PM

          He went there today with Adrian Fenty.

      2. re: Glencora
        p
        pineapple sage Jan 10, 2009 04:11 PM

        Ben's is as real Washington as it gets. Sort of our version of a diner, but with a half smoke and chili centered menu. It survived the '68 riots, from which the neighborhood has just begun recovering the last few years.

        They don't care who you are there, you wait in line and pay with the rest of us locals. It is one of the few restaurants around where race and class truly isn't an issue. Behind the counter-one of the few true lunch counters left in the city-there is a sign that used to say "Who eats free at Ben's: Bill Cosby. No one else." At some point during the campaign it was changed to say "Who eats free at Ben's: Bill Cosby. The Obama Family."

        I believe the most expensive item on the menu is the veggie burger, which is just under $8.00. Most vegetarians around here have great respect for Ben's, but find it better to try to eat elsewhere.

        Obama's showing up with our Mayor on a rainy, cold, gray Saturday, even if the Secret Service had to close down the block, is a bit of sign of respect, you might say, to DC.

        http://voices.washingtonpost.com/reli...

        1. re: pineapple sage
          Glencora Jan 10, 2009 04:16 PM

          Interesting. Thanks.

          1. re: pineapple sage
            b
            bobovespa Jan 13, 2009 08:23 PM

            Actually Obama didn't pay. They wouldn't take his money so he left a $20 tip. All according to the press, I wasn't there.

        2. m
          MartinDC Jan 12, 2009 11:08 AM

          Don't want to be a killjoy, but it the president-elect was out doing a PR tour with the DC mayor. "The Visit" to Ben's was both obligatory and inevitable.

          5 Replies
          1. re: MartinDC
            m
            MakingSense Jan 12, 2009 11:33 AM

            Maybe we can reserve judgment on "Soul" until the Mayor and President-elect show up in the line at Horace and Dickie's on H Street, up Georgia Avenue, or over in Anacostia.
            Ben's has gotten pretty uptown since the Reeves Center opened a couple decades ago and the new half-million dollar condos began rising all around it.

            1. re: MakingSense
              w
              WestIndianArchie Jan 12, 2009 04:49 PM

              You can't tell from the menu or the slow as molasses service.

              Still one of my favorite dishes in DC though.

            2. re: MartinDC
              c
              cocoagirl Jan 13, 2009 09:45 AM

              Whatever. Bush hated DC. Barack will be different. PR tour or not. That was the whole point to show love for DC.

              1. re: cocoagirl
                baldwinwood Jan 14, 2009 05:51 AM

                Coco- You're spot on with that statement!
                There s a great article in the Washington Post or New York Times food section this am about Bush s relucantence to enbrace or entertain the DC dinning scene. In the two weeks before Obama has taken office he s make more appearnaces at local restaurants than Bush did in eight years. In less than a week, Obamas eaten at Ben's and Bobby Vans. Take Peking Gourmet in Falls Church and some other Tex-Mex W liked, out of the equation and its pretty easy to see his true colors.

                1. re: baldwinwood
                  j
                  JustinS Jan 14, 2009 08:08 AM

                  I fully agree. "Obligatory" implies that there is an "obligation" on the part of the President to eat there...an obligation that Bush must have ignored.

            Show Hidden Posts