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Oct 15, 2009 06:21 AM

Man Vs. Food

Noticed that this popular Travel Channel show will feature DC and Annapolis next week. They go to Ben's Chili Bowl, Horace and Dickies (never heard of) and Chick and Ruth's in Annapolis. I can't wait to see that. Can anyone chime in on Horace and Dickies?

Has anyone attempted the Chick and Ruth's "colossal challenge"? The challenge is a 6 pound milkshake, and either a 1 pound burger or 1 1/2 pound sandwich in an hour. Now that's a huge meal. Should be fun to watch.

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  1. I posted on here a long time ago about Horace and Dickey's who took over from Boyd's when it moved around the corner from H St., N. E. It's good but only a shadow of the original Boyd's which was in the tradition of a place called Benny's on the Maine Avenue Wharf going back to, yes, the '40's. At both Boyd's and Benny's they sold their french fries with fresh potatoes with pieces of skin on them along with frying them in lard. That's right, pure lard. (McDonald's before 1967 fried their potatoes in a mixture that was 70% animal fat using fresh potatoes peeled in-store with the skin on. Still the best french fries on earth and you can get them in Spokane, Washington at Dick's Drive In but that is a story for another time!)
    Today Horace and Dickey's use frozen potatoes. Their fish is still good but it's not fresh like the others were.
    I read the Post article seven or eight years ago that raved about Horace and Dickey's fish sandwich and decided that whoever wrote it hadn't had a great D. C. style fish sandwich similar to what you could once find at the Maine Avenue wharf. For that you have to go to Baltimore where Faidley's in the Lexington Market (as of two years ago) still made a reasonable facsimile of it. (Faidley's has the taste down but they don't pile the fish on as high. If you go make sure you order it with cole slaw and hot sauce, Evangeline if they have it. We're talking a sandiwch that should be at least six to eight inches high.)

    4 Replies
    1. re: Joe H

      Is there anything comparable to the old Maine Avenue fish sandwiches in DC? H&D is about as close as you can get to a thick 4-piece on Wonder Bread, doused in hot sauce. Some of the bulletproof Chinese carrouts do a decent hard-fried fish sandwich, but they're not as big as H&Ds. Some of the soul food joints like Levi's do fish, but again, not as big or as tasty. Then you have your upscale southern joints, but they're not as cheap and often not as good.

      The question of where to find a good fish fry comes up about as often as where to find good BBQ or NY slices. H&D is my go-to spot for hard fried fish sandwiches. I've yet to find better in or around DC. They all use frozen whiting; I've never encountered fresh catfish or croaker. If someone has, please enlighten me.

      1. re: monkeyrotica

        thanks monkey -- that's what I thought. I think there's a fish sandwich place on 16th, a half block from Whole Foods, that looks like it's been around a while. I've been meaning to try it.

        1. re: mselectra

          Are you referring to Mid City Fish Market? They're good and cheap last time I went about a year and a half ago. A line of construction workers and painters is usually a good sign.

          Mid-City Fish Market
          1418 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20005

        2. re: monkeyrotica

          I don't know about H&D's in DC but my husband enjoy the fish sandwiches at Hollins market in Baltimore MD. I think the carry-out is called Steve's lunch. Koreans run the store.

      2. I thought Horace & Dickie's was a pretty famous local place, within DC at least, if of course not like Ben's in national fame. I loved the fish sandwich I had there a few weeks ago, and their fried chicken looked good too, and I was wondering about the bean pie. I think there's one in Anacostia too?

        Joe H: Short of a trip to Baltimore (or a time machine), and perhaps just not counting the fries, would you recommend another DC-style fish sandwich in the DC area over H & D? I know there are still a few more places around town that do them, but I thought H & D was sort of the foodie/media choice, if that makes sense? That Boyd's or old Maine Ave version, plus the real fries, does sound great.

        9 Replies
        1. Thank God someone else is speaking up about food in DC before the Post and City Paper created these current Urban legends. There is no Time Machine, and it is hard to explain to folks what they cant sample. DC was a very particular place food wise back then. And if it was good, it was really good. Most places today pale in comparison.

          1. re: mselectra

            To the best of my knowledge Faidley's is the only one that makes a sandwich similar to the original Benny's (Maine Avenue)/Boyd's/original Horace and Dickey's.

            1. re: Joe H

              Thanks. Fish sandwich at Faidley's next time I'm near Lex Market is on my list. I'm feeling okay about H & D getting the publicity from Man v Food, though (which I've never seen and know nothing about) after reading all this. (I did read your longer post before it went away, too, I think I get what you're saying.)

              1. re: mselectra

                Anyone eating more than one of Ben's chili half-smokes is asking for trouble. I pity the hotel chambermaid after that shoot. That's all I'm saying.

                1. re: flavrmeistr

                  Let me tell you one thing. That guy on Man Vs. Food can eat some seriously huge portions. I saw Randy Thomas from the Wash. Redskin's put down the most food I'd ever seen in an eating challenge a few years ago at Chubby's BBQ in Emmitsburg. This kid puts him to shame. What's perhaps more unimaginable though is his ability to eat some of the hottest foods available in this country. I don't know how a person can stomach literally food that is that high on the Scoville spicy scale.

                  1. re: jac0077

                    He needs to have one of the meat plates from Victor's in Falls Church. That I'll tune in for. Page 4 of the PDF menu.

                    1. re: Dennis S

                      That's a big plate, but if you've seen this program, you know that he recently sat down at a diner and ate over 7 pounds of food in about 30 minutes. The place you referenced is child's play for this guy. Wouldn't want to be his doctor I can tell you that. That's about 17,000 calories in a half hour.

                      1. re: jac0077

                        Just watched two shows (going on the third). He could still take on Victor's but I think it's not "television" enough for him. I want him to eat at Victor's. I'll buy.

                        Edit: Okay - it'll take 2, maybe 3 plates, but definitely not more than 3. If he eats 3 or more, I buy. I said it. Here.

          2. It's cliche'...but when you come to DC, you have to eat @ Ben's. But what a great "cliche'", right? I love a great half-smoke with everything on it. The fish sandwich @ Horace and Dickeys is a well-known DC favorite, although I have never been there (Just have heard about it through friends). My favorite fish sandwich is Eastern Market, even though I miss when they were kind of "down and dirty" with the plain white bread.

            I don't understand the whole going to Annapolis thing. I mean, I do, but I think it is funny to me. This is "Man v. Food-Washington, DC", not "Man v. Food-Annapolis". Annapolis, even though it is close to DC, it is still a good ways, and I am sure it has it's own food culture. It's like having "Man v. Food-NYC", but doing the challenge in Newark, New Jersey. New Yorkers would revolt. The problem is, DC has restaurants more tailored to upper-middle and upper class...too many "celebrity chef" diners, no regular NY pizza joints, or good pubs (Mind you...within the DC border...not the DC Met Area). That's my 2 cents.

            1. wait wait wait, a huge milkshake and a pound burger? i got that. easy.

              10 Replies
              1. re: Crocken

                I believe it was a 6 pound milkshake and Annapolis isn't DC and vice versa

                1. re: hon

                  Well, if you think Annapolis and DC are not one and the same, how about Baltimore and North East, MD? After watching the DC episode I looked up the Baltimore episode. The challenge appears to take place in North East - not many places out there more different from Baltimore than North East.

                    1. re: cduftler

                      Yeah, would you please explain this one?
                      North East what.

                      1. re: RobertM

                        Literally North East, MD. It is a town (nowhere near Baltimore, it is in Cecil County).


                        On the Man vs. Food website is says this: "Episode Description
                        Adam’s search for the best grub in the US takes him to Baltimore, MD, for some pit beef, blue crabs and the Great Steak Challenge."

                        On my DVR guide it says he does the Great Steak Challenge at Steak and Main....

                        1. re: cduftler

                          This marketing ploy was started by the Big Texan in Amarillo where (according to Wikipedia) 8,000 people out of 48,000 who tried were able to "swallow" 72 ounces of beef (+ potato, salad and shrimp cocktail) in one hour. This place adds two ounces for a total of 74 ounces in the same one hour. Man vs. Food seems to be singlehandedly spreading the marketing success of binges like this around the country.

                          1. re: Joe H

                            I know that Angel's Steakhouse in Baytown, Texas has been issuing the 72 oz. steak challenge at least since 1982 when I was working down there. In fact, a guy on my crew beat it and got his name on the wall. We didn't see him for a few days afterward.

                            A mere 24 ounce steak with a salad and redbeans and rice was $5.00 at the time. I think this has been a Texas thing for a long time, well before competitive gustation became a recent pop phenomenon.

                      2. re: cduftler

                        I commented on this on the Media board. At least in the DC episode, they mentioned that Chick and Ruth's is in Naptown. On the Balto ep, they didn't mention where Steak and Main is. Having lived in Balto, and having a Balto-bred wife, and having never heard of the place, I knew something was fishy. Sure enough. North East is as close to Philly (if not closer) as it is to Balto.

                        1. re: Bob W

                          Would you rather the show focused on North East and skipped Baltimore altogether. The show is focused on existing food challanges, you can't "make" him stay in Baltimore if there's not an existing, competitive challange. The complaining about this has been absurd. He doesn't do a strict travel show, he goes to food challanges. If the Baltimore and DC commentors has their way, his shows would have ended up being Cecil County and Annapolis.

                          1. re: Jason1

                            You are completely mistaken. People would rather have the show be honest about where the places are. It IS a travel show. If I watched the show, and traveled to Baltimore, I would look for Steak and Main. And when I found out the place was an hour away in some godforsaken burg, I'd feel deceived.

                            If there are no good challenges in Baltimore, he should do another city. He's done Amarilllo, Boise, Hartford, New Brunswick, and Durham -- are those major cities? Answer: NO. He's not wedded to Baltimore or any other city.

                            Seriously, to say a show is about Baltimore and have the main stop be in North East is ridiculous. Most people in Baltimore don't even know where North East is.

                            I would have no problem with Man v Food shows about Cecil County and Annapolis, if he found three good spots in those places. I think some of the shows focusing on smaller cities have been very good.