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Cuisine "Native" to the District


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#61 Busboy

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Posted 19 March 2008 - 02:44 PM

Of course, if you go to Ben's, you eat with the stars.
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Thinking about the government.

#62 John Talbott

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Posted 21 March 2008 - 03:08 PM

Perhaps the somewhat mythical, oddly unclassifiable "half-smoke".  Everybody claims to have eaten a "real" one, but I'll be damned if I've ever received a good explanation about what separates them from your run-of-the-mill hot dog.

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Could someone describe/define a "half-smoke?" Please. This sounds like something my Froggie friends (and I) would really see/eat that's totally new.
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#63 The Hersch

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Posted 22 March 2008 - 06:55 PM

Could someone describe/define a "half-smoke?" Please.  This sounds like something my Froggie friends (and I) would really see/eat that's totally new.

Wikipedia, of course, has an article HERE. The half-smoke (which I don't find particularly appealing--I'd rather have a really good natural-casing hot dog) is distinguished from the hot dog by its greater girth and its more coarsely ground meat. It is, in essence, a fat, coarse hot dog, and a dubious recommendation for the city of Washington.

#64 DTBarton

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Posted 01 May 2008 - 11:13 AM

I went to Laurel Meat market today for the first time in a while and got 4 lbs of Kunzler half smokes (2 hot, 2 mild 5 to a lb.). Good to know the cow's still there: http://krakatoa.blog...stands-for.html

Nice place to shop for good meat at good prices (got beautiful delmonico steaks on sale today for $7.99/lb), very old school, but it reminded me of this recent thread that got into half smokes. Some questions had been posed in the thread about their origin. A quick search turned up this dissertation on half smoke history from the City Paper. Forgive me if it's linked earlier in the thread: http://www.washingto...play.php?id=561

#65 John Talbott

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Posted 07 May 2008 - 07:29 AM

There is nothing more uniquely DC than a half-smoke from Ben's Chili Bowl.  For sure, a different level of sophistication than some of the other recommendations.  Guess it depends on what you can get away with, colleague wise.  It could be a lot of fun.  And definitely, reasonable in price.

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Well, we took the collective advice and went to Ben's for the only “traditional DC food” apparently - the Chili Half-smoke. Now I understand Charles' comment about the stars because we noted it's the favorite of Bill Cosby, reruns of whose show airs on channel 3 in Paris every AM about 5:30. In any case, we had three of them (I found the dog only so-so) but the chili was good and spicy and the chopped onion superb. One of my colleagues ordered an “..amburger” with fries covered with melted Velveeta cheese that I thought were a throwback to the ‘50’s they were so awful/yet/delicious but the French declared them to be heart-clogging/cholesterol heaven. The bill for four was $40 with tip. Not sure I or we would return but it was surely a few thousand miles from what we'd get in Paris. Thanks all.
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#66 Hassouni

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Posted 03 November 2011 - 03:00 PM

Having grown up in the area, I can't think of much besides the Ben's half smoke with chili (great in certain circumstances) and jumbo slice (which is beyond foul even after lots of drinks). The only real thing I haven't seen in other cities I've been to is Salvadoran and Ethiopian food. I think if you made a kitfo pupusa, you'd have a signature DC dish.