Jump to content

Scheduled Downtime

NOTICE: The eG Forums will be offline for several hours on Friday, November 28 for system maintenance.

These forums are a service of the Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to advancement of the culinary arts. Anyone can read the forums, however if you would like to participate in active discussions please join the Society.


Cuisine "Native" to the District

  • Please log in to reply
65 replies to this topic

#61 Busboy

  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 4,426 posts
  • Location:Washington, DC

Posted 19 March 2008 - 02:44 PM

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

#62 John Talbott

John Talbott
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 4,388 posts
  • Location:Paris & Baltimore

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.

View Post

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.
John Talbott

blog John Talbott's Paris

#63 The Hersch

The Hersch
  • participating member
  • 245 posts

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

  • participating member
  • 974 posts

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

John Talbott
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 4,388 posts
  • Location:Paris & Baltimore

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.

View Post

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.
John Talbott

blog John Talbott's Paris

#66 Hassouni

  • participating member
  • 2,234 posts
  • Location:DC Area/London/Beirut

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.