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Kanishka

Cuisine "Native" to the District

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The City Paper this week has a long article on that tried and true staple of late night Adams Morgan eating, the Jumbo Slice. For those who haven't had the pleasure, the slice seems to me like the Philly Cheesesteak or a NYC street hot dog. And that has me thinking--are there other foods peculiar to DC? I'm thinking about writing a short DCist article about it. Ben's Chili Bowl and the prevalence of Ethiopian food in DC come to mind immediately. Any other thoughts? And how about specialties of other cities? Baltimore has steamed crabs, Chicago has the deep dish...

Ideas?

K

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Any other thoughts? Ideas?

K

Senate Bean soup? :raz:


Ana the Librarian

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DC has basically a southern, heavily black, Tidewater village for most of its existence. There's a strong seafood and soul food tradition here, but we haven't really perfected anything or elevated it to icon status. If you dig in old back yards around town you'll find oyster shells galore; barbecue, southern cooking and fried fish are readily available in a lot of African American neighborhoods; The Main Avenue fishmongers continue to thrive and I suppose politicians and diplomats have been eating steak as long as anyone can remember. But there's nothing that's been handed down for generations that we can claim as our own.

Except maybe that soup.


I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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There was a thread on city signature dishes under general food topics I think and the subject of DC's signature dish came up. The best they could come up with was half-smokes. Personally, I don't think DC has a signature dish in the way Cincinnati has chili and Philadelphia has cheese steaks.

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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.

I would personally cast my vote for "lake trout", although its territory extends up 95 to Baltimore.

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I've heard the half-smoke thing, too, and I ain't buyin' it.


I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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It might be worthwhile to consider cocktails that may have originated in DC since this is a town lubricated by alchohol -- well at least in the old days. I'm not coming up with anything other than the Cosmo made famous by Monica, but perhaps invented elsewhere.


Edited by FunJohnny (log)

Oh, J[esus]. You may be omnipotent, but you are SO naive!

- From the South Park Mexican Starring Frog from South Sri Lanka episode

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Well, the Willard's Mint Julep is certainly on that list. Had one a few weeks ago--have to say, I wasn't that impressed. Then again, I'm not a huge Mint Julep fan and was hoping for a stainless steel flagon.

K

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FunJohnny, the Cosmo was outed by Ocean Spray in ads from the 50s to the 70s. The drink we know today starts out when Absolut Citron appeared. (Which is still the best way to make one IMO.) Dale DeGroff popularized it at the the Rainbow Room in NY in the 90s. Carrie and her friends did the rest.

Monica was just swallowing the leader(s).

A big piece of unremarable pizza is hardly idiosyncratic. There's definitely a connection between it and the first 2 unique DC foods that I think of - wings from Yum's saturated with mambo sauce and Ben's. The constant is booze.


Give me your oldest Grand Marnier and a thousand year egg.

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Crabcakes?


Resident Twizzlebum

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About 4 1/2 years ago the Washington Post Magazine or the Washingtonian ran a contest to try to determine what the signature dish for DC would be. I think that the contest ran for about 4 months and had some fabulous prizes and the best that they could come up with is the half smoke and the Senate Navy beans.

The one thing that I can think of that seems unique to the area in about 40 years of eating in and around DC is the pork chop sandwich. I used to get these sometime when I was working in some of the neighborhoods. What it is is a porkchop, bone and all slapped between two slices of Wonder Bread.

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The world famous Palena burger?


peak performance is predicated on proper pan preparation...

-- A.B.

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The world famous Palena burger?

Nah, it's the roasted chicken.


True Heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic.

It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost,

but the urge to serve others at whatever cost. -Arthur Ashe

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The world famous Palena burger?

Nah, it's the roasted chicken.

Stay on message. Is there a "native" "signature" DC dish. My position is that there is no such thing.

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The world famous Palena burger?

Nah, it's the roasted chicken.

Stay on message. Is there a "native" "signature" DC dish. My position is that there is no such thing.

Channeling Rocks tonight are we :wink:

To get back on topic, I agree, there is no native DC food. I think we should create a native DC meal: Palena roasted chicken with Firefly Parmesan Truffle fries.


True Heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic.

It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost,

but the urge to serve others at whatever cost. -Arthur Ashe

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The world famous Palena burger?

Nah, it's the roasted chicken.

Stay on message. Is there a "native" "signature" DC dish. My position is that there is no such thing.

Channeling Rocks tonight are we :wink:

To get back on topic, I agree, there is no native DC food. I think we should create a native DC meal: Palena roasted chicken with Firefly Parmesan Truffle fries.

I think a "native" dish has to be something that the entire city can pretty much agree is the "signature." I doubt one restaurant's offering can qualify.

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I think half smokes are valid, if you are talking about DC proper. They are very much ubiquitous. I lived in DC for ten years and saw them all over--at countless block parties, carryouts, community meetings, barbecues, diners, etc. However, you won't find them at all "west of the park."

I'd also nominate the "steak and cheese" sandwich. It can be found all over the city (again I'm talking about DC) at almost every carryout--Salvadoran, Ethiopian, Chinese, Soul Food, Caribbean, etc.

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For those not in the know, half-smokes are half beef and half pork. Which is why the most famous purveyors, Ben's Chili Bowl, have never actually eaten one. The Ali's are Muslim and never eat pork. THIS is the signature dish, IMHO :cool:

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I think half smokes are valid, if you are talking about DC proper. They are very much ubiquitous. I lived in DC for ten years and saw them all over--at countless block parties, carryouts, community meetings, barbecues, diners, etc. However, you won't find them at all "west of the park."

Can you actually buy them in the supermarkets around here? I've never noticed them. Apparently they've been around a long time.


Love,

Mr. Roger Troutman, who enjoys food and beverages.

CHAIR, INTERNATIONAL DINING RESEARCH INSTITUTE

WASHINGTON, D.C.

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The half-smokes you see on most of the roach coaches in downtown DC are made in New Jersey by Sabrett. To put it another way, the DC signature dish "half-smokes" are made in another part of the country. I'm reasonably sure that the half-smoke you get off of a dirt-water dog cart in DC will be the same as the one you get on a corner in New York. No, I don't think the half-smoke is a DC signature dish. If we are having this much trouble coming up with a dish that many can agree is DC's signature, then that tells you something right there.

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The City Paper this week has a long article on that tried and true staple of late night Adams Morgan eating, the Jumbo Slice. For those who haven't had the pleasure, the slice seems to me like the Philly Cheesesteak or a NYC street hot dog. And that has me thinking--are there other foods peculiar to DC? I'm thinking about writing a short DCist article about it. Ben's Chili Bowl and the prevalence of Ethiopian food in DC come to mind immediately. Any other thoughts? And how about specialties of other cities? Baltimore has steamed crabs, Chicago has the deep dish...

Ideas?

K

The jumbo slice is not a local D.C. staple.I was eating jumbo slices in Mission Beach, San Diego 8 years before anyone thought of it in D.C.. There are several late night pizza joints that offer it out there, where just like in D.C.drunk college kids loiter till 4 a.m. It is quite amazing to me that people in this city actually call it a food item of their own.

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The City Paper this week has a long article on that tried and true staple of late night Adams Morgan eating, the Jumbo Slice. For those who haven't had the pleasure, the slice seems to me like the Philly Cheesesteak or a NYC street hot dog. And that has me thinking--are there other foods peculiar to DC? I'm thinking about writing a short DCist article about it. Ben's Chili Bowl and the prevalence of Ethiopian food in DC come to mind immediately. Any other thoughts? And how about specialties of other cities? Baltimore has steamed crabs, Chicago has the deep dish...

Ideas?

K

The jumbo slice is not a local D.C. staple.I was eating jumbo slices in Mission Beach, San Diego 8 years before anyone thought of it in D.C.. There are several late night pizza joints that offer it out there, where just like in D.C.drunk college kids loiter till 4 a.m. It is quite amazing to me that people in this city actually call it a food item of their own.

Fortunately, we don't.


Matt Robinson

Prep for dinner service, prep for life! A Blog

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I'm reasonably sure that the half-smoke you get off of a dirt-water dog cart in DC will be the same as the one you get on a corner in New York.

If you can get half-smokes here, they must be called something else. I can't ever remember seeing any sign for half-smokes in New York.

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Perhaps I'm wrong. But I doubt that Sabrett reserves their half-smoke production just for the DC area. I looked at the Sabrett's website and they appear to call them "pork/beef frankfurters." "Half-smoke" may just be what they call them in DC.

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Fortunately, we don't.

.........or DO we?


Edited by Chef Shogun (log)

Matt Robinson

Prep for dinner service, prep for life! A Blog

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