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Inaguration Week – Ben’s Chili Bowl – The Ultimate DC Expirience January 20, 2009

Posted by Robert in inauguration, Not Political, Travel.
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Well, after yesterday’s concert. We met up with friends in Silver Springs, MD and had a nice quiet evening.  After a nice long sleep-in, the discussion of what to do with our day.   Smithsonian?  Holocaust Museum? Monuments and Memorials?

No.

With the promise of spectacularly bad-for-you food and an adventure, we decided to travel to DC’s hip and happening U-Street for a bowl of the good stuff at Ben’s Chili Bowl. Barack and his family apparently get free food here for life (also, Bill Cosby). The walls around U Street were covered with some great street art.

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We arrived at Ben’s at about 3pm and were greeted by a line snaking out the front door and around the side of the building down an alley.   We asked a guy waiting in line right outside the front door how long he was waiting, and were told “about an hour and a half.”   A good follow up question should have been “Oh, and how long was the line when you started.”  But I didn’t think to ask that.

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The guy right behind us in line managed to score  actual tickets to the swearing in ceremony.  He traveled from Las Vegas by himself to attend.

While waiting in line, we were constantly being approached by various people selling memorabilia and collectibles emblazoned with the president-elect’s face.  Some of the more unique offerings included an Obama figurine that was also an air freshener and  a cd of some of Obama’s speeches over original house music.   Haunting indeed.  I couldn’t resist purchasing that one.   I’ll post some of the  better tracks later.  There were also plenty of police officers around.  Like, 10 guarding the outside of 1 Chili joint, so if you had any concern that they didn’t have enough security in DC, I think they have things covered.

We’re so close to the front of the line we can taste it.

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We finally made it into Ben’s after about 2 and a half hours outside.  My feet were frozen and by then it was dark out, but the atmosphere and aromas that permeated that place were well worth the wait.   The juke box was blasting old soul music and the entire staff was friendly and singing along to everything.   The guy at the door was doing a good job of keeping the line moving, and  the people behind the counter kept things going smoothly.   I ordered on large chili with cheddar to eat in, and  2 to go.   Those are coming back to Jersey for reverse engineering.

Even after all that waiting and my feet being so cold that I put my gloves on over my socks, it was so worth it.   We could have done anything today.  We probably could have hit plenty of sites in the 4 plus hours we spent waiting for and eating chili.  But somehow, it just fit the day.

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Thanks Ben’s.

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