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I'd heard about this place in Washington, DC, called Ben's Chili Bowl, that sold half-smokes - sausage links consisting of beef & pork on a steamed bun, with mustard, onions, and spicy homemade chili sauce on them. It didn't hurt that the joint was a favorite hang-out of legendary comedian Bill Cosby, not to mention our Commander In Chief, President Obama. So I decided to check it out. Ben's version didn't have shredded cheddar on it, but I added it as a component. The flavor intensity was intoxicating. As soon as I downed one, I informed Calvin, the counter-guy..that I'd have another. This seems to be a habit with me, eat & repeat.
I had a couple of days to kill in-between college shows, so I decided to use them eating my way thru DC, Maryland, and Virginia. High on my list was Chapp's Pitt Beef of Baltimore. Located next to a strip club, this place is a carnivores delight. I started off with a double roast beef, medium rare, than moved on to the "Richwich" a sandwich named after Adam Richmond, consisting of roast beef, turkey, sausage, and corned beef on a fresh bun. I added tiger sauce (horseradish & mayo), and pickles to both, and they were declicious ! Also in Baltimore, Faidley's Seafood of which I had a lump crab cake. It was all crab, and no filler, but at $15 a bit overpriced.
As a big fan of Peruvian chicken, I was surprised to see so many options available in this region of the country. I tried El Pollo Rico, and Pio Pio, both of Arlington, VA, and Sardi's Pollo A La Brassa, a small Maryland chain, and all three were great. The kicker was the sauce at El Pollo Rico, which put it over the top. Since I had some errands to run in Fairfax, VA - I stopped at Chutzpah's, and tried the matzo-ball soup, which was a decent take on the authentic classic.
Rounding it off, I checked-out the 21 food-trucks, at the L'Enfant Plaza district at 6th & Maryland in DC, and went with Dangeriously Delicious Pies DC, for a SMOG (steak, mushrooms, gruyere, and onions) inside a flakey pie-crust. They have two actual restaurants in DC, and if you're ever in the area, worth checking out.