The Shil-Shul Diaries

The story begins in a cramped booth at the "faux" New York deli 'Noshville' in Nashville TN on a blustry day after thanksgiving November Friday day in 2008. In between my wife, Rachel, and my brother, Michael, I sat across from my "cooler than me" cousins Mark and Sarah, and Sarah's just as cool husband, Danny. Mark, who lives the awesome life being a lawyer living in San Francisco working for Facebook, with his only downfall being his SEVERE lactardation..which has never been medically or scientifically proven to exist in Mark.. Sarah and Danny are foodies from NYC who have tried every dive "chicken finger" hut and "curry on a stick" in the big city. Danny and Sarah had discussed that they were trying to go to as many places from Bobby Flay's 'Throwdown' show as they could, and that there was one in Nashville we had to try.....a place that I had never heard of in my 13 years of living there..I will get to that adventure later.

I got an idea from my cool cousins idea. An idea became a hobby. And the hobby became an obsession. And thus produced the list.....a world-famous spreadsheet...of every restaurant that has ever been featured on Food Network and Travel Channel....every restaurant from the famous shows like "Throwdown", "Man V. Food", "Man v. Food Nation", "Food Feuds", "Food Wars", "Best Thing I Ever Ate", and "Diners Drive-Ins and Dives" to the obscure "Best Food Ever", "Meat and Potatoes", and "101 Best Places to Chowdown", plus my additions of the restaurants of famous chefs and local places of legend. Names, cities, food they are famous for, and addresses. It was and still is an obsession. As of 9:24am on January 7th, 2015, THE LIST HAS 3,116 RESTAURANTS ON IT...WITH A FEW OVERLAPS HERE AND THERE. And then over Pastrami Eggs Benedict at Nate N' Al's Deli in Beverly Hills, Hannah and Andrew, our good friends, gave me the idea of the blog. Document every place I went. And thus, "The Shil-Shul Diaries" was born. I will log the places, the shows they are from, and what I had. So far, every place I have been has been amazing, except two, one being mediocre, and another being down right awful.

If there is a city you have been to, or are going to, or are from and want to know what from my list is in the city, send me a email at shilshuldiaries@gmail.com

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Ben's Chili Bowl










Man vs. Food, 28th Best Place to Chowdown in America


1213 U St. NW, Washington, DC 20009


The nations capital.  Home of back door politics, scandals, espionage, back stabbing, and the most famous chili stand in America, Ben's Chili Bowl.  This place is a legend, a landmark an institution, a capital.  Standing the test of time, through riots, fires, revolution, and renaissance, Ben's has been a staple, a cornerstone, a rock of consistency and constant-cy.  No matter what has gone on in the town, no matter who is in charge, Ben's has been there.  Ben's is what is great about America, at the end of the day, after all the yelling, screaming, and aggressiveness, passive or not, everyone at the end oft he day, no matter their race, background, orientation, religion, loves a great chili cheese burger/hot dog/fries and a soda. 

Ben's is a chili landmark.  Walk up, order, sit at the bar, fill yourself, and get out.  And the food warms the soul, the heart, and the belly.  Burgers, hot dogs, fries. It is simple at its core in a town more complex as the days go by.  The half-smoke dog is the staple and the dish for which they are known, and it does not disappoint.  Sober or intoxicated.  Day or night.  Summer or winter.  Democrat or republican.  No natter what is going on or down outside the windows of Ben's, there is always a constant and consistent feeling of welcome and calm within the doors of this culinary landmark. No stress, just chili and cheese covered meats and potatoes.


No comments:

Post a Comment