Friday, October 9, 2009

R.I.P. The Man Who Fed Cosby... Obama... and Dwacon®




Ben Ali, founder of the renowned eatery Ben’s Chili Bowl has exited the planet.

This restaurant, a Washington DC landmark since the 1950’s, is famous not only for its classic fare but for its famous clientèle, which includes:
  • President Barack Obama
  • Dr. Cornell West
  • Hillary Clinton
  • Bill Cosby
  • Denzel Washington
  • Chris Rock
  • Dwayne Conyers
Okay, so maybe I am not in the same league as the aforementioned, but everyone that hears the name of this joint experience simultaneous widening of the eyes and watering of the mouth.

Of course, I made sure to pop some chitosan, glucomannan, psyllium, oat bran, apple pectin, Vitamin C, and a Lipitor® tablet when I saw the chef take the french fry basket and shake the grease from the fries onto the half-smokes.


It made me think of another favorite eatery, Dyers in Memphis. They are famous for deep-fried cheeseburgers... using the same grease (recycled, natch) that the founder used when the original restaurant opened roughly a century ago. Yum!


I enjoyed the chili half-smoke with onions and mustard... and the chili cheese fries. Sadly, the milkshake machine was busted. It saved me from deciding whether I wanted a vanilla, strawberry, chocolate, banana, or pineapple flavored shake.

And now, I will begin my diet of bran flakes and Omega 6’s...


My hometown paper, The Philadelphia Inquirer, did a tribute to Mr. Ali... calling the half-smoke the District’s answer to the Philly Cheesesteak.

It is more than an answer... especially the way it is done at Ben’s. He will be missed... but his legacy will continue!

Rest in Peace, kind sir.

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