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Wednesday
Jul012009

snack away! #12 - obama drama.

snack away! #12 - obama drama.
guest blogger: jason rodriguez, washington, d.c.

snacks:
- eye of round & brisket pho (pho 75)
- half-smoke & chili fries (ben's chili bowl)
- burger & cajun fries (five guys)
- medium-rare burger, topped with applewood bacon, cognac mushrooms, roasted garlic, bleu cheese & heck sauce with cheesy tater tots on the side (ray's hell burger)
- pizza with white garlic sauce, spinach, ricotta, fontina & mozzarella (the italian store)
- birthday cake made with devil’s food, orange flavoring, raspberry icing & smothered in chocolate truffle (heidelberg)
- chorizo corn dog (eat bar)
- roast beef & brie wrap with a side of tabasco onion rings (lost dog cafe)

drinks:
- diet grape soda (ray's hell burger)
- malbec (eat bar)
- dead guy ale (lost dog cafe)

when my wife called last week to tell me that the presidential entourage was staging a block from our apartment my first response was, "please don’t tell me he’s eating at pho 75. i don’t want to imagine my life without some eye-of-round and brisket pho." my response would have been different five months ago. i would have dropped whatever i was doing and headed home as fast as possible for a mere glimpse of the man who’s nothing short of a hero to me. but that was when obama’s movements about the district were exciting and didn’t necessarily infer that one of my favorite eateries was about to be bogged down by a weird brand of people who chose their restaurants based solely on whether or not the president decided to stop there for a power lunch.

mr. president – i can forgive you for ben’s chili bowl. Honestly, i never really had any right to eat there in the first place. i’m not going to lie – i never ate there pre-U street "renaissance" (re: gentrification). in the interest of full disclosure, i didn’t even know about ben’s chili bowl until several years after my move to DC. like all DC-area transients from a decade ago, i was told to avoid U street and i did, without question. whenever i go to the chili bowl i feel like a treasure hunter that’s going into some pyramid, stealing a golden cat, and kicking a mummy for good measure. so it makes no sense to look at all of the new customers there and say that they’re ruining the chili bowl. i was part of the original movement to ruin the chili bowl when i went in there for a half-smoke and chili fries several years ago.

and, mr. president, i have no problem with you eating at five guys burgers and fries. there are plenty of them around and i tend to eat at the georgetown or courthouse location and not at the downtown one you and biden ate at. i haven’t seen a mad flux of people at my usual five guys and i can still get in and out, burger and cajun fries in hand, in 5 to 10 minutes.

but, mr. president, why did you need to eat at ray’s hell burger? how did you even know about ray’s hell burger? it’s tucked away in a strip mall that’s tucked away between the courthouse and rosslyn metro stations – it’s in no-man’s land, mr. president. the establishment doesn’t even have a sign in front of it. i talk to long-time DC (and arlington) residents and tell them about ray’s hell burger and they usually respond, "what’s that?" and the thing is – despite its relative obscurity – there were still considerable lines, occasionally out the door, during weekends and weeknights.

and then you ate there.

i tried to get a burger there several weeks ago. it was at around 7:30pm on a sunday and i was expecting a slight line. i was going to get it medium-rare, topped with applewood bacon, cognac mushrooms, roasted garlic, bleu cheese, and heck sauce. i was particularly hungry, so i was probably going to get some cheesy tater tots on the side. wash it all down with a diet grape soda. it would have been heaven, mr. president. the line, however, was out the door and down the block. i walked to the end of it only to hear some woman saying, "i’m sure they have veggie burgers." she was sure ray’s hell burger would have veggie burgers. ray’s - a place that’s basically a counter, a meat grinder and a grill. a guy wearing a butcher’s apron is pushing sides of beef into the grinder while you’re ordering. pre-obama, ray’s would have never attracted the kind of person who was sure they’d have veggie burgers. it might sound ridiculous, but the very fact that that woman was one of the thirty-or-so people in front of me in line made me kind of sick. i haven’t made my way back to ray’s since.

mr. president – let’s not lose site of one thing. you are awesome. there’s really no other way to put it. i think your decisions since entering office have been mostly rock solid and even if they all end up killing us somehow, at least i can say you’re working you ass off. and i can understand how being awesome means that you’d eat at places like ben’s and five guys and ray’s. but, please, in the future – if you have the hankering for some pizza with white garlic sauce, spinach, ricotta, fontina, and mozzarella – send an aide to the italian store instead of showing up with your crew. if you want to get sasha and malia a birthday cake made with devil’s food, orange flavoring, raspberry icing, and smothered in chocolate truffle call heidelberg and see if they’ll deliver to the white house. and if you think a date night consisting of a fantastic malbec paired with a chorizo corn dog would be the way to go, consider cooking it yourself before going to eat bar – michelle would appreciate the sentiment and it would save the taxpayer some money while you’re at it.

that’s all i’m saying. it’s great to have a president that appreciates the district and likes to explore some of our quirkier little eateries. but i swear to god, if three months from now i walk over to lost dog cafe to get myself a roast beef and brie wrap with a side of tabasco onion rings and a pint of dead guy ale and there’s a two-hour wait to be seated, i will vote for crist in 2012. at least he’ll be too busy hitting the tanning salons to eat out all the time.

jason rodriguez lives in arlington, va with his coincidentally newlywed wife robin, two dogs, four cats, and a quaker parrot that he hates with a passion. his 2007 graphic novel postcards: true stories that never happened is all acclaimed & whatnot.

« nosh nook #79 - thursday, july 2, 2009 | Main | nosh nook #78 - wednesday, july 1, 2009 »

Reader Comments (2)

At least he hasn't staged a lunch yet at the Starbucks or the Starbucks or the Starbucks or the Starbucks.

July 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMartin

martin, you forgot to mention the starbucks.

July 1, 2009 | Registered Commenterparowpyro

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