Archive for the ‘Restaurants’ Category

The Other Ben Ali Mural

Baltimore has crab cakes.  Chicago has Deep Dish Pizza.  And whether you prefer Pat’s or Geno’s, Philadelphia has the Philly Cheesesteak.  Here in D.C. we have the half-smoke – a half beef, half pork coarsely-ground sausage that is smoked before it’s grilled.  But in D.C., when it comes to this city’s signature food, there is no rivalry or controversy.  The best place to get a half-smoke is the original Ben’s Chili Bowl.

All week I have had a craving for a half-smoke, split and grilled, and served on a warm steamed bun with onions and Ben’s spicy homemade chili sauce, and a side of onion rings and a Cherry Coke.  So to end the week, on today’s bike ride I rode to Ben’s Chili Bowl for lunch.

As I was leaving after my delicious and satisfying lunch, I stopped and spent some time taking in the mural in the alley on the east side of the restaurant’s building.  Over the years the various murals that have graced the west side of the building, in the alley officially recognized by the city as “Ben Ali Way,” have gotten considerable attention from the press.  But the other, less-famous mural, is equally intriguing to me.  It is dedicated to the owners and founders of Ben’s Chili Bowl – Ben and Virginia Ali.  So I decided to find out more about the couple who founded the restaurant where I have eaten so many times.

Mahaboob Ali, commonly known Ben here in D.C., was born on June 13, 1927, in British Trinidad and Tobago.  He was the firstborn of seven children in a Muslim family, and was raised in the town of San Juan, which is located east of the capital city of Port of Spain.  Ben moved to the United States in 1945 as a student, where he enrolled at the University of Nebraska.  At that time he was planning on becoming a medical doctor.  But as the result of a fall down an elevator shaft while at the school he suffered a broken back.  He spent months recovering from the accident. Following his recovery, Ben attended four separate schools before earning his bachelor’s degree from Howard University here in D.C.

Virginia Ali grew up on a farm in rural Virginia and moved to D.C. looking for a job and new opportunities in the big city.  She went to work for one of D.C.’s heralded institutions — as a teller at Industrial Bank, the first African-American-owned bank in D.C.  It was at the bank that she met Ben, the man with whom she fell in love, married, and became lifelong business partners with.

In 1958, newlyweds Ben and Virginia began renovating the building at 1213 U Street.  Built in 1910, the building first housed a silent movie house called the Minnehaha Theater.  Later, Harry Beckley, one of D.C.’s first black police detectives, converted it into a pool hall.   The Ali’s simply wanted to own a business that would give them the means to raise their children.  Ben had worked at a restaurant in college, and they decided to open up their own.  They had no idea it would become such a huge success.  Today, Ben’s has spawned locations all over the local area.  It employs approximately 170 people and has about $8 million in revenue.

Ben passed away in October of 2009 at the age of  82.  Virginia, who was only 24 years old when she and her husband started the restaurant, is now 85, and can still be found working at the U Street location most days – greeting customers and keeping tabs on the business that is now run be her family.  Her three sons Kamal, Nizam and Haidar as well as her two daughters-in-law now run the day-to-day operations.

In August Ben’s will celebrate it’s 61st anniversary.  Over those years people have changed.  I certainly have.  The restaurant, however, has not.  The counter, booths and stools are all original.  And the half-smokes are just as delicious as they’ve always been.  Since the first time I ate there decades ago, I’ve known how good the food is.  And now, I know a little more about the people too.

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Trivia Fact: Due to Islamic prohibitions against consuming pork, Ben Ali never consumed some of his own restaurant’s popular offerings.

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Mason Dixie Biscuit Co.

I once heard a story about a preacher who was invited to attend a men’s breakfast at a small Southern church in farm country.  As they all set down, the visiting preacher asked one of the older farmers in attendance if he would say grace before they ate.

The old farmer stood, and as everyone bowed their heads, he began by saying, “Lord, I hate buttermilk.” The preacher opened one eye and wondered to himself where this was going. Then the farmer loudly proclaimed, “Lord, I hate lard!” Now the preacher was overly worried.

However without missing a beat, the farmer prayed on, “And Lord, you know I don’t care much for raw white flour either.”  Then, just as the preacher was about to stand and stop everything, the farmer continued, “But Lord, when you mix ‘em all together and bake ‘em up, I do love fresh biscuits.”

The old farmer concluded by saying, “So Lord, when things come up we don’t like, when life gets hard, when we just don’t understand what You are sayin’ to us, we just need to relax and wait till You are done mixin’, and probably it will be something even better than biscuits.”  And they all said, “Amen.”

It’s the kind of made-from-scratch, fresh-baked biscuits I imagine being served at that small southern church that I enjoyed for breakfast this morning.  Instead of what is usually a lunchtime bike ride, today I went for a ride at the beginning of my workday so that I could have breakfast at the Mason Dixie Biscuit Co., located at 1819 7th Street (MAP) in northwest D.C.’s Shaw/Uptown neighborhood.

Ayeshah Abuelhiga founded Mason Dixie Biscuits in the summer of 2014.  But what started then as neighborhood pop-ups quickly became a small but permanent stall at D.C.’s Union Market.  Then, when loyal customers got tired of her small stall selling out of fresh biscuits by noon every day, she was inspired to expand and start selling frozen biscuits as well.  It was at about this time that a marketing executive from Whole Foods Market bought some of her frozen biscuits at the stall at Union Market.  And the rest, as they say, is history.

Ayeshah’s frozen biscuits gained nationwide fame when Mason Dixie Biscuits were launched at Whole Foods and other retailers regionally, and then across the country.  The brand has since climbed the rankings to being one of the top frozen biscuit brands in the country.  And their biscuits are now available in buttermilk, cheddar, sweet potato, and sweet corn.   And there is a test kitchen in their restaurant for experimental biscuit flavors, so there my be more delicious flavors in the future.

Mason Dixie Biscuits also opened its first of what hopefully will eventually be many restaurants, which is where I ate this morning.  The restaurant serves up hearty biscuit sandwiches, juicy fried chicken, delectable Southern sides, and creamy frozen hand-spun milkshakes.  And all of their offerings are made-to-order, using fresh, preservative-free, hormone-free, and high quality local ingredients.  Their breakfast sandwiches and platters are available all day, everyday.  They similarly serve lunch items like chicken sandwiches and fried chicken platters, vegetarian sandwiches, and a variety of traditional sides.  They also serve extras that include “sweet-tooth” sandwiches and “handspun” milkshakes.

This morning I had a hard time deciding on what to order.  I took a look at some of the orders other customers were having in an attempt to decide.  But it was still difficult to choose between the different breakfast sandwiches and the available platters.  I eventually opted for the xxxxx.  But the only way I was able to convince myself to make a decision was to resolve myself then and there to go back again soon and try some of their other breakfast offerings.

I also envision myself going back again and having lunch there too.  Or to put it more accurately, going back multiple times to try different lunch menu items.  On some afternoon once the weather gets warm, and can also imagine myself finding my way there to have a mid-afternoon snack of a chocolate-hazelnut-banana biscuit sandwich and a chocolate swirl milkshake.  Or maybe a strawberry shortcake biscuit sandwich and a vanilla shake.  The cherry and cookies and cream milkshakes look awfully good as well.

I guess I’ll just have to keep going back over and over again.  In the meantime, I think I’ll stop at a grocery store and stock up on their frozen biscuits to have at home.

 

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UPDATE:  After thinking about them all day, I decided to get some biscuits at a local supermarket.  So I checked using the company’s web site to see what store closest to me carries them.  And since my daughter was going out anyway, I asked her to stop at that store and pick some up.  But when she asked, the manager of the store said that they didn’t carry them.  After she went out to her car to leave she remembered while she was still in the parking lot that she had forgotten something else.  So she went back into the store.  And when the manager saw her return he went up to her and apologized.  He said they do carry Mason Dixie biscuits after all, but he didn’t realize his mistake until after she left.  So to apologize to her, he gave her two packages of biscuits for free.  So now I have both Mason Dixie buttermilk and cheddar biscuits in my freezer, and I can have them anytime.

An Historic Elevator

On today’s lunchtime bike ride I stopped to pick up a submarine sandwich at a place called Potbelly Sandwich Works, which is a restaurant chain that began in 1977 in Illinois, but opened locations throughout the D.C. area only a few years ago.  The location I went to today is located in the Litwin Building at 637 Indiana Avenue (MAP) in northwest D.C.’s Penn Quarter neighborhood.  However, the chain is now worldwide. In addition to the United States, they also operate restaurant locations in the United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, Canada and India.

As I waited for my sandwich to be made I took notice of a very old elevator.  It is not currently in use, but can be seen located behind a sheet of hazy plexiglass.  Later I checked into the old elevator, and I found out that at one time, locals claimed that it was installed by the Otis Elevator Company in 1853.  If true, that would have meant that the elevator not only pre-dated the Civil War, but would have made it one of the oldest elevators in the world.

The Litwin Building was so named after the family of Fred Litwin, who ran a furniture and antiques shop in the building for 52 years before retiring in 2003 due to health reasons.  In fact, I remember visiting his store a number of time earlier in my career and talking with him.  And because Mr. Litwin was enamored with the old elevator, and ran one of the most social business in the city where he would often talk with customers at length about a variety of topics, including about the elevator, information about it made its way into local newspapers.

The 19th-century elevator that was hand-operated with two heavy ropes. Its safety device, a carriage spring that latched into bars in the elevator shaft if either of the ropes gave way, made it unique. Elisha Graves Otis invented the device in the early 1850’s and patented it.   This is why locals thought the elevator was made by Otis.  But after extensive research by the an archivist for the Otis Elevator Company, it was determined that the elevator is actually a Bates elevator, most likely dating to the 1870’s or 1880’s.  So even though it’s not one of the oldest elevators in the world, it just might be the oldest operating elevator in this country.

Mr. Litwin tried to sell the elevator at the time he retired.  In an article in The Washington Post he is quoted as saying, “It’s awful when you have a love affair with a machine and find that nobody wants it … We’ve called a lot of people involved with elevators to try to make a home for this.”  But despite being unable to, the elevator has survived.  The building was awarded National Historic status, so when The Potbelly Corporation bought the property, the restaurant was told they could not remove the historic elevator.

As I often say, there’s always something to see in D.C.  And from just looking around while I was standing in line waiting for their signature sandwich named “The Wreck” (salami, Angus roast beef, oven roasted turkey, hickory smoked ham with melted Swiss cheese topped with fresh lettuce, tomato and mayo on a multigrain roll), I was able to see, and later learn about, a small but unique part of this city’s history.

The Georgetown University Grilling Society

On today’s lunchtime bike ride I rode across town to Georgetown University. I had seen a show recently on PBS entitled Neighborhood Eats, about a campus club that cooks out every Friday.  So I rode over there, and then rode around campus until I smelled the aroma of meat grilling. Then I just followed the smell and blended in with the eclectic crowd.

The GUGS (the first “G” is soft, as in genius) started out in December of 2002 with just four guys “with one mysteriously-acquired grill.  It has now become one of the university’s most popular social collectives.  The society’s creed  sums up the group.  It reads, “Beneath the trees which line the grounds of Georgetown, the Georgetown University Grilling Society strives to maintain the fundamental values of mankind through bonds and friendships forged in the very fires upon which we cook.”

The members of GUGS grill burgers and hot dogs between about 11:00am and 2:00pm every Friday in the campus’ Red Square.  And the burgers are quite unusual. Round like a giant meatball and grilled to perfection, the half-pound burgers are as delicious as they are unusual.  It might just be the best burger in town. And at just three bucks, it is almost definitely the best deal in town too.

It was a great bike ride today, and an even better lunch. What a way to end the workweek!  And I think I may have just begun a new weekly tradition as well.

         

         

         
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Zombie Donuts

For a while when I initially started this blog, I would visit a restaurant on my last ride of each month and write a post about it.  I haven’t done that as frequently during the past year.  But I didn’t want 2016 to end without at least one more ride during which I treat myself to something better than the cafeteria fare I often eat at my desk after I get back from a bike ride.  So on this bike ride I sought out Zombie Coffee and Donuts, one of the few local doughnut shops that I hadn’t been to previously.   Zombie has two locations, and I chose the one located at 3100 14th Street (MAP) in northwest D.C.’s Columbia Heights neighborhood.  I chose this location because the other is a little too far away for me to ride to on my break from work.  Their only other location is in Athens, Georgia.

Now, I’m not much of a coffee drinker.  I never have been.  I remember first trying it as a child and not liking it.  My parents said I would learn to like it, but I decided it wasn’t worth learning to like.  So on this bike ride I sought out Zombie not for the coffee but for their doughnuts.  And you might be able to tell from some of my previous blog posts, I like a good doughnut.

Zombie serves only fresh made-to-order cake doughnuts which can be topped with your of choice glazes and toppings.  The way that it normally works is that after entering the shop you’re handed an order form that asks you to specify which kind of glaze you’d like with which topping.   Some of their most popular combinations are listed at the top of the order form, and include Chocolate Icing and M&Ms, Vanilla Icing and crushed Oreos, Maple Icing and Bacon or Pecans, either Chocolate or Vanilla Icing and Caramel Drizzle, Lemon Glaze and Coconut, or Half Chocolate Icing and Half Vanilla Icing. Or you can check off your own individual choices such strawberry glaze with rainbow sprinkles, as I’m sure Homer Simpson would order if he were at Zombie.  Altogether there are 84 possible combinations of glazes and toppings.

I happened to walk in at one of the infrequent times when there was not a line, so I was able to just tell them what kind of doughnuts I wanted, and they made them as I stood there.  I chose one with just plain strawberry icing, and a chocolate iced doughnut with shredded coconut.  Now I’m not going to “sugarcoat” things here.  They were not the best doughnuts I’ve ever had.  But they were so fresh they were still warm, and they were darned good.  They’re so good, in fact, I can forgive them for spelling the word doughnut incorrectly.

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Mama Ayesha and the Presidents

During this lunchtime bike ride as I was riding across the Duke Ellington Memorial Bridge in northwest D.C.’s Adam’s Morgan neighborhood, I saw a mural on the side of a building on the eastern end of the bridge.  So I rode over to get a better look at the mural.  I discovered it was on the side of Mama Ayesha’s Restaurant, located at 1967 Calvert Street (MAP), and depicts the restaurant’s namesake standing in front of The White House.  She is flanked on either side by eleven different presidents standing in chronological order, starting with Dwight D. Eisenhower and ending with Barack Obama. The content of the public artwork is so unusual that I just had to find out more about it.

The mural was funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities, and private donors.  It was created in 2009 by Karla Rodas, also known as Karlísima, who is a native of El Salvador but moved with her family as a child to nearby Alexandria.  After graduating from Annandale High School and Washington University, she returned to D.C. and has since become one of the capital city’s most well-known and respected muralists.

The initial concept for the mural was planned by Mama Ayesha’s family members, who have run the restaurant since its opening in 1960. However, the original plan did not have Mama Ayesha as the centerpiece of the work. Instead, the family wanted Helen Thomas, a renowned White House reporter and regular customer at the restaurant, to be at the center of the mural. She was envisioned to be seated at a desk with pen and paper in her hand. However, Thomas politely declined the family’s request, opining that Mama Ayesha should be portrayed instead.

The final design depicts Mama Ayesha in traditional Palestinian garb standing in front of the White House. With six presidents on her right and five on her left, she stands in the middle between Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan, with their arms interlocked. Interspersed throughout the mural are other symbols and additional scenes and landmarks from the national capital city. They include a bald eagle, the city’s famous cherry blossoms, as well as the Lincoln Memorial and its Reflecting Pool, the Jefferson Memorial, the Washington Monument and the United States Capitol Building.  And representations of the U.S. flag appear on the sides of the painting.

With President Obama’s successor to be determined in tomorrow’s election, I hope the mural will be updated.  There is sufficient space in front of the Reflecting Pool for either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump.  I very much look forward to the election being over.  And I also look forward to being able to come back to see the updated mural at some point in the near future.

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The Doughnut Vote

There are a lot of great doughnut shops in the city.  And one of my favorite shops is Astro Doughnuts and Fried Chicken, which I wrote about in this blog a couple of years ago.  I am writing about it again because they are temporarily offering a couple of new politically-themed flavors – “The Donald” and “The Hillary.”

The new doughnuts reflect the tastes of the candidates for which they are named.  The Donald is yeast doughnut filled with a delicious cherry compote and lightly coated with a vanilla-Cherry Coke glaze. The flavors were selected based on Mr. Trump’s reported love of both Diet Coke and cherry vanilla ice cream. The Hillary is a chocolate cake doughnut with a spicy-hot chocolate-Chipotle glaze. It was created based on Mrs. Clinton’s reported love for chocolate, and the fact that it has been reported that she eats a hot pepper every day. Both doughnuts are piped with vanilla icing lettering on top – an “R” for the Republican candidate, and a “D” for the Democratic candidate.

However, if you are disenchanted with the two-party system or just can’t bring yourself to vote for either of the candidates representing the major political parties this time around, there are a variety of independent candidates for who you can cast a vote.  They include Crème Brûlée, Vanilla Bean, Bourbon Pecan Pie, Sweet Potato, Peanut Butter and Jelly, Maple Bacon, and Cranberry Orange.

The Donald and The Hillary doughnuts are only available until the election next Tuesday.  On today’s bike ride I stopped by and cast a vote.  And with less than a week to go until the election, I recommend you hurry down to Astro and do the same.  Or you can cast more than one vote if you like.  Because when it comes to these doughnuts, my recommendation is to vote early and vote often.

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District Doughnut

During the spring and summer, I occasionally set out on my daily bike ride earlier in the day so I can beat the heat.  But as fall and winter weather begins to set in, I have begun to again find myself waiting until later in the day when it has warmed up a little.  On today’s ride, however, I took advantage of this week’s unseasonable warm weather and went out for what may end up being one of my last early rides of the year.  Today Julius and I got an early start, and along the way stopped for breakfast at District Doughnut, located on Barracks Row, at 749 8th Street (MAP), in the Capitol Hill neighborhood. 

The origins of District Doughnut began with a couple of locals named Juan Pablo Segura and Greg Menna who became friends in middle school, in part based on a shared love for doughnuts.  After graduating from high school, the two temporarily parted ways when Greg left to study philosophy at the College of William & Mary, and Juan Pablo went to the University of Notre Dame to major in accounting.  Then after graduating from college their careers brought them back to D.C. 

After their return, Juan Pablo met a chef named Christine Schaefer, a graduate of the Pennsylvania Culinary Institute’s Le Cordon Bleu Program, where she received a degree in Patisserie and Baking.  And after trying her brown butter doughnut, Juan Pablo knew he’d found something special.  So as Christine expanded and perfected her collection of doughnut recipes, Juan Pablo recruited his old friend Greg to manage the operations of the young company.  And with the three of them working together, District Doughnut came to be.

In addition to the original Brown Butter signature doughnut, the menu includes an ever-changing and diverse variety of flavors.  From staples like the Vanilla Bean Glazed and Salted Dulce de Leche yeast doughnuts, to cake doughnuts like Cookies and Cream and Apple Cider, I don’t think there’s a bad one on the menu.  And I’ve tried quite a few of them.  Of course, so may good options makes the decision of what to order that much more difficult.  So you may want  to take a look at their online menu and decide before you get there so you don’t hold up the line.  Or just go, and choose whatever strikes your fancy.  A couple of my favorites are the Key Lime Pie doughnut, and the Snickerdoodle cake doughnut.  And for those of you who enjoy pumpkin, as do I, their seasonal Pumpkin Crème Brûlée and Pumpkin Spice are as good as any I’ve ever tasted. 

But for the best selection, or to ensure they will still have what you’ve already set your heart on, you can use their online ordering portal.  Otherwise, you will want to get there early because their doughnuts are so popular that on many days they sell out of one or more menu items. 

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Epilogue:  Today was actually a “do-over” for yesterday.  I rode to District Doughnut yesterday to check out their newest seasonal doughnuts.  But I it wasn’t until after I got there and had begun to place my order that I realized I had forgotten my wallet back at my office and had no money with me.   The friendly young lady waiting on me, apparently perceiving the crushing disappointment in my eyes when I told her I had forgotten my wallet, treated me to a couple of delicious doughnut holes. While that was sufficient to tide me over yesterday, I had been thinking about the Pumpkin Crème Brûlée doughnut ever since.  And today I wasn’t disappointed.  As if the flavorful pumpkin spice dough and creamy pumpkin pie filling were not already enough, I was able to watch the young lady taking my order get out a blow torch and create a freshly- caramelized sugar coating that provided just the right touch of sweetness and crunch.  I can’t say that it was better than the Key Lime Pie, which up until now has been my favorite.  But I can’t say it was worse either.  I guess there is now a tie for my favorite at District Doughnut.

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Uprising Muffin Company

During these recent dog days of summer, when the temperatures have been reaching the mid to upper 90’s by early afternoon, I have been opting to go for my daily bike ride early in the morning rather than waiting for lunchtime. This deviation in my routine has allowed me to try out some breakfast spots that I had not been to before.  And one of these places has become one of my new favorite places – the Uprising Muffin Company – which is located at 1817 7th Street (MAP), just outside of the entrance to the Shaw/Howard U Metro station in northwest D.C.’s Shaw/Uptown neighborhood.

Uprising offers muffins on a rotating basis in almost three dozen different flavors. Every day they have some of the more commonly-found flavor selections, such as traditional Banana Walnut, Blueberry Streusel, and Chocolate Chip.  By the way, you don’t have to wait until autumn to enjoy their delicious Pumpkin muffins, because they also offer daily and on a year round basis.  Uprising also serves up some additional and unusual choices on a rotating basis throughout the week.  These include Maple Pancake, Snickerdoodle, Strawberries and Cream, and Piña Colada.  On top of that, they occasionally also offer seasonal selections, such as the delicious Peach Cobbler muffin that I sampled this morning.  There are just too many varieties for me to list. So I guess you’ll just have to check them out for yourself, either in person or on their website.

They also offer a couple of savory options, which are Uprising’s take on breakfast sandwiches. The Bacon, Egg and Cheese muffin and the Southwest Veggie muffin are available every day. But they are often available only in the morning because they sell out so quickly. Uprising also features made-to-order signature sandwiches and fresh salads, along with coffee and espresso drinks featuring coffee from the Stumptown Coffee Company, which is roasted in small batches for freshness.

Uprising was opened by Donnie Simpson, Jr., a former local radio industry employee and the son of the popular longtime WPGC radio host Donnie Simpson. And from the beginning it seemed to be an overnight success.  But Uprising was actually four years in the making by the first-time restaurateur.  And taking the time to make sure they would get it right is evident in the quality of their muffins and other offerings. Every muffin they make starts from scratch and always contain 10 ingredients or less, which are obtained locally whenever possible. And what does go into their muffins is almost as important as what doesn’t. What doesn’t go into Uprising muffins are preservatives, artificial colors, or anything the average customer can’t pronounce.

One of the best things about Uprising muffins aside from their deliciousness is their consistent freshness.  And you can be assured that they are always fresh because at the end of each day they take any unsold muffins and donated them to the less fortunate in the local community.  Then the next morning they make more muffins, which are always simple, fresh, delicious, and ready to join or maybe even replace cupcakes and doughnuts as a local pastry favorite.

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Stoney’s Bar and Grill

This year the arrival of spring did not bring along with it the arrival of spring-like weather. In fact, on the first day of spring I was treated to sleet and snow flurries, and the weather has remained unseasonably cold for the past few days. So I decided thumb my nose at the weather’s refusal to adhere to a schedule, and have my favorite cold weather comfort food for lunch before the warmer weather is eventually ushered in.

When I think of comfort food, I think of a grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup. What has become my lifelong fondness for the comfort combo began as a child with Velveeta cheese on two slices of Wonder Bread and a can of Campbell’s Tomato Soup. As a grown-up my tastes have progressed, but a good grilled cheese sandwich with tomato soup can still make me feel as warm and secure as a little boy enjoying lunch in my Mom’s kitchen after playing in the snow.

Nowadays when I want to go out for a good grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup, I think of Stoney’s Bar and Grill, a tin-ceilinged dive bar located at 1433 P Street (MAP), in northwest D.C.’s Logan Circle neighborhood. Famous for their version, Stoney’s is consistently voted one of the city’s best places for grilled cheese in The Washington Post’s annual reader’s poll, and on consumer –driven apps such as Yelp and Foursquare. I attribute its popularity to owner Tony Harris preference for bulk American cheese over thinner, pre-sliced varieties.

So I braved today’s unseasonably cold weather and made Stoney’s the destination of my lunchtime bike ride. I walked into the dark, no frills joint, and was happy to be able to get a seat in the front window, which is usually one of my favorite spots to sit in a restaurant. Sitting in a restaurant’s front window often allows me to enjoy the show passing by on the sidewalk out front as I enjoy my meal. I was greeted right away by both the bartender and one of the waitresses, which instantly made me feel at home. I then ordered what I came for, a grilled cheese sandwich. Well, I actually splurged and ordered the Super Grilled Cheese. The Super is a delicious combination of their regular sandwich, consisting of thick-cut American cheese on farmhouse white bread, but with fresh tomato, red onion and bacon added. Combined with thick-cut fries and a cup of their Roasted Tomato Basil Soup, it was good enough to hope the winter weather lasts a little longer.

Unfortunately, the photo of my lunch came out dark and fails to show how appetizing the sandwich actually was.  I guess to correct that I’ll just have to go back to Stoney’s and order it again soon.  For the sake of this blog that is something I am willing to do.

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