Why DC isn’t a food town….

I was talking with a friend the other day, and he asked me for a recommendation of a good DC place to eat. Not the everyday lets-go-to-a-nice-restaurant kind of place…. no, he was asking about a good traditional DC food kind of place. And you know what I realized? DC just isn’t a good food town. I mean, we have our restaurants and stuff, but it’s not like many other large cities that have their thing. And before you get your panties all up in a roll – blue crabs don’t count. That’s not a DC thing, that’s a Maryland thing… and besides… it’s an animal, not a genre of food. Just take a look at other areas (here’s just a smattering off the top of my head):

Philly – Cheesesteaks

New York – pretty much everything, but particularly Cheesecake & Bagels

Cincinnati – Chili

Chicago – Pizza/Sausages

New Orleans – Cajun style

Milwaukee – Frozen Custard

Boston – Clam Chowder (Chowdah?) & Baked Beans

Buffalo – Wings

And on and on….

But DC? Nope, DC just doesn’t quite cut it. Now don’t get me wrong, we have some very nice restaurants around here… some of the best in the world…. but not a single culinary style or food product unique to us. Perhaps its because this town is so transient – people are in and out within a couple of years. I think because of that, we’ve never really been able to create a true culture for our city that would promote our own culinary treats. It’s sad, because the culture of this town is really that – we have no culture. We have politics, and we have those of us who cater to the government and politicians. What kind of food would that inspire??

Oh, wait- I figured it out! This town IS known for something food oriented…

Pork!

And that my friends, is something worth blogging about…… or not.

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8 responses to “Why DC isn’t a food town….

  1. Man, I think you are off base. Half smokes are definitely DC delights.

    And if politics ain’t a legit part of culture, I don’t know what is. You may not like it, but it is here and permeates everything.

    You know, ok, I’ll give you the whole half-smoke thing, but I also don’t think people all around the world think… hmmm I’ll have to travel to DC sometime to try their half-smokes. It may be ours, but its definitely not on the same par as most of the other cities….

    As for politics – I of course accept that it’s part of our culture, and I don’t mind it at all. I love this city, but I just think that the culture of politics works against us being a truly great food city.

  2. I’ve been saying this for years and every time I do, I get things thrown at me. So duck.

    Seriously! I think people feel “dissed” when you comment on this… we’re not the best? Of course we’re the best! Oh blah blah blah. Whatever. Our town sucks for food, and people who even know food disregard the actual facts. Go to NYC, or Chicago, or Paris, or Barcelona…. now THOSE are good food places. DC? We’re still in junior varsity.

  3. Being from NJ/NYC, I think we have Pizza covered way more than Chicago but that is a taste thing….we have thin slice, they have deep dish.

    When I think DC Area (mostly Maryland and Annapolis) its all about the crab. Crab cakes, crab feasts…etc.

    Does that count?

    I am bequething the MD area crabs.

    Ok, I can give NYC Pizza too. But then again, it’s known as NY Style Pizza right? You don’t hear… DC style crabcakes. It’s a regional thing…. DC isn’t even on the chesapeake, doesn’t even really have a true crab restaurant! I mean, you don’t hear Newark saying that Pizza is their deal, just because they live near NYC, do ya? 😉

  4. Well actually, I agree with you on the crabs. I was just trying to give sad, old DC something. 🙂

    BUT NJ pizza is as good as NYC…I think tristate area people just think of pizza in general as ours.

    …If anything, I like NJ better (shhh don’t tell my NYC peeps that). Hehe.

    Bah… don’t be so generous to DC… we already have too much super rich people for our own good 😉 Make em work for it! As for Jersey… hmmmm, well, I guess it does have quite a few italians… hmmmm maybe NYC just steals all the glory from Jersey…. ok SOLD! Pizza to Jersey!

  5. You’re right, I can’t remember anything standing out in DC but I agree, very good variety of restaurants…

    I was about to bring up the NJ Pizza issue until I saw Kassy’s comments.

    What’s LA? Sushi or diet pills?

    Hmmm I didn’t think they ate out there at all. I would say Botox. 😉

  6. New Orleans is Creole style. Cajun is more of an Acadiana parish kinda thing.

    I agree with you about DC’s food style. The only thing that really stands out to me is Ben’s Chili Bowl…and I’ve only been there twice.

    You are so totally right. Creole. Cajun. Whatever – they both have C’s in them, so I was close enough, right? 😉 haha And yeah, Ben’s is a DC institution, but I won’t lie – I’ve had a better chili dog in Allentown *runs and hides*

  7. Um…well…erra…see…it’s like this. I’m Creole…and…um…well…erra…see…it’s like this…it’s no where close. At all. I promise. Scout’s honor. Well…I wasn’t a scout so…um…well…erra…

    No? Even though they both start with C? Hmmm darn oh well. So, where’s a good place to get Creole around here? Oh, and, I made it to the first meeting of boyscouts, and that was that – but I can say I was a scout!

  8. Sorry…no place around here. Let me know if you and your GF are headed to New Orleans and I will give you the lay of the foodie land. 🙂

    Oooh lah lah! I’ll definitely take you up on that one!

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