Thursday, February 17, 2011

Washington Eats: Transport back to the 50s era & beyond

While in Washington, I made my way to 2 eateries that hold significance to the people here.

Now most people know that you have to deal with crappy and expensive food when in highly touristy places. Being able to find something decent usually comes up to nil.

If you find yourself in Washington, it will be the rare person who does not make The National Mall as one of their tourist destination. Seriously, the museums are awesome, I'll write up the post soon.

So finding myself watching a video at the Visitors Centre, there was a mention made on how Mitsitam Cafe is one of the best in Washington. Now that pricks my ears, good cafe in tourist place? Definitely a place to have a spot of lunch then.

Mitsitam Cafe

The cafe is located in the National Museum of the American Indian and serves indigenous cuisines of the Americas. Heck, they even have a book published! Positive sign perhaps?

The cafe is actually operated like what you would find in IKEA. Different stations of which this is split by North. Mid and Southern native cuisine. Select what you want and pay at the cashier at the end.

Mitsitam Cafe
Maple & Juniper Cedar Plank Salmon $12.75
Wild Rice Salad $3.30

Mitsitam Cafe
Guava & Tapioca Pudding $2.50

So I ended up selecting the salmon with wild rice salad and who can resist dessert, which is a pudding.

Unfortunately with most hot food that are cooked and prepared beforehand and left on display counters waiting to be served, they no longer taste nice. I would have to say the same thing for my salmon, it has gone all dry. There goes high expectation for a cafe.

Mitsitam Cafe

The wild rice salad on the other hand, it being a cold dish was fabulous. Sweet, crispy and refreshing, really lovely I can eat a whole plateful of this and more. My pudding was nothing special.

Overall, was feeling a little underwhelmed but considering the choices of food available here (McDonalds and hot dogs), this is a much better option although a more expensive one.

Bens Chili Bowl

The next place is Ben's Chilli Bowl. It opened in 1958 and have some famous people graced their premises. I saw two names on a list of people who get to eat for free, Bill Cosby and Barack Obama & family.

They are so famous that they even have a gift shop and their own iphone app. Seriously? If they have survive for so long, definitely a place to try.

Stepped into their doors and you are transported back to the 50s era. The decor, the atmosphere and even the music, you can imagine how it was like back then and was a nice change.

Bens Chili Bowl
Ben’s Famous All Meat Chilli Dog $3.99

I got the chilli dog and cheese fries to go with it. Soft buns with a sausage and topped with chilli sauce, the chilli sauce has a nice kick to it. Is it good, yes? Is it awesome, no.

Bens Chili Bowl
Cheese Fries $4.30

If you like your fries coated with cheese then this is the one for you. Melted cheese coating every fry, there is no hiding from the cheese. After a few fries, it can get a bit overwhelming. The fries are good; I just couldn't finish all of it.

I say Ben's is not just about the food as you can probably find similar or better ones out there. But you can't beat the 50s vibe, the friendly smiling service, and wallet friendly prices.

Sometimes, you just want something simple instead of all the rich and heavy eating with having to eat out the whole day everyday while on holiday.

And you can come back and tell your friends that you ate at the same place as Barack Obama and Bill Crosby. Oh, and apparently President Sarkozy of France too!

Mitsitam Cafe, 4th St SW At Independence Ave SW, Capitol Hill, Washington, DC 20024

Mitsitam Cafe on Urbanspoon

Ben's Chilli Bowl, 1213 U St NW, U Street/Shaw, Washington, DC 20009

Ben's Chili Bowl on Urbanspoon

Related Post:
Washington Eats 2: The Truly Express at Chinatown Express & a Thai Place


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