burger, tap & shake

During my DC trip, I stayed in the Foggy Bottom area. Just a couple blocks away was Burger, Tap & Shake, a burger joint with a good tap list, milkshakes, and even a handful of breakfast burgers.

My family and I were so close that we decided to have brunch at Burger, Tap & Shake. By the time we arrived, I got myself hyped for their Five Buck Chuck breakfast burger consisting of a pork sausage patty, egg, and American cheese. Unfortunately, they were out of pork sausage so I had to go with Plan B, The Big Daddy. The Big Daddy consisted of an 8 oz., 3-day aged blend of Pineland Farms brisket & chuck topped with Benton’s bacon, buttermilk blue cheese, Lea & Perrins mushrooms, and AP sauce (a house sauce made up of mayo, ketchup, mustard, BBQ, and chipotle) on a housemade bun (all of the burgers are served on em).

I ordered the burger medium-rare and it was more medium-well. The ingredients all sounded awesome, but on the burger it just didn’t seem to be there. I was expecting a flavor bomb and got much less. Aside from the medium-well burger, it did have a nice slightly charred, grilled taste. Benton’s bacon is awesome. Bacon in general is awesome, as is pork belly. The problem I had with the bacon on the burger is that it was small, 1/4″ thick pieces of bacon. There is nothing wrong with this except when it is on a burger. The thickness of the bacon made it tough to bite through the burger. I ended up pulling pieces of the bacon completely out with each bite. It also could have benefited from more AP sauce. (I noticed there was more AP sauce available on my way out at the napkin/condiment station.)

The others ordered different breakfast burgers. I was able to try a little bit of each. There was the Skinny High Thigh (turkey sausage, egg whites, American cheese), El Camino (chorizo sausage, black beans, egg, pepper jack cheese, a spicy XXX sauce), and Mont Tremblant (Canadian bacon, egg, maple Fromage Blanc). I thought the breakfast burgers were better than the Big Daddy. The housemade buns tasted great, just a little too soft for my liking.

I really wanted to like this place. They have a great beer list, a custom aged blend of beef with several burger options, tasty house-cut fries, and delicious milkshakes.

Burger, Tap & Shake
2200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20037

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ben’s chili bowl

A few weeks ago, I took a short overnight trip with my family to Washington, DC. As always, I was putting together a food itinerary. This was family permitting, of course, as there’s no way everyone would have agreed to all the places I wanted to eat at. One of the places that ended up on the itinerary was Ben’s Chili Bowl. My worry was that it would be a tourist trap that would fall short of it’s hype, like Pat’s & Geno’s for cheesesteaks here in Philly. I could name a lot of other places in Philly that serve a better steak, but that’s a discussion for another time.

The menu wasn’t very large, as it had several hot dogs and burgers topped with their famous chili; they even had vegetarian options. I went for the Chili Half-Smoke, which was said to be Bill Cosby’s favorite menu option. The chili half-smoke, which is served on a steamed bun, consisted of a grilled pork & beef dog topped with mustard, onions, and spicy chili. My father and brother both got the chili burger which consisted of a 1/4 lb. beef patty and topped with lettuce, tomato, cheese, mayo, and chili.

I was able to try a bit of everything. The chili half-smoke was really good. I’ve never been a fan of mixed meat dogs so I was a little skeptical when I first ordered. This was easily the best mixed meat dog I’ve had. It was grilled to the point that it had a pleasant, slightly charred outside and just tasted so damn good.

Tourist trap? Sure, I can see that. The chili half-smoke cost me $5.70, but it was delicious though so I can justify making the trip out to Ben’s during a visit to DC. It did not fall short of it’s hype.

Ben’s Chili Bowl
1213 U St. NW
Washington, DC 20009

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