Dinner at Ben’s Chili Bowl | Washington DC

On our only night in Washington D.C., it didn’t take us long to decide where to go for dinner.

When we did our pre-trip research, there was a place that kept popping up as the must-visit restaurant. So after a day of exploring in the rain, we made a beeline for a true local gem, Ben’s Chili Bowl.Cake + Whisky | Dinner at Ben's Chili Bowl Washington DCHome of the best chili dog in the country and well worth trying.Cake + Whisky | Dinner at Ben's Chili Bowl Washington DCIt’s a classic American diner sort of affair – very low-key and nothing fancy about it at all, but if the locals love it so much, there must be a reason for it, and we were very much in the mood to see it for ourselves. Cake + Whisky | Dinner at Ben's Chili Bowl Washington DCWe perched on one of the bar stools and sipped on sweet tea (served in cups bigger than my head of course!) while perusing the all-American menu.
Cake + Whisky | Dinner at Ben's Chili Bowl Washington DCCake + Whisky | Dinner at Ben's Chili Bowl Washington DCMinutes later, the most delicious chili dogs were placed in front of us.Cake + Whisky | Dinner at Ben's Chili Bowl Washington DCAnd those babies are well worth their reputation: sausage grilled to perfection, moist and with just enough kick from the chili topping… Perfection in a bun! Cake + Whisky | Dinner at Ben's Chili Bowl Washington DCEven better (if that’s even possible) were the chili fries: Crispy fries, cheese sauce and the most balanced chili sauce EVER… so good I almost ordered a second serving!Cake + Whisky | Dinner at Ben's Chili Bowl Washington DCFor those of you who are not as dedicated to the cheese fries cause as I am, I’d definitely recommend the chili bowl. Basically the best chili I’ve ever eaten (I’m going to try and make this at home soon!) with loads of fresh toppings on top… Summer comfort food at its very best if you ask me.

Meanwhile on the outside, another summer storm had started and with every drop of rain, more people found shelter into the small diner, which was filling up by the minute with table after table of regulars chatting happily with the lovely waiters and creating the most enjoyable of atmospheres.

I could have happily stayed there forever, but by the time we were finished eating, the storm had calmed down so we sayed our goodbyes and raced to our home for the night to pack and try to catch some sleep before getting up before the sun to fly back to New York in the morning.

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Dinner at Ben’s Chili Bowl | Washington DC

Washington DC | Shake Shack epic burgers and the Smithonian museums

On our way back to New York, we made a small pit stop in Washington DC.

The plan was to walk up and down the National Mall, see all the important buildings and maybe pop into a museum or two on the way.

But the weather had decided otherwise and when we arrived downtown, it was raining cats and dogs.

So we did the only sensible thing there is to do in such situations and treated ourselves to one of those fast food feasts America is famous for. Cake + Whisky | Washington DC | Shake ShackCake + Whisky | Washington DC | Shake ShackLuckily enough, we stumbbled on Shake Shack, which we had been told was a must-visit when in the US. Cake + Whisky | Washington DC | Shake ShackWe ducked inside and got our hands on some of the most epic-looking burgers I had seen in quite a while.Cake + Whisky | Washington DC | Shake ShackAfter reading about it for MONTH, I finally got my hands on Shake Shack’s Shroom burgerCake + Whisky | Washington DC | Shake ShackWhile my Mr settled for the Smoke Stack and its layers of cheese and chopped chilies.Cake + Whisky | Washington DC | Shake ShackWith cheese fries all round, obviously. Isn’t that what rainy days are for?

Fuelled up and with the storm seeming to have stopped, we came back to our initial exploration plans…Cake + Whisky | Washington DC | Smithsonian Air & Space Museum…only to see them defeated a few minutes after by the return of the rain, so we took shelter in the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum.Cake + Whisky | Washington DC | Smithsonian Air & Space MuseumCake + Whisky | Washington DC | Smithsonian Air & Space MuseumCake + Whisky | Washington DC | Smithsonian Air & Space MuseumHolding the largest collection of aircraft and spacecraft in the world, it’s a must-visit for any plane aficionado.
Cake + Whisky | Washington DC | Smithsonian Air & Space Museum…Which might explain why somebody was a very happy bunny! Cake + Whisky | Washington DC | Smithsonian Air & Space MuseumCake + Whisky | Washington DC | Smithsonian Air & Space MuseumCake + Whisky | Washington DC | Smithsonian Air & Space MuseumCake + Whisky | Washington DC | Smithsonian Air & Space MuseumCake + Whisky | Washington DC | Smithsonian Air & Space MuseumWe strolled through the museum, marvelling at weird flying machines and war planes’ perfect designs alike. Cake + Whisky | Washington DC | Smithsonian Air & Space MuseumCake + Whisky | Washington DC | Smithsonian Air & Space MuseumThe Wright Flyer (which is the ancestor of all planes) is also on display at the museum and well worth taking a look at. I still can’t quite get my head around the fact that this enormous assembly of wood and cloth can actually fly. Cake + Whisky | Washington DC | Smithsonian Air & Space MuseumThe same obviously goes for the Mongolfier first hot air balloon, but I might have been to busy admiring the delicate prints to think about it at the time…Cake + Whisky | Washington DC | Smithsonian Air & Space MuseumHaving seen pretty much everything the Air & Space museum had to offer, we headed next door to the Natural History museum… where every single tourist in Washington seemed to have decided to meet that day. Cake + Whisky | Washington DC | Albert Einstein… which is why we decided to shorten our visit to the diplodocus and jump in a cab to pay one to Albert instead.

Only afterwards did we realise that we could have used the Circulator and save money… ahem…

We raced in the rain to take a quick look at the Lincoln Memorial and the Vietnam War Memorial before we decided to call it a day and head to dinner at one of the city’s institutions.

… but more on that tomorrow! Come hungry! 

Washington DC | Shake Shack epic burgers and the Smithonian museums