Monday, September 29, 2008

Dining in D.C. part 3, Ben's Chili Bowl

On Saturday, we spent the day at the National Book Festival. The evening before, we were confessing to Martin (who lives in D.C, and been to lots of book fests) that we hadn't looked at the schedule very much - he said, "oh, we never look - there're continual readings in the various tents, so just show up."

So we did, and the first author talk we blundered onto was Neil Gaiman (worth the price of admission to Mark, I suspect) who was mostly talking about his forthcoming, Graveyard Book, out today, I think.

The we passed the news tent, and I saw that Daniel Schorr was being introduced, and I just wanted to see how he was doing at 94 or whatever he is, but Mark was willing to listen to him speak, so we did. He was completely there and sharp, and though I thought they might wheel chair him off the stage, he used a walker - and probably went to sign books for hours.
We took a break from authoring, and went and sat on the edge of this fountain, and ate nuts and drank lemonade, and watched ducks, and told the guy who dropped his cell phone in the water to go stand in front of one of the fans in the tents and dry it out.

The we saw Warren Brown, the Cake Love guy - he was quite charming. Took a fast Starbucks break, and listened to David Maraniss - talking about the Rome 1960 Olympics, Cokie Roberts - talking about Ladies of Liberty, her second book about the wives and daughters of the founding fathers; female power brokers in late 18th and early 19th century Washington, and Bob Schieffer, who also (of course) has a new book - Bob Schieffer's America - and who will moderate the 3rd debate between Obama and John McCain.

Then back to the hotel for a quick clean up (and cold Georgetown pizza). We had tickets to see a play - The POTUS among us - by the Washington Improv Theater. It was in a newly trendy part of D.C., the U Street Corridor, kind of like Wicker park in Chicago, or Riverwest in Milwaukee - arty and gentrifying, but still a little gritty.

I was looking at restaurant directories; Mark was looking at yelp. I thought tapas, Italian place, apps, bruschetta, salad, glass wine ... Mark kept saying, "There's this place called Ben's Chili Bowl" - and Ben's it was. It was great, and now I have even washed the smell of Ben's Chili Bowl out of my rain coat. Oh, and play was really funny, too.

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