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New York Beats D.C. With a Fat Stick

Wonkabout

TheNew York Times did some superb journalism and wrote yet another article about how D.C. is all growed up! What did they focus on this time? That gay people live in D.C.? That a group of 20-somethings effectively run the government from their condos in Logan Circle? That white people live where black people once did? Not this time. This time their excellent reporting led them to the conclusion that D.C. is a city of fat slobs.


Junk food, according to the Times, is "A Source of Comfort on Capitol Hill." In Real America, junk food is a source of diabetes or cancer or rising health care costs. But the Times gets that when fatty food enters a city like D.C., it's no longer bad for you. When a hot dog comes from a "high end junk food purveyor," or bacon comes on a doughnut, or food comes on a small plate or a lobster is slathered in Best Foods mayo and served on white roll, it's just brunch. It's just dinner. It's just food from a truck. It's not like our junk food comes from McDonald's or something.

Very little that occurs inside the Beltway is a genuine allegory for national passions, but the proliferation of food that is affordable, nostalgic and deeply accessible may be about as close as it gets.

Did the New York Times just compare D.C. to Real America? America's national passions are war, beer, baseball, and EATING FOOD LOW IN NUTRITIONAL CONTENT because it is affordable and easily accessible. Perhaps this is the kumbaya moment we've all been waiting for?

The new places around the Capitol also represent, if not an emergent dining scene, at least a steadily improving one in a city long derided for substandard eating.

Thanks? Let's see, back in 2009 and again earlier this year, the New York Times congratulated D.C. for its great southern food restaurants, speakeasies, and wine bars. We now even have our very own Epcot-like recreation of Brooklyn right on H street. WHY DO YOU STILL NOT LOVE US, NEW YORK? And why, when we are trying to be just like you, do you call us fat? Thanks to you, half the Hill staffers spent last night perfecting their gag reflex.

“It’s true that D.C. is now a city you have to be in,” said Jimmy Haber, managing partner of BLT Restaurant Group, which operates 20 restaurants in a dozen cities. “You’ve heard that government is not getting any smaller, and big government certainly helps business.”

All hail big government! Deep fried all-beef hot dogs stuffed with bacon, and grilled cheese sandwiches are all just some librul ploy to keep the government as big as possible. Now we're going to be forced to eat steak, and hang out at Smith Point. Pretty soon the entire city is going to be on Lipitor.

A major contributor to the spread of Everyman Eating is the steady rise of Capitol Hill as a residential neighborhood, with several chefs moving into the area. When they open restaurants, what they want, it seems, is not a crack at a Michelin star, but rather midlevel places where they could get food from their childhood, and attract residents who craved the same.

Haha, here's the best part of their D.C.-is-full-of-fat-slobs article: Obama's name isn't mentioned at all. The Times has become so disillusioned with Old Hopey that they no longer want to attribute The Next Best Thing in D.C. to him, even though he used to be their source of all things good in D.C. (and on earth.)

At least it's good to know that the New York Times is capable of writing a profile of D.C. that doesn't focus on Logan Circle and U Street.

If this Tour de gourmet junk food makes you want a salad, we recommend Sweetgreen, Founding Farmers, Maoz, Java Green, Mixt Greens, and Vapiano. [NYT]

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