Dispatches From My Phone: Johnny’s Half Shell


Food was tough to find in Washington. The salad I had at my hotel the night before was awful, and there were only boiled hot dogs and ice cream along the National Mall. The saving grace was that I had looked places up the night before and knew that I wanted to find Johnny’s Half Shell for my one meal.


What I really had hoped for was Maryland crabcakes and soft-shelled crab, however, as I was the only person in the place at 3pm I had to make do with the fried oysters and a 1/2 Po’Boy: the crabcakes rung in at $32 and I wanted a bit of variety without killing myself from eating too much before my flight.


The oysters were fried and perfectly done; the side of pickled vegetables added a nice contrast, too. The Po’Boy was still huge and filled with warm, breaded shrimp. It was at least as good as what I have had in New Orleans, but the marble bar top, tiled white environs were classier than the joints I seek out on the Big Easy. Overall, it was a great dinner for $60 with two glasses of wine. Nothing is cheap in Washington, but then why should they be when the senators and congressmen can spend as much of your money as the like, and lobbyists need to wine and dine at a high level to impress these fat cats to do their bidding. Washington was best seen briefly and quickly, but I am still content that I made the most of what could have been a terrible day.

On a sad note, Charlie Trotter, my culinary hero, is closing his Chicago restaurant to “retire” and seek other opportunities. I am happy I ate there once before it closed.

On a happy note, my summer travels are now officially over. No more three blog entries a night. Tomorrow I rest and then get into the Paderno and Base Camp X work.


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