Countdown to the 2015 NHL Winter Classic: 2 Days

Here’s part 5 of the “Countdown to the NHL Winter Classic”.

If you didn’t know by now, not only am I a big hockey fan, I’m also a big foodie. Any time I head to a sports venue, not only do I want to see a good game, I want to try my hands on some good grub to munch on. Now Chicago has its deep-dish pizza, Chicago-style hot dogs, and Italian beef sandwiches. Washington has its half-smokes, Ben’s Chili, and Greene Turtle root beer. Well, the folks at Levy Restaurants, the official foodservice provider of Nationals Park, created something specifically for the Winter Classic that combines the flavors of both Chicago and Washington. The District Duel is a foot-long half smoke topped with Chicago-style slow-roasted Italian beef, creole mustard, banana peppers and giardiniera. It sells for $15, and if you can’t make it to Nationals Park for the Winter Classic, Levy says the District Duel will be sold at the Verizon Center during select Capitals games after the Winter Classic. During baseball season, Nationals Park would sell their infamous StrasBurger out on The Red Porch in Section 100. The StrasBurger, named after Nationals ace pitcher Stephen Strasburg, is a monstrous eight-pound all-beef burger made from a combination of ground brisket, ground chuck, and ground beef short ribs, served on a large bun with secret sauce, American cheese, shredded lettuce, sliced tomatoes, sliced red onions, and pickle chips. The burger also comes with a one-pound cone of fresh-cut fries and a 64-ounce pitcher of soda. The StrasBurger sells for $59. Another Washington chili institution also calls Nationals Park home. Fred and Jim Parker opened the first Hard Times Cafe in Alexandria’s Old Town in 1980. Since then, Hard Times opened up 13 more locations across the District, including stands at both Nationals Park and the Verizon Center. They are famous for their authentic Texas-style and Cincinnati-Style Chili. The best way to try their chili is the Chili Bubba, which is cornbread topped with two of your favorite Chilis (I prefer half-Texas, half-Cincy), then smothered with cheddar cheese, tomatoes, onions, and sour cream.

Tomorrow’s finale of the countdown, has to do with probably the most famous mascots in Washington. And no, I’m not talking about the Capitals’ Slapshot or Screech from the Nationals.

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