Barack Obama dined here. So did I. And so has a dizzying stream of people seeking a fix of super-cheap, old-school-style spicy grease. That's why the faces of the famous line its hallowed walls - everyone from Hillary to Denzel to Bono are captured in photos taken with the proud owners of Ben's Chili Bowl in Washington D.C.

Barack Obama dined here. So did I. And so has a dizzying stream of people seeking a fix of super-cheap, old-school-style spicy grease. That's why the faces of the famous line its hallowed walls - everyone from Hillary to Denzel to Bono are captured in photos taken with the proud owners of Ben's Chili Bowl in Washington D.C.

If you missed attending Obama's momentous inauguration due to its forbidding logistical nightmare, well at least you can get a taste of one of Obama's recent, most highly publicized meals - and it'll cost less than $10. For that, you need to hike down to Ben's Chili Bowl the next time you're in Obama's present home city. When doing so, you'll be tasting history.

Since 1958, Ben's has occupied the exact same narrow and cramped space in the bustling U Street District -and it looks it. The place is such an institution that its nearby alleyway bears a street sign with Ben's name on it. And there's a commemorative plaque outside of its quainter-than-quaint storefront facade - the plaque relates the famous story of how Ben's was one of the few area businesses spared during the fiery riots which followed the assassination of Martin Luther King.

When stepping up to Ben's, driving funk and soul from its tremendous jukebox will immediately greet you -as will a line of smiling folks winding around the classic diner's black and white checked floor. Fear not, that line moves quickly and it gives you time to take in this museum-like slice of yesteryear.

Ben's recedes back into three rooms, so even though it looks jam-packed, after ordering you will get a table. But your best bet is exiting the line if possible to claim a seat at the little counter - that way you'll minimize your wait while maximizing your experience.

Above the well-used griddle is a ridiculously lengthy menu, but don't sweat it because like Obama you'll be having a Chili Half-Smoke and cheese fries. A chili half-smoke is a smoky, red, big and thick half-pork, half-beef sausage slathered with Ben's loose and rich cayenne-pepper fueled beanless chili. The cheese fries speak for themselves.

When finishing this fat-fraught lunch - and it will be one of the messiest meals of your life - you can console your conscience with the thought that not all forms of health can be counted in calories.