Saturday, March 11, 2006


Caught the reunited Pogues at the 9:30 Club in DC last night. The original plan involved SMILE HON YOU'RE IN BALTIMORE editor Patrick Tandy and me grabbing a bite to eat at famed G & M Lounge off Hammonds Ferry Road before we cruised on in to the nation's capital.

Unfortunately, G&M's renowned crabcakes were on many peoples' minds as we arrived to find an overflowing parking lot and diners queued up outside. Too bad, as the crabcakes and crab soup at G&M rate high on my scale and fellow seafood fanatic Tandy had never been. Alas, another time.

With some time to kill before the show we decided to try our luck closer to the club. As we eased into the city on New York Avenue I remembered that there was a Hogs on the Hill location situated just behind a Checker's. Since I'm an avid BBQ fan and Patrick was game we pulled off the main drag and negotiated our way into the cramped Hogs parking lot.

"Cramped" is a good way to describe the entire, boxy establishment, which features a tiny order/pickup area that feels claustraphobic with more than four people. Not to mention two hulking soda machines. White may not have been the best paint choice for the interior as there's a greasy, divey feel to the whole place, but I've eaten in/from far worse-looking establishments (the Chinese restaurant by the City Gardens punk rock club in Trenton, NJ springs vividly to mind).

The menu filled with typical BBQ offerings (chicken, ribs, wings, sandwiches and sides like mac & cheese, greens, slaw, etc.) is posted on the wall and ordering is done through one of those slabs of bullet proof glass with holes for talking, exchanging money and receiving your food.

We both ordered up the BBQ Pork Sandwich, cole slaw and a side of mac & cheese, eschewing ribs since there was no place to really sit and savor a big old slab. Plus, we didn't want to walk in to the club, our faces covered in a mix of BBQ sauce.

After finding a spot in the club's parking lot we decided to enjoy the warm March night (temperatures easily in the 60s) and dine al fresco. Sandwich was decent: overstuffed and saucy, with the juices coaking through the large white bread, sesame seed bun. Though they offered -- and I requested -- hot sauce, neither the meat nor the sauce had much bite. Cole slaw was creamy and tangy and added a little snap when piled on the pulled pork. Mac and cheese was a solid side and provided a nice base for the Old Rasputin Stout, a thick, bold, slightly fruity brew that would soon be making its way into my belly.

No ambiance to speak of and solidly average food makes Hogs a worthwhile stop if you're not in the mood for fast food but not expecting top-notch Que.

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