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It had been months since I last hit the Quarry House, but by the time I had my first sip of Dogfish Head‘s wickedly sensual Red & White, a pinot-infused wheat beer that’s currently on tap, I felt like I was visiting an old friend. Well, an old friend who never leaves his basement and wants to get you really drunk.
That impression was further deepened when I saw that owners Jackie Greenbaum and Patrick Higgins have tweaked their pub-friendly menu to include that hometown favorite, the half-smoke. I had to know immediately if Greenbaum had employed Sam Adkins, her chef at Jackie’s who’s been experimenting with charcuterie, to make QH’s own spicy link. Alas, my waiter didn’t know, nor did the cook when the waiter went to ask him.
Even worse, QH was out of half-smokes when I visited earlier this week. I had to settle on a half-priced Monday burger, which was hardly a compromise (although, Jackie, please ditch the dry, overly airy bun that crumbles like a Frenchman).
The next day, I e-mailed Greenbaum to ask about the half-smokes. Here’s her response, edited for my convenience:
We added them to the menu about 6 months ago as a nod to a DC institution—half smokes, that is. We all grew up on em around here. The Quarry House is always adding and modifying its menu… Anyway, we get the half smokes from Metropolitan Meat and Seafood, we do not make them ourselves, and we’ve gone through several brands to date looking for a really good one. Honestly we’re not quite satisfied yet.
Incidentally, it seems that Metropolitan sells A.M. Briggs half-smokes. Briggs, if you’ll recall, is credited with inventing D.C.’s signature snack, but that was decades ago, before the company became part of the SYSCO family and, by most accounts, tinkered with the original recipe to the point of obliterating it.
Greenbaum is still on the prowl for a better half-smoke. More as I know it.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery.