Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
April 18, 2014

Posts in "Booze"

April 7, 2014

Washington State Society Hosts Oso Relief Effort

Evergreen Staters stuck here in the District want to help those back home still dealing with the aftermath of a devastating mudslide by raising a few glasses — and hopefully some big bucks — Tuesday night.

Washington State Society Hosts Oso Relief Effort

(Courtesy Washington State Society)

The Oso Mudslide Relief reception is scheduled to take place from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the State Room at 201 Bar (201 Massachusetts Ave. NE). There is a suggested donation of $20.

The natural disaster struck the Oso community on March 22; the administration officially took action on April 2.

Funds collected at 201 Bar are expected to benefit the United Way of Snohomish County. Event organizers are also planning a raffle featuring prizes such as an Xbox One and gift certificates to local restaurants.

Congressional aides told HOH that Washington Democratic Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell and Democratic Rep. Suzan DelBene are planning to attend the fundraiser. The office of Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Wash., said the slightly hobbled lawmaker (currently on crutches) is aware of the event, but could not guarantee his participation.

April 4, 2014

Ex-Hill Aide Taps Different Constituencies for PR

Gary Meltz, a one-time aide to Rep. Eliot L. Engel, D-N.Y., who has since carved out a niche for himself in the crisis management game, is inviting friends and colleagues to come celebrate the birth of Meltz Communications.

The fledgling communications firm officially threw open its doors in late January. But Meltz suggested that the myriad demands of actually setting up shop have made it nearly impossible to stop and enjoy a single minute of the momentous life change.

Ex Hill Aide Taps Different Constituencies for PR

(Courtesy Meltz Communications)

He hopes to rectify all that by indulging friends with a few drinks, some gourmet treats and signature matchbooks (‘natch) at an invite-only reception scheduled to take place April 8 from 6-8 p.m. at the Science Club (1136 19th St. NW). Full story

April 3, 2014

Congressmen and Staffers Get a Taste of Michigan

Ever wonder what beer that tastes like coffee would be like?

Staffers and members of Congress found out Wednesday as they sampled Vanilla Java Porter from Atwater Brewery in Detroit at the 5th Annual Taste of Michigan.

Dozens of staffers and a handful of congressmen gathered in the Gold Room in the Rayburn House Office Building for the event hosted by the Michigan Licensed Beverage Association.

The event was an effort to raise awareness about Michigan craft beers, wine and spirits, and also to show appreciation for the members of Congress whom the MLBA lobbied for the past two days.

“On both sides of the aisle, we were able to get out our biggest concern, which is tipped minimum wage,” said MLBA Executive Director Scott Ellis.  The MLBA represents around 1,700 businesses, including bars and taverns in Michigan.

Ellis said they received “mixed reviews” from lawmakers regarding their argument against raising the tipped wage, which he feels would negatively affect business owners and the workers themselves.

At least four members of the Michigan delegation attended the Taste of Michigan  eventWednesday evening, although the majority of attendees included congressional staffers.

As they relaxed after a day’s work and mingled in the Gold Room and the balcony, the staffers and lawmakers could choose from the 30 craft beers on hand, all brewed in Michigan, as well as 10 different wines and a sampling of bourbon and vodka.

Rep. Dan Benishek, R-Mich., stood out on the balcony with other attendees, overlooking the Rayburn courtyard with the Washington Monument in the distance.

“This is fabulous,” said Benishek. “I’m happy to stop in and say ‘hello’ to these guys and learn a little more about this great beer and wine, and now vodka, I find out,” he added, lifting the cup in his hand.

April 1, 2014

House Taxwriters Lobby for Taste of ‘Ways & Means’ Brew

Port City Brewing Company has worked up a new rye-based American special bitter dubbed “Ways & Means.” And thanks to Rep. Xavier Becerra, D-Calif., House taxwriters won’t have to wander beyond the Capitol to sample the 4.8 percent alcohol by volume beverage.

House Taxwriters Lobby for Taste of Ways & Means Brew

(Courtesy Port City Brewing Company)

The new beer, which PCBC Founder Bill Butcher described as “really refreshing … with a hoppy bite,” made its unofficial debut over the weekend in the Alexandria, Va.-based brewery’s tasting room and is scheduled for wide release on April 7.

Becerra has helped organize a bipartisan reception featuring PCBC’s seasonal draft to be co-hosted by House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., and ranking member Sander M. Levin, D-Mich. The off-the-record mixer is tentatively scheduled to take place on the evening of April 7, after votes have wrapped.

Those not privy to the invite-only affair can give the experimental IPA a whirl April 10 at a Hawk ‘n’ Dove-hosted release party. “Ways & Means” will be the featured draft from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. that evening, and there’ll be PCBC swag (glassware, etc.) on hand.

March 27, 2014

Public Can Propel Capitol Hill Restos to RAMMY Glory

A panel of secret judges may control the fates of the 60-plus contenders vying for the area’s top hospitality prizes, but everyday diners have one month to help crown their favorite brunch spot, fast-food haven and all-around hang out.

The RAMMY Awards traditionally honor the superstars of the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington’s core membership, heralding those who go above and beyond in the pursuit of providing exceptional food, beverage and service. The 2014 winners are scheduled to be revealed June 22 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center (801 Mount Vernon Place NW) during the group’s 32nd annual gala.

As in the past, RAMW is opening up a handful of categories for public debate.

This year, armchair critics have until April 27 to weigh in on:

Upscale Casual Brunch of the Year

  • Art and Soul
  • Blue Duck Tavern
  • Mintwood Place
  • The Source by Wolfgang Puck
  • Vermilion

 

Everyday Casual Brunch of the Year

  • DGS Delicatessen
  • Et Voila!
  • Pearl Dive Oyster Palace
  • Pizzeria Orso
  • Ted’s Bulletin (Barracks Row)

 

Favorite Gathering Place of the Year

  • Bar Pilar
  • Bistrot Du Coin
  • Cashion’s Eat Place
  • Hank’s Oyster Bar (Dupont)
  • Tune Inn

 

Favorite Fast Bites

 

RAMW is sweetening the pot for brunch lovers.

As part of the inaugural “Best Brunch Passport” contest, anyone who tweets a picture of a meal from any of the nominees between March 29-April 13 to @RAMMYAwards or tags it with #RAMMYSBrunch will be entered to win two tickets to the June 22 gala. Per the promoters, the winner will be announced on April 28.

Public votes can be cast via media partner the Washington City Paper or RAMW.

March 25, 2014

The Coupe Attempts to Stir Up D.C. Mayoral Contest

The Coupe is seeking to capitalize on the swirling race to take the reins of D.C. by running a straw swizzle stick poll featuring cocktails married to the current crop of mayoral hopefuls.

The Coupe Attempts to Stir Up D.C. Mayoral Contest

(Courtesy The Coupe)

Staff at the Columbia Heights hangout (3415 11th St. NW) were upfront about the fact that the signature beverages, which formally debuted last week, bear no direct relation to the corresponding pols. “They were very randomly assigned,” a Coupe aide told HOH.

Still, the restaurant is hoping to stir up some civic discourse by encouraging patrons to “vote” via drink orders — the official tallying of the boozy bellwethers begins at 5 p.m. Tuesday and will continue through midnight on April 1 — and welcoming candidates to drop off campaign materials while the contest is on.

Ballot bait includes:

  • Vincent Gray — “French Bikini” (white cane juice rum, coconut cream, lime, hibiscus syrup)
  • Carlos Allen — “Bas Bulles” (armagnac, Benedictine)
  • Muriel Bowser — “Harvard” (cognac, sweet vermouth, angostura bitters)
  • Bruce Majors — “Suzette” (Suze liqueur, brown butter, French gin, Licor 43, dry curacao, lemon)
  • David Catania — “Royal Reviver” (gin, yellow chartreuse, cognac, dry curacao)
  • Jack Evans — “Byrvardier” (rye, byrrh, Aperol)
  • Tommy Wells — “Fraise Royal” (strawberry puree, sparkling wine)
  • Reta Jo Lewis — “Pomme d’Or” (calvados, dry vermouth, yellow chartreuse, thyme)
  • Vincent Orange — “ Kir Royal” ( crème de cassis, sparkling wine)
  • Andy Shallal — “Left Ear” (absinthe, flaming sugar cube)

As our friends in Chi-town might say, “Vote early and often.”

March 20, 2014

Marcel’s Hosts Preview of Intercontinental Pop-Up

Restaurateur Robert Wiedmaier is heading across the pond at the end of the month to partake in a culinary exchange set to include a private reception for newly minted U.S. ambassador to the United Kingdom, Matthew Barzun, as well as a week-long “pop-up” dining experience orchestrated alongside award-winning British toque, Simon Hulstone.

Marcel’s Hosts Preview of Intercontinental Pop Up

(Courtesy Marcel’s)

DC denizens have the opportunity to sample the distinctive flavors Wiedmaier plans to share with curious Londoners at the “A Tale of Two Cities” preview dinner scheduled to take place March 21 at Marcel’s (2401 Pennsylvania Ave. NW).

The seven-course meal ($165 per person) will showcase locally inspired dishes — including pan-seared scallops with black fermented garlic and squid ink, roasted pigeon with potato risotto and black truffle, and plum-tarragon tart with honey and cinnamon ice cream — paired with Virginia wines and spirits. Author and bon vivant Jason Tesauro has mixed together a slew of regional producers, promising pours from award-winning wineries such as Barboursville Vineyards, Thibaut-Janisson Winery (French President Francois Hollande was introduced to their bubbly at the latest state dinner) and Boxwood Estate Winery, as well as some fizzy refreshments from Foggy Ridge Cider and a little hard stuff from Catoctin Creek Distillery. Full story

March 12, 2014

Flacks Invited to Bipartisanly Commune at Tortilla Coast

Professional mouthpieces from both sides of the aisle are priming the pumps for recess via a “Bi-Party-San Communications Mixer.”

Flacks Invited to Bipartisanly Commune at Tortilla Coast

(Courtesy DCNet)

The media-related happy hour is scheduled to take place Thursday at Tortilla Coast (400 First St. SE) from 6 to 8 p.m. (That won’t crimp your style, will it, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas?)

The event, which is being sponsored by iConstituent and Broadnet, is designed to welcome new and returning members of the Democratic Communicators Network and Republican Communications Association.

According to DCNet board chair Hannah Kim, first-timers joining the respective advisory panels include:

  • Kezmiché “Kim” Atterbury, communications director for Rep. G. K. Butterfield, D-N.C.
  • Brett Morrow, communications director for Rep. Mark Takano, D-Calif.
  • Alex Nguyen, communications director for Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Wis.
  • Rob Runyan, press secretary for Sen. Thomas R. Carper, D-Del.
  • Michael Marinaccio, digital coordinator for the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee
  • Ben Miller, communications director for Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis.
  • Michael Rekola, deputy press secretary for Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif.
  • Trevor Foughty, deputy chief of staff and communications director for Rep. Todd Young, R-Ind.

Those who swing by to congratulate the ascending messengers will be privy to two free drink tickets apiece and complimentary Tex-Mex-style appetizers.

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story inadvertently listed the positions panelists hold within their respective networking groups instead of their posts on Capitol Hill.

March 10, 2014

Gridiron Club Jokes: Congressional Edition

Gridiron Club Jokes: Congressional Edition

This dinosaur, seen wandering the Capitol in a 2007, is not the one from the Gridiron Dinner, where no photos are allowed. But you get the idea. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Ted Cruz apparently doesn’t have a problem with being openly mocked. Even when he’s being called a ”Flintstone Cowboy” by reporters dressed up like the cartoon characters — with a full-sized pink Dino the Dinosaur — presenting the Texas Republican as straight out of the Stone Age.

Cruz, the Republican keynote speaker for the exclusive, white-tie Gridiron Dinner on March 8, laughed heartily from the head table as the grizzled journalists danced around on stage to an original tune parodying the Glen Campbell ballad “Rhinestone Cowboy.”

Full story

March 6, 2014

The Early Buzz on #CPAC2014

The Early Buzz on #CPAC2014

(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The annual Conservative Political Action Conference is just getting started at National Harbor, but the rat-a-tat online chatter about the far-right fest has already reached a fevered pitch.

At least one randy traveler is raring to go

 

A few early arrivals may have already overstayed their welcome

 

Full story

March 5, 2014

Krist Novoselic Rolls to Republic for Democracy Party

Nirvana bassist cum political activist Krist Novoselic will trumpet the need for electoral reform around 7:30 p.m. Sunday at Republic (6939 Laurel Avenue, Takoma Park, Md.) during a fundraiser piggybacking on the unveiling of the restaurant’s live shows.

The grunge rocker has been dabbling in politics for a while now, lending his voice and stature to candidates and causes that resonate with his personal philosophy. He joined FairVote’s board of directors nearly a decade ago and has been advocating for change ever since.

A Republic spokeswoman suggested that those more interested in reliving 90’s musical angst rather than rocking the vote might be better off staying home.

“We’re not certain if Krist is performing as yet, as he’ll be there in the capacity of his FairVote chairmanship,” the restaurant aide told HOH, adding that local acts The Cowards Choir and The Beanstalk Library are scheduled to play. Full story

DeFazio Swears Small-Brewers Caucus Is Legit

During last night’s debut of Web talk show “Bills and Brews,” congressional reporter Matt Laslo quizzed Oregon Democrat Peter A. DeFazio about his duties as chairman of the House Small Brewers Caucus.

Per DeFazio, the bipartisan crew is not just in it for gratis pours:

Catch the full DeFazio interview — and learn more about Laslo’s beer-centric show — here.

March 4, 2014

‘Bills and Brews’ Pours Itself Into Politics of Drinking

Congressional reporter Matt Laslo may only have one episode of his new Web show, “Bills and Brews,” in the can, but he’s already got designs on exporting the barley-and-hops-fueled gabfest to a brewery near you.

“I want to take this on the campaign trail,” Laslo said of the pet project he’s been nurturing for nearly a decade. He’ll premiere the pilot episode — featuring a freewheeling discussion with Rep. Peter A. DeFazio, D-Ore., at Bluejacket— for media at 6-11 p.m. Tuesday night at The Dunes (1402 Meridian Place NW).

Laslo said inspiration for the show first struck back in 2006 while he was covering the West Coast brewing scene for public radio. “It occurred to me that, hey, this could be a fun show,” he said of the passionate and interesting people he got to know while researching the beer world.

He has since refined the scope and mission of that original vision, carving out room for a show he hopes will work on multiple levels. In DeFazio’s case, that means preparing an 8- to 9-minute segment that’s all about Oregon brews (staff told HOH DeFazio brought along IPAs from Hop Valley Brewing Co., Ninkasi Brewing Co. and Oakshire Brewing to share) and his personal drinking history (something about shoulder-tapping at gas stations); this is designed to reel in the casually interested, “Colbert Report”-viewing crowd.

Beer nerds can plunge into a subordinate 10- to 12-minute clip delving specifically into craft brewing issues. Finally, wonks are invited to drink in another 10- to 15-minute carve-out dealing with beer-related policies (taxes, regulation, etc).

The guest and location of the second show is still being worked out, but Laslo has some solid contenders. He said he’s interested in meeting Rep. Patrick T. McHenry, R-N.C., for a swing through Asheville’s booming craft-brewing community, and would love to sit down with Del. Eleanor Homes Norton, D-D.C., at neighboring DC Brau.

Team DeFazio said the seasoned homebrewer was happy to spend some more time at Bluejacket. “He has taken the behind-the-scenes tour and often dines there with friends,” aides said of the Southeast D.C. beer haven. His allegiance, however, remains with breweries in the greater Northwest.

Per staff, DeFazio dined at Plank Town in Springfield, Ore., this past weekend. And while he’s pleased some home-state brews are making their way eastward, DeFazio would love to see more on local shelves.

“Although the D.C. area has a good and quickly growing craft brew scene, folks are missing out on a lot!” Team DeFazio said.

By Warren Rojas Posted at 4:49 p.m.
Booze, DC, media, Nationwide, Reps

February 11, 2014

Relief Agencies Share Hardware, Liquid Courage With Congress

Assuming Mother Nature doesn’t orchestrate her own brand of government shutdown over the next 48 hours, staffers should prepare to get their geek on Thursday during the “Innovation at the U.N.” reception.

The science-fair-themed gathering, organized by the Better World Campaign, is scheduled to take place Thursday from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the Rayburn foyer. Those interested in participating are encouraged to RSVP to events@UNfoundation.org.

An event promoter told HOH the plan is to highlight the tools relief groups such as the U.N. Foundation, U.N. Development Programme, U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, World Food Programme, UNICEF and UNESCO are deploying around the globe. Attendees will be able to inspect one of those innovations, an Ikea-designed “refugee housing unit” designed with expediency (no tools required), longevity and sustainability (potential to be outfitted with solar power sources) in mind.

Too wonky for your tastes?

The party is also expected to feature “bartenders wearing lab coats/goggles” serving (what else?) “fizzy drinks in test tubes.”

“There will be blue cocktails dubbed ‘Ban Ki-moon blasts’!” our source said of the boozy entertainment named after the current UN secretary general. Those looking to lap up the experimental libation should expect splashes of vodka, lime juice and blue Curacao.

February 4, 2014

Mark Warner Ready to Kick Justin Bieber to the Curb

Canadian troublemaker Justin Bieber ought to be thankful Sen. Mark Warner doesn’t have the final word on foreign relations.

Bieber has attracted a lot of heat lately thanks to a string of rather unsavory encounters, including physical altercations, a scrap with a neighbor and, most recently, a high-profile arrest involving driving under the influence in Miami.

When asked Tuesday by the hosts of WNOR’s “Rumble in the Morning” about the status of a populist petition to have the pot-smoking pop star deported (nearly a quarter of a million signatures and counting), the Virginia Democrat hinted that he’d gladly endorse the immigration crackdown.

“As a dad with three daughters, is there someplace I can sign?” Warner quipped.

Warner then doubled down on the deportation stance on social media.

“It’s true: I’m not a #Belieber,” he confessed to the twitterverse.

This marks the second time a local radio show has exposed a rift between the once-vanilla singer and Senate Democrats. The first beef was entirely of the Biebs’ creation, given that the one-time YouTube star threw shade at Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota for her pushback against the illegal streaming of copyrighted material online.

Bieber’s continuing antics have helped cement the case against him that non-fans have made to the administration.

“We would like to see the dangerous, reckless, destructive, and drug abusing, Justin Bieber deported and his green card revoked. He is not only threatening the safety of our people but he is also a terrible influence on our nations youth,” more than 245,000 signatories have asserted via the “We the People” portal.

Of course, he may choose to leave on his own. TMZ insists his substance abuse problems have earned Bieber a top spot on a Homeland Security watch list.

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