Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
September 23, 2014

Posts in "Food"

September 18, 2014

Getting Our Fill of Vacationland

Getting Our Fill of Vacationland

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

ROCKLAND, Maine — Two airplane flights (four hours in airports, combined) and roughly 120 minutes of creeping along two-lane roads that snake their way through stoplight-free Northeastern hamlets later, I finally arrived in the bayfront oasis I would call home for the next few days.

The most pressing problem, other than a serious lack of sleep, was how to kill the 17 hours until my first official work dinner.

Coming up to investigate the gastronomic enterprises Maine Democrat Chellie Pingree is fostering on North Haven was always meant to be the crux of my assignment. The critic in me, however, could not pass up the opportunity to feast upon  — without completely spoiling my appetite — this personally uncharted territory.

I pressed Pingree for recommendations, but the savvy lawmaker kept things totally diplomatic. Full story

September 17, 2014

Chuck Grassley’s Birthday Blizzard

Chuck Grassleys Birthday Blizzard

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Charles E. Grassley plans to put a birthday present to good use to grab himself a Dairy Queen Blizzard, but he hasn’t quite decided on the flavor yet.

“Either Reese’s or Snickers,” the Iowa Republican said Wednesday.

Senate Finance Chairman Ron Wyden, D-Ore., announced during a committee hearing that he and ranking member Orrin G. Hatch, R-Utah were giving Grassley the gift certificate to Dairy Queen for his 81st birthday. Grassley is a former chairman and ranking member of the Finance panel.

Grassley’s birthday coincides with Constitution Day, which he highlighted on Twitter by announcing he had completed his annual 6.21-mile birthday run from his D.C. house to the Capitol, dubbed the “Home to the Dome” run. Grassley said his usual run is 3 miles.

Grassley also received birthday greetings from his longtime Iowa colleague, Tom Harkin.

 

Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call in your inbox or on your iPhone.

The Maine Attraction: Getting a Taste of the Chellie Pingree Experience

The Maine Attraction: Getting a Taste of the Chellie Pingree Experience

Boats sit moored in the harbor off North Haven, Maine, home of the Nebo Lodge owned by Pingree. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

ROCKLAND, Maine — Once aboard the boat that will speed us to North Haven, a Connecticut man opens up about his affinity for the Pine Tree State.

“It’s just waves and rocks and sky. It’s very relaxing after a year of work,” he said of his annual sojourn north.

A Camden, Maine, resident relates how he and his wife make their way across the white-capped expanse for dinner at least once each summer; he hopes to spend a night at Nebo Lodge sometime in order to take the full measure of the island.

The Maine Attraction: Getting a Taste of the Chellie Pingree ExperienceSo go the conversations aboard the Equinox, the privately owned boat tasked with moving mainlanders across the 12 miles of open water that separates Maine Democrat Chellie Pingree’s dining empire from the contiguous United States.

Equinox Captain John Morin calculates he’s transported some 2,200 people to North Haven over the course of this summer. And he loves to educate them about how their patronage benefits the community at large.

Full story

September 16, 2014

The Maine Attraction: Chellie Pingree Cultivates Her Own Food Capital

The Maine Attraction: Chellie Pingree Cultivates Her Own Food Capital

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

NORTH HAVEN, Maine — Should she ever tire of battling opposing lawmakers on Capitol Hill, Rep. Chellie Pingree could always kick back and indulge in one of her favorite pastimes: shaking cocktails for the pleasure seekers who pour into her farm-to-table restaurant each summer.

“I am always telling people that it’s good to have a backup career when you are in Congress. And being a bartender isn’t really that different,” the Maine Democrat shared during a candid discussion about her blossoming dining empire.

Still, the three-term lawmaker insists she never planned on becoming a hospitality maven.

“When I bought the inn, I really intended it to be more of a community project to help create a few jobs … and make sure that it was easier for people to find lodging when they had a guest coming,” Pingree said.

The Maine Attraction: Chellie Pingree Cultivates Her Own Food Capital

But her budding portfolio, which includes the critically acclaimed Nebo Lodge and its larder-filling sibling, Turner Farm, appears to be steadily outperforming her modest ambitions. She currently employs about 70-plus people (predominantly women) in a community comprised of around 300 year-round residents.

How this fledgling restaurateur managed to become the toast of her floating-in-Penobscot-Bay town is no big mystery.

She planted the seeds for this unexpected success decades ago. Full story

September 15, 2014

Montana State Society to Spike Mendelsohn: Que Cojones

Montana State Society President Jayne Leffingwell wants hospitality heavy Spike Mendelsohn to man up and get his own thing going.

Montana State Society to Spike Mendelsohn: Que Cojones

(Screenshot)

“Mendelsohn aka the Ballburglar, is attempting to hijack The Montana State Society’s signature event ‘The DC Testy Fest’ by hosting his own DC Festicle. While a testivus for the rest of us sounds fun, stealing our original sack lunch is not ‘Good Stuff,’” Leffingwell said in a tongue-in-cheek statement.

The Montana State Society has done its part to exalt the nether regions-related nosh for more than  a decade now. Mendelsohn is jumping into the fray on Sept. 21 with the unveiling of Spiked Events’ debut soiree, a come-as-you-are affair featuring live music, micro wrestling, circus performers and culinary cook-offs.

Per Festicle promotional materials, Mendelsohn is expected to face off against fellow toques Erik Bruner-Yang, of Toki Underground fame, and Tim Ma, the driving force behind Maple Ave and the newish Water & Wall, in a “Top Chef-style” competition where the contestants will have to conjure up some tasty from the featured testes.

And that just rubs Leffingwell raw.

“With more than 750+ attendees going nuts and consuming nearly 200 lbs of testicles this year, we like to consider ourselves the reigning rocky mountain oyster aficionados,” she maintained.

“The ball is in your court Mr. Mendelsohn. We’ll see how you measure up,” Leffingwell said.

 

Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call in your inbox or on your iPhone.

Rock On, Rockland

Rock On, Rockland

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

ROCKLAND, Maine – It may be a small town, but Rockland’s got a lot going for it.

The Maine Lobster Festival drives droves of shellfish lovers to the shores of the Penobscot Bay each August, the plastic bib-draped masses assembling to honor (and devour) the region’s claim to fame.

Bumping into newsmakers is evidently not uncommon. One New Yorker, who relocated to the area with his wife after their youngest flew the coop, said he catches sight of Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. from time to time in neighboring St. George.

“He’s totally normal up here. Doesn’t like anyone to call him judge,” the Empire State expat said of his dealings with the summering Supreme Courter.

Natives, it would seem, have very specific tastes when it comes to conducting their day-to-day affairs.

Core concerns include keeping:

Activities al fresco (topless freecycling, anyone?)

 

Rock On, Rockland

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

 

Rock On, Rockland

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

Full story

September 8, 2014

Lobbyists, Lawmakers Aim to Crush Crippling Disease

Anti-Duchenne muscular dystrophy crusader Joel Wood can’t force all of Congress to come around to his way of thinking regarding the need for more funding and research to wipe the life-threatening illness off the face of the planet. But he can keep chipping away at the problem — as he has for the past 14 years — one spectacular gathering at a time.

Lobbyists, Lawmakers Aim to Crush Crippling Disease

(Foundation to Eradicate Duchenne, Inc.)

Wood and his wife, Dana, have made it their mission to see the degenerative disorder purged from the human condition ever since their son, James, was diagnosed with DMD in May 2000.

The duo intends to keep up the good fight Tuesday evening via their 14th annual “Dining Away Duchenne” fundraiser, a gourmet taste-around scheduled to take place in the North Hall of Eastern Market from 6 to 9 p.m.

Tickets for the event, which benefits the Woods’ non-profit Foundation to Eradicate Duchenne, start at $250. Full story

September 4, 2014

Postpone Your ‘Recess Can’t Be Over!’ Malaise at BLT Steak

Not quite ready for Congress to return to work (someone put 12 legislative days on the clock, please) next week? Local toque Jeremy Shelton sure is.

The executive chef at BLT Steak (1625 I St. NW) has been cranking out a number of recess treats for bargoers during the past month, a specialty carte — each item priced at $10 from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. — that will (mostly) be retired come Monday.

“We have two menus every night plus happy hour as it is, now throw in 10 brand new dishes every time Congress goes into recess … It’s just a lot to keep track of,” Shelton said of the extra effort that’s been required to keep the seasonal snacks (he rolled out a similar slate when lawmakers decamped for spring break) a-coming.

Everything is, of course, prefaced by the incredibly fluffy, cheese-laced popovers BLT Steak drops off in front of every guest.

Postpone Your Recess Cant Be Over! Malaise at BLT Steak

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

On the off chance that isn’t enough incentive to darken their door, the expense account haven also butters up patrons with warm, crusty country bread flanked by salty-rich country pate. (Another longstanding tradition, a la the complimentary popovers, that predates Shelton’s tenure in the kitchen.)

The gourmet nibbles Shelton dreamed up this time around ran the gamut from somewhat perplexing (a smoked trout salad was overwhelmed by bitter greens and bracing citrus) to utterly delicious.

The chef said he remains partial to an heirloom tomato number featuring chimichurri as well as rotating pork-powered sammies.

Postpone Your Recess Cant Be Over! Malaise at BLT Steak

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

The grilled sausage patties served to us featured savory swine sandwiched between tangy pickled ramp relish and spicy mustard. Though small, the well-dressed burger knock-offs were quite satisfying. Full story

September 3, 2014

Funny or Die Skewers YA Flicks for New Lets Move! Plug

First lady Michelle Obama pops up at the end of a new Funny or Die parody that swaps in nutritional hobgoblins for the living dead/pandemic event/fetishistic survival trials that seem to plague the protagonist of every young adult novel.

FLOTUS has been championing healthy eating since 44 took office in 2009; her hands-on approach to raising dietary awareness has ranged from overseeing the evolving White House kitchen garden to soliciting recipes from snack-conscious youths.

“Snackpocalypse” has its moments — “It’s like the more garbage everyone eats, the sicker they get. It’s a mystery,” muses school nurse (and “VEEP” vet) Sufe Bradshaw — but is unlikely to stir up the type of response President Barack Obama did last spring when he traded insults with Zach Galifianakis on “Between Two Ferns.” Full story

September 2, 2014

Flashback: Moira Bagley Smith’s Guide to Hill Booze Scene

Flashback: Moira Bagley Smiths Guide to Hill Booze Scene

Bagley Smith chronicled the intricacies of flip cup at the Ugly Mug during her time at Roll Call. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

By now, you’ve seen the announcement that Moira Bagley Smith is joining the staff of House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., as communications director.

While on staff here at Roll Call in the aughts, Bagley Smith wrote regularly for our old Mug Shots feature. In that role, she brought readers to Sonoma just a year after the wine bar opened, to board games at Trusty’s and to a flip cup tournament at The Ugly Mug.

“The bar sport — a beer-chugging, cup-flipping relay race — is a test of concentration and nerves, rather than strength,” Bagley Smith said in describing flip cup in 2006.

Full story

August 28, 2014

New Englanders, and Political Figures, Relieved as Market Basket Standoff Ends

New Englanders, and Political Figures, Relieved as Market Basket Standoff Ends

Market Basket employees wave to cars in Londonderry as they call for customers to boycott the embattled New England grocery store chain on Aug. 17. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

LONDONDERRY, N.H. — Across a broad swath of New England, there’s cause for celebration this Thursday — about the local supermarket.

Driving around New Hampshire last week, the scene was unavoidable: Protesters waving signs outside of local Market Basket stores, with cars honking as they drove by. Inside the stores, bare shelves abound, especially with the perishable goods, little fresh dairy or produce to speak of, an empty butcher case. Most importantly, there were hardly any customers. The public had backed the employees with an old-fashioned boycott.

Politicians across the spectrum had called for resolution, and thus it came as no surprise when the statements started to appear lauding the announcement late Wednesday that an agreement had been reached to bring back the popular previous management, including from Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H. Full story

August 25, 2014

Sherrod Brown: Switch to Wendy’s or White Castle if Burger King Goes to Canada (Video)

Sherrod Brown: Switch to Wendys or White Castle if Burger King Goes to Canada (Video)

Brown is not happy with Burger King’s reported plans to go Canada. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

In a statement that might make the late Dave Thomas proud, Sen. Sherrod Brown said Monday that if Burger King sets up shop in Canada as part of a tax inversion, customers should switch to Wendy’s or White Castle.

“Burger King’s decision to abandon the United States means consumers should turn to Wendy’s Old Fashioned Hamburgers or White Castle sliders. Burger King has always said ‘Have it Your Way’; well my way is to support two Ohio companies that haven’t abandoned their country or customers,” Brown said.

Full story

August 22, 2014

Congressional Hits and Misses: Best of Harry Reid (Video)

As Heard on the Hill’s look back at 2014 rolls on, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid organizes his calendar, greases pigs and pays tribute to his favorite Americans — the Koch brothers.

How Expensive Is a Mug of Bacon?

How Expensive Is a Mug of Bacon?

From the Red Arrow Diner in Manchester. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

MANCHESTER, N.H. | One Republican senator from the Midwest might as well be asking: Will taxes raise the sticker price of this mug of bacon?

The menu item at the iconic Red Arrow diner currently goes for $13.99 — and for six bucks more you can keep the mug. The diner is a must stop for any politician stumping in the Granite State. Your correspondent ate breakfast this week at a counter spot marked with a small plaque noting that former Sen. Scott P. Brown, R-Mass., (now a candidate for Senate in New Hampshire) had once graced the same seat.

How Expensive Is a Mug of Bacon?But Sen. Ron Johnson’s office has a beef about government regulation of the porky breakfast product.

A new blog entry on the Wisconsin Republican’s website says, “the idea that government should be able to use taxes and regulations to make its citizens avoid the wholesome foods they prefer is repulsive.”

It references a Wall Street Journal opinion piece by Oklahoma State professor Jayson Lusk about the promotion of  a vegetarian diet by some as a means to combat climate change.

Full story

August 7, 2014

Cava Co-Founder Campaigns for School Meals Aid

Dimitri Moshovitis, co-founder and executive chef of the burgeoning Cava empire, has taken World Food Program USA’s school meals mission to heart — and he’d love to have other local toques lend a hand.

Cava Co Founder Campaigns for School Meals Aid

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

“When I heard about this I was like, ‘Why doesn’t everybody do this?’” Moshovitis said following a cooking demonstration where he taught WFP USA board chairman Hunter Biden and his daughters, Maisy and Finnegan, how to whip up grilled chickpea burgers.

Per Biden, son of Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., the group empowers struggling nations by combating hunger and promoting education.

“It’s truly transforming entire societies,” Biden said of WFP USA’s focus on food security. Full story

Sign In

Forgot password?

Or

Subscribe

Receive daily coverage of the people, politics and personality of Capitol Hill.

Subscription | Free Trial

Logging you in. One moment, please...