Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
April 19, 2014

Posts in "Food"

March 12, 2014

Tim Walz Cooks Up Second Consecutive Minnesota Hotdish Win

For four years, one title has eluded Michele Bachmann, and it’s not “president.”

Tim Walz Cooks Up Second Consecutive Minnesota Hotdish Win

(Meredith Shiner/CQ Roll Call)

The Minnesota congresswoman and one-time Republican presidential hopeful just wanted to win Sen. Al Franken’s annual hotdish off Wednesday before leaving Congress.

Grandma Phoebe’s Sunday Supper:

Tim Walz Cooks Up Second Consecutive Minnesota Hotdish Win

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

Unfortunately, just as Mitt Romney kept her from the top of the national ticket, two-time hotdish champion Tim Walz, D-Minn., vanquished Bachmann from the win she so desperately coveted.

Turkey Trot Tater Tot Hotdish:

Tim Walz Cooks Up Second Consecutive Minnesota Hotdish Win

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

To the victor, goes the Pyrex with a special plaque. Full story

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.

BLT Steak Baits Hill Staffers With Recess Bites

BLT Steak plans to reward those who stick around town next week with a specially designed “recess menu” featuring nearly a dozen gourmet snacks.

The power lunching haven’s (1625 I St. NW) “10 Till 10” promotion will be available March 17 through March 21, 5-10 p.m. each evening at the main bar.

A restaurant spokeswoman said Executive Chef Jeremy Shelton experimented with the concept in February and has since decided to roll out seasonally inspired nibbles each time lawmakers are scheduled to high-tail it home.

Featured items ($10 each) for this month include:

  • Sweet & Sour Sweetbreads
BLT Steak Baits Hill Staffers With Recess Bites

(Courtesy BLT Steak)

  • House-cured American Wagyu bresaola with toasted brioche bun and frisee
  • Artisanal cheese plate
  • Creamy polenta with spring pea ragout
  • Bacalao croquets paired with spicy tomato aioli
  • Yellowtail crudo accompanied by white balsamic, avocado and fennel
  • Bone marrow spring roll with  gorgonzola fonduta and candied walnuts
  • Head cheese escorted by violet mostarda and soft-boiled egg
BLT Steak Baits Hill Staffers With Recess Bites

(Courtesy BLT Steak)

  • A “Corned Beef & Cabbage” creation forged from corned beef sausage, pickled baby Brussels sprouts and Dijon cream
  • Grilled baby octopus tied together by feta, olives and oregano

Shelton said he is particularly fond of the corned beef  (“It’s very fitting for St. Patrick’s Day,” he opined) and multi-layered polenta (“Works very well with the fresh flavors of English peas and chanterelles with parsley and mint,” he said), but really hopes folks give the head cheese a whirl.

“Maybe it’s a chef thing, but we all love it. I just haven’t been able to get it to catch on with the clientele,” Shelton said of the offal challenge.

No word on what he’s got in mind for April. But if history is any guide — during February’s soft launch he dished out beef tartar with house-made fries, Parmesan-crusted bone marrow with green tomato mostarda, polenta with pork ragu, escargot with garlic cream, roasted vegetables accompanied by date butter, sheep’s milk ricotta and hazelnuts, lobster fritters with lemon aioli, grilled sweetbreads married to marinated mushrooms, and local oysters — those left behind in the future might eat better than their district-bound counterparts.

March 11, 2014

Restaurant Associates Recruits Raw Foodie for Lunch Demo

Postmodern Foods Founder and CEO Denise Hicks will prepare eco-friendly dishes and drinks in the Longworth cafeteria Wednesday as part of a special arrangement worked out with the Congressional Vegetarian Staff Association.

 

 

The green living demo is scheduled to take place from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. According to Restaurant Associates spokeswoman Gina Zimmer, Hicks is expected to share tastes of her Raw Greens Juice, forged from celery, cucumber, apples, kale, spinach, parsley and lemon (among other things),  Cinnamon’y Cashew Milk and Massaged Kale Salad, featuring the titular greens, onion, assorted seeds (pumpkin, fennel), apple cider vinegar and olive oil.

“The guest chef thing was something we and Restaurant Associates agreed would be a good way to offer different food options,” CVSA staffer Adam Sarvana said of the pro-plant-based eating pop-up. “They deserve all the credit for choosing Denise to do it.”

Hicks is expected back on the Hill on March 28; that’s when she’ll join Miss DC 2013 Bindhu Pamarthi as co-headliner at the next CVSA event.

By Warren Rojas Posted at 5:01 a.m.
Food, HillSide, Staffers

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

March 4, 2014

Pols Eat Up James Beard ‘America’s Classics’ Honors

Just thinking about the landmark restaurants the James Beard Foundation will formally crown as “America’s Classics” this May has lawmakers who have dined at the treasured eateries licking their lips with anticipation.

The hospitality industry awards celebrate a handful of timeless establishments each year; the 2014 honorees include: Hansen’s Sno-Bliz in New Orleans, Nick’s Italian Café in McMinnville, Ore., Olneyville New York System in Providence, R.I., Perini Ranch Steakhouse in Buffalo Gap, Texas, and Sokolowski’s University Inn in Cleveland, Ohio.

Rhode Island Democratic Rep. Jim Langevin has fond memories of fueling up at Olneyville during his college days.

“I remember going there sometimes after class or after a night out downtown,” Langevin recounted, noting that he prefers the signature hot dogs dressed with meat sauce and celery salt (“Not to be confused with ‘all the way,’ which includes onions and mustard.”)

“It’s been a while, but I’m looking forward to going back,” Langevin said.

News of the national recognition made Rep. David Cicilline nostalgic for a taste of home.

“Olneyville New York System has served the best wieners for decades and when I walk in today, the same smells and sights remind me of my visits there years ago,” the Rhode Island Democrat shared.

In addition to enjoying the food and the familial atmosphere, Cicilline hailed the restaurant for participating in his “Main Street” initiative to bolster local businesses. “I congratulate Olneyville New York System on receiving this much deserved award,” he said.

Rep. Randy Neugebauer hailed the gourmet community for finally getting wise to what he already knows: Perini’s is good eating. Full story

February 21, 2014

Digesting News a la Spike Mendelsohn

Restaurateur Spike Mendelsohn doesn’t just make headlines in this town, he now also serves them up to those plugged into the gastro-themed feeds he’s created for news-sharing upstart Trove.

Digesting News a la Spike Mendelsohn

Mendelsohn, center, is sharing his interests via Trove. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The media aggregating service tapped the reality-TV-star-turned-culinary-empire-builder — Good Stuff Eatery, We, The Pizza and Béarnaise have all taken root on Capitol Hill — to serve as one of its featured curators. Mendelsohn has, so far, carved out three dedicated channels: Full story

February 20, 2014

Paul Broun To Tailgate Before Saturday Senate Debate

Come Saturday, Georgia Republican Paul Broun will once again face off against the cadre of aspiring Hill climbers eyeing the seat being vacated by retiring GOP Sen. Saxby Chambliss.

Except this time, he plans to feast before leaping into the rhetorical lion’s den.

The Broun for Senate campaign is still putting the finishing touches on a planned pre-debate tailgate, dangling complimentary fried chicken, potato salad, coleslaw and sweet tea for those willing to huddle with the candidate ahead of the Georgia GOP Debate scheduled to take place Saturday from 4-6 p.m. at Brenau University in Gainesville, Ga.

Paul Broun To Tailgate Before Saturday Senate Debate

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo.)

A campaign aide told HOH the tailgate concept was a first for Team Broun, but noted that the boss had distributed hot chocolate — “It was cold outside!” the aide shared — to those who waited patiently in line to watch local pols mix it up Feb 1. at Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Ga. Full story

February 19, 2014

Rose’s Luxury Puts Barracks Row on National Dining Map

Capitol Hill diners, your secret’s out.

If anyone thought scoring a table at critical darling Rose’s Luxury (717 Eight St. SE) was crazy hard before, good luck snagging a seat now that chef Aaron Silverman is in the running for a prestigious James Beard Foundation Award.

The captivating locale, which debuted last fall, is one of 30 semi-finalists vying for the coveted Best New Restaurant prize. The winner will be revealed in New York City on May 2 and 5.

Other D.C.-metro entities in contention for the nationwide honors include:

  • The Columbia Room – Outstanding Bar Program
  • Rogue 24 – Outstanding Bar Program
  • Neighborhood Restaurant Group pastry chef Tiffany MacIsaac – Outstanding Pastry Chef
  • Jaleo – Outstanding Restaurant
  • Vidalia – Outstanding Restaurant
  • Knightsbridge Restaurant Group founder Ashok Bajaj – Outstanding Restaurateur
  • Komi – Outstanding Service
  • Marcel’s – Outstanding Service, Outstanding Wine Program
  • CityZen – Outstanding Wine Program
  • Ripple/Roofers Union chef Marjorie Meek-Bradley – Rising Star Chef of the Year
  • Restaurant Eve chef/founder Cathal Armstrong – Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic
  • Iron Gate chef Anthony Chittum – Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic
  • Proof chef Haidar Karoum – Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic
  • Patowmack Farm chef Tarver King – Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic
  • Mintwood Place chef/founder Cedric Maupillier – Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic
  • Rasika chef Vikram Sunderam – Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic

Congrats to all the nominees.

Best of luck in the finals!

February 18, 2014

House Staffer Stuck by Bony Lunch Surprise

Congress may be absent this week, but Restaurant Associates’ devoted personnel remain — tirelessly seeding staff meals with new and exciting mystery ingredients.

Last week there was the vanishing catfish sliders conundrum. Earlier this month, someone fished a garden dweller out of their soup. And then there was that whole, mind-bending “vegetarian” cod thing.

Today, at least, the offensive material was properly identified.

House Staffer Stuck by Bony Lunch Surprise

(Courtesy HOH tipster)

Our poor lunch-deprived tipster plucked this bony mass from the heart of the chicken etouffee served in the Longworth Cafeteria. “I’m learning not to go downstairs and order things that look opaque,” the startled diner told HOH. Full story

Cochran’s Catfish Crusade

While we consider ourselves the de facto congressional lunch monitor, it’s tough to sneak anything by eagle-eyed seafood champ Sen. Thad Cochran.

The Mississippi Republican spotted a catfish special Wednesday that immediately sparked a bit of Southern pride.

 

 

When we quizzed Cochran about the availability of his home state’s main catch here in the Capitol, the seasoned pol gave D.C. high marks. Full story

February 12, 2014

Gulf Coasters Bait Congress With the Good Stuff

Hurried meetings on Capitol Hill might do for social media pushers or app designers.

But the business execs in charge of skippering a good portion of the country’s seafood supply to market prefer to slow things down a bit, serving up the delicious fruits of their labor and talking big picture when they sail into town.

Gulf Coasters Bait Congress With the Good Stuff

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

Members of the Gulf Coast Industry Council and the East Coast Shellfish Association will get the chance to do just that during their upcoming “Let the World Be Your Oyster” reception. The annual outreach effort, now in its 20th year, is scheduled to take place Feb. 19 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Acadiana (901 New York Ave. NW).

Attendees will be treated to a smorgasbord of regional specialties, lovingly prepared by visiting chefs from across Louisiana. Featured items include: oysters on the half shell courtesy of Acme Oyster House in New Orleans; oyster Rockefeller soup (fashioned from fresh oysters, butter, chopped spinach, Pernod and more) courtesy of Randol’s Restaurant in Lafayette; oysters voisin (fried oysters, creamed spinach, bacon, bordelaise sauce and extra cheese spooned over toasted baguettes) courtesy of Drago’s Seafood Restaurants; pickled oysters with sea beans, radish and caviar courtesy of Cotton in Monroe; open-faced oyster ravioli courtesy of Ruffino’s Restaurants; and charbroiled oysters courtesy of Acadiana toque Jeff Tunks. Full story

By Warren Rojas Posted at 1:25 p.m.
DC, Food, Nationwide, Reps, Sens

February 11, 2014

Members of Congress Attending the White House State Dinner

It’s one hot ticket: Not just a State Dinner, but a State Dinner for the president of France, Francois Hollande. How would you like to be the chef in charge of the souffle tonight?

Members of Congress have gotten a lot of cold shoulders from the White House during the Obama presidency, having seen traditional picnics and socials be postponed, then canceled, for instance. So how did the legislative branch come out on the invite list?

A roster from the Office of the First Lady shows 11 current members of Congress on the guest list, although FLOTUS tried goose the number to 12 by promoting Georgia state Rep. Stacey Abrams to federal office by identifying her as “United States Representative (Georgia).” Oh, well. They’ll just have to wait for an intervening election.

Here’s the list of members attending:

Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif.

Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va.

Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, D-Md.

Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

Rep. Harold Rogers, R-Ky.

Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif.

Rep. Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis.

Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y.

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla.

For those of you keeping score at home, that’s eight House members and three senators. Among those, there are seven Democrats and four Republicans.

Noted congressional alumni are former Sen. Max Cleland, D-Ga., who is now secretary of the American Battle Monuments Commission; former Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., now secretary of Defense, and former Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., currently secretary of State, along with Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., formerly the distinguished senator from Delaware.

February 10, 2014

Chewing on Beto O’Rourke’s Snacking Habits

Rep. Beto O’Rourke is a brave man. And not just because he’s open to rolling around town on public transportation, which he did late last week.

Nope.

The Texas Democrat wowed us by broadcasting his love for a certain guilty pleasure: Thin Mints.

 

 

Around midday on Feb. 7, O’Rourke interrupted his #BusingwithBeto adventure to stock up on the controversial confection.

Within minutes of the casual disclosure, the social-media-sphere passed judgment on O’Rourke’s shopping selection:

 

Full story

February 4, 2014

Today’s Congressional Special: Grasshopper Soup

No word on whether the unsuspecting House staffer who got served an apparently insect-laden cup of soup whilst dining Tuesday in a congressional cafeteria leaped right out of his/her chair. But we’ve got to imagine the meal-time surprise did not sit well.

Today’s Congressional Special: Grasshopper Soup

(Courtesy Cloture Club)

HOH attempted to touch base with the undoubtedly shocked party, but has not yet successfully contacted the individual who fished what certainly looks to be a deceased grasshopper from the depths of a Restaurant Associates-supplied repast. It’s not even clear which eatery dished out the offensive sustenance, as some rumor mongers insist the blame belongs to cooks in the Rayburn, while others maintain that the horror show happened in Longworth’s cafeteria.

Regardless, the phenomenon quickly spilled over onto social media and congressional listserves, as fellow aides shared the gross-out pic across Twitter and the House intranet.

Restaurant Associates did not respond to email queries concerning the suspect lunch offering. The congressional caterer has run up against some interesting issues as of late, including engaging in less-than-appetizing shop talk and brazenly flouting food labeling rules.

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