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

Posts in "Food"

November 13, 2014

Hill Staffers Soldier Through Bison Day Reception

Congress had been gone for weeks before trickling back into town Wednesday for the latest lame-duck session. A few hundred congressional aides celebrated the triumphant return of the resurgent Republican Party by getting their fill (and then some) of food, drink and plush collectibles at the National Bison Day reception.

Hill Staffers Soldier Through Bison Day Reception

Attendees mingling in Dirksen during the National Bison Day reception. (Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

The annual soiree, which took place in Dirksen, attracted scores of staffers and interns but few lawmakers. Projected guest speaker Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., turned out to be a no-show, but event organizers noted that Rep. José E. Serrano, D-N.Y., managed to swing by for a bit.

By the time this roving reporter penetrated the herd, the promised bison sliders and gourmet meatballs had been devoured. The food basically gone (save for a lone bowl of broken, pathetic-looking potato chips), partygoers turned their attention to sucking dry every last bottle of Budweiser and Bud Light bartenders could fish from icy bins.

Hill Staffers Soldier Through Bison Day Reception

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

“It’s way too wobbly. It would probably only take one person to knock it over,” a visibly buzzed guest estimated while eyeballing the evening’s oversized star attraction. Full story

From the Drive-Thru to Congress: The Fast-Food Caucus Dishes

Apart from her immediate family — and, perhaps, the hog castrators of the world — no one appears to be prouder of Iowa Republican Joni Ernst than those she used to break bake bread with.

Hence the reason Andy Puzder, CEO of CKE Restaurants, rushed to congratulate the one-time breakfast-rush worker and senator-elect in a splashy ad in the Des Moines Register.

From the Drive Thru to Congress: The Fast Food Caucus Dishes

(Courtesy HOH tipster)

“Thanks, Joni, for reminding us that, in this great country of ours, your job and your life are what you make of them,” the head of the Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. chains praised in the ad, after Ernst touted her biscuit-making past in her election night victory speech.

Her ascension to Capitol Hill follows a career trajectory familiar to the growing number of lawmakers who dedicated parts of their youth to slinging burgers and fries at various grab-and-go establishments.

Other members of what we’ve dubbed the Fast-Food Caucus include:

Rep. Paul D. Ryan

An aide to the 2012 GOP vice presidential pick confirmed that the Wisconsin Republican briefly worked at McDonald’s during the summer between his sophomore and junior years of high school.

According to his office, the former grill cook — “The manager didn’t think I had the social skills to work the counter,” Ryan told the New Yorker — gleaned plenty from the experience.

“Congressman Ryan learned the value of hard work — a lesson that continues to help him in Congress today,” Team Ryan said. And before being elected to the House, Ryan further honed his hospitality skills working at Tortilla Coast.  Full story

November 11, 2014

Thundering Herds Expected Wednesday for Bison Day Fest

The bison lobby is storming back onto the Hill Wednesday for its annual congressional reception — a celebration of things large, lumbering and mammalian.

The National Bison Day shindig (NBD was actually on Nov. 1, but this is close enough for government work, right?) is scheduled to take place Wednesday from 5:30 to 7 p.m. in Dirksen 106. Interested parties are strongly encouraged to RSVP via Eventbrite.

One of the sponsors told HOH this year’s festivities would include complimentary bison sliders (courtesy of Western Buffalo Company), bison meatballs (a new addition to the program), bison-shaped cookies and samples of Buffalo Trace Distillery’s barrel-aged wares (everything’s coming up Kentucky!)

Amateur photographers can also snap away at the planned Beards for Bison “selfie station.” Full story

November 7, 2014

Pro-Japanese Politicians Honored for Their Global Outreach

While the rest of us spent the week fixating on everything that is wrong with Congress, the Japanese extolled the good that federal lawmakers can do by conferring one of that country’s top honors upon Washington Democratic Rep. Jim McDermott and Wisconsin Republican Reps. Tom Petri and Jim Sensenbrenner.

The three lawmakers recently received the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star in recognition of their working relationships with the island nation.

Pro Japanese Politicians Honored for Their Global Outreach

Petri displays his Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star awards in Japan. (Courtesy Tom Petri)

“For a long time they have been making contributions to promoting Japan-U.S. legislative exchange, and maintaining and deepening the Japan-U.S. alliance through the promotion of enhanced understanding of Japan in the U.S. Congress,” Japanese officials stated in a release, adding, “It is unprecedented for 3 members of the U.S. Congress to simultaneously receive this honor.” Full story

Bend the Elbow With Northwesterners at Annual Beer Fest

The state societies for expats from Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon and Washington are once again taking over the North Hall of Eastern Market to celebrate their favorite regional export: craft beer.

The annual “Go West Beer Fest” is scheduled to take place Nov. 14 from 7 to 10 p.m. and will feature, for the very first time, signature pours from Seattle-based Elysian Brewing Company.

Non-members can get a taste of what they’ve been missing by forking over $30 — a fee which has, in past years, entitled guests to unlimited pours from participating breweries (Redhook, Big Sky and Deschutes).

According to one organizer, mobile vendors DC Slices (specializing in thin crust pies and fully loaded tater tots) and Dirty South Deli (grilled Andouille sausage and pimento cheese sammie, please) have been tasked with making sure that visiting bellies remain full.

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November 5, 2014

Election Night Partyers Drink It All In

Election Night Partyers Drink It All In

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

Keeping tabs on the shifting electoral landscape is much easier to do with a drink in your hand. At least that’s what HOH took away from the spirited exchanges we encountered in D.C. on election night 2014. At a watch party in The Jefferson Hotel organized by owner Connie Milstein, guests were greeted with warm smiles and air kisses — and then immediately hustled into a faux voting booth.

Election Night Partyers Drink It All In

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

“Now that you voted, you can go to the bar!” one of the evening’s bubblier hostesses informed guests who’d just finished casting their ballots for those they’d most like to see run for president during the next cycle. Full story

November 3, 2014

Newt, Electing for Some Downtime

With just hours to go until the Election Day buzzsaw officially rips apart half the nation’s hopes and dreams, candidates are hustling to sew up every last possible vote any which way they can.

Louisiana Republican Bill Cassidy, who is hoping to unseat Sen. Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., in what’s likely to be a down-to-the-wire challenge, was pounding the pavement in search of support.

 

 

Full story

Turned On? Tune In! Or Drop Out (Whatevs)

Turned On? Tune In! Or Drop Out (Whatevs)

(Screenshot)

Election night 2014 is looking like it’ll be a nail-biter.

With so many variables in play — Will the Affordable Care Act ultimately prove detrimental to Democrats’ professional health? Who will independent candidates caucus with on Capitol Hill? How long (and how many runoffs) before we divine the next Senate majority leader? — one might be tempted to grab a drink, catch a movie and perhaps wait for “The Daily Show” recap on Wednesday, rather than suffer through umpteen hours of wall-to-wall news coverage.

But that’s not how #ThisTown rolls, is it? Full story

October 29, 2014

Medium Rare Brings Fried Turkey Service to Barracks Row

Medium Rare founder Mark Bucher is importing a holiday tradition to Capitol Hill: staff will fry up — for free — any turkeys folks brought by his new(ish) Barracks Row location on Thanksgiving morning.

Bucher says he instituted the neighborly program back in 2008, and explained he has followed through with the meal-making assistance virtually every year since, though he noted he “took last year off.” His best showing so far: 120 birds dunked in a single day.

“We’re going to save people from burning down their house or going to the emergency room,” Bucher told Fox DC about his self-styled community service. This year’s deep-frying fest is scheduled to take place on Nov. 27 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Full story

October 21, 2014

Politicians Opt to Swap Sweets, Brews and ‘Cue in World Series Bets

Whichever club clinches the best-of-seven World Series — be it the back-after-nearly-three-decades Kansas City Royals or the ring-collecting San Francisco Giants — stands to earn their respective congressional delegations a humdinger of a celebratory feast.

Democrats in both chambers have seized on the season-ending baseball saga (Game 1 is scheduled for Tuesday at 8:07 p.m. in Kansas City, Missouri) as an opportunity to talk smack to one another and trumpet their most prized regional spoils.

Over in the House, Minority Leader and self-styled cacao connoisseur Nancy Pelosi of California would presumably treat Rep. Emmanuel Cleaver II of Missouri to a basket of gourmet confections should the Royals complete their Cinderella story.

A Pelosi aide confirmed that she has, in the past, rewarded others with samples of Ghirardelli and TCHO creations. “But of course we don’t plan on giving up any chocolate,” Team Pelosi suggested.

Cleaver has countered with the promise of a president’s platter from Gates Bar-B-Q, which is renowned for its pork ribs and burnt ends.

“I don’t usually gamble, but I will make an exception and wager some of the finest barbecue Kansas City, Missouri, has to offer,” Cleaver said in a statement. “Victory shall be sweet indeed.”

Full story

October 2, 2014

D.C. Watering Holes Embrace MLB Pennant Race

We’re still weeks away from knowing if #ThisTown could serve as the backdrop for a fabled “Beltway Series.”

D.C. Watering Holes Embrace MLB Pennant Race

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

But now that the Washington Nationals and Baltimore Orioles have earned their way into postseason play, local bars are gearing up for a very exciting weekend.

Thursday

Game 1 of the best-of-five series between the Baltimore Orioles and the Detroit Tigers: 5:30 p.m.

The Pug (1234 H St. NE)

The Atlas District mainstay has been doling out ballpark favorites such as peanuts, Cracker Jack and free hot dogs (!) for at least a week now.

 

 

Per Twitter, that generosity seems likely to continue while D.C. and Charm City remain on the hunt.

Reliable Source (National Press Club)

Fellow hacks can unabashedly root, root, root for Peter Angelos’ team within the comfort of the Truman Lounge. Flying Dog Lagers and D.C. Brau Pale Ales for $5 should ease the sting of not being in Camden Yards.

Now if only the NPC had an in with Boog’s BBQ … Full story

September 30, 2014

Noshtalgia: Catching Up With the Globe-Trotting Pasty

Noshtalgia: Catching Up With the Globe Trotting Pasty

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

One of the most rewarding things about helping you, the loyal Noshtalgia reader, reconnect with cherished comfort foods (other than finding them or the most readily accessible analog possible, of course) is learning just how integral said memory-making-meals are to their respective communities.

I have heard, for instance, about the preponderance of mom-and-pop pasty shacks that supposedly dot the landscape of Michigan’s northernmost appendage. But having never trekked across the Lake Superior-facing stretch of the Wolverine State, I am unfamiliar with the iron grip the savory hand pies have on native Michiganders.

At least until Nick Sharkey shared his deep-seated longing with me. Full story

Navigating the New Orleans Tummy

NEW ORLEANS — Attention political professionals, journalists and anyone else traveling beyond the Beltway this election season: When in doubt, eat where the district director suggests.

In the case of the Crescent City, even a frequent visitor would benefit from the advice of Enix Smith, district director for Louisiana Democratic Rep. Cedric L. Richmond, who dished on his go-to plates.

Among the best sampled from Smith’s list was food far from the madding crowd: fried chicken wings at Manchu. A purple block building across from the I-10 overpass in Treme, Manchu’s signage states: “Food Store PH 947-5507 Chinese Food Beer Groceries Liquor Po Boys Sea Food Plates American Food Fried Chicken Wings.” It’s a place easy to drive past. Don’t be fooled.

Navigating the New Orleans Tummy

(Jason Dick/CQ Roll Call)

The wings were a delight and a deal: Crispy, flaky batter surrounding manageably sized snacks. Unpretentious, tasty and cheap. Digging a little deeper into the food world revealed a shout-out for Manchu from “Eat Dat,” a recent book by Michael Murphy. The author assembles a panel of city food judges to rank dishes, restaurants and experiences and invites the reader to compare his picks to theirs. Under “Where to Get The Best Fried Chicken,” Manchu ranked at No. 7, in close company with esteemed establishments Dooky Chase’s and Willa Mae’s Scotch House.

Navigating the New Orleans Tummy

(Jason Dick/CQ Roll Call)

Another highlight? Charbroiled oysters from Drago’s, a combination of flame-broiled oysters with an industrial-sized portion of Parmesan cheese, butter, garlic and parsley. It’s a unique, incredible mouthful.

Navigating the New Orleans Tummy

Alas, only so many meals can fit in a day. The rest of Smith’s list casts a wide net, and includes way-off-the-beaten path gems such as Castnet Seafood’s sausage on a bun. So those of you covering the Senate race down there, or working it, don’t be afraid to venture beyond Café du Monde and Commander’s Palace. In Richmond’s words, “When folks come to visit our city they definitely do not leave hungry.”

 

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September 29, 2014

Manufacturing Lobby Fetes ‘Factory Man’ Scribe

Business leaders plan to raise a glass Friday to journalist-turned-author Beth Macy in recognition of her work on “Factory Man,” the Tom Hanks-endorsed, anti-globalization success story.

 

Manufacturing Lobby Fetes Factory Man Scribe

(Screenshot)

 

In an environment wherein lawmakers continue wrestling with corporate inversions and the staggering flight of industrial jobs, Vaughan-Bassett Furniture Chairman John D. Bassett III stands as a testament to the resilience of the American worker.

 

 

“You people have proven that we can compete — and defeat — any competitor in any country in the world,” Vaughan-Bassett Furniture President and CEO Wyatt Bassett congratulated his employees in January 2012, after John helped revitalize the family business and surrounding city of Galax, Va., with a fresh infusion of cash and renewed stream of consumer demand. Full story

September 26, 2014

Congressional Hits and Misses: Best of Bill Nelson (Video)

With Congress out until after the midterms, Heard on the Hill kicks off election season by saluting the members who go the extra mile to make Capitol Hill such a unique place to work.

This week, Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., teaches us about outer space, drywall and how to win a football game.

Related:

Congressional Hits and Misses: Best of John Boehner (Video)

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

Congressional Hits and Misses: Best of Nancy Pelosi (Video)

Congressional Hits and Misses: Best of Mitch McConnell (Video)

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