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September 2, 2014

Posts in "Food"

June 2, 2014

Taste of America Defending Champ Eliminated, Field Is Wide Open

Taste of America Defending Champ Eliminated, Field Is Wide Open

What’s an apigigi? As pictured here in 2011, it’s a Taste of America winner that went on to be stifled the next year. Competition is fierce. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo.)

With last year’s champion out of the Taste of America competition, the field is wide open for a new dish to be crowned the best food in America.

So which state’s specialty will be this year’s Cinderella story? That remains to be seen as round 3 is currently underway and is set to end Friday.

The bracket-style tournament occurs alongside the 53rd Annual Congressional Baseball Game and pits state delicacies against one another, giving voters the opportunity to choose which dish will come out on top. Full story

May 29, 2014

Hospitality Vet Handicaps Taste of America Tourney

Journeyman toque Colin Abernethy was simply beside himself when he learned about what is going on in the regional grudge match that is Roll Call’s annual Taste of America showdown.

“I’m sorry, but no love for WV and its pepperoni rolls or Tudor’s biscuits? This vote is a sham!” the seasoned chef scolded the TOAverse after discovering that the much beloved West Virginia pepperoni roll was alive, but apparently not doing as well as the dominating lobster roll, in this year’s gustatory gauntlet.

Hospitality Vet Handicaps Taste of America Tourney

(CQ Roll Call Photo Illustration)

The bracket-style challenge began on May 12 and features four rounds of public voting, through June 20. The winner will be crowned on June 25 at a reception during the 53rd Annual Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game.

Instead of bellyaching about the current state of affairs, Abernethy vowed to get politically active.

“There’s still hope for the pepperoni roll as I just notified a bunch of Facebook friends about it lagging behind,” the naturally competitive chef assured us of his campaigning efforts.

More importantly, he agreed to put on his thinking cap and plot out the culinary carnage looming just ahead: Full story

May 28, 2014

Bacon or Ice Cream? Taste of America, Round Deux, Will Decide

Round Two of this year’s Roll Call Taste of America is underway, with last year’s champ, West Virginia’s Pepperoni Roll, after polishing off Boston Cream Pie in Round One, facing off against Delaware Boardwalk Fries.

The West Virginia-Delaware matchup isn’t the only Mid-Atlantic throwdown. Maryland Crab Cakes and D.C. Half-Smokes are also going mano a mano in the Round of 32 for bragging rights.

In intriguing comfort food contests, it’s hard to beat the beef bragging rights at, ahem, stake, in the Montana Steak versus Idaho Steak Fingers fight. And how can one resolve the Missouri Ice Cream Cone and Iowa Bacon question?

Vote early, vote often, as the purveyors of Chicago politics (and deep dish pizza!) might say.

By Jason Dick Posted at 5:17 p.m.
Food, Nationwide

May 27, 2014

The Balls Are in Your Court, Testy Festers

All you Big Sky gourmands can once again feast on the unique flavors of home during the Montana State Society’s 10th annual Rocky Mountain Oyster-packed jamboree on Saturday.

The Balls Are in Your Court, Testy Festers

(Courtesy Montana State Society)

The “Nuttin’ Better” event is scheduled to fill expectant bellies with all the deep-fried bull balls, blended Canadian whiskey and cold domestic beer any red-blooded American could want Saturday from 6-10 p.m.

Tickets to the all-you-can-eat-and-drink shindig, which is returning to American Legion Post 139 (3445 N. Washington Blvd., Arlington, Va.), are available online for $25 (through Friday) or $30 at the door.

One event organizer assured HOH that everyone would be privy to as much liquid courage as they like/need, whether it be administered by the cup (Crown Royal will purportedly be served straight up or mixed with soda) or the gallon (featured suds include: Budweiser, Bud Light, Coors Light, Miller Lite and Pabst Blue Ribbon). Full story

By Warren Rojas Posted at 4:54 p.m.
Booze, Food, Nationwide

May 21, 2014

Time Running Out to Vote in Taste of America’s First Round

Time is running out to vote for your favorite food in the first round of this year’s Taste of America competition.  Voting ends Friday, when the first batch of some states’ tasty concoctions will be tossed out.

Taste of America is an annual competition that happens alongside the Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game and pits signature dishes from each state against one another.

Last year’s winner, West Virginia’s pepperoni roll, is poised to advance to the next round with five times the votes of its competition, Boston Cream Pie.

One matchup to watch is the fried fruit face off, which is the closest contest of the first round. Only a few dozen votes separate Puerto Rico’s fried plantains and Alabama’s fried green tomatoes.

You can check out this year’s dishes and make sure that your state’s food will prevail at rollcalltasteofamerica.com/brackets.cfm. You can also learn more about some of the unique dishes vying for first place. Ever wonder what goes into Nevada’s chuckwagon buffet, Minnesota’s hotdish casserole or Nebraska’s handheld meat pie?  Now’s your chance to find out.

May 20, 2014

White House Surrogates Pregame at Big Bear Café

The President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities members Sarah Jessica Parker, Frank Gehry, Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews and Chuck Close all made a night of if it Monday in Bloomingdale, taking over Big Bear Café at 1700 First St. NW for a private party filled with what sounds like good cheer and some pretty fabulous food.

HOH alumna Neda Semnani was unable to contain her excitement about the roaming celebs — the group is in town to help scrounge up additional resources for artistic programs; some have been recruited to do a little arm-twisting Wednesday while crisscrossing the Capitol — blasting out the news of the SPJ-led invasion to the Twittersphere.

A Big Bear staffer told HOH that the group of 25 enjoyed a casual dinner culled from the restaurant’s current menu — with some embellishments (natch).

“We did send out some special bites to start that included Keswick Creamery quark from the Sunday farmers market on a raisin crostini with black olive truffle tapenade, chicken liver pate with cherried brandies on sourdough crostini, smoked bluefish rillettes, and house pickled ramps and asparagus — grown by our friends at Bounty Hill Farms,” our tipster said of the gourmet nibbles sprung upon the visiting celebs.

Per our source, ex-Tabard Inn Executive Chef Paul Pelt was on hand to help craft some of the tasty new additions, including a shrimp remoulade accompanied by fried pickled green tomato that debuted Monday night and will remain on the BBC menu moving forward. We hear Parker also indulged in a portion of Pelt’s signature gumbo.

Meanwhile, newly minted pastry chef Huw Griffiths (another Tabard Inn alumnus) provided guests with sweet send-offs of rhubarb apple crisp and chocolate dacquoise.

With all those talented folks assembled under one roof, there had to be some drama, right?

Not so, swore the insider.

“Staff didn’t hear one crazy thing all night, strangely — but definitely witnessed a genuine bond and appreciation for each other; their involvement in the program and a love of kids,” our spy suggested.

The restaurant was so pleased with the way everything turned out, in fact, that staff extended an open invitation to have any (or all) of the first-timers return whenever they’re back in town.

And their local pals appear to be welcome too.

“The Obamas and Bidens have yet to visit Big Bear,” Team BBC noted. “But we’re hopeful that last night’s party will put in a good word for us.”

May 16, 2014

Roll Call Trivia: The Answers

Compiled by Margaret Prothier

Okay, are you stumped yet? Last week, we posted the trivia questions from our Taste of America Roll Call kickoff party.

The winners (“Team Linked” — Oscar Santillana, Emma Chaiken, Linda Santiago, Amanda Kaster and Chris Averill) scored 12 points.

Here are the answers, did you beat them?

Full story

Binge Drink to Brad Ingwell’s Health!

Local bartender Brad Ingwell may have to go through cancer treatment, but his pals in the industry are not going to let him do it alone.

Binge Drink to Brad Ingwell’s Health!

(Courtesy 201 Bar)

Fellow hospitality vets Paige Farrell and Mike Haigis dreamed up “Brad-a-Palooza” as a way to raise Ingwell’s spirits — and perhaps a few bucks — as he shoulders the burden of attempting to vanquish the stage 3A lung cancer diagnosis that totally blindsided him this past winter.

“We’re trying to structure it as an opportunity to raise some money and show our support,” Farrell said of the mini-bar crawl.

Liquid courage is scheduled to flow freely Friday from 6-10 p.m. at both 201 Bar and Union Pub (201 Massachusetts Ave. NE); a $50 contribution (suggested) will grant participants access to a partial open bar (rail liquor), light appetizers, live music, a photo booth, a silent auction and raffle.

Per Farrell, those more comfortable donating less can still enjoy the food and entertainment as well as signature drink specials (just no open bar).

All donations will go towards helping defray Ingwell’s out-of-pocket expenses for the ongoing medical treatment.

“I’m really touched by it,” Ingwell, who serves as area director of the two participating watering holes as well as the fledgling Barrel, said of the outpouring of support he’s received from the Capitol Hill community.

Still, he’s very much looking forward to putting this whole being sick thing behind him.

“The prognosis is relatively good. They think they can cure it,” Ingwell shared.

That’s the spirit.

May 14, 2014

The Case of the Missing Senate Bean Soup

Politically motivated government shutdowns. Bottom of the barrel public approval ratings. Career-ending sex scandals.

Few things seem to phase congressional staffers anymore — save for the absence of their daily helping of Senate Bean Soup.

The Case of the Missing Senate Bean Soup

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

A well-seasoned aide sent out a distress call late Tuesday, after making a terribly unsettling discovery.

“A tipster just emailed me asking why the Senate Carryout isn’t serving Senate Bean Soup this week for the first time in the two decades he has been working here. The people want to know,” a colleague alerted your trusty HOH reporter.

Was this the end of an era?

Had an out-of-town catering operation unilaterally decided to shun the social compact that has kept the signature brew — a hearty blend of creamy white beans, smoked ham and savory onion — on the minds (and lips) of D.C. lawmakers for more than a century?

Yup.

But it was only a temporary cataclysm.

“Yes, we ran out and replaced it temporarily with another soup until we restocked the Senate Bean Soup,” Restaurant Associates spokeswoman Gina Zimmer said of the momentary drought that devastated bean soup devotees.

The dish, which first filled congressional bellies in the early days of the 20th century, has long-since evolved from mere sustenance to rhetorical hallmark.

Sen. Patrick J. Leahy invoked it as a punch line in late 2000, during a heated debate of a sweeping bankruptcy overhaul bill.

“This is a no-brainer. We already debated it and voted on it 80-17. We have a hard time getting an 80-17 vote here to support the bean soup in the Senate cafeteria,” the Vermont Democrat razzed naysayers. (Remember simple majority votes? Ahhh, good times.)

Then-Sen. Frank Murkowski heralded the fabled foodstuff on the Senate floor during a tribute to his fellow Alaska Republican, the now-late Ted Stevens, back when Ace of Base still ruled the airwaves. He called it “one of Sen. Stevens’ favorites.”

Will the next generation solons be robbed of this gustatory reference point?

“Have no fear, the soup is here to stay!” Zimmer assured us, noting that her company typically stirs up three gallons of the stuff every single day.

Of course, our heart still skipped a beat when we strode into the Senate Carry Out on Wednesday and spotted only oatmeal and a roasted tomato-spinach offering bubbling in the warming pots. “If it’s not out there, there should be some in the Refectory upstairs,” a carry out staffer clued us in. (She was right.)

Or one could put on a pot of boiling water and follow the incredibly simple recipe on the Senate website.

May 13, 2014

Food Lovers Bombard Cory Booker’s Twitter Feed

Sen. Cory Booker was up and at ’em early Tuesday, greeting his social media flock with an invitation to toss a few local shops his way in order to some them much-deserved love during Small Business Week 2014.

 

 

The New Jersey Democrat quickly learned that food is what fuels 99.99 percent of ALL discussions online.

Sure, there was an architecture group named here. And a woman-owned outfit was heralded there.

 

 

But the majority of folks were determined to spread the word about personal dining gems, a must-hit list that included:

Bagel Buffet, Hackensack: A local bakery/café specializing in sandwiches and such that also donates baked goods to neighboring food pantries (“Sounds delicious,” Booker suggested).

Giorgio’s Pasticcerie, Hoboken: Family-owned bakery specializing in Italian and French pastries.

Blueplate, Mullica Hill: Neighborhood restaurant specializing in Modern American cuisine.

Benny’s, Fair Lawn: Old school luncheonette dealing in home fries, patty melts and their signature “Overstuffed Hot Pastrami Sandwich.”

Bischoff’s Ice Cream, Teaneck: An 80-year-old sweets shop that dabbles in the likes of pumpkin fudge, coffee-cookie crush ice cream (coffee cream with crumbled Oreos) and strawberry ice cream sodas. (“I’ll believe it when I taste it,” Booker asserted)

Judicke’s Bakery, Bayonne: Family-run bakery renowned for cranking out old favorites (baklava, mascarpone mousse cake) as well as trendy treats (“Frozen”-themed cupcakes).

White Manna, Hackensack, and Kosher Nosh, Glenn Rock: The former is a fast-food haven renowned for its onion-packed sliders while the latter is a traditional deli dishing smoked fish platters, triple-decker sandwiches and Jewish comfort foods (chopped liver, stuffed cabbage, chicken-in-a-pot).

DP’s Pub, Garfield: A dive bar with a thing for seafood. (“Their garlic sauce is legendary,” Booker shared)

SeaGrass Restaurant, Ocean Grove: Polished eatery with a penchant for seasonal cooking.

Mount Royal Bagel Company, Marlton: The house that wood-fired, “Montreal-style” bagels (“boiled in honey water before baking,” the website explains) built.

Biggie’s Clam Bar, Hoboken: A nearly 70-year-old raw bar that’s since spun off into other states (Tennessee).

Osteria Procacci, Kingston: Upscale pizza joint specializing in gourmet pies.

Magic Fountain Ice Cream and Grill, Elizabeth: Deep-fried everything plus frozen goodies.

Carlo’s Bakery, Hoboken: The spot that catapulted reality TV vet- Buddy Valastro to “Cake Boss” fame. (“A favorite of mine, too,” Booker revealed)

Southside Roast, Cranford: Local java source with a few nibbles (soups, sandwiches) to boot.

To wit, the only way out of the restaurant rumble for the food-fatigued solon was to retreat to the relative safety of the chamber:

 

 

Looks like Mr. Text Happy bit off more than he could chew this time.

May 12, 2014

DC Vote Rounds Up Pols, VIPs for Inaugural Ball

Advocates for extending voting rights to the District are adding another weapon to their coalition-building arsenal: the (local) star-studded gala.

DC Vote Rounds Up Pols, VIPs for Inaugural Ball

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 4:57 p.m. | Politicos expected to strut their stuff at the inaugural “3 Star Ball: Party With a Purpose” include: Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., shadow Sen. Paul Strauss and councilmembers-turned-mayoral-hopefuls Muriel Bowser and David Catania. The event is scheduled to take place May 22 from 6:30 to 9 p.m. on the scenic rooftop of the National Association of Realtors’ HQ (500 New Jersey Ave. NW).

Tickets to the gala, which will feature gourmet finger foods, frosty pours of DC Brau’s “The Citizen” and “Public Ale” and live entertainment, are $75 per person.

Organizers carved out a place for newly minted U.S. citizen José Andrés on the host committee. But, sadly, the bicoastal restaurateur will not be working his culinary magic for the mingling masses. That task falls to Alexandria, Va.-based Windows Catering, which is expected to ply partygoers with the likes of lobster rolls, beef Wellington, grilled vegetable quesadillas and cheesecake lollipops (among other nibbles).

DC Vote also plans to honor a pair of hometown heroes that night: regional suds slinger DC Brau, and Nancy Bagley, ex-aide in the administration of President Bill Clinton turned media maven (Washington Life Magazine).

“DC Brau has displayed extraordinary efforts to educate consumers about DC’s lack of congressional representation. They include messaging about DC statehood and representation on their cans of beer as well as in promotional advertising for their products,” DC Vote Executive Director Kimberly Perry said of the brewery’s in-your-face campaigning.

May 9, 2014

Roll Call Trivia Night: Stump Your Friends

Compiled by Margaret Prothier

It’s Taste of America season, and Roll Call appropriately hosted a kickoff party this week with a trivia contest.

The winners (“Team Linked” — Oscar Santillana, Emma Chaiken, Linda Santiago, Amanda Kaster and Chris Averill) scored 12 points. Can you beat them? Put your knowledge to the test and give it a try. The questions are below. No Googling! We’ll post the answers next week.

Full story

Congressional Hits and Misses: Week of May 5 (Video)

While Majority Leader Harry Reid dished on greased pigs, the Nevada desert and People magazine, members kept busy focusing on Kool-Aid, CNN and “House of Cards.”

May 8, 2014

Chaffetz, Gowdy Talk Turkey Over ‘Za

Chaffetz, Gowdy Talk Turkey Over Za

“Just guys having some pizza and talking about everything under the sun,” Chaffetz said of the meal.

An HOH tipster bumped into Reps. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, and Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., at We, The Pizza late Wednesday night and swore the two chums seemed to be plotting something serious.

“They were talking about ‘eliminating people,’” our source suggested.

Chaffetz, however, threw cold water all over that little conspiracy theory.

“Just guys having some pizza and talking about everything under the sun,” he said of the impromptu visit.

According to Chaffetz, the two pals — “Trey is one of my best friends around here,” he stated — decided to pop into his go-to pizza spot after filming a TV hit on Fox News.

No special occasion. (“We share a meal or two about every week,” Chaffetz estimated.)

No nefarious purpose. (“There was no ‘eliminating’ anybody talk,” he assured HOH.)

And, for once, no swinging by Good Stuff Eatery for a bonus helping of fries.

“I’m dieting,” Chaffetz confessed.

When a couple did approach their table and start speculating about committee assignments for the fledgling group expected to bear down on the 2012 attack on a U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, the lawmakers gave nothing away.

“We just laughed,” Chaffetz said of the armchair quarterbacking that consumes This Town.

House GOP leaders are expected to make their investigatory team known this Friday.

By Warren Rojas Posted at 5:31 p.m.
Food, HillSide, Reps, Restos

April 30, 2014

Rand Paul’s Flatizza Run Causes Near Riot

Never mind grandstanding in Iowa and New Hampshire.

People in This Town absolutely lose their s— when presumed presidential contenders — in this case, Sen. Rand Paul — step out for a bite to eat.

Rand Paul’s Flatizza Run Causes Near Riot

(Screenshot)

A simple visit by the Kentucky Republican to the home of the global leader in 11-inch sandwiches resulted in a barrage of emails bearing surreptitiously snapped photos and links to bizarro tweets that flooded the HOH inbox as if the second coming were upon us.

 

 

Full story

By Warren Rojas Posted at 5:25 p.m.
DC, Food, Foolishness, Sens, Whuck

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