Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
July 31, 2014

Posts in "Food"

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

April 28, 2014

Reviews in for Grimm’s Healthalicious, and They’re Not Good

Rep. Michael G. Grimm is in a heap of trouble over his involvement in the New York City restaurant Healthalicious, a fast-food joint on the Upper East Side he operated before being elected to Congress. The feds have indicted him over what they say are unsavory payroll practices.

Good thing customer satisfaction wasn’t factored into the equation, because there’s a long trail of unhappy patrons.

Yelp’s most recent reviews paint a picture of high prices, mediocre food and questionable sanitation. Jordan K. of Manhattan, last week bemoaned price — “$30 on 2 salads once” — but said the “food tastes pretty fresh whenever I get it. I keep going back, so that’s something.” That less-than-ringing endorsement is about as good as it gets.

Caitlin H. from Manhattan wrote in March: “Horribly limp, watery and incredibly disappointing 10 dollar Caesar salad. … The only saving grace was the Parmesan cheese. … That is all I ate.”

In February, Sheila S. of Manhattan advised, “Don’t Go There … The guy who was preparing my salad was using one hand to prepare it and the other hand to pick his nose. No gloves. Then both hands reached toward my salad but I couldn’t tell if he was touching it with his hands or a kitchen utensil as the counter blocked my view. DISGUSTING. I will never go there again.”

Other user review sites, such as Menu Pages, are less than kind. An anonymous reviewer, perhaps concerned he or she could be thrown off a balcony if true identity was verified, said back in January: “Not good. I would not let anyone in my family eat here again.”

Scandal-tinged sites tend to attract the curious. But consider yourself forewarned, tourists: If you must go see Grimmalicous, don’t eat.

 

Related Stories:

GOP Could Be Stuck With Grimm, Despite Expected Indictment

Grimm Expected to Be Indicted

Bill Maher’s Audience Targets Grimm, Farenthold

Capitol Journalists Opt to Lay Rep. Grimm’s Threat to Rest

Michael Grimm Threatens to Throw Reporter Off Balcony (Video)

April 25, 2014

Congressional ‘Chefs’ Ready Recipes for Gourmet Gala

With the 32nd Annual March of Dimes Gourmet Gala just days away, congressional tastemakers are dusting off old favorites and whipping up new temptations with which to woo support for charity cook-off bragging rights.

The epic fundraiser (individual tickets start at $1,500 per person) is scheduled to take place May 7 beginning at 6 p.m. at the National Building Museum (440 G St. NW).

Organizers have opted to embrace a state fair theme for the glitzy dine-around, and more than three dozen House and Senate lawmakers have accepted the challenge to create a hopefully noteworthy nibble.

In keeping with tradition, the Capitol Hill “chefs” will be vying for a handful of honors, including: Best Presentation, Health and Happiness, American Regional Cuisine, Easiest Preparation, Best in Show and the People’s Choice Award.

Full story

April 22, 2014

Homesick South Dakotans Take Heart, Taco John Is on the Way

Midwesterners desperately in need of a Taco John’s fix should strap on their hungry pants on May 10.

That’s when members of the South Dakota State Society will once again crank out mountains of the take-out joint’s signature Potato Ole (that’s specially seasoned potato crowns to you and me, Russ) to feed the homesick masses.

The sixth annual fundraiser is scheduled to take place at the US-Asia Institute (232 East Capitol St. NE) some time in the afternoon.

Can’t wait to have your fellow Mount Rushmore Staters fling deep-fried spuds down your throat?

Warm up for the West-Mex fiesta by giving homemade Potato Oles a go.

According to Food.com contributor Annabel31, the secret to the signature flavor is, well, no secret at all. Her copycat condiment calls for little more than seasoned salt, paprika, ground cumin and crushed red pepper.

Happy snacking!

April 21, 2014

Staffer Suspects Senate Burger Switcheroo

As if congressional dining options weren’t sketchy enough, a Senate aide is now all salty about a purported bait and switch, calling into question the integrity of the American Grill’s signature Senate Burger.

Staffer Suspects Senate Burger Switcheroo

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

According to the fed-up food spy, Restaurant Associates has replaced the Angus beef patties previously featured in the double-decker gut bomb with smaller, lesser quality patties while continuing to charge the premium rate ($6 solo; $8 to have extra crispy fries and a fountain drink ride shotgun).

In all honesty, we’ve not paid that close attention to the building blocks of the congressional burger offerings before (too busy breaking down the specialty misfires). And Restaurant Associates, per usual, did not respond to emails inquiring about the composition of the Senate Burger vs. the other grilled meats served around the Capitol complex.

So we got to munching.

A regular burger from the American Grill is, in fact, nothing to write home about. Full story

April 11, 2014

Tom Petri’s S.O.S (Save Our Sausages)

Wisconsin Republican Tom Petri took to the House floor Thursday to issue a dire warning to grill tenders the world over: Europe is coming for our pork products.

“Bratwursts are delicious,” he declared in a shout-out to Sheboygan’s claim to fame.

It seems the European Union wants to impose new restrictions on certain products, namely processed meats, cheeses and seasonal beers, as part of a swirling trade agreement — a power grab that’s left a bad taste in the Wisconsin delegation’s mouths.

“This is, frankly, getting ridiculous,” Petri argued, adding, “If anything, we should be trademarking the name ‘bratwurst,’ not them.”

Across the Capitol, Wisconsin Democrat Tammy Baldwin has rallied nearly half the Senate to the cause, raising a bipartisan chorus of voices in favor of protecting homegrown snacks from the proposed geographic restrictions. Full story

Congressional Hits and Misses: Week of April 7 (Video)

While senators explain their beef with cable TV and representatives talk about Big Macs, Majority Leader Harry Reid just cannot get enough Koch.

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