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April 20, 2014

Posts in "Food"

December 11, 2013

Vegetarian Staffers Prep Last 2013 Feast, Plan for 2014

The Congressional Vegetarian Staff Association wants to send everyone home for the holidays with a full belly, so it’s bringing in the Randy Radish to feed the masses at the final policy luncheon of the year.

The educational event, which will feature a keynote speech by Dr. Michael Greger, director of Public Health and Animal Agriculture at the Humane Society of the United States, is scheduled to take place Dec. 18 at noon in the Capitol Visitor Center (HVC 201). The lunch discussion, part of the group’s ongoing outreach, is free and open to everyone.

The Randy Radish is a local food truck that hangs its hat on vegan fare. House specialties include: a baked, barbecue sauce-drizzled jackfruit offering, a marinated tofu “Reuben,” a vegetarian hot dog with your choice of toppings (chili, sauerkraut, chopped onions) and house-made iced cinnamon buns.

Meanwhile, the CVSA is already plotting a dynamic new year.

A CVSA aide told HOH the group is hoping to bring together a certain diet-conscious New Jersey Democrat (newly minted Sen. Cory Booker) and pro-animal advocate from the President George W. Bush era (Matthew Scully) for a bipartisan powwow early next year.

December 10, 2013

Pooh-Poohing Rick Perry’s Food Bet

We here at HOH LOVE when pols put regional foodstuffs on the line:



Constituents, sometimes, not so much: Full story

Making the Most of the Snow Day

There’s no denying it. Winter is here.

Rather than curse the crappy road conditions (and even worse, the inexperienced drivers), why not celebrate what a liberal coating of the white stuff means: We’ve got an honest-to-god snow day!

Granted, not everyone has the day off (ahem). But many folks do.

So, have a little fun today. You deserve it.


Spike Mendelsohn’s steak frites joint (313 Pennsylvania Ave. SE) is serving up hot toddys ($5) as well as bowls of French onion soup au gratin partnered with a glass of wine ($10) for those who need something warm in their bellies. And everyone can enjoy all-day happy hour ($2 off any beer, glass or wine or specialty cocktail).


The Capitol Hill watering hole (410 First St. SE) is rolling out frosty beers ($3 Bud Light, Shock Top and Bullfeathers Amber Ale) and winter warmers ($5 bloody marys, hot toddys and Irish coffee) for those willing to brave the elements. Drafts of Breckenridge Vanilla Porter are also on special for $5 today.

Dupont Circle Snowball Fight

The Washington DC Snowball Fight Association has yet to make the call about unleashing hell today. Confidence is medium they’ll get into something before this all melts away.

Johnny’s Half Shell

On days like today, Johnny’s co-owner John Fulchino wishes he were back in Beantown. “In Boston every bar and restaurant would be packed,” he said. “Lots of new love was found on those snowy days.”

Alas, he’s here.

But he is open. And he’s got something special he’s raring to pour.

“I just made fresh squeezed tangerine margaritas this week. Best margarita I have ever made,” he asserted. “Impossible to just have one.” Full story

December 4, 2013

Greek Chefs Invade Congress

As part of a push to promote the Hellenic diet, the foyer of the Rayburn House Office Building will be transformed into a “Mediterranean festival of feasting” Wednesday evening, featuring exotic foodstuffs prepared by headline-grabbing Greek chefs.

The “Greek Diet Goes to Congress” demo is scheduled to take place from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. The Embassy of Greece arranged for the invite-only festivities in conjunction with Hellenic Caucus Co-Chairmen Gus Bilirakis, R-Fla., and Carolyn B. Maloney, D-N.Y., and New York Democratic Rep. Joseph Crowley.

“The Omega Diet” author Dr. Artemis Simopoulos is the headliner for the cultural exchange and he will be accompanied by a number of telegenic toques from all over. Some of those who’ll come bearing edible gifts include: Food Network personality Cat Cora, Zaytinya chef Michael Costa, local restaurateur Mike Isabella, Kapnos chef de cuisine George Pagonis and healthy eating advocate Katerina Stai.

A Think Food Group aide said Team Zaytinya would be serving olive oil-poached salmon with smoked walnut skordalia and pomegranate, as well as kale dolmades filled with butternut squash, pine nuts, short grain rice and parsley.

A spokeswoman for Isabella said the “Top Chef” alumnus was planning to woo tasters with marinated shrimp with fennel and grapefruit, melitzanosalata (featuring smokey eggplant, roasted peppers, walnuts, feta) and fava (yellow lentils, squash, spinach, pearl onions).

An embassy aide said Stai, who mostly works on kid-friendly eats, plans to dish out a modified pumpkin pie mixed with feta and wrapped in phyllo dough, and melomarakona — traditional holiday cookies fashioned from sugar, olive oil, honey, chopped walnuts, orange juice and cinnamon.

“This event will show that eating healthier doesn’t mean sacrificing flavor,” Simopoulous said in a release announcing the inaugural culinary extravaganza.

December 3, 2013

Hot Dog Photo Bites Lindsey Graham

Who knew a food pic could be so polarizing?

Hot Dog Photo Bites Lindsey Graham

(Courtesy Lindsey Graham)

Clearly not Sen. Lindsey Graham, who on Tuesday posted a seemingly innocuous snapshot of a pit stop at Skins’ Hot Dogs near South Carolina’s Clemson University.

“Lunch today at Skins’ Hot Dogs in Clemson … can’t beat it!” the South Carolina Republican boasted via Twitter.

While he was having his fill of pork and beef, the Web trolls raced to draw first blood. Full story

December 2, 2013

Capitol Jewish Forum Hosts 20th Annual Hanukkah Celebration

All of Congress is invited to mingle with members of the tribe Tuesday at the annual Hanukkah celebration hosted by the outreach arm of American Friends of Lubavitch, the Capitol Jewish Forum.

The all-inclusive party, now in its 20th year, is scheduled to take place from 5 to 6:30 p.m. in the Mike Mansfield Room (S-207) of the Capitol. All lawmakers and staff are welcome to attend. (Non-staffers must RSVP to by no later than 5 p.m. Monday, Dec. 2.)

Rabbi Levi Shemtov, executive vice president of American Friends of Lubavitch, said the event typically draws a few hundred guests, including leaders from both sides of the aisle.

Capitol Jewish Forum Hosts 20th Annual Hanukkah Celebration

(Courtesy LM Photography)

“As they say, ‘Only in America!’” he quipped about being flanked at last year’s event by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., and Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida.

Shemtov said the festivities this year will be marked with plenty of fried latkes (plain, with sour cream and applesauce on the side), jelly doughnuts, live music and complimentary Hanukkah gifts (simple menorah, candles and a dreidel included in each set) for the kids.

“We’re delighted to have this opportunity to bring the festival of lights to the Capitol,” Shemtov said of the goodwill gathering.

District Taco Eating Crown Up for Grabs

Got any room left in the old hollow leg after all that Thanksgiving feasting?

District Taco is searching for whoever has the guts to try to break the current taco-eating record Tuesday night, at its debut eating challenge at the new(ish) Capitol Hill location.

Those interested in stripping food brawler Randy Santel of his claim to local fame — he polished off 18 tacos not a month ago — should RSVP ASAP via email ( or Twitter (@districttaco) to join the pool of aspiring competitive eaters. Then it’s just a matter of putting on your hungry pants and showing up at 656 Pennsylvania Ave. SE before the dinner bell officially rings. (Contestants should show up at the Capitol Hill location no later than 6:45 p.m. The actual taco eating is expected to commence around 7:15 p.m.)

Team DT launched the friendly eat-offs  several years back in Arlington, Va., and now hosts a new contest whenever another location comes online. Co-founder Marc Wallace, however, noted that anyone is welcome to brave the taco gantlet whenever they like.

“Any person can come in and pay $40 to challenge the record,” he said, adding that those who break the current record are automatically refunded the money and receive a $100 gift card to the restaurant.

The winner of Tuesday’s challenge, who will have to dispatch more than 18 tacos — served in flights of four, featuring a fully dressed breakfast (eggs, cheese, potatoes), carne asada (grilled beef), pollo asado (grilled chicken) and carnitas (pulled pork) taco each — in under 15 minutes, will be rewarded with a $100 gift card, a District Taco hat, a District Taco T-shirt and their photo on the wall of fame.

We here at HOH tend to believe a fresh roll of Tums might also come in handy.

Then again, we’ve never really had the stomach for speed-eating contests.

November 27, 2013

Heritage Thankful for Political Targets

It’s the holidays.

Heritage Thankful for Political Targets


Why not take a little time off from battling partisan foes and let The Heritage Foundation handle the cyber-feuding for you?

The conservative think tank has created a half-dozen e-cards poking fun at the administration for everything from first lady Michelle Obama’s healthy-eating efforts to the polarizing Affordable Care Act:

Heritage Thankful for Political Targets


Now, let’s all be thankful for the common-sense rule that NO ONE should be wasting time checking their email at the Thanksgiving table.

By Warren Rojas Posted at 12:40 p.m.
FightingWords, FLOTUS, Food

November 26, 2013

Murkowski, Fellow Alaskans Give Thanks

With the holiday season in full swing, Sen. Lisa Murkowski is using social media to poll those in the Last Frontier about that which they are most thankful for.

The Alaska Republican launched her #AKThanks campaign Nov. 22, urging her Web-connected constituents to share snippets of what makes their home state so great. The project will culminate today with the release of the “Appreciating Alaska” mini-documentary Murkowski is producing in conjunction with the Alaska Channel.

She got the ball rolling late last week with a video valentine to the frozen stuff that’s already threatening to paralyze the Mid-Atlantic region over the next few days:

“As an Alaskan, I am always thankful for winter,” she notes on YouTube before launching into a rundown of the meteorological hits Seward’s Icebox has already sustained this year — slipping in what would seem to be a prescient dig about the District’s precipitation-based mania.

“I’ve got this little motto: Keep calm and think snow,” she quips.

Her fellow Alaskans, meanwhile, have expressed love for all kinds of stuff, including:


The Affordable Care Act Full story

November 25, 2013

Tortilla Coast Caters to Black Friday Crowd

We’ve already laid out a cornucopia of options for those who prefer to let others do the cooking on Turkey Day. Now the Clover Restaurant Group wants to take care of those in need of sustenance during the most hectic shopping day of the year.

In a bid to woo Black Friday bargain hunters (and folks who might already need a break from leftover bird), the proprietors of the Tortilla Coast and Café Deluxe chainlets have decided to serve brunch at all their restaurants on Nov. 29.

The flagship Tortilla Coast (400 First St. SE) — aka Texas Republican Ted Cruz’s clubhouse — will dish out brunch specialties from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Featured items include: short stacks of buttermilk pancakes, fajita steak and eggs, Captain Crunch-studded brioche French toast, huevos rancheros, chorizo-laced breakfast burritos and spinach-mushroom omelets.

The Logan Circle Tortilla Coast (1460 P St. NW) will offer its brunch from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Featured items include: scrambled-egg-filled enchiladas, short rib breakfast tacos, chilaquiles, cornmeal-banana pancakes and Mexican toast (corn flake-crusted brioche, sweet crème fraiche, assorted berries, orange syrup).

No doubt the signature frozen margaritas will also be flowing like water.

November 21, 2013

Biden Stumps for Capriotti’s Subs

During Thursday’s grand opening here in D.C., Capriotti’s — a sandwich shop that got under way nearly four decades ago in Wilmington, Del. — got a visit from a very special fan: sub-dispatcher-in-chief Joseph R. Biden Jr.

Biden Stumps for Capriotti’s Subs

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

The Delaware Democrat strode into the new location (1800 M St. NW) and was immediately welcomed by thunderous applause. The store was packed with friends and family of the Capriotti’s chain (95 stores and counting), while Racing Presidents, freebie-seekers and star-struck tourists milled about outside.

Biden Stumps for Capriotti’s Subs

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

Once at the counter, Biden ordered lunch for himself and President Barack Obama. He put in for two medium Italian subs — “We don’t call them hoagies in Delaware. We call them subs,” VPOTUS explained to the crush of reporters on hand for the lunch outing — both stripped of onions, an order of hot peppers on the side, one large “Bobbie” (a Thanksgiving-style mash-up of roasted turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing and mayo) and another large Italian sub, again with hot peppers on the side.

The crowd erupted in laughter after Capriotti’s CEO Ashley Morris recited back the charge ($56.25), at which point Biden, who discovered he only had $50 on him, called back to staff to loan him a few bucks. Full story

By Warren Rojas Posted at 1:50 p.m.
DC, Food, POTUS, Restos, Uncle Joe

November 20, 2013

Feeding Joe Biden

It’s Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s birthday!

Feeding Joe Biden

(Courtesy HOH tipster)

According to our sources, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee elected to surprise the 71-year-old Delaware Democrat with a dozen donkey-clad baked goods — featuring flavors ranging from red velvet to chocolate marshmallow — special ordered from Sprinkles Cupcakes (3015 M St. NW).

No word from our DCCC friends as to how many of the frosted goodies, which were delivered at 11 a.m., VPOTUS may have indulged in during the friendly pop-in.

We just hope Biden didn’t ruin his appetite — because he’s presumably expected to chow down at a new sub shop opening up Thursday. (Stay tuned).

November 19, 2013

Jerry Moran Stays True to Hometown ‘Cue

An innocent plug for Global Entrepreneurship Week by Sen. Jerry Moran made us a do a double take when we noticed the not-so-local business he was flogging:

Could it be that the Kansas Republican, by hailing the original Arthur Bryant’s, was officially switching teams and siding with Missourians in the longstanding regional battle for total barbecue dominance?

Fat chance.

For those unfamiliar with the duality of Kansas City barbecue, there are world famous establishments native to each metropolis — one in Kansas, one in Missouri — as well as restaurants with locations in both states.

While staff confirmed that Moran has sampled Arthur Bryant’s fabled brand of barbecue before, the lawmaker clarified his go-to pits for HOH.

“When in Washington, DC, I like Old Glory and Hill Country,” Moran shared in an email. “But they’re just not the same as Gates, Oklahoma Joe’s, Jack Stack, Smokehouse and others back home.

“The history, personality, sauce and world-class Kansas beef make Kansas City barbecue tough to beat,” the avowed burnt ends fan (us too!) asserted.

Much like that foul-mouthed radio pitchwoman who is habitually dousing everything with Frank’s Red Hot sauce, Moran, too, has a simple solution for dealing with flavorless fare he encounters in his epicurean travels.

“My favorite sauce is KC Masterpiece, which I often add to non-barbecue dishes too,” he said.

November 13, 2013

Hill Staffers Capitalize on Few Remaining Dome Tours

A planned overhaul of the time-worn Capitol Dome has sent Hill staffers into a frenzy for constituent-appeasing tours, a mad dash for the closely guarded reservations that’s spawned a black market of promised food, drink and even forced labor.

Hill Staffers Capitalize on Few Remaining Dome Tours

The Capitol Dome is set to undergo a long-overdue renovation, and tours will be curtailed after it starts. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The announcement of the two-year restoration project touched off a behind-the-scenes bidding war among those in congressional offices charged with securing the walk-throughs for folks back home. Architect of the Capitol aide Justin Kieffer confirmed that the last of those tours are scheduled to take place Dec. 15.

An HOH tipster provided us with a glimpse into the panicky exchanges bouncing back and forth on an internal administrative message board. Full story

November 8, 2013

John Schlimm Delivers a Mouthful for Veggie Caucus

John Schlimm grew up in rural Pennsylvania working in his father’s butcher shop — a long way from the Capitol Visitor Center, where the vegan cookbook writer lunched on Thursday with the Congressional Vegetarian Staff Association.

The veggie caucus, as it’s known colloquially, has been hosting vegetarian lunches and educational events since a small group of like-palated staffers decided to fight back against the lack of vegetarian fare in congressional dining halls.

The group had an event planned last month, but the government shutdown forced it to postpone. For Thursday’s to-do, about 60 staffers filled the room to learn about eating a plant-based diet while munching away on vegan wraps provided by Zenful Bites and vegan chocolate chip cookies from Sticky Fingers. Full story

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