Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
July 24, 2014

Posts in "Restos"

July 23, 2014

Making the Most of a Swing Through Charm City

What’s a D.C.-based reporter to do when faced with ferreting out a worthwhile repast while on assignment in neighboring Baltimore? Solicit recommendations from Maryland’s congressional delegation, of course.

At least, that’s how Bloomberg BNA scribe Anthony Adragna played it Wednesday morning before hitting the road for an out-of-town conference.

 

 

According to Adragna, the dining S.O.S. was very much a spur of the moment thing.

“First time ever reaching out and didn’t put much thought into it,” Adragna told HOH. He said he meant to pose the question to Maryland Democrat Benjamin L. Cardin in person a day earlier — the two, evidently, chatted here on Capitol Hill Tuesday — but just never got around to it.

No matter.

Cardin came through on Twitter anyway. Full story

July 10, 2014

Getting to the Meat of the Matter in Texas

Getting to the Meat of the Matter in Texas

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

From the looks of things on social media, folks in the Lone Star State can’t quite figure out exactly what they should be stuffing their faces with.

Corpus Christi, Texas country station K-99 kicked off the caloric controversy earlier this week by endorsing a short, but still oddly redundant, rewriting of the food pyramid.

The extra beefy prescription seemed to be one only Dr. Atkins could love. Not to mention that the proposed categories somehow managed to be both over-broad and bizarrely exclusionary. Full story

July 9, 2014

Another Bite of the Cleveland Apple

Carving up the Cleveland hospitality scene in anticipation of the 2016 GOP nominating convention has turned into quite the task. So much so, in fact, that we’re back with a second round of dining/drinking/carousing picks for those destined to head due west ahead of the next presidential election cycle.

During our initial foray into can’t miss eateries, Cleveland Magazine managing editor Kim Schneider shared insights into coveted seats, suburban retreats and dedicated suds slingers.

But man cannot live on steak and beer alone. (Can we?) Full story

June 24, 2014

DC Toques Mix Things Up for Charity

Local tastemakers are scheduled to take a crack at custom cocktail creation Thursday during a “Chefs Behind Bars” fundraiser benefitting Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign.

The debut competition is expected to take over the Liaison Capitol Hill’s rooftop deck (415 New Jersey Ave. NW) from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Tickets to the glitzy evening — admission is $40 per person, and includes featured cocktails and passed hors d’oeuvres — may be purchased via NoKidHungry.org/Events.

Chefs tasked with whipping up crowd-pleasing tipples include:

  • Alba Osteria’s Amy Brandwein (anticipated contribution: “Peaches & Herbs,” blending together peaches, infused whiskey and herbs)
  • Art and Soul’s Wes Morton
  • Bar Pilar’s Jesse Miller
  • Bibiana’s Nick Stefanelli
  • Cave Mezze’s Dmitri Moshovitis (anticipated contribution: “Melåni,” muddling together Grey Goose vodka, harissa syrup, St-Germain liqueur, lemon, mint and squid ink syrup)
  • Liberty Tavern/Lyon Hall/Northside Social’s Matt Hill
  • Pabu’s Jonah Kim
  • Sunnyside Restaurant Group founder Spike Mendelsohn (anticipated contribution: “Diamond Brady,” a gin-oyster shot spiked with chili-infused bourbon, sherry vinegar and brined egg yolk)

The chefs will be competing for both critical approval (seasoned drinks slingers Derek Brown, Gina Chersevani and Duane Sylvester will join a handful of restaurant writers in passing judgment) as well as general love (people’s choice award). Full story

June 16, 2014

Exit Interview: Justin Harding

He may be back home in his beloved Beehive State now, but veteran GOP aide Justin Harding tells HOH he will absolutely miss the hustle and bustle — and occasional solitude — of life on Capitol Hill.

The seasoned House aide is following in his latest boss’ footsteps, leaving the side of Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, to serve as chief of staff to Utah Gov. Gary R. Herbert. Chaffetz did time as chief of staff to then-Utah Gov. John Huntsman before striking out on his own.

Harding started his new gig Monday. Full story

June 11, 2014

Plotting Cantor’s Last 24 Hours as Leader

He’s still a ways away from needing to haul a moving van to cart his legislative mementos back to Henrico County, Va. But it’s now painfully obvious that Rep. Eric Cantor is living on borrowed time in Congress.

Plotting Cantor’s Last 24 Hours as Leader

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Virginia Republican saw his career cut short Tuesday after suffering a stunning loss to relatively unknown economics professor Dave Brat in a history-making electoral upset.

We suspect he’s already replaying in his head every single thing he could have done differently. One can only hope he’s sparing himself the indignity of compartmentalizing each crushing blow into a slowly unspooling shame spiral — though that might finally make for an interesting installment of the long-since abandoned “Snapshot of the Leader” series.

Team Cantor briefly experimented with a torturous examination of the House majority leader’s daily activities, but appears to have given up on the documenting process after just 120 mind-numbing minutes.

Hour One

Hour Two

Confidence is low they’ll revive the video diary for his last official day here on Capitol Hill. But we can’t help but wonder just what that might look like. Full story

Other Than That, Mr. Boehner, How Was Dinner?

Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, was having dinner at a Capitol Hill Italian restaurant when the returns from Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s primary race came in showing the Virginia Republican had lost.

“No, you know the rules,” Boehner said when asked if he had any comment when leaving the Trattoria Alberto, which describes itself as “Fine Italian dining in a friendly, neighborhood setting.”

Boehner, in shirtsleeves and with his tie undone, was referring to his typical practice of not answering questions outside of a press conference. His demeanor was somewhat prickly, but not surprising given that he was being unexpectedly pursued after dinner by a few reporters after a stunning defeat for establishment Republicans. Full story

June 10, 2014

Boehner Dines at Trattoria Alberto’s as Cantor Concedes

Boehner Dines at Trattoria Albertos as Cantor Concedes

Buruca is a fan of the speaker. (Humberto Sanchez/CQ Roll Call)

“He’s a lovely customer,” Juan Buruca, the owner of Trattoria Alberto’s on Barracks Row, said of Speaker John A. Boehner.

The Ohio Republican was likely one of the many in Washington utterly surprised by the primary defeat of his chief lieutenant, Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., on Tuesday night. But a man still has to eat, and Alberto’s is among Boehner’s haunts, particularly with his Rat Pack-like pals, Sens. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., and Richard M. Burr, R-N.C.

The first reports of Boehner eating at Alberto’s came in during the early evening. And there he stayed. Around 10 p.m., after Chambliss and Burr left, the speaker went to amble home. Asked if he had any comment about the Cantor primary he said, “No, you all know what the rules are” — a reference to his unofficial rule that he does not take questions except at press conferences.

By Humberto Sanchez and Jason Dick Posted at 11:05 p.m.
Reps, Restos, Sens

June 3, 2014

Senate’s Common Sense Coalition Convenes at nopa

A tripartisan group of Senate lawmakers retreated to the relative safety of Penn Quarter Monday night, gathering around the table for a working dinner at nopa Kitchen + Bar.

Out tipster counted 10 participants in all, a roster that included: Common Sense Coalition organizers Mark Warner, D-Va., and Susan Collins, R-Maine, along with Sens. Bob Corker, R-Tenn.; Joe Manchin III, D-W.Va.; Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H.; Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D.; Angus King, I-Maine; Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska; Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H.; and Joe Donnelly, D-Ind.

Did they need to clear the air about the administration’s proposed crackdown on carbon emissions?

Were they giving each other friendly odds on which leader might crack first during today’s campaign finance rumble?

Or was last night all about consoling Manchin after seeing his beloved pepperoni rolls bounced from the Taste of America brackets? Full story

By Warren Rojas Posted at 2:51 p.m.
DC, Food, Restos, Sens

May 22, 2014

Hank’s on the Hill Woos Whiskey Drinkers

Our local Hank’s (633 Pennsylvania Ave. SE) is celebrating being in the running for a RAMMY award by offering up a special Jameson-spiked cooler on Thursday night.

Mixtress Gina Chersevani, potential heir to the 2014 Cocktail Program of the Year crown, assures HOH she’ll be shaking up “It’s All About the Benjamin’s” — a frozen drink featuring the aforementioned Irish whiskey, spiced sweet vermouth and atomized lemon — for only $5 (regular price: $12) from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. this evening.

The promotion is part of a citywide cocktail jamboree orchestrated by the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington in anticipation of the June 22 gala.

Additional participants include:

  • Black Jack (1612 14th St. NW): Hosting a RAMMYs-themed carnival from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m. complete with drink tickets, fair games, fried foods and raffles.
  • Bourbon Steak (2800 Pennsylvania Ave. NW): This high roller is expected to dole out kifu, a blend of Hangar One vodka, Cointreau, ginger, lemon and basil, shaken (not stirred) and garnished with candied ginger.
  • The Gibson (2009 14th St. NW): This cocktail haven is going pre-Prohibition, rolling out classic concoctions for $8 a pop from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the upstairs bar.
  • Jack Rose Dining Saloon (2007 18th St. NW): The multi-level drinking den is spreading specialty cocktails all around. Terrace-goers can sip the Sao Paolo Sunset and Back Porch; Saloon patrons will be privy to The Art of Deception and Like Strawberry Shine; those who descend into Dram & Grain will be treated to Ode to Omaha and Skye High. Each drink will set guests back $10 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

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

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 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 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

May 2, 2014

Looking Up and Seeing Nancy Pelosi

There he was. Nearly 4,400 miles from home.

Just another Washington insider trying to enjoy a few precious moments in sunny Italy away from work without fixating on Congress or politics, when whom should his wandering gaze fall upon, but her.

Looking Up and Seeing Nancy Pelosi

(Courtesy HOH tipster)

“That time you went to a restaurant in Florence on vacation and [House Minority Leader] Nancy [Pelosi] has … enjoyed a meal there,” our tipster shared after stumbling upon a snapshot of the California Democrat during a recent European retreat.

Pelosi led a congressional delegation through the region in early 2009, stopping in Florence, Rome and Naples along the way.

Our forensics lab is still crunching all the data.

But the ‘do (length, hairstyle, color) seems to match this puckerrific pose captured just outside the Capitol in March of the same year.

Looking Up and Seeing Nancy Pelosi

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Regardless of the time frame, the proud Italian-American leader appears to have made a lasting impression. Our overseas spy said her smiling mug is prominently featured “just under a picture of the owner with [singer Bruce] Springsteen, and on the same wall as photos with [actors John] Travolta and Brad Pitt — among others.”

Sign In

Forgot password?

Or

Subscribe

Receive daily coverage of the people, politics and personality of Capitol Hill.

Subscription | Free Trial

Logging you in. One moment, please...