Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
October 22, 2014

Posts in "Restos"

October 14, 2014

Test Class Already Hooked on Line-Skirting Dining Service

The super-secret Usher app has been helping a tight-lipped clique of well-connected bon vivants sidestep the restaurant reservation process for several weeks now. Rumor has it that some of the early adopters may not be able to go back to living without it.

The homegrown hospitality aid launched in “stealth mode” — a closely guarded roll-out extended to “influential” people in D.C., including an undisclosed number of Capitol Hill denizens — in early September.

Test Class Already Hooked on Line Skirting Dining Service

(Screenshot)

“My boss says it’s like the Uber of restaurants,” our tipster shared. “He says that he was initially skeptical, but hasn’t used OpenTable or Yelp since.”

Per the tipster, Usher somehow enables users to “get access to exclusive clubs/restaurants without a reservation.”

Team Usher declined to comment on how many people have enrolled in the stealth cohort or which local restaurants have embraced the line-cutting program. But the clandestine company sounds like it’s almost ready to come out of its shell.

“Service is throughout D.C. with the intention to expand soon after public launch,” an Usher aide shared via email. 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

September 18, 2014

Getting Our Fill of Vacationland

Getting Our Fill of Vacationland

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

ROCKLAND, Maine — Two airplane flights (four hours in airports, combined) and roughly 120 minutes of creeping along two-lane roads that snake their way through stoplight-free Northeastern hamlets later, I finally arrived in the bayfront oasis I would call home for the next few days.

The most pressing problem, other than a serious lack of sleep, was how to kill the 17 hours until my first official work dinner.

Coming up to investigate the gastronomic enterprises Maine Democrat Chellie Pingree is fostering on North Haven was always meant to be the crux of my assignment. The critic in me, however, could not pass up the opportunity to feast upon  — without completely spoiling my appetite — this personally uncharted territory.

I pressed Pingree for recommendations, but the savvy lawmaker kept things totally diplomatic. Full story

September 17, 2014

The Maine Attraction: Getting a Taste of the Chellie Pingree Experience

The Maine Attraction: Getting a Taste of the Chellie Pingree Experience

Boats sit moored in the harbor off North Haven, Maine, home of the Nebo Lodge owned by Pingree. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

ROCKLAND, Maine — Once aboard the boat that will speed us to North Haven, a Connecticut man opens up about his affinity for the Pine Tree State.

“It’s just waves and rocks and sky. It’s very relaxing after a year of work,” he said of his annual sojourn north.

A Camden, Maine, resident relates how he and his wife make their way across the white-capped expanse for dinner at least once each summer; he hopes to spend a night at Nebo Lodge sometime in order to take the full measure of the island.

The Maine Attraction: Getting a Taste of the Chellie Pingree ExperienceSo go the conversations aboard the Equinox, the privately owned boat tasked with moving mainlanders across the 12 miles of open water that separates Maine Democrat Chellie Pingree’s dining empire from the contiguous United States.

Equinox Captain John Morin calculates he’s transported some 2,200 people to North Haven over the course of this summer. And he loves to educate them about how their patronage benefits the community at large.

Full story

September 16, 2014

The Maine Attraction: Chellie Pingree Cultivates Her Own Food Capital

The Maine Attraction: Chellie Pingree Cultivates Her Own Food Capital

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

NORTH HAVEN, Maine — Should she ever tire of battling opposing lawmakers on Capitol Hill, Rep. Chellie Pingree could always kick back and indulge in one of her favorite pastimes: shaking cocktails for the pleasure seekers who pour into her farm-to-table restaurant each summer.

“I am always telling people that it’s good to have a backup career when you are in Congress. And being a bartender isn’t really that different,” the Maine Democrat shared during a candid discussion about her blossoming dining empire.

Still, the three-term lawmaker insists she never planned on becoming a hospitality maven.

“When I bought the inn, I really intended it to be more of a community project to help create a few jobs … and make sure that it was easier for people to find lodging when they had a guest coming,” Pingree said.

The Maine Attraction: Chellie Pingree Cultivates Her Own Food Capital

But her budding portfolio, which includes the critically acclaimed Nebo Lodge and its larder-filling sibling, Turner Farm, appears to be steadily outperforming her modest ambitions. She currently employs about 70-plus people (predominantly women) in a community comprised of around 300 year-round residents.

How this fledgling restaurateur managed to become the toast of her floating-in-Penobscot-Bay town is no big mystery.

She planted the seeds for this unexpected success decades ago. Full story

September 15, 2014

Montana State Society to Spike Mendelsohn: Que Cojones

Montana State Society President Jayne Leffingwell wants hospitality heavy Spike Mendelsohn to man up and get his own thing going.

Montana State Society to Spike Mendelsohn: Que Cojones

(Screenshot)

“Mendelsohn aka the Ballburglar, is attempting to hijack The Montana State Society’s signature event ‘The DC Testy Fest’ by hosting his own DC Festicle. While a testivus for the rest of us sounds fun, stealing our original sack lunch is not ‘Good Stuff,’” Leffingwell said in a tongue-in-cheek statement.

The Montana State Society has done its part to exalt the nether regions-related nosh for more than  a decade now. Mendelsohn is jumping into the fray on Sept. 21 with the unveiling of Spiked Events’ debut soiree, a come-as-you-are affair featuring live music, micro wrestling, circus performers and culinary cook-offs.

Per Festicle promotional materials, Mendelsohn is expected to face off against fellow toques Erik Bruner-Yang, of Toki Underground fame, and Tim Ma, the driving force behind Maple Ave and the newish Water & Wall, in a “Top Chef-style” competition where the contestants will have to conjure up some tasty from the featured testes.

And that just rubs Leffingwell raw.

“With more than 750+ attendees going nuts and consuming nearly 200 lbs of testicles this year, we like to consider ourselves the reigning rocky mountain oyster aficionados,” she maintained.

“The ball is in your court Mr. Mendelsohn. We’ll see how you measure up,” Leffingwell said.

 

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September 8, 2014

Lobbyists, Lawmakers Aim to Crush Crippling Disease

Anti-Duchenne muscular dystrophy crusader Joel Wood can’t force all of Congress to come around to his way of thinking regarding the need for more funding and research to wipe the life-threatening illness off the face of the planet. But he can keep chipping away at the problem — as he has for the past 14 years — one spectacular gathering at a time.

Lobbyists, Lawmakers Aim to Crush Crippling Disease

(Foundation to Eradicate Duchenne, Inc.)

Wood and his wife, Dana, have made it their mission to see the degenerative disorder purged from the human condition ever since their son, James, was diagnosed with DMD in May 2000.

The duo intends to keep up the good fight Tuesday evening via their 14th annual “Dining Away Duchenne” fundraiser, a gourmet taste-around scheduled to take place in the North Hall of Eastern Market from 6 to 9 p.m.

Tickets for the event, which benefits the Woods’ non-profit Foundation to Eradicate Duchenne, start at $250. Full story

September 4, 2014

Postpone Your ‘Recess Can’t Be Over!’ Malaise at BLT Steak

Not quite ready for Congress to return to work (someone put 12 legislative days on the clock, please) next week? Local toque Jeremy Shelton sure is.

The executive chef at BLT Steak (1625 I St. NW) has been cranking out a number of recess treats for bargoers during the past month, a specialty carte — each item priced at $10 from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. — that will (mostly) be retired come Monday.

“We have two menus every night plus happy hour as it is, now throw in 10 brand new dishes every time Congress goes into recess … It’s just a lot to keep track of,” Shelton said of the extra effort that’s been required to keep the seasonal snacks (he rolled out a similar slate when lawmakers decamped for spring break) a-coming.

Everything is, of course, prefaced by the incredibly fluffy, cheese-laced popovers BLT Steak drops off in front of every guest.

Postpone Your Recess Cant Be Over! Malaise at BLT Steak

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

On the off chance that isn’t enough incentive to darken their door, the expense account haven also butters up patrons with warm, crusty country bread flanked by salty-rich country pate. (Another longstanding tradition, a la the complimentary popovers, that predates Shelton’s tenure in the kitchen.)

The gourmet nibbles Shelton dreamed up this time around ran the gamut from somewhat perplexing (a smoked trout salad was overwhelmed by bitter greens and bracing citrus) to utterly delicious.

The chef said he remains partial to an heirloom tomato number featuring chimichurri as well as rotating pork-powered sammies.

Postpone Your Recess Cant Be Over! Malaise at BLT Steak

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

The grilled sausage patties served to us featured savory swine sandwiched between tangy pickled ramp relish and spicy mustard. Though small, the well-dressed burger knock-offs were quite satisfying. Full story

August 7, 2014

Cava Co-Founder Campaigns for School Meals Aid

Dimitri Moshovitis, co-founder and executive chef of the burgeoning Cava empire, has taken World Food Program USA’s school meals mission to heart — and he’d love to have other local toques lend a hand.

Cava Co Founder Campaigns for School Meals Aid

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

“When I heard about this I was like, ‘Why doesn’t everybody do this?’” Moshovitis said following a cooking demonstration where he taught WFP USA board chairman Hunter Biden and his daughters, Maisy and Finnegan, how to whip up grilled chickpea burgers.

Per Biden, son of Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., the group empowers struggling nations by combating hunger and promoting education.

“It’s truly transforming entire societies,” Biden said of WFP USA’s focus on food security. Full story

Max Baucus Embraces 44’s Burger Diplomacy

Former solon turned Ambassador to China Max Baucus appears to have adopted a page from the administration’s guest dining manual, whisking a Democratic operative visiting the Far East directly to a Western-style kitchen.

Upon his arrival overseas, Obama 2012 campaign manager and former Baucus aide Jim Messina found himself at a good old burger joint — blue frog bar & grill — launched by native Montanan Bob Boyce.

 

 

Boyce, founder and CEO of the blue horizon hospitality group, launched the original blue frog in 2002 and has replicated the casual dining concept more than a half-dozen times during the past decade.

Per a 2012 article chronicling “The Great Burgers in Shanghai,” one of blue frog’s claims to fame is the towering Montana burger.

Full story

July 30, 2014

Gabbard, Meng, Sinema Help Launch ‘Cocktails for Change’

EMILY’s List is hoping to connect more young professionals with the growing universe of female Democrats via its fledgling “Cocktails for Change” initiative.

Freshman lawmakers Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, Grace Meng of New York and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona are scheduled to participate in the inaugural reception, set to take place Wednesday from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Policy (1904 14th St. NW).

According to an EMILY’s List spokeswoman, the evening is meant to be fun — “We’ll be featuring the EMILY’s Twist (a version of a lemon drop),” the aide said of the featured cocktail — with a little positive messaging mixed in. Those lucky enough to snag a spot at Wednesday’s kick-off should expect to hear inspiring words from the  assembled solons, as well as from EMILY’s List President Stephanie Schriock.

Didn’t make the initial cut? (Sorry folks, they’re full up this time around.)

Dry those tears.

EMILY’s List is just getting started with its happy hour diplomacy. Female pols-in-training heading to the West Coast during recess can look forward to a similarly themed happening in San Francisco come late August.

And, don’t worry, EMILY’s List is not done stirring things up here in D.C.

July 25, 2014

Wes Morton Pops by DGS for ‘Schmutz and Schmaltz’

With just under a week to go before he cuts ties with D.C. for good, outgoing Art and Soul toque Wes Morton has carved out time to inject a little Southern flavor into DGS’s inaugural “Summer Roadshow” dinner.

Morton is scheduled to take over the DGS kitchen on July 29 for a pop-up dining experience dubbed “Schmutz & Schmaltz.”

Even though DGS’s founding chef, Barry Koslow, has since moved on — Koslow split from the restaurant earlier this year in order to help the W Hotel reinvent its fine dining program — Morton said the Dupont Circle deli remains near and dear to his heart.

“Barry was very instrumental to me when we first moved to D.C. So much so that I followed him to Circle Bistro from Citronelle,” Morton shared, recalling culinary battles waged alongside Koslow and Brendan Cox (who has since established his own restaurant, Oakleaf, in Pittsboro, N.C.).

“The DGS guys will definitely be missed along with their fantastic smoked meat!” Morton said. Full story

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

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