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

Posts in "Restos"

December 10, 2014

Indigo Skirts Major Flare Up

An early Wednesday morning scare could have sent Indigo founder Dinesh Tandon’s hospitality dreams up in smoke. Luckily, things were brought under control before the budding restaurateur was forced to switch careers.

Indigo Skirts Major Flare Up

(Courtesy HOH tipster)

“Yes, sir, a small fire broke out,” Tandon said of the minor skirmish that compelled first responders to swing by his NoMa outpost.

The culprit?

“A washer/dryer that we use for aprons and other rags used in the kitchen,” Tandon explained. Full story

By Warren Rojas Posted at 12:29 p.m.
Food, Restos

December 8, 2014

Feast Your Eyes on Our Inaugural Dining Guide

Pull up a seat, friend. Let me share the tale of how a half-baked scheme to whip up a handy guide to the most interesting places to grab a bite around #ThisTown was kneaded, chopped, seasoned and lovingly molded into the “Nom, Nom, Nom-nibus.”

Feast Your Eyes on Our Inaugural Dining Guide

(Chris Hale/CQ Roll Call Illustration)

As the resident food scribe here at Roll Call, I pride myself on ferreting out local establishments worthy of your hard-earned dining dollars.

Whether that search leads me to a smoke-belching truck idling along some random curbside, or forces me to elbow my way through a throng of high-rollers in order to claim the last bar stool at the latest hot spot matters not.

For my money, it all comes down to what winds up on the plate.

From handcrafted snacks to house-aged steaks, I weigh them all against what I believe our devoted readers would consider a pleasurable experience at a fair price. Which is why I’m as comfortable sending folks out to feast on half-smokes (D.C., represent!) as I am directing traffic toward a Michelin star-worthy outpost.

This forthcoming e-book dining guide — available soon for download at rollcall.com — aims to do just that, shining a light on novel eats from across the culinary spectrum. Some of the recommendations might be perfect for dazzling discerning palates. (Exotic nibbles at The Source! Mouth watering barbecue at DCity Smokehouse!) Others might help advance your career. (Hobnobbing at Johnny’s couldn’t hurt.) A few — such as the Indian carry-out favored by a certain civil rights champ — you may want to keep to yourself.

Need a drink? Sample the sip selections.

Craving comfort foods? Dig into the specials.

Jonesing for sugar? The sweet section runs both hot (doughnuts!) and cold (gelato, yo).

Mind you, this is just the first bite of the apple. There’s plenty more exploratory eating to be done. And I, for one, can’t wait to continue savoring everything the District has to offer.

Bon appétit!

The 114th: CQ Roll Call’s Guide to the New Congress

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December 1, 2014

Medium Rare’s Free Turkey Fry Was Red Hot

Medium Rare fried up more than 175 turkeys and spread holiday joy throughout the Barracks Row community this past holiday weekend.

Underestimating the popularity of the annual fried turkey service Medium Rare founder Mark Bucher has put together since 2008, this HOH contributor and his party quickly realized our poor planning left us needing an alternative way to cook our bird, as turnout was massive.

Medium Rare’s Free Turkey Fry Was Red Hot

(Courtesy Mark Bucher)

Bucher said the line started around 8 a.m. for the culinary assistance scheduled to take place between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.. When he opened the doors at 9 a.m., a full two hours early, he was met with enthusiastic fans. “We were greeted by an 89-year-old grandmother, who was using a walker, who took a bus 45 minutes to have her turkey deep fried. She had received a free turkey from the Marion Barry turkey giveaway, and had nowhere to cook it,” Bucher said, noting that they tended to 19 Marion Barry turkeys this year.

Many more visitors gathered to have the turkeys fried to a golden brown, including a number of wheelchair-bound veterans. Once there, they mingled with doctors, lawyers, and even some local politicians all while being filmed by a TV crew from ABC7.

Per Bucher, visitors traveled from as far as Leesburg to have their turkeys cooked for them. Once inside, patrons chatted with one another while enjoying complimentary coffee and hot cider.

There were a few mishaps. Bucher said one turkey hit the floor of the restaurant and another was picked up by someone who did not drop one off.  There was no need to worry though, as Bucher had a few extras ready to go.

As always, the event was free to the public, though Bucher was accepting donations for DC’s “Ready, Willing and Working” charity. And for those wondering when they need to line up next year, Thanksgiving in 2015 is Nov. 26.

Related:

Medium Rare Brings Fried Turkey Service to Barracks Row

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November 19, 2014

Mark Pocan Dishes About Kringle

Square meals, schmare meals. Rep. Mark Pocan is more interested in circular arguments.

The Wisconsin Democrat expressed his love for kringle, an oval-shaped sweet, on social media, declaring the regional treat a “staple of any well rounded Wisconsin diet.”

A Scandinavian baking tradition that’s been carried on by Danish transplants to the Badger State, kringle features overlapping layers of flaky pastry dough historically stuffed with fruit or nut fillings. Modern versions include frosted rings run through with everything from caramel-drenched pecans (want) to peppermint-spiked chocolate cake (need).

Pocan told HOH he’s most fond of strawberry flavored kringle, though he’s open to trying new things.

“There are some good seasonal flavors like pumpkin caramel,” he said. Full story

November 13, 2014

From the Drive-Thru to Congress: The Fast-Food Caucus Dishes

Apart from her immediate family — and, perhaps, the hog castrators of the world — no one appears to be prouder of Iowa Republican Joni Ernst than those she used to break bake bread with.

Hence the reason Andy Puzder, CEO of CKE Restaurants, rushed to congratulate the one-time breakfast-rush worker and senator-elect in a splashy ad in the Des Moines Register.

From the Drive Thru to Congress: The Fast Food Caucus Dishes

(Courtesy HOH tipster)

“Thanks, Joni, for reminding us that, in this great country of ours, your job and your life are what you make of them,” the head of the Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. chains praised in the ad, after Ernst touted her biscuit-making past in her election night victory speech.

Her ascension to Capitol Hill follows a career trajectory familiar to the growing number of lawmakers who dedicated parts of their youth to slinging burgers and fries at various grab-and-go establishments.

Other members of what we’ve dubbed the Fast-Food Caucus include:

Rep. Paul D. Ryan

An aide to the 2012 GOP vice presidential pick confirmed that the Wisconsin Republican briefly worked at McDonald’s during the summer between his sophomore and junior years of high school.

According to his office, the former grill cook — “The manager didn’t think I had the social skills to work the counter,” Ryan told the New Yorker — gleaned plenty from the experience.

“Congressman Ryan learned the value of hard work — a lesson that continues to help him in Congress today,” Team Ryan said. And before being elected to the House, Ryan further honed his hospitality skills working at Tortilla Coast.  Full story

November 6, 2014

Politics and Prose, Busboys and Poets on Same Page About Expanding Readership

The independent D.C bookstore no serious author — lawmakers included — can ignore and the socially conscious meeting place fostered by political activist Andy Shallal are coming together to help venerate the written word.

According to a joint statement, the partnership between literary haunt Politics & Prose and hospitality haven Busboys and Poets will take flight next month, with the debut of the newest B&P location in Brookland.

“Politics and Prose epitomizes the greatness and reach of independent bookstores, and we are thrilled that they will partner with us to continue in our tradition of offering multicultural books that represent the diversity of Washington DC,” Shallal touted in a release.

Bradley Graham and Lissa Muscatine, the husband and wife team behind P&P, are expected to take the lead on the forthcoming restaurant’s companion retail operation, and are scheduled to follow suit by putting their stamp on the bookselling component of the B&P slated to open in Takoma Park this January.

“We’re especially grateful to Busboys and Poets owner Andy Shallal for suggesting this venture and for believing in the power of books to enliven, educate, and enrich our community,” Graham and Muscatine stated online.

P&P currently serves as a second home for lawmakers, past and present, with captivating stories to tell. Once the integration wraps in 2015 — P&P is scheduled to assume control of the pre-existing book nooks at the B&P outposts in Mount Vernon Triangle; Hyattsville, Md.; and Shirlington, Va. — Graham and Muscatine will have a half-dozen spaces at which to welcome wordsmiths with something to say.

According to The Washington Post, the nonprofit Teaching for Change will continue to operate the bookstore at the flagship Busboys and Poets and 14th and V streets NW.

“We see great synergy in this new initiative and believe that working with Busboys will enable P&P to make books and authors more available throughout the metro region,” Graham and Muscatine assured local readers.

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November 3, 2014

Newt, Electing for Some Downtime

With just hours to go until the Election Day buzzsaw officially rips apart half the nation’s hopes and dreams, candidates are hustling to sew up every last possible vote any which way they can.

Louisiana Republican Bill Cassidy, who is hoping to unseat Sen. Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., in what’s likely to be a down-to-the-wire challenge, was pounding the pavement in search of support.

 

 

Full story

Turned On? Tune In! Or Drop Out (Whatevs)

Turned On? Tune In! Or Drop Out (Whatevs)

(Screenshot)

Election night 2014 is looking like it’ll be a nail-biter.

With so many variables in play — Will the Affordable Care Act ultimately prove detrimental to Democrats’ professional health? Who will independent candidates caucus with on Capitol Hill? How long (and how many runoffs) before we divine the next Senate majority leader? — one might be tempted to grab a drink, catch a movie and perhaps wait for “The Daily Show” recap on Wednesday, rather than suffer through umpteen hours of wall-to-wall news coverage.

But that’s not how #ThisTown rolls, is it? Full story

October 29, 2014

Medium Rare Brings Fried Turkey Service to Barracks Row

Medium Rare founder Mark Bucher is importing a holiday tradition to Capitol Hill: staff will fry up — for free — any turkeys folks brought by his new(ish) Barracks Row location on Thanksgiving morning.

Bucher says he instituted the neighborly program back in 2008, and explained he has followed through with the meal-making assistance virtually every year since, though he noted he “took last year off.” His best showing so far: 120 birds dunked in a single day.

“We’re going to save people from burning down their house or going to the emergency room,” Bucher told Fox DC about his self-styled community service. This year’s deep-frying fest is scheduled to take place on Nov. 27 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Full story

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

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