Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 9, 2016

Taste of America Defending Champ Eliminated, Field Is Wide Open

Robert Schwalbach, right, chief of staff for Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan of the Northern Mariana Islands, talks with chef Spike Mendelsohn after the Northern Marina Islands team won the Roll Call "A Taste of America" contest. Mendelsohn holds the winning entry, an Apigigi, at We, the Pizza, his establishment on Capitol Hill where the winners were announced in 2011.

What’s an apigigi? As pictured here in 2011, it’s a Taste of America winner that went on to be stifled the next year. Competition is fierce. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo.)

With last year’s champion out of the Taste of America competition, the field is wide open for a new dish to be crowned the best food in America.

So which state’s specialty will be this year’s Cinderella story? That remains to be seen as round 3 is currently underway and is set to end Friday.

The bracket-style tournament occurs alongside the 53rd Annual Congressional Baseball Game and pits state delicacies against one another, giving voters the opportunity to choose which dish will come out on top.

West Virginia’s pepperoni roll, which won the competition last year, was knocked out in round 2, falling to Delaware’s boardwalk fries. The fries have made a strong showing in round 3 so far, but are still lagging behind Maine’s lobster roll.

HOH’s hospitality-related handicapper, Chef Colin Abernethy, decried the lack of support for the pepperoni roll but also laid out his Final Four predictions. All of the dishes he saw in the finals advanced passed round 2.

Abernethy predicted that Wisconsin’s macaroni and cheese would be in the finals, but its future is looking bleak so far. The most votes in round 3 have gone to its competition: Iowa bacon.

To see if your state’s food has made it to round 3, click here, and you can also vote for the tastiest treat that deserves to be crowned this year’s Taste of America champion.

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