Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
March 1, 2015

February 27, 2015

What to See and Do in Selma

The city of Selma prepares for the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The city of Selma prepares for the 50th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

SELMA, Ala., — Every year, Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., makes a pilgrimage here to walk the Edmund Pettus Bridge, tracing the fateful steps he took on March 7, 1965, when he and others marching in favor of voting rights were savagely beaten by state troopers and thugs.

Friends, activists and fellow members of Congress have frequently joined him over the years, but not in the numbers expected for the upcoming 50th anniversary, when about 100 of his colleagues and President Barack Obama are expected to help him mark the half-century mark since “Bloody Sunday.” If you’re heading there yourself, here are a few things to check out, including places where the Selma to Montgomery March was planned, as well as a great spot for a proper Southern breakfast. Full story

February 26, 2015

The Selma to Montgomery Bicycle Ride: Civil Rights and Bamas

(Jason Dick/CQ Roll Call)

(Jason Dick/CQ Roll Call)

LOWNDES COUNTY, Ala. — A partial list of things not present at the 1965 Selma to Montgomery march: A drone mini-copter, Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama,” Viola Liuzzo’s roadside memorial.

As Alabama, and the country, prepares to recognize the 50th anniversary of the 50-plus mile voting rights march, as well as the tragic events such as the March 7 “Bloody Sunday,” when protesters led by now-Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., and Hosea Williams were beaten by state troopers at Selma’s Edmund Pettus Bridge, the Montgomery Bicycle Club did its part by sponsoring a Feb. 21 ride traversing the march route, which is now a national historic trail. Full story

February 25, 2015

Touring Tastemaker Wants D.C. in His Regular Rotation

While dazzling patrons with mind-blowingly fresh ingredients is certainly part of his master plan, dining impresario Michael Stember is currently most obsessed with making his traveling food show self-sustainable.

The world-class athlete (a record-setting track and field star, Stember represented the United States at multiple Pan American Games and the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney) hasn’t given up running around since founding Upstream Foods. If anything, he’s more on the move than ever. Full story

By Warren Rojas Posted at 12:52 p.m.
Drink, Eat

February 24, 2015

The Democrats’ Lost Opportunity in Birmingham

Wallace and Bentley adorn booth B-4 at Carlile's BBQ. (Jason Dick/CQ Roll Call)

Wallace and Bentley adorn booth B-4 at Carlile’s BBQ. (Jason Dick/CQ Roll Call)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Walk into any barbecue place in the South and you’re pretty certain to find walls of fame and photos of the area’s local sports heroes. Dine at Carlile’s BBQ here in Magic City and you’ll see prominent politicians, mostly rock-ribbed Republicans, interspersed among the likes of Joe Namath, Bart Starr and Bear Bryant.

Booth B-4 provides the most vivid illustration of Carlile’s political tone. A contemporary photo of the current governor, Republican Robert Bentley, hangs just below a black and white photo of the late Democratic Gov. George Wallace, the long-time segregationist who recanted his views late in life but was for years a symbol, along with Police Chief Eugene “Bull” Connor, of white resistance to civil rights. (Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama” immortalized Wallace’s status for fraternity party singalongs with the lyrics, “In Birmingham they love the governor.”)

By the cashier counter, former GOP Rep. Spencer Bachus gets a place of honor, next to a photo of singer Lyle Lovett, a Texan.

The city once dubbed “Bombingham” because of its Civil Rights Era violence was passed over last year in its bid to host the 2016 Democratic National Convention. Alas. And Carlile’s isn’t on the list of many Democrats here — “It’s usually not in my repertoire of where I take my visitors,” Rep. Terri A. Sewell, D-Ala., told CQ Roll Call recently, rattling off other ‘cue joints such as Dreamland and Jim ‘n Nick’s and Lannie’s in Selma. But imagine a gaggle of Democratic activists descending upon Carlile’s to eat pork butt and lemon ice box pie among the mugs of Wallace, Bentley and Bachus. Bipartisan barbecue!

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By Jason Dick Posted at 4:54 p.m.
Eat, Museums, The Sights

February 20, 2015

A Scientist Grows Art in NoMa at Gallery NK

Gallery NK on K Street Northeast. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Gallery NK on K Street Northeast. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Tucked away amid the rowhouses of NoMA is a once run-down warehouse transformed into a clean modern contemporary art gallery. The quaint studio, Gallery NK, is the creation of Turkish born artist Nihal Kececi.

With true Turkish hospitality, Kececi and her daughter Julie welcomed this reporter into their gallery with coffee, tea and desserts. There, we chatted and I learned of her journey from Turkey to K Street, and more specifically, 321 K St. NE. Full story

February 17, 2015

Washington Jewish Film Festival Casts Wide Net

The Washington Jewish Film Festival gets underway on Thursday, an 11-day showcase for the global tapestry of Jewish life. What you’ll see — a range of films that includes repertory classics like Francois Truffaut’s “The Last Metro” and Louis Malle’s “Au Revoir Les Enfants” to contemporary Israeli selections such as Nissun Dayan’s “The Dove Flyer” — is by turns dark, funny, religious, secular, musical and everything else under the sun. Full story

By Jason Dick Posted at 2:55 p.m.

February 13, 2015

David Carr’s Raspy Voice Lives On in ‘Page One’ and ‘Night of the Gun’

For those still processing David Carr’s sudden death, The New York Times scribe lives on in two great works he left behind, the 2011 documentary “Page One: Inside the New York Times” and Carr’s memoir, “Night of the Gun.” Full story

Casa Luca to Offer Sunday Brunch

Maria's Light Menu feature at Casa Luca's Sunday brunch.

Maria’s Light Menu feature at Casa Luca’s Sunday brunch. (Rebecca Gale/CQ Roll Call)

D.C. brunch-goers will soon have a new spot to add to the list of upscale restaurants with bottomless mimosas: Fabio Trabocchi’s Casa Luca will be open for Sunday brunch starting on Feb. 22 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Featuring Trabocchi’s signature Italian flare (Fiola, Fiola Mare) in a more casual, family-style setting, Casa Luca is named for the Trabocchi’s 11-year-old son Luca, who helps out in the kitchen sharpening his skills as a budding chef and restaurateur.

Porchetta on Rye, one of Casa Luca's signature brunch items.

Porchetta on Rye, one of Casa Luca’s signature brunch items. (Rebecca Gale/CQ Roll Call)

The Chinatown/City Center restaurant has been open since 2013. The brunch will feature hearty fare such as porchetta on rye, Italian-style vegetarian omelets, homemade stromboli and a plentiful bread basket by Executive Pastry Sous Chef Claudia Bruni.

For $32, guests can order the Casa Luca Signature Brunch: an appetizer, main course, dessert and bottomless libations, a choice between bar manager Robin Miller’s signature “Gazpacho” Bloody Mary, Sicilian Mimosa, or Casa Luca Sangria. For lighter fare, “Maria’s Light Brunch,” $26, comes with a main course of parmacotto ham, stracchino cheese, rye crescia, yogurt, fruit and a mocktail of choice. All items are also available a la carte.

Housemade breads include [XYZ]

House made breads include Pane al Cacio di Roma, a fluffy roll with sheep’s milk, and Maritozzo, a sweet bun flavored with honey lemon and orange zest. (Rebecca Gale/CQ Roll Call)

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

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February 12, 2015

Sonoma, Beuchert’s Team Up to Trick Out Stanton & Greene

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The brains behind Sonoma are hard at work on their next venture. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Artisan spirits and historic accents make up the foundation of the collaborative hospitality project slowly taking shape behind the soon-to-be reopened doors at 319 Pennsylvania Ave. SE.

Stanton & Greene, the three-story, 180-seat restaurant expected to replace the Pour House/Top of the Hill construct that shuttered last April, is an experiment in upscale boozing. The powers that be behind Sonoma and Beuchert’s Saloon — which is formally reviewed in Roll Call’s inaugural dining guide — have joined forces to carve out something different for the neighborhood: a serious drinking spot.

“We’re trying to be to cocktails what Sonoma is to wine,” partner August Paro told CQ Roll Call. That objective does not, however, include setting the bar so high “that you can’t just roll into happy hour and get a great drink.” Full story

February 11, 2015

MLB to Take its Talents to Miami, Not D.C.

All-Star fans won't be seeing this view, at least not from Miami. (CQ Roll Call File Photo.)

All-Star fans won’t be seeing this view, at least not from Miami. (CQ Roll Call File Photo.)

Major League Baseball has selected Miami for the 2017 All Star Game, shunning Washington, D.C., and the riverfront confines of Nationals Park.

Marlins Park, known for its cavernous interior accentuated by sparse attendance and an aquarium in the outfield, is located in Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood. The Miami Herald, which first reported the news, wrote that “the awarding of the 2017 event will mark the end of a long and bumpy road to bring the All-Star Game to South Florida.”

That’s an understatement. The Marlins were supposed to get the 2000 midsummer classic, but had that yanked after the franchise had a fire sale of the 1997 World Series winning team. Marlins Park opened in 2012, compiled a high-profile team headed by Manager Ozzie Guillen and shortstop Jose Reyes, then, when things didn’t work out, had a fire sale for those guys, too.

Maybe LeBron James can throw out the first pitch.

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

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February 6, 2015

The In-Between Zone Movies

It’s that strange time of year: the cinematic in-between zone when “The Boy Next Door” and “Boyhood” compete, if not necessarily for the same audiences or awards.

If one doesn’t want to see either cougar bait or Oscar bait, what else is available? Plenty. The in-between zone is a time not just for camp and class, but sleepers and second-runs. And with the weather still wickedly polar, it’s the right time for screen time. Full story

By Jason Dick Posted at 10:41 a.m.

February 5, 2015

When Interior Decorating Questions Get Weird

Young's office boasts a gavel made from a walrus penis. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Young’s office boasts a gavel made from a walrus penis. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Some members of Congress go their whole lives without being asked about their office decorations. Others have it foisted upon them.

So it was when Roll Call and WAMU went to the Capitol to report on why members display particular pictures of parents, presidential memorabilia or patriotic nutcrackers. It just happened to be on the day The Washington Post published Ben Terris’ story about Rep. Aaron Schock’s “Downton Abbey”-inspired red Rayburn office digs. Full story

Charm City Meadworks Buzzes With New Brews

Mead does not have to be sweet and hangover-inducing, or always served in a goblet. It does not have to be considered a beverage of yore.

It can be served still or sparkling. It can be paired with a soft-ripened Casatica di Bufala cheese or mixed into a high-end cocktail. And it can, according to Baltimore’s Charm City Meadworks, become just as popular as craft beer or wine.

Mead is, in its most basic form, fermented honey, water and yeast. And, despite confusion on its placement on the beer-and-wine spectrum, it is making its way into popular beverage circles, including in Washington, D.C.

Mary Kate Wrzesniewski, general manager at Boundary Road on H Street NE, pours a honey wine made by Charm City Meadworks,

Mary Kate Wrzesniewski, general manager at Boundary Road on H Street Northeast, pours a honey wine made by Charm City Meadworks. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Full story

The Interpretation of Marco Rubio’s ‘American Dreams’

Rubio has a new book, "American Dreams." (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Rubio has a new book, “American Dreams.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

My fellow Americans,

No three words better capture the spirit of my plan to revive the American dream than “my fellow Americans,” suggestive as those words are of the opening of an inaugural address. As I imagine myself looking down the National Mall at the sea of hopeful faces, eloquently holding forth on the American dream, I hear myself moving on to modestly recall the sacrifices of early Marco Rubios that brought me to this pinnacle of dreaming.

I want all Americans to have a part in my dream. Many of our citizens risk missing out. We are failing them. They deserve better from their government, institutions and elected representatives. For 40 years, government has been getting in the way, stifling talent and frustrating ambition. The blame falls across the political spectrum, on Democrats and liberals. Full story

February 3, 2015

George, Ellen or Groucho? National Portrait Gallery Asks for Votes



The National Portrait Gallery is going to put one of three comedians — George Carlin, Ellen DeGeneres or Groucho Marx — up on its “Recognize” wall, and it wants the public to weigh in.

Announcing, “this is no laughing matter for the Smithsonian museum,” the curators of American culture want to display one of the three funny folk on its relatively new feature that highlights “one important person in our collection as chosen by readers of”

So who’ll it be? The man who outlined the seven dirty words you can’t say on TV?


The woman who broke Twitter with her selfies at the Oscars?


Or the guy who had no idea how an elephant got in his pajamas?


Vote until Feb. 15.


Correction, 9:30 a.m.:

An earlier version of this story misidentified the gallery sponsoring the “Recognize” wall.


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