Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
January 28, 2015

January 28, 2015

A Mild Journey to the Heart of Pentagon City (Video)

(Jason Dick/CQ Roll Call)

(Jason Dick/CQ Roll Call)

“You can’t be subtle in this town.”

— Hunter S. Thompson, “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.”

We were somewhere around Pentagon City on the edge of Interstate 395 when the drug enforcers began to take hold. I remember saying something like, “I had no idea the DEA had a museum; maybe we should go …” And suddenly, there was a terrible mall all around us and the sky was full of what looked like squat office buildings — all glass and concrete and blocking out the sunlight — and the sound of the Metro, which ran underneath the Pentagon City Mall and the Pentagon Centre and the Drug Enforcement Agency Museum at 700 Army Navy Drive in Arlington, Va.

“You’d be hard pressed to find anyone who’s visited this museum,” said my companion (for the purposes of this chronicle, let’s call him Dr. Red Ladies) as we entered the DEA Museum’s revolving door. Full story

January 23, 2015

Pumpernickel Stout + Hot Chicken = You Are Warm

Durgin, left, and Cox have a brew for what ails you. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo.)

Durgin, left, and Cox have a brew for what ails you. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo.)

Winter does not stand a chance, not against the forces of Atlas Brew Works’ new Pumpernickel Stout and Maison Dixon’s Hot Chicken.

On Saturday, Capitol Lounge at 229 Pennsylvania Ave. SE will turn over its taps to Atlas for the launch of its newest brew, Pumpernickel Stout. The brainchild of Atlas Head Brewer Will Durgin, the new brew is made with rye, blackstrap molasses and is designed “to help us through the coldest days of winter,” Atlas chieftain Justin Cox said. “This is whole grain belly warmer to see you through until spring.”

As accompaniment, pop-up food artist Adam Cox returns to the Lounge with his Maison Dixon vittles in tow: Nashville Hot Chicken, grilled pimento cheese sandwiches, chicken ‘n waffles and smoked fried pork chops.

If that doesn’t beat back the cold, nothing will.

From 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. No cover charge, but it would be kind to RSVP to reservations@maisondixondc.com to make sure they have enough grub for the crowd.

Related:

Quaff This: Atlas Brew Works Rowdy Rye

Capitol Lounge Crosses the Maison Dixon Food Line

 At Atlas Brew Works, The Taps Are Flowing

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

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Americana on Display: Meat and Cars

A BIG red Corvette at the 2014 Washington Auto Show. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A BIG red Corvette at the 2014 Washington Auto Show. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Meat and cars. There’s the potential for a lot of macho.

The Washington Auto Show has rolled into town at the same time thatcarnivore restaurants are sponsoring Meat Week. It’s likely unintentional. But that doesn’t mean they can’t be related. What could be more American than checking out the latest muscle car from Detroit, then heading to Hill Country for some delicious brisket? Full story

Mucca Pazza’s Friday Junkanoo at 3 Stars Brewing

Those needing to express a little Thank-God-It’s-Friday could do worse than to head to 3 Stars Brewing for a live performance by Mucca Pazza, a 30-piece rock marching band that goes pretty well with some beer. Full story

January 22, 2015

Chilling Out Is What It’s All About at the Dolcezza Factory

The little, local gelato maker that could has come a long way from solely dishing scoops of handmade refreshment to college kids and thrusting samples in the faces of those perusing different stalls at the farmers market. The decade-long trek to the top of the frozen dessert heap in D.C. has culminated in the development of the bright, welcoming Dolcezza Factory at 550 Penn St. NE that took up residence in the shadow of next-gen shopping hub Union Market last winter.

The multipurpose compound — there’s an active gelato-making operation, limited retail space and a full-service tasting room all tucked under one roof — officially opened in December 2013, with the coffee/gelato bar following suit a few months later. The somewhat out-of-the-way space remains fairly busy, yet never tips over into uncomfortably crowded territory.

When the weather’s nice, folks routinely camp outside on the rusty metal chairs, watching the world zoom by along Sixth Street Northeast while they savor steaming cups of brew forged from freshly ground Indonesian coffee beans. Circle the neatly arranged display table a snack showcase crowded with assorted Kinderhook staples, including triple ginger cookies, orange-tarragon candied almonds, black pepper shortbread, baked cheese crackers and boozy brown butter blondies long enough, and you are likely to be joined, as I was, by a pair of first-time visitors who couldn’t help but gush about their latest find at Union Market. (“They’ve got pork butts!” one just about squealed after wandering across a Toki Underground-run outpost.)

Settle in at the spacious bar and you just might bear witness to random testaments to the generosity of the human spirits. “I brewed too much. You can enjoy this here or top off your drink,” one accommodating barista surprised a customer who appeared ready to shuffle out the door by sliding over an extra shot of piping hot Ethiopian roast.

It’s been my experience that most folks tend to find their way to this industrial park-packed slice of D.C. for a frozen pick-me-up. They’ve certainly come to the right place. Co-founder Robb Duncan estimates the factory cranks out some 400 gallons of gelato and sorbetto per day. Some of those efforts are funneled into the prepackaged pints that beckon (think: salted caramel, Thai coconut milk and Valrhona dark chocolate for gelatos; crookneck pumpkin, pineapple mint and pomegranate sorbettos, plus rotating single-serving push-pops) from the stand-alone freezer case. The rest flow over to the bins watched over by the baristas.

“All of these come out of those machines right there,” one attendant explains, nodding toward the industrial mixers opposite the service counter as she ushers a glistening ball of exotic fun right under my nose. “They’re super soft. But they’re also as fresh as it gets.” Featured flavors are served solo or can be built into custom flights (four mini servings at $8).

Indonesian vanilla bean is elegantly spicy. The timeless classic weaves together creamy bliss with a hint of piquancy. Salted caramel is an absolute stunner. The top seller (per Duncan) plays for keeps, adding an almost pudding-like mouth feel, very dense and exceptionally rich, to the warmed sugar that lends the highly prized phenomenon its name. The cleverly composed candy apple coppeta is the frozen analog to apple pie; honey-spiked sorbetto is coupled with oaty granola (extra crunchy) and then doused with syrupy dulce de leche topping. A black sesame-based production was an eyebrow raiser. The ashen-colored cooler spreads toasted nuttiness across the palate. (Not necessarily my bag, but certainly interesting.) Virginia peanut butter is surprisingly light yet potent.

Duncan said the company currently sources the freshly roasted, ground and salted source material from two purveyors in rural Virginia. The homemade peanut butter is then folded into the gelato, resulting in pale bulbs of perfectly nutty deliciousness. In the future, Duncan hopes to conquer another legume-based fantasy.

“I am still dreaming of doing a Thai peanut butter,” he said, laying out plans to cram freshly ground nuts, ginger, galangal, lemongrass, lime juice, Thai coconut milk and Thai chilies into the same crystalized spoonful.

Dolcezza Factory: 550 Penn St. NE; 202- 333- 4646. Average entree: under $12 ($). Open for lunch and dinner Tuesday through Sunday.

Read more about the Capitol Hill dining scene in our “Nom, Nom, Nom-nibus” e-book, available for download at roll.cl/Nom-nibusDiningGuide.

January 19, 2015

A Guide to State of the Union Watch Parties

Need to watch it on TV? There are a few watch parties for that. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Need to watch it on TV? There are a few watch parties for that. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

If you won’t be in the Capitol to watch President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address Tuesday night, fret not. There is no shortage of SOTU watch parties, nor to the range of political spectrums or organizations hosting them. Full story

January 14, 2015

Resolve to Feast the Rest of January

Those ribs aren't going to eat themselves! (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Those ribs aren’t going to eat themselves! (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

We’re now a few weeks into the New Year. So we’ll go ahead and assume any nonsensical diet plans or ill-conceived commitments to calorie counting have been wisely tossed aside.

If not, prepare to have your mettle tested by a three-pronged attack from myriad tastemakers.

Winter Restaurant Week

The opening salvo in the full-fledged assault on our collective well-being is Winter Restaurant Week. The biannual promotion (the next round’s in August) is slated to run from Jan. 19 to Jan. 25 and provides prix fixe dining options at venues spread across the D.C.-Metro area. Full story

January 9, 2015

The Dangerous Lives of Satirists

Gibbons, right, helped honor Havel. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Gibbons, right, helped honor Havel. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Foreigners are sometimes amazed at the suffering that we are willing to undergo here, and at the same time they are amazed at the things we are still able to laugh at. It’s difficult to explain, but without the laughter we would simply be unable to do the serious things. If one were required to increase the dramatic seriousness of his face in relation to the seriousness of the problems he had to confront, he would quickly petrify and become his own statue.”

— Vaclav Havel, “Disturbing The Peace”

Back in November, some people were confused to see ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons performing at the Statuary Hall ceremony to unveil the bust of Havel. Why would one of the guys behind “Tush,” “Jesus Just Left Chicago” and “Tube Snake Boogie” be present to honor the late Czech dissident and president?

Because Havel, an absurdist playwright, loved rock ‘n’ roll and he particularly loved tunes that had a sense of humor and ribaldry. For him, laughing at one’s self, others, and particularly the Soviet puppet state in Communist-era Czechoslovakia was an essential part of not just dissent — it was what made him and his countrymen human. Full story

January 7, 2015

Random Awesome Passages From Rep. Steve Israel’s ‘The Global War on Morris’

The budding writer. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The budding writer. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

As Rep. Steve Israel, D-N.Y., rolls out his book tour for his satirical novel “The Global War on Morris,” Roll Call After Dark makes note of some of the book’s passages, in a random and hopefully entertaining manner.

  • “Refined social graces are imperative in the moments before skulking into a motel room for some primitive grunting. It lends a certain air of decorum.”
  • “And when she dropped her Long Island accent, and began pronouncing her Rs, it was a sign of formality.”
  • “Cheney felt his heart thumping.”
  • “In the Martyrs of Militancy safe house — also known as the Feldstein family condo in Boca — Hassan found a quiet room away from his comrades.”
  • “Caryn had to work that night, but didn’t mind. She considered her job an observation post, where she could collect material for her planned documentary on the economic plight of retail workers, tentatively titled ‘Mall Stall.’ Plus, the overtime was decent and she had a 401k.”

Want more? Israel reads from his novel at Politics and Prose at 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW on Wednesday at 7 p.m.

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

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January 5, 2015

‘The Interview’ Playing at a D.C. Theater Near You

Rogen, seen here in February with with Lauren Miller, is no stranger to Capitol Hill. Will his movie screen here soon? (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rogen, seen here in February with wife Lauren Miller, is no stranger to Capitol Hill. Will his movie screen here soon? (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

For those inclined to see “The Interview” on the big screen instead of video on demand or online, two theaters in Washington, D.C., are screening the Seth Rogen-James Franco-faux assassination of Kim Jong Un movie, differentiating themselves from what one outlet has pegged Hollywood’s Wussiest Moment of 2014.

The West End Cinema in Foggy Bottom and the Avalon in Chevy Chase are screening the satire at least through this Thursday. At the West End, it’s been showing in Theater 2, which holds 75 people. The Avalon has been showing it in its Theater 1, which holds more than 300 and is one of the city’s nicer movie experiences.  Full story

By Jason Dick Posted at 4:04 p.m.
Movies

December 31, 2014

Brunch Your Way Into 2015

Amateur night is over. Now it’s time to get down to business.

Hung over or not, the new year waits for no one. So you might as well greet 2015 head on — and with a full, rounded belly. Fuel your recovery at the following locations:

Full story

By Warren Rojas Posted at 3:53 p.m.
Drink, Eat

December 17, 2014

Liver Let Die, Foie La La Ducks Controversy

(Screenshot)

(Screenshot)

The second annual Foie La La competition is under way on H Street Northeast, with nine establishments going beak to beak for the hearts and minds (and livers?) of diners with a taste for foie gras.

The eat-off, which started on Dec. 15 and runs through Christmas, has attracted attention from the folks at PETA, who aren’t too keen on the consumption of animal protein, much less duck livers, much, much less the sense of humor the organizers have employed in publicity material. Full story

By Jason Dick Posted at 3:24 p.m.
Be Merry, Eat

December 16, 2014

Shocked, Shocked Woodhouse Brothers Are Fighting on Cable TV

With all the spontaneity of a professional wrestling match, the Woodhouse brothers, liberal Brad and conservative Dallas, argued their political points on cable television today and their mom called in to scold them.

While the “Oh, God, it’s mom,” comment from Dallas and Joyce’s admonition that they get all this piss and vinegar out their system so they don’t ruin Christmas at Casa Woodhouse back in North Carolina is adorable in a #ThisTown kind of way — it’s worth pointing out this is a bit old hat for the family Woodhouse. They even made a movie about it, “Woodhouse Divided,” that catalogues in detail their cable television and public spats, as well as, yes, family holiday arguments.

Let’s get ready to rumble. Again.

Related:

Woodhouse Divided’ — The Real Life Political Rock ‘Em, Sock ‘Em Robots

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

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Radici Takes Root on Capitol Hill

Thibodeau Sasso at her new establishment, Radici. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Sasso at her new establishment, Radici. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Whisked away to Italy by love 18 years ago, Bridget Thibodeau Sasso returned to Washington with a piece of Italy she has now established on Capitol Hill — her Italian market Radici at 303 Seventh St. SE.

While on vacation in the Bahamas, Sasso fell in love with an Italian man, whom she corresponded with through letters and eventually married. When she later moved to Italy to begin a life with Enrico Sasso, she also opened her own Italian food export business. After 13 years there, she returned to the United States, where she opened an import business in Vienna, Va. Both have since been sold to family members.

Full story

December 15, 2014

Calendar: ‘Through a Lens Darkly’ Illuminates Screens

Protesters march in the "Justice for All" march on Dec. 13 in Washington. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Protesters march in the “Justice for All” march on Dec. 13 in Washington. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Thomas Allen Harris worked on his latest film project, “Through a Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People,” for years, and it was released in Washington on Dec. 12.

The timing, while entirely coincidental, comes during a period of renewed discussion of race as grand jury decisions in Ferguson, Mo., and Staten Island, N.Y., continue to reverberate and demonstrations sweep through the halls of power, including at Capitol Hill. Full story

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