Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
August 3, 2015

Posts in "For Good Cause"

June 10, 2015

Capitol Lounge Bids Farewell to One of Its Own

The proprietors of Capitol Lounge Wednesday will finally say goodbye to former employee Mike Schwarz via a happy hour benefitting his surviving family.

(Courtesy Capitol Lounge)

(Courtesy Capitol Lounge)

Schwarz, whom acquaintances say was a regular part of the Capitol Hill bartending scene for the better part of a decade, was found dead on May 27. Full story

June 8, 2015

CityCenterDC Scores Women’s World Cup Watch Party

The boorish behavior of certain FIFA officials has cast a pall over the beautiful game.

But goodwill ambassadors at the U.S. Soccer Foundation and Embassy of Australia are hoping to retrain the focus on world-class athletics Monday by co-hosting a free watch party of the U.S.-Australia group match of the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup at CityCenterDC.

(Courtest U.S. Soccer Foundation)

(Courtest U.S. Soccer Foundation)

Kick off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.; event promoters are expected to project the international showdown on a large screen (circa 10th and I Streets NW).

Admission is gratis, but donations will be accepted in support of USSF’s philanthropic efforts.

Per organizers, a number of prominent futbol fans have been invited, including D.C. United players, Washington Spirit players and members of the Congressional Soccer Caucus.

DC Slices, The Orange Cow and SOL Mexican Grill have been tasked with keeping attendees well fed.

See photos, follies, HOH Hits and Misses and more at Roll Call’s new video site.

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June 1, 2015

SAVOR Something Different Every Night This Week

(Courtesy Negroni Week)

(Courtesy Negroni Week)

The confluence of classic Italian cocktails and budding craft brews has created the perfect storm for those interested in ushering in the arrival of June with a beverage in hand.

It once again being Negroni Week, local restaurateur Fabio Trabocchi and Capitol Hill haunt Wisdom are each paying homage to the bitters-fueled tipple. Full story

May 21, 2015

Find Your Flavor of Philanthropy

In the mood to put your money where your mouth is? A number of non-profits would love to help you do just that in the coming weeks.

All that’s left to decide is how you’d like to throw down.

Chefs Behind Bars

(Courtesy Kiley Fischer)

(Courtesy Kiley Fischer)

Local toques will, on May 28, once again try their hands at fashioning can’t-miss libations during the latest installment of the ongoing “Chefs Behind Bars” series.

In the year since the role-reversing fundraiser for Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign debuted here in the District, dozens of chefs and mixologists have rallied to the cause — facing off in a number of competitions that have borne bragging rights for a growing roster of self-styled cocktail shakers.

Art and Soul vet Douglas Alexander nabbed the People’s Choice Award in July 2014. Beuchert’s Executive Chef Andrew Markert became the People’s Choice winner in September 2014. And restaurateur and “Top Chef “ alumnus Bryan Voltaggio snagged the People’s Choice prize just last month.

Those hoping to partake in the upcoming festivities, which are scheduled to take place at Capitol Hill newcomer Stanton & Greene, can secure tickets (join.nokidhungry.org/ChefsBehindBars) ahead of time for $45. (It’ll be $50 at the door.)

The tasting is scheduled to run from 6 to 8 p.m. and will feature small bites supplied by Stanton & Greene (think: canapés, fritters, sliders and skewered items) as well as specialty drinks created by:

  • Birch & Barley Chef Kyle Bailey (his “Rain When I Die” is expected to include dark rum, smoked cherries and blood orange).
  • Vidalia Chef Hamilton Johnson.
  • Mango Tree Chef Adrian Salazar.
  • Rural Society Chef Louis Goral.
  • Sticky Fingers Eats & Sweets/FareWell Founder Doron Petersan.
  • Jack Rose Dining Saloon Chef Russell Jones.
  • Juniper Chef Mariah Tysz (her “French Twist” should feature St. Germaine, vodka, cucumber water, lime and a lemongrass-ginger reduction).

An event organizer noted that Buttercream Bakeshop Founder Tiffany MacIsaac is also hard at work on a batch of “boozy desserts!”

K Street Farm Dinner

DC Greens Advisory Board Member Maggie Gyllenhaal is bringing along younger brother and fellow film star Jake to the food advocacy group’s inaugural K Street Farm Dinner.

The family-style feast, scheduled to take place June 2 at the non-profit’s urban garden (located on the corner of New Jersey Avenue and K Street Northwest), is expected to feature locally sourced dishes tag-teamed by some of the area’s gustatory heavies.

Participating chefs, include:

  • Ruben Garcia of MiniBar.
  • Sunnyside Restaurant Group Founder and DC Food Policy Council Chairman Spike Mendelsohn.
  • Mike Friedman of The Red Hen.
  • Jeremiah Langhorne of The Dabney.
  • Voltaggio.
  • Restaurateur Mike Isabella.
  • MacIsaac.

Per organizers, celebrating fresh, wholesome ingredients is what it’s all about.

“Some elements will be harvested from The K Street Farm and from school gardens across the District,” an event coordinator told CQ Roll Call. Cocktail guru Owen Thomson has been tasked with providing adult refreshments, while Charlottesville, Va.-based winery Early Mountain Vineyards will supply pours.

Instead of arranging a separate auction, party planners constructed perks — including “Hot Tables” (dinner for four at China Chilcano or Kapnos), “Cool Experiences” (gelato making class at Dolcezza) and “Unforgettable Events” (rooftop dinner for 10 at Rose’s Luxury, VIP passes to the 2016 sweetlife festival) — built-in to varying ticket packages. General admission starts at $250 per person, while a VIP pass (which includes a welcome reception and gift bag assembled by Salt & Sundry) will set you back $600.

Reserve your seat at: dcgreens.org/farmdinner.

Third Annual Dine-N-Dash

(Courtesy ThinkFoodGroup)

(Courtesy ThinkFoodGroup)

Seasoned coalition builder José Andrés aims to again turn the streets of DC into a playground for the epicurious courtesy of his homegrown Dine-N-Dash on June 9 .

Now in its third year, the Penn Quarter-based taste-around boasts unfettered access to a dozen established eateries and participating food trucks, as well as an after party at the neighboring Carnegie Library, all in the name of providing much needed resources to Andrés’ global relief arm, World Central Kitchen.

At press time, general admission tickets ($129) remained available for those content to get underway at Cuba Libre, Del Campo, Jaleo, Oya, Oyamel, The Partisan, Ping Pong Dim Sum, Poste Brasserie, Proof, SEI and Zaytinya. VIP passes ($299) — which entitle guests to complimentary pedicab service between the participating restaurants, exclusive access to specialty drinks/food at the ThinkFoodGroup properties and after-party — were still available for those looking to launch from Jaleo, Oyamel or Zaytinya.

Per organizers, the after party will be larded up with extra special goodies, including:

  • Signature cocktails created by mirth makers at 2 Birds 1 Stone, El Camino (think: “instant” ginger beer spiked with jalapeno, and mezcal-fueled Old Fashions) and Mockingbird Hill.
  • Custom sweets whipped up by Dog Tag Bakery, Buzz Bakery and Pitango Gelato.
  • Craft beer service.
  • Performances by City of the Sun, the indie rockers staff Andrés apparently fell in love with at South by Southwest.

The culinary trek is slated to take place from 6 to 9 p.m. The after party is projected to rage on from 9 to 11 p.m.

Moving forward, Andrés said he’d love to invite the rest of the world to the party.

Score tickets on LivingSocial.

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

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May 4, 2015

Have a Ball With DC Vote

Disenfranchised District denizens who dare to dream of one day having a say in how Congress handles its business can once again raise their voices in unison during DC Vote’s 3 Star Ball.

The fledgling fundraiser is scheduled to bring together advocates for home rule on the rooftop of the National Association of Realtors Building (500 New Jersey Ave. NW) Wednesday from 6:30 to 9 p.m.

Newly minted host committee member Spike Mendelsohn is slated to handle the refreshments; organizers indicated his catering arm, Spike’d, has been tasked with plying partygoers with passed hors d’oeuvres. An open bar is expected to tend to the needs of the absolutely parched. Full story

April 16, 2015

Versatile Toques Aim to Tantalize Seafood Fans

Profish has reeled in a who’s who of award-winning local chefs for its fourth annual “Charity Off the Hook” event, a gourmet dine-around designed to net much needed funds for food- and education-related charitable organizations.

This year’s tasting bonanza is scheduled to take place on April 22 from 6 to 10 p.m. at Tony and Joe’s Seafood Place (3000 K St. NW). Tickets for the all-inclusive event are $125 per person; as a courtesy, the organizers have offered readers a discount for the dinner. Entering “ROLLCALL” in the promo code spot will shave $25 off the price of admission. (Roll Call has no business relationship with the event.)

According to Profish Director of Sustainability John Rorapaugh, the evening is all about sensational nosh, good fun and supporting the patchwork of charities that strive to assist those most in need across the region. 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

December 2, 2014

‘Remote Area Medical’ — a Documentary Whose Subject Is No Longer Remote

“If I’d made this movie, I’d have screwed it up,” said Stan Brock, the founder of Remote Area Medical and a man with nearly a half-century of film experience.

The movie he is referring to is “Remote Area Medical,” a documentary by Jeff Reichert and Farihah Zaman about Brock’s organization, which provides free medical clinics to the poor. Their movie documents one of RAM’s weekend pop-ups in Bristol, Tenn., in 2012.

The organization, which Brock founded in 1985, first set to work delivering health care in out-of-the-way locales such as the Amazonian jungle and the wilds of Africa. Brock, a former cowboy in South America and collaborator on Mutual of Omaha’s “Wild Kingdom,” was uniquely qualified for a medical venture serving virtually inaccessible areas in developing countries. Now, nearly 30 years later, more than 60 percent of RAM’s clinics are conducted in the United States. Full story

November 24, 2014

To Trot or Not to Trot

Ready for Turkey Day? (CQ Roll Call File Photo.)

Ready for Turkey Day? (CQ Roll Call File Photo.)

Staying put in Washington for the Thanksgiving holiday has its perks. No airport waiting lines. No captivity on I-95. A relaxed, convivial atmosphere. That’s good to keep in mind when arriving amid the forecasted snow and cold at Freedom Plaza for the 2014 Trot for Hunger 5K race.

The footrace, put on by So Others Might Eat, raises money to provide food, health care and clothing for the homeless. The D.C. trot, SOME’s 13th annual, is expecting more than 10,000 runners for an 8:30 a.m. start time for the kids’ 1-mile fun run and 9 a.m. for the 5K. SOME aims to raise $525,000 in its effort to feed the hungry and help the homeless.

To register for the event, go to SOME’s sign-up site at soome.convio.net. It’s $30 for an untimed run and $35 for a timed one. A hyper-competitive environment this is not. Ridiculous costumes are welcome, particularly of the avian variety. Ability is not an issue. Case in point? Your Roll Call After Dark columnist himself will be participating, rehabbing torn MCL and all.

SOME’s downtown D.C.-centered trot is just one of many in the area. Still, there’s something about seeing thousands of people running around in the cold, amid the Capitol Dome. The political world can cast a dark tone on Washington, and given congressional approval ratings, not too many folks view Capitol Hill in a positive light. Showing there’s more to D.C. than Republicans and Democrats trading potshots starts with events like this.

But surely there must be easier ways to get out of helping stuff the turkey on Thursday morning? SOME is more than eager to shoot you in the right direction for volunteer opportunities on Turkey Day and beyond. Drop them a line at some.org.

Among the many other places to volunteer are DC Central Kitchen, Bread for the City, Food & Friends, the Capital Area Food Bank, take your pick. If you want to volunteer, there’s a spot for you.

Something to keep in mind is that while Thanksgiving and the upcoming Christmas holidays are good motivators for community service and volunteerism — and charitable organizations are eager to accept goodwill during such busy times — the need doesn’t end with the holidays.

Roll Call Results Map: Results and District Profiles for Every Seat

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October 14, 2014

Tom Colicchio Helps Mark World Food Day in D.C.

Colicchio will discuss the Food Policy Action congressional scorecard on Oct. 16. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Colicchio will discuss the Food Policy Action congressional scorecard on Thursday. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Perhaps no other city in the United States provides the platform to address food issues better than Washington, D.C., a culinary hot-spot that also provides a public policy forum in the seat of government.

It’s a good time to eat out in the District. Just check out Washington Post food critic Tom Sietsema’s fall dining guide, released over the weekend, for proof. As if to demonstrate how food in the District is both a sensual and political experience, one of Washington’s pre-emininet food activists is also among its most celebrated for his kitchens. Among Sietsema’s 37 selections, four are from José Andrés, whose ThinkFoodGroup has a growing policy footprint in advocating for the elimination of hunger and addressing its root causes.

On Thursday, noshing meets education with World Food Day, the anniversary of the Oct. 16, 1945, creation of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. Food Policy Action is using the day to release its National Food Policy Scorecard for the 113th Congress at one of D.C.’s foodie havens, Graffiato, Mike Isabella’s downtown Italian-American lair.

Food Policy Action, an offshoot of the Environmental Working Group, released its first scorecard two years ago for the 112th Congress, grading members on 32 legislative actions ranging from nutrition assistance to food safety. Fifty members got perfect scores; three came away empty-plated. Full story

May 9, 2014

Brewery Ommegang Cooks Up SAVOR Counteroffensive

Bummed about missing out on the barley- and hops-fueled bacchanal taking over the National Building Museum this weekend?

Eddie Arrossi/Brewers Association

Eddie Arrossi/Brewers Association

So is Brewery Ommegang.

Rather than fret about all the fun they won’t be having at the annual SAVOR beer blowout, the powers that be behind the New York-based craft brewery have decided to host their own beer-drenched shindig at Hierarchy (1841 Columbia Road NW).

A suggested $10 donation, which benefits DC Central Kitchen, gets one in the door and entitles guests to a custom tasting glass and commemorative gift.

Organizers insist the “Black Sheep” event, which is scheduled to roll from Saturday night right into Sunday (8 p.m. to 1 a.m.), is meant to complement, not supplant, the Brewers Association-led festivities taking place across town.

The splintering was apparently predicated by a SAVOR ban on having too many interrelated breweries — Ommegang’s pals from Kansas City-based Boulevard Brewing Company got the nod this year — under the same roof during the weekend drinkathon.

“Rather than go out like a lamb we are going to have a bit of fun and create what should be a fantastic experience of beer, food, art, music with a good cause to boot — and the event is open to all: SAVOR attendees, local DC food-and-beer lovers and anyone else who wants to join us,” Bill Wetmore, Ommegang’s director of marketing suggested in a release.

Meanwhile, Haute Saison Catering owner Jan Van Haute and Ommegang executive chef Evan Brown are scheduled to whip up special lamb dishes to be paired with the crew’s homespun brews. And members of DC’s Fans of Lamb should be on hand to share cooking secrets and cherished lamb recipes.

Worried about being too smashed to trek from SAVOR to Adams Morgan? Team Ommegang plans to run shuttle buses from there to them every half hour beginning at 10 p.m. (until 11:30 p.m.) to ensure beer lovers can enjoy the best of both worlds.

April 25, 2014

Calendar: How Will Life After Leibovich Affect the WHCD?

It is the year of the White House Correspondents’ Dinner AL 1, or one year After Leibovich. While he wasn’t the first, Mark Leibovich’s “This Town” skewered the event and its accompanying cocktail parties, brunches and satellite offerings so hard that it’s worth wondering whether life at Nerd Prom will be different.

Will anyone enthusiastically tweet that they can’t believe they just saw Psy? Will the BuzzFeed Bowties and Burgers alterna-dinner at Jack Rose Saloon suffer a sophomore slump? Will Tammy Haddad change the mimosa schedule? Will news organizations now ignore people who had cameos in “House of Cards”? Will any celebrity selfies not be sponsored by Samsung?

We’ll see. While Leibovich’s chronicle certainly cut deep, it’s unlikely it will change much behavior. The spectacle of the WHCD has always been ripe for snark, self-consciousness and self-righteousness. Even the term Nerd Prom is a form of faux self-deprecation, an attempt to show that one understands just how declassé the whole affair is, even while jetting from soiree to soiree, from the French Embassy to David Bradley’s house.

So go forth and enjoy the pre-pre-parties, pre-parties, dinner, alternative parties, post-parties, post-dinner hangover cure brunches and the rest. There’s nothing wrong with having a good time, even as some of the events will seem like a 1970s disaster movie: Lots of talented people who used to be in the spotlight working it hard, waiting for the ship to be hit by a tidal wave.

Meanwhile, if you’d like to opt out of some of the week’s festivities, keep in mind a couple of things happening on Capitol Hill. This is the last week for the venerable Pour House, one of Pennsylvania Avenue’s last legit dive bars, which is pouring its last brew on April 30. There’s even a countdown clock on the Pour House website to show you just many hours and seconds you have for one last round of skeeball. The place that used to be Poli-Tiki will transition yet again, this time to a more upscale venue dreamed up by the folks behind nearby wine bar Sonoma.

On the night of the WHCD itself, local band Typefighter will be playing at the Rock and Roll Hotel at 1353 H St. NE for its “The End of Everything” album release party. Helping the crowd warm up will be another local outfit, Shark Week, which features Roll Call’s own Daniel Newhauser, a House leadership reporter by day, rock and roll drummer by night, with a little DC Ducks fanboy worked in on the side.

Doors open at 7 p.m., with the show starting at 8 p.m. It’s 12 bucks in advance and at the door. No rubber chicken dinner will be served.

And the day after features the Race for Hope Washington, D.C., 5K, which raises money for brain tumor research. For more information, go to braintumorcommunity.org.

March 28, 2014

Calendar: Time to Make Outdoor Plans, Finally

Amazing what a couple of days above freezing will do for everyone’s disposition!

Whether it’s planning some fun runs, mussing about among the cherry blossoms or gearing up for the return of the Washington Nationals, it’s nice to be able to go outside without cold weather gear, finally.

Run, Run, Run

One of the biggest outdoor activities of the season brings together not just the Cherry Blossom Festival crowds but members of Congress and the physically fit. April 6 is the annual Congressional Federal Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run, a massive foot race that raises money for charity that contains the Capitol Hill Competition race-within-the-race. Race organizers on April 3 will present the a check to the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals in Room HVC-200 at the Capitol Visitor Center. Expect current and former members of Congress to attend. Congressional Federal CEO Charles A. Mallon Jr., is touting the 41 senators and 189 House members who are serving as honorary co-chairs of the race, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio. The event starts at 10 a.m. Capitol Hill Competition runners can pick up their race packets from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the same room. Full story

March 25, 2014

Ward 6 Candidates to Throw Down at Rock N Roll Hotel

Two candidates for Capitol Hill’s seat on the D.C. Council face off Tuesday night in a venue best known for booking top-notch bands and peddling $3 Pabst Blue Ribbon tallboys.

Ward 6 Democrats Charles Allen and Darrel Thompson are headlining the 8 p.m. debate at Rock N Roll Hotel.

Billed as part of “D.C.’s most fun political debate series” and hosted by Washington City Paper, the event is sure to get rowdy. Plus, it’s probably the last chance to see Tommy Wells’ ex-chief of staff and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s former deputy throw down before the April 1 Democratic primary.

Washington City Paper’s Will Sommer, the Washington Informer’s James Wright, and DCist’s Sarah Anne Hughes will moderate. They will be taking questions from Twitter, Facebook and members of the audience, and the two candidates will get to ask one another questions for a potion of the evening.

Doors open at 1353 H St. NE at 7 p.m. and the show starts at 8 p.m., leaving attendees with a full hour to take advantage of the bar’s happy hour. Entry is free, drinking is encouraged and the hosts remind you to tip your bartender.

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