Stacey Goers

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.  

Cheese Making Its Way Into D.C. Culture

“You don’t want to disturb the milk,” Genevieve O’Sullivan said as she slowly poured the white liquid into a plastic container. “That would break the fat molecules. Pour it like you pour champagne.”  

A few in the room giggled. This was the first time the class participants were touching the cow and goat milk that would — after much stirring, some extra bacteria and about an hour of work — become cheese.  

Cheese Making Its Way Into D.C. Culture

“You don’t want to disturb the milk,” Genevieve O’Sullivan said as she slowly poured the white liquid into a plastic container. “That would break the fat molecules. Pour it like you pour champagne.”

A few in the room giggled. This was the first time the class participants were touching the cow and goat milk that would — after much stirring, some extra bacteria and about an hour of work — become cheese.

Ken Burns Gets Personal With 'The Roosevelts'

“No other family has touched as many Americans as the Roosevelts,” documentary filmmaker Ken Burns said at a Monday National Press Club lunch about his new film, "The Roosevelts." The three share a “complicated, Russian-novel of a story,” that has never been shared as one multifaceted narrative.  

This is your week to grab all the Roosevelt you can handle. “The Roosevelts” debuted on PBS stations Sunday night and the network will broadcast the entire 14-hour, seven-part series during primetime evenings this week, with the last episode on Sept. 20.  

7 Tidbits From the House Freshman Class

Last December, most of the Class of 2012 was anxiously waiting for January, when the group would be sworn into the 113th Congress. Much of the biographical information on the more than 80 individuals was already well known: For example, Florida Republican Ted Yoho had been a veterinarian specializing in large animal care, and Massachusetts Democrat Joseph P. Kennedy III belonged to the most storied dynasty of American politics.

Additionally, nine new members joined this Congress midstream after its start in January — that’s including both those who were appointed to their seats, such as former New Jersey Sen. Jeff Chiesa, and those winning special elections, such as the newest of the new, Rep.-elect Bradley Byrne, who won Alabama’s special election last week. Byrne hasn’t yet been sworn in, and the House currently has one other vacancy because of the death of Florida’s C.W. Bill Young in October.

DCanter Pours Itself Into Philippines Relief Effort

Michelle Lim Warner and Michael Warner, owners of the wine and beer shop DCanter on Barracks Row, are launching a fundraising campaign this month for a cause that’s quite personal to their family.

Carles is a small town on the northeastern edge of Panay Island in the Philippines and was greatly impacted by the recent typhoon that hit the islands. Carles is also where Michelle’s mother and grandmother, who died a few years ago, grew up.

For Some Members' Families, D.C. Is the Place to Be

Not long after freshman Rep. Luke Messer won his seat in 2012, he was driving in Indiana with his family — three children, ages 10 and under — and asked them about moving to Washington, D.C.

“I turned around and said, ‘Well, what do you guys think?’” the Indiana Republican said. “They said, ‘If we’re going to go, let’s just go.’ They came [to D.C.] right away.”

Stewart Lends Writing Skills to Bring Elizabeth Smart's 'My Story' to Life
Utah lawmaker helped Smart tell her tale before joining House

The intersection of faith and history has long intrigued Rep. Chris Stewart, who has co-authored multiple bestsellers, from techno-thrillers to pseudo-theological novels. The Utah Republican was an author — an actual novelist, not a fly-by autobiographer or tell-all storyteller — before entering the House as a freshman this January. That’s why, in part, the dust jacket of his newest book, “My Story,” written with Utahn Elizabeth Smart, doesn’t mention that he’s a congressman.

It could be, too, that the story of Smart has little to do with politics. In 2002, at the age of 14, she was abducted from her Salt Lake City home and held hostage for nine months by a man claiming a new religious order. Smart spent much of this time only miles from her home, sharing sparse mountainside campsites with one other woman, who also terrorized Smart. The well-publicized and headline-grabbing story instead has a great deal to do with faith, something that many in Washington can identify with.

Obscure Caucus: The Quiet Men of Congress

Obscure doesn’t mean ineffective or passed over. In fact, in the congressional context, some of the best work gets done behind the scenes by members who would rather build relationships with their colleagues than spar with cable news anchors. These members take on low-profile policy agendas, gain reputations for expertise and benefit from tenure to climb committees or lead issue-area caucuses.

Inclusion in this caucus is not mockery or criticism, but highlights the frequently unhighlighted legislators who spend time on parochial concerns or constituent service. Few lawmakers opt not to stuff a PR portfolio with press releases, television appearances and photo ops, but Obscure Caucus members have few national news mentions or moments in the public eye. Many of these members are big players in policy and political circles, but for whatever reason — political style, personal preference or the issue itself — they earned few or fleeting headlines for their achievements.

Lujan Grisham's Long-Term Goals Are in Focus

Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s first four months in Congress were especially grueling. She was elected as one of the freshman Democratic class presidents, became a whip for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and was placed on three committees. But more critically, her mother was ill and in and out of the hospital in New Mexico.

For a period of time, Lujan Grisham thought she might lose her.

Mo, Mo, Mo — Cowan's Post-Congress Tweets Heat Up

William “Mo” Cowan left the Senate on July 16 and, on returning to civilian life, switched his Twitter handle from @SenMoCowan to @MoCowan. The former Massachusetts Democratic senator sent out this last sweet message under his senatorial names.

Before they shut off this acct allow me to say: thank you all for the kind words. I have lived the American dream. Best wishes to all. -MC

Ninnella, a Rustic Restaurant In Sync With Its Hill East Neighbors

It’s close to 4 p.m. in the middle of the week, during a hot stretch of summer days. At the edge of Lincoln Park, where joggers and dog walkers are circling, the tiny Italian restaurant Ninnella is bustling. The floor is full of wine crates, lobster and octopus are spread in the kitchen, ice is being shuffled into bins and glasses are being wiped clean.

Ninnella opened in February and has experienced a trickle of local Capitol Hill diners, despite the restaurant’s lack of a website and media presence. It’s the intimate feel, the impressive wine list and the homemade foods that have brought in customers, explained both manager Neji Ben Mahmoud, and executive chef Emanuele Simeoni, Italian in his roots and hailing from New York.

DCanter Looks to Slake Wine Lovers' Thirsts

Capitol Hill is getting uncorked.

On Tuesday, the owners of DCanter arranged rows of sparkling wines closest to the door for the soft opening of their new wine and beer store on Barracks Row. It was one of the hottest days yet of Washington’s summer and the sparklings, rosés and crisp whites were on bold display — as were the cans of DC Brau in the back.

Salmon Takes Lessons From Class of '94 to Heart

His phone number in the Rayburn House Office Building is the same, and his congressional pin bears an uncanny resemblance to the one he received in 1995. Policy talk is still of budgeting and deficits, he received virtually the same committee assignments and he sees familiar faces in the Capitol’s hallways. But Rep. Matt Salmon, whose last stint in Congress ended 12 years ago, said this time will be different.

The Arizona Republican said the difference is the perspective he has gained. “I just have a lot more healthy respect for — I don’t know — for everybody,” he told CQ Roll Call in an interview. “It’s so easy to get sucked up into the process that you forget that lives hang in the balance. ... Everything that we do or don’t do has a consequence. I feel so much more the weight of the job. It’s not just debating on C-SPAN. These are issues that impact everybody’s lives.”

Members Go to Great Lengths for Voting Stats

In a steamy church after a week of record-high temperatures in Washington, D.C., Sen. Susan Collins sat quietly during Sunday Mass on Capitol Hill. She was back in town from Maine early, a habit she’s acquired over her more than 15 years in Congress, during which she has cast more than 5,000 votes without missing a single one.

Leaving a crisp Maine summer for sweltering Washington might not make much sense to most people. But Collins has gone to great lengths to protect her unblemished record, just like many others in the history of Congress. It’s a passion that harkens to the core of what many see as the pivotal role of a Member: represent the will of constituents through legislative action.

Susan Collins Casts 5,000th Vote Without a Miss

During the routine calling of names on the Senate floor, Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) cast her 5,000th consecutive roll-call vote this afternoon, marking a streak with which few Members in either chamber can compare.

The vote was a nay on a motion regarding an amendment to a small-business tax relief bill. After the vote closed, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) both praised the accomplishment and applause came from her colleagues.

It’s Back to Business for Tucson’s Ron Barber

As the one-time district director for Tucson-area former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, it’s sort of back to business for Democrat Ron Barber. He rode the wave of national attention that came with winning the competitive special election June 12, but now it’s time for him again to tackle the casework, legislation and issues pertaining to Arizona’s 8th district.

It inarguably won’t be the same sense of normalcy as before January 2011, when the tragic shooting in a Tucson parking lot took six lives and seriously injured Barber and Giffords. The Congresswoman’s injuries eventually caused her to resign the seat in January 2012, setting up the special election this month.

Belly Up to the Barre

Unlike most gyms or studios, the rooms at Biker Barre, the new fitness mashup on Capitol Hill, don’t have any mirrors. In the studio for indoor cycling, participants sweat and spin in almost total darkness. Upstairs, customers attempt ballet-inspired moves in the barre classes in natural sunlight from windows facing a street of row houses.

There’s no self-examination or self-consciousness — just sweat and soreness. 

Taxes Make Up Peter Roskam’s Core Policy Focus
On Ways and Means Committee, Illinoisan Works To Drive Competitiveness With Tax Code Overhaul

Rep. Peter Roskam believes that a tax code overhaul, despite its prickly political connotations, could actually drive Members of varying ideological perspectives together.

“That sounds counterintuitive,” the Illinois Republican said Thursday, the same day his chamber passed a tax-cut package decried by Democratic leaders and sure to hit a wall in the Senate. “But it’s based on the premise that you want to get a deal done. There’s nobody that can defend the status quo on the tax code. There’s no voice in the public square today that can look at the totality of the tax code and say, ‘It’s terrific. We just love this whole thing.’”

Everything’s Coming Up Mikulski

It’s a good week to be Sen. Barbara Mikulski.

The Maryland Democrat will not only become the longest-serving female Member of Congress this Saturday, but she also received a Research!America award Wednesday night at a star-studded  banquet.