Maine solons Susan Collins and Angus King hung out with a few hundred of their new best friends Tuesday night at the inaugural Taste of Maine reception.
The event, sponsored by the Maine Chamber of Commerce, brought together roughly two dozen Maine food and beverage professionals for a meet and greet with Capitol Hill's most famished. (We spotted Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., slipping out with a sample cup of something tasty.)
Collins, a Republican, and King, an independent, met in the middle when it came to speech prep, knocking back a few sips of Cold River vodka before heading to the mic.
Attendees were treated to a wealth of Northeastern specialties, including vanilla-cream-filled, devil's-food-cake-framed whoopie pies, homemade brioche smothered in rich maple cream, oversized fried potato wedges, freshly shucked oysters, savory fried lobster patties, kelp slaw and tons of smoked seafood.
"I just need you to come here and try this," an aide to Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, R-Utah, pleaded with a co-worker who attempted to pluck the repeat customer out of line before he could request a second helping of syrupy blueberries heaped atop a tongue-teasing yogurt-cream blend.
Collins praised all the producers for participating and held out hope the festive feast could become an annual gathering. King, meanwhile, nudged attendees to accept no substitutes.
"Come and see us this summer and fall," King urged partygoers, imploring everyone to enjoy authentic Maine grub "by the surf."