The second round of CQ Roll Call's 2013 Taste of America throwdown is under way, with culinary partisans voting for their favorite vittles from sea to shining sea.
Arizonans teed up their chimichangas. West Virginians are flogging their pepperoni rolls. D.C.'ers (we have no idea how to differentiate Washington-state people from Washington-nation's-capital people, so there you go) are behind their half smokes.
In the spirit of fairness, we here at HOH encourage all voters in this competition to keep an open mind and palate, and sample as much fare as your waistlines will allow. For D.C. voters, we have taken the top five vote-getters from last week who moved on to the second round and compiled a list of Capitol Hill or nearby establishments to nosh. And, of course, we welcome all, ahem, feedback, because we know there's more out there. And yes, we know it's all better back home.
1. West Virginia, Pepperoni Rolls, 9,022 votes. The top vote-getter is virtually impossible to find in D.C., and the best place to get them are gas stations in West Virginia. If a drive like that is not in the cards, Tomaro's Bakery in Clarksburg, W.Va., ("Eat Tomaro's bread today!") makes a mean pepperoni roll. Anna's of Glen Elk ships Tomaro's wares.
2. Arizona, Chimichangas, 6,351 votes. Deep-fried burritos topped with sour cream and guacamole are near and dear to our hearts. On Capitol Hill, the La Lomita locations on Pennsylvania and Massachusetts avenues do a decent job. Farther afield, Taqueria Poblano in Del Ray and Arlington comes pretty darn close to the Sonoran real deal.
4. Tennessee, Memphis BBQ, 1,471 votes. There are a lot of barbecue joints in the region, but finding those that specialize in Memphis style is a tougher task. Old Glory BBQ in Georgetown is a starting point, as is Red, Hot and Blue in Arlington and Standard on 14th Street Northwest.
5. Illinois 1 and 2 (tie), Italian Beef and Cracker Jacks, 1,334 votes. If only the Italian beef sandwich was as easy to find as Cracker Jacks. For the latter, see any grocery store, or better yet, go to Nationals Park for a ball game and sample them during the seventh-inning stretch. ("Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack ...") Italian beef? Forget it. Nobody seems to want to try, and, unlike the pepperoni roll, it won't ship well.