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Heard on the Hill: Burger Battle Royal (With Cheese)

The burger options are burgeoning on Capitol Hill, but one Member of Congress with burger expertise says the newest patty on the block isn’t anything to write home about.

A new addition to the bank of vending machines across the hall from the House-side takeout in the Capitol dispenses entrees, including burgers and chicken sandwiches. HOH wondered how the new burger — arguably the most convenient on the Hill, since it’s available at the push of a button — stacked up against the competition.

To test it out, we enlisted Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), a self-proclaimed burger aficionado, for a blind taste test. Chaffetz has serious beefy bona fides: He’s made a study of the town’s best burgers, proclaiming his favorite to be from Five Guys, and often tweets about his burger runs.

Chaffetz tasted the vending machine burger alongside ones from the House takeout grill and another from the Cannon House Office Building carryout (which House officials say is known as the favorite burger in the Capitol complex). The verdict: The machine-dispensed burger is a big loser.

The House takeout burger was so-so, Chaffetz determined (“tastes more like meat”), and the Cannon burger got an actual thumbs up (he polished off the whole burger and declared it “pretty good”). But the vending machine burger, which, we must note, comes from a machine labeled “Big Az Burger,” was all but inedible, Chaffetz says. “If there was nuclear fallout — if there was nuclear war, I don’t know that I would actually eat this,” he said after taking only one bite.

And not only was the new burger at the bottom of the heap, at $3, it was more expensive than the winning burger from Cannon, which was a bargain at only $2.45.

Have a Nice Day. Paging South Carolina GOP Rep. Joe Wilson ... the D.C. Council has declared March 20 to be “Polite Day,” a day in which Washingtonians are urged simply to be kind and civil toward one another.

The resolution’s author, Councilmember Harry Thomas, says he wants the message to spread through the city, which amid all the BlackBerry-ing and the horn-honking and the mud-slinging seems to be a less-than-friendly place these days. Thomas even says that he hopes the goodwill-toward-men spirit will ultimately even reach politicians.

Thomas says Capitol Hill could use a gentle reminder on civility. “On the Hill, you have people who come from little towns where everyone is polite, and they get caught up in the hustle-bustle lifestyle,” he tells HOH. “We need to remind ourselves to be kind to one another, and the Hill is no different.”

Polite Day falls on a Saturday, when many Members of Congress are back in their districts, but HOH couldn’t help but think they could benefit from a day celebrating simply being nice.

So mark your calendars ... uh, please.

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