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Meal Ticket: Saluting Congress, Pleasing Taste Buds

Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call
Whole Foods Fair Lakes in Fairfax, Va., offers the Capitol Hill sandwich, a union of grilled onions, seeded semolina bread, shaved roast beef and horseradish mayo. It’s so good that you wouldn’t mind sitting through Interstate 66 rush-hour traffic for a bite.

When Jaleo first opened, we had a regular, an older gentleman with white hair, who would come in on Sundays, eat at the bar and talk about world affairs with me. I had no idea who he was, but I enjoyed our conversations, Andrés shared with the Washington Post in a personal essay about being a Washingtonian. I later learned he was Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan! Only in Washington would a legendary Senator spend his Sundays talking to a cook about politics.

The New York Democrat so impressed the bound-for-culinary-stardom Spaniard that hes been immortalized on Andrés menus ever since.

The signature dish featured at every Jaleo and subsequently exported to Andrés Los Angeles outpost, the Bazaar is pork and beans for educated palates. At the heart of each portion lies a thick, grilled pork sausage produced to Andrés specifications by local artisan sausage-maker Stanley Feder surrounded by sauteed white beans. The gourmet link bears striking grill marks and flavorful juices dribble out from the flame-licked casing when pierced. The accompanying beans fall into two equally delicious camps: The majority remain creamy and light from slow cooking, while the underlying few sport a crunch-inducing scorch.

3. The Southern Senator Cedar (822 E St. NW)

Bartenders know how to keep regulars happy.

Thats why when Cedar standby Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) Cedar is near Sen. Corkers apartment, so he goes fairly often, a Corker aide confirmed returned last year from a trip home to Chattanooga with fond memories of a spicy cocktail etched into his brain, Cedar bar manager Matt Perkins pounced on the challenge of concocting a reasonable facsimile.

All we really had to go on was bourbon and ginger, Perkins said of the nebulous marching orders, noting, [Corker] was normally a wine drinker.

Perkins set about to striking just the right balance, burning through about a half-dozen iterations before finally settling on the version recently added to the regular menu. (It had previously been a by request only offering.)

The resulting beverage is surprisingly bare-bones: a simple syrup made of pureed and boiled ginger root married with seasonal honey (faithfully supplied by relatives in West Virginia; Perkins admitted to favoring the wildflower variety best), Makers Mark and fresh lemon juice.

There is nothing particularly Southern about ginger-based drinks. But we definitely appreciated the exotic bite relayed by the famous root, as well as the mellowing flavor of the local honey. Ive got a couple guys who come in and enjoy them, Perkins said of the drinks cult status.

4. Capitol Hill sandwich Whole Foods Fair Lakes (4501 Market Commons Drive, Fairfax, Va.)

The Austin, Texas-based organic grocery chain is no stranger to political controversy. Its co-founder and CEO, John Mackey, has, at various times, come under fire for his views on union labor, global warming and President Barack Obamas health care overhaul.

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