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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.

But we were still somewhat surprised to discover an edible paean to the center of the political universe being slapped together at the far end of the Northern Virginia suburbs. Granted, the store’s custom deli operation does tout a number of other regionally inspired repasts — the “Arizona Grill” combines chicken, pepper jack cheese, roasted red peppers, grilled onions and chipotle mayo; the “French Quarter” folds together country ham, arugula, roasted red pepper, grilled portobello and honey mustard; the “Santa Fe Sunrise” reveals pepper jack, avocado, red onion, tomato and chipotle mayo layered on multigrain bread — but it was still rather shocking to believe anyone would want the taste of Capitol Hill in their mouths after battling the traffic on Interstate 66.

That is, until we tried it.

The sandwich is really good; like, worth-sitting-through-a-filibuster good. We were floored by the crispiness and tang of the grilled onions and the lingering crunch of the seeded semolina bread. Shaved roast beef is lean but abundant, the chilled meat folded over into itself in a stack of rare-pink deliciousness. A smattering of horseradish mayo pleases in flashes but could certainly have been more aggressive.

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