Where do you get good Texas food in Washington, D.C.?
Put a Georgian in the White House and everyone makes fun of his accent. A Californian draws attention to dyed hair and plastic surgery. A president from Arkansas? Feel free to call him "Bubba."
Ah, but put a Texan in the White House, and what else can we talk about but food? Think about it. The elder Bush suffered through two major incidents during his term, both food-related: vomiting raw fish in Japan, and the broccoli controversy. So a new Bush in Washington brings the promise of new food-related faux pas--unless, of course, W finds some good old familiar Texas food on his new turf.
Thus the fate of an administration, a country, yea, the entire Western World, potentially hangs on this week's Burning Question: Where can you get good Texas food in D.C.?
Texas food means barbecued brisket, Frito pie, chicken-fried steak, and the like. And while such a refined critic as Washington Post food editor Jeanne McManus says with some sarcasm, "I can honestly tell you I have no idea where to get GOOD Texas food," those with more plebian palates answer readily (as long as you take the time to explain the word 'plebian.' And 'palate.' This is Texas, after all).
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There is only one place in the entire D.C. metro area for decent Texas food. Congressman Charlie Stenholm; Anne Chettle of the High Speed Ground Transportation organization (and therefore a lobbyist); Jayne Schoonmaker, one of the ubiquitous staff members on Capitol Hill; and pretty much everyone else runs down to Capital Q near the MCI Center. "We're the real thing," claims owner Nick Fontana, a Port Arthur native. Capital Q dished out chili and cornbread for a recent party hosted by Stenholm. They hauled barbecued brisket and smoked chicken up to Philadelphia at the behest of Dick Armey. They serve Frito pie on occasion, although Fontana says "it's a special item because people here don't know what the hell it is." They even serve Shiner Bock and Lone Star.
Nobody in D.C. prepares a good Texas chicken-fried steak, at least according to Schoonmaker. But Whitey's in Arlington is "acceptable." Washington also supports Austin Grill and Cactus Cantina for Tex-Mex.
But for the feel of Texas in the heart of big government, you gotta go to Capital Q. It's 1,200 square feet of good old cafeteria-style Texas dining.
And the brisket pulls apart at the touch of a plastic fork.