April 27, 2018 I had an exclusive invite to cover the second annual Toast to the First Amendment, sponsored by the National Restaurant Association, Real Clear Politics, The Beer Institute, and The Distilled Spirits Council of the United States.
The Toast to the First Amendment is held at the National Restaurant Association’s (NRA) swanky office which is beset with multiple bars, an outdoor veranda, a picture booth area, and multiple food stations fit for even the most discerning food critic.
Activities started around 6:00 p.m with rousing speeches made by Real Clear Politics co-founder Tom Bevan, National Restaurant Association’s executive vice president of public affairs; Cicely Simpson; and The Beer Institute’s CEO and president Jim McGreevey.
Various journalists, PR execs, media personalities, food industry movers and shakers came together on the eve of the White House Correspondence Party. Attendees had the privilege of sampling an array of rare and unique beers, bourbons, scotch, malts, rum, and various other liquors.
I came around the time people were relaxed and simply lounged on the outdoor veranda, and inside by cushion-y seats along the major liquor and beer tasting areas. I took a Lyft from the Mayflower Hotel (1 mile) and got there at a decent time. I wore my Kay Unger, green velvet, floral embroidered blazer and a White House Black Market dress. I was having so many issues with my hair that day that not even dry shampoo or an Instagram filter could save the way it looked.
Before I took the elevator up, I was greeted by the sweetest people ever! Naturally, they work for Real Clear Politics (RCP) so I am not surprised by their genuine nature.
One of the RCP employees told me that Sean Spicer as well as other notable political figures made an appearance at this party. I asked how the crowd took him, and I was told that despite how he is viewed on the media, he’s a very cordial and friendly guy. He was around taking pictures and making all sorts of conversation with attendees. Politics aside, I regretted not getting to this party on time!
I was also told to try the burgers, they were legit made medium rare and that’s an uncommon thing when you go to a food-oriented party. Once I came to the right floor, I took a picture, sampled a few limited edition beers (oh my goodness, I am still remembering this really nice pale ale I drank), and scoured the floor for the best bites to munch on.
As a major foodie, I have to report on what I ate (or better yet, pigged out on).
I made a short but memorable trip to the chicken lollipop station and tried the following chicken lollipops: buffalo chicken, korean bbq. chimichurri, corn flake, and thai flavors. My personal favorites were the chimichurri and the korean bbq.
After I ate enough at the first station, I went to the second savory station and gobbled a medium rare cheeseburger slider, and later tried the pork bao buns (kohirabi, cucumber, bean sprout, cabbage slaw, spicy gochuchang mayo) and sampled the Hawaiian Chicken Sliders ( pineapple, chili, lime relish). I did pair these savory bites with beers from Cape May Brewing, and Great Lakes Brewing.
I made a long trip (not a quick trip since I love tacos) to the Taco station and ate Branzino Tacos (cilantro pesto), Braised Pork Belly Taquitos (charred onions, shishito peppers), and Beef Empanadas. I paired these savory treats with tequila, rum, and really nice bourbon shots.
For dessert, I had a pistachio ice cream pop with a white chocolate coating and snacked on a few carrot cake pops. My diet was thrown out the window that day because the NRA is reputable for crafting memorable bites. I was as equally impressed this year as I was last year. Here’s last year’s recap, so click here!
Along with eating enough food to feed a small village, I noticed a lot of fan fare made for local and national media celebrities. Three ladies circled this handsome, tall, analyst from Fox News and stayed with him for my entire duration at this party. A few CNN employees were drinking white wine, chilling on the comfy chairs outside, and laughing. Some of the ladies wore the cutest, color-blocked, dresses I have seen that night.
Overall, I had a wonderful night. I also think the media guests had a spectacular time given the laughter and jovial conversation I heard all around.
About The National Restaurant Association
The National Restaurant Association (NRA) is the largest foodservice trade association in the world*—supporting over 500,000 restaurant businesses. In partnership with our state restaurant associations, we work every day to empower all restaurant owners and operators to achieve more than they thought possible.
About Real Clear Politics
Founded in 2000 by two news junkies from their Chicago apartment, RealClearPolitics grew out of a passion for combing the internet for the most interesting political stories of the day. Tom Bevan and John McIntyre wanted a site that contained the most pivotal information on the day’s need-to-know issues. It wasn’t long before they discovered they weren’t the only ones with this desire. Today, RealClearPolitics has grown from an intelligent aggregator into a comprehensive media company – RealClear Media Group (RCMG) – encompassing 14 specialty areas of coverage, original reporting from our staff of seasoned reporters, live events, the well-known RCP Poll Average, and original video.
About The Beer Institute
The Beer Institute, based in Washington, D.C., represents the $350 billion beer industry – an industry that includes over 5,000 brewers and more than 2.2 million American jobs. The Beer Institute is a national trade association for the American brewing industry, representing both large and small brewers, as well as importers and industry suppliers. Our organization, founded in 1862 as the U.S. Brewers Association and reorganized as the Beer Institute in 1986, represents the beer industry before Congress, state legislatures and public forums across the country.
About Distilled Spirits Council of the United States
The Distilled Spirits Council is the national trade association representing the leading producers and marketers of distilled spirits in the United States. The Council guards the sector against higher taxes and works diligently to reduce trade barriers across the globe, while supporting policies that increase adult market access for spirits products, provide greater convenience and choices for adult consumers, and encourage responsible and moderate consumption. The Council is a go-to resource for sector data, changes in public policy, cultural acceptance programs, U.S. spirits exports to foreign markets, and alcohol and science.