Interning on The Hill: A Series

 Donald Cortez ‘13

It’s my fourth week on the Hill, and the pace has been picking up quite a bit. Recently there’s been a lot of fuss over the proposed Farm Bill, specifically the near trillion dollars it involves. The hallways are constantly busy with senators rushing to the subway carts to get to the Capitol and back. One rule I was told early on was to never ride in a subway cart with a senator, so I’ve had this fear in the pit of my stomach that I wouldn’t know if someone’s a senator or not – and I see the situation ending in three different ways: either getting chewed out and reported to my office, finding out something I’m not supposed to know, or offending them by not knowing who they are. Fortunately, these scenarios have yet to happen.

I’ve been attending an intern lecture series the past couple of weeks. The series has showcased the likes of Tucker Carlson, conservative political commentator; District of Columbia Mayor Vincent Gray; and a rousing call to arms by the historian of the Capitol. During Vincent Gray’s lecture, where he discussed his fight to increase the hours that bars in DC are open, I slipped out to go to the bathroom. The room was packed with interns, and as I stumbled out of my row, I could not avoid stepping on the toes of everyone in my row. When I came back to the lecture, I couldn’t make my way back to my seat, so I stood in the back with what I assumed was a group of interns.  Well, at the conclusion of his speech, Mayor Gray walked over to where I was standing by the door and began shaking hands with everyone there, saying something to each of them. It was my turn. I put my hand out and he shook it, warmly smiled, and told me to tell my mother he said “Hi.” I was definitely not where I was supposed to be.

The Senate buildings are home to several places to eat. Down on the ground level, there are a couple cafeterias that serve a wide array of choices. You can get salads, sandwiches, pizza, wraps, even a barbeque selection. There’s also a take-out spot below the Capitol where you can get chicken fingers and fries and fruit and yogurt and more of the same you’d find at the other cafeterias. I usually go there for a change of scenery.

These options tend to get boring after a couple weeks, so recently I’ve started exploring places around the area. Here’s a quick rundown of a couple places right by the Senate and House of Representatives:

One of my favorite spots is Mangliardo & Sons, home to the popular “G-Man” sandwich – basically a large Italian sub that everyone I’ve met is obsessed with. Admittedly, I wasn’t crazy about it, but the other sandwiches they offer are very good. I like the place because the shop itself is a pretty plain mom-and-pop deli with no gimmicks, no crazy prices, and just great sandwiches. 

Another one of my favorites is Good Stuff Eatery, located just three blocks away from the Cannon building. Serving solid burgers and fries, this restaurant is a must-see for all House interns and staffers. They have a couple burgers named after the President and First Lady, the “Prez Obama Burger” and “Michelle Melt.” While I find both pretty delicious, I’ve heard people criticize the price of the Obama Burger and its position on fiscal policy. Good Stuff also offers hand-spun milkshakes to cool off from the D.C heat. It’s a pretty cool spot to eat at, just make sure you bring your Lipitor.

Next week: The conclusion of Donald’s internship, and his reflection on his time on the Hill.