United States Capitol, Visitor Center, Lower Level, Washington, DC 20515
In Advise and Consent:
“The last time you were impressed was in the third grade,” Bob Munson said.
Crystal Danta laughed happily. “It wasn’t quite that early, Uncle Bob,” she said. “I believe I see the distinguished and able Senator approaching, so I’d better yield. Take care of yourself.”
“Why don’t you come up to the Hill and have lunch with me?”
“Right. I’ll meet you in the Senators’ dining room. Here’s Dad.”
In Real Life:
In Advise and Consent, Crystal Danta, the daughter of Senator Stanley Danta makes a date for lunch with her uncle figure – Senator Bob Munson. Allen Drury sends a few of his characters to the Senate Dining Room. It’s a place where the Senators entertain constituents and where they jostle with each other in the novel and in real life. I wanted to see that – I really did – but you have to know someone – like a Senator, let’s say – to enjoy that particular dining experience. So, I decided to focus on an experience that every traveler could enjoy. And I think I hit on something good.
I started poking into the Capitol food scene. I learned from this article, that a catering company from New York City puts food on the plates of most of the restaurants in the Capitol Building. And that the food at the Senate Dining Room is the very same fare as the food at the new Capitol Cafe – in the Capitol Visitors Center. The tourists – however – pay more. The article said the food had a Southern flare – which I was looking forward to – what with my Louisiana roots. We strolled in after our Capitol tour and made some quick decisions. I went with fried chicken and collard greens. No one else went Southern – and I thought they looked jealous when I emerged and put my plate on the table. I looked around and didn’t see any lawmakers – certainly no Crystal or Senator Munson. I did though – sitting there at the Capitol Cafe – have the sensation that I was dining in the seat of power for the nation – if not the world. And that was cool.