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Photos By Jeff Martin, Words By Brandon Wetherbee

Next door was an event hosted by a vending machines lobby. In the courtyard was the annual Hot Dog Lunch sponsored by Hormel and other encased meat sellers that are part of the North American Meat Institute. The first, potentially annual, Veggie Burger Smackdown featured no encased meats or processed foods. Instead, Chef Todd Gray of Equinox altered his First Lady Burger with flavors of New Jersey, Florida, Arizona and Hawaii.

Apparently, people like the taste of New Jersey. The tomato topped burger won the inaugural Smackdown. It’s a shame because the Florida burger, topped with Florida oranges, was clearly the best, but I get it, no one want to vote in or for Florida.

We don’t usually cover events on the Hill. They’re usually events for vending machines lobbies or Hormel. We showed up at this because Equinox is a restaurant we enjoy and we eat too much processed meat. Hell, our noon feature is about hot dogs. We’re a little meat obsessed and could stand to consume better foods. If you’ve ever worked on Hill or ever talked to anyone that’s ever had lunch on the Hill or thought about politics and food, you’d know there are very limited food options on the Hill. Events like this and places like Equinox are making things a little better.

The hot dog event had more people. Way more people. And pro ball players. Like Mookie Wilson! And at the Vegan Burger Smackdown eaters learned that a person who eats one hot dog per day increases their risk of colon cancer 21%.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii)

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