Washington DC, A to Z: Hell’s Kitchen Mahnomin Porridge

The Hell’s Kitchen I’m referring to is the Minneapolis Restaurant, not the reality TV cooking competition or Manhattan neighborhood. The story of how Jimmy and I ended up having Hell’s Kitchen Mahnomin Porridge for breakfast our first morning in Washington DC is quite simple.

  • Touring the Capitol was on both of our “must do” lists.
  • Tours of the U.S. Capitol need to be scheduled in advance. Various guidebooks recommend doing this through the office of one of your Senators or your Representative. You can also schedule a tour online at Visit the Capitol.
  • On the website for one of the Senators from Minnesota was the following information:

All Minnesotans who are visiting Washington, D.C. are welcome to come and join my staff and me for breakfast in my office. Wednesday morning breakfasts are one of my favorite parts of the week because I get to meet and speak with the people I’m lucky enough to work for. And of course, we get to take pictures too.

With the help of Google Maps we managed to make it to the Hart Senate Office Building before the extremely early (for us) starting time of 8:30 A.M..

We knew we were in the right place when we saw this sign.

Breakfast consists of Mahnomin Porridge and coffee.  The recipe for Mahnomin Porridge is on Al’s website,  so I knew what to expect. Living in Minnesota,  I got over the appearance of wild rice ages ago; it looks like bird seed and cooked wild rice dishes just don’t look very appetizing.

Bowls of Mahnomin Porridge 
Hell’s Kitchen Mahnomin Porridge (from Al’s website)

4 cups cooked wild rice
1/2 cup roasted, cracked hazelnuts
1/2 cup dried blueberries
1/4 cup sweetened dried cranberries
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 cup heavy whipping cream
In a heavy nonstick saucepan, add cooked wild rice, hazelnuts, blueberries, cranberries, and maple syrup and cook over medium-high heat for about 3 minutes. Add heavy cream and heat through, stirring constantly, about 2 minutes. Ladle into bowls and serve immediately. Serves 4.

The Mahnomin Porridge was pretty good, even though I’m not a fan of whipping cream or maple syrup. I’ll stick with my usual breakfast of muesli, dried fruit and yogurt.

Al walked around, greeted everyone and had a bit longer conversation with a couple of larger groups. Afterwards he gave a short talk  about some items he was currently working on (improve veterans benefits, protect medicare for seniors), answered some questions and said something very similar to this from the Star Tribune.

“Is it as much fun being a senator as it was working on ‘Saturday Night Live,’ ” he asks, reciting a question he often gets. “The answer is no.” But he goes on to say that people’s careers often take new turns. “This is the best job I’ve ever had,” he says, “because its purpose is to improve other people’s lives, and when that happens everything else is worth it.”

After that it was time to line up and get our photo taken by the official Senate  photographer. This isn’t that photo, this is a photo taken at the same time by someone I handed my phone to.

Jimmy & Donna with Senator Franken 
March 5, 2014

We then joined  up with a small group of other Minnesotans (and a couple of Canadians) and followed our tour guide to start our tour of the Capitol.

As this map of Capitol Hill shows, it’s about a three block walk from the Hart Senate Office Building to the Capitol (#4 to #1). If you are wondering how these elected officials  get from their offices to the Senate (or House) floor:

  • Underground tunnels connect the Capitol to the House Office Buildings and the Senate Office Buildings
  • The United States Capitol Subway System  runs at speeds up to 14 miles per hour.

To be continued.


12 thoughts on “Washington DC, A to Z: Hell’s Kitchen Mahnomin Porridge

  1. What an interesting post! It's nice your senator has a breakfast you could attend. Wonder if either of our Virginia senators has such a thing? We are so close to DC that I don't think much about going there for a tour. We used to go to the art museums there often, but the traffic has gotten so bad on the Interstate that we stay clear of that area as much as possible.

    Mary Montague Sikes


  2. Al was great! Also, just by chance, our small tour group passed right by John McCain in the tunnel on the way to the capitol. I saluted him as he walked by, but of course he paid no attention to us. He had to be one of the few U.S. senators I would recognize on sight, so we were pretty lucky to spot him.


  3. Yes. You have to go through your elected official and you need to do pretty far ahead. We were so worried about booking a trip in the middle of a government shut down by the time we knew when we'd be in DC it was too late.


  4. Wild rice is pretty good for you. I just thought of how much we did that first day on very little sleep. We had a great time but the next vacation is going to focus on relaxation.


  5. Thanks for visiting abundance in the boondocks via A to Z. Just thought I'd say hello and say, this post on the Wednesday breakfasts sounds like something fun to do, if I ever return to D.C. (I went there twice when I was in high school)

    I, too, am from Minnesota. Fun to find another blogger in the state.

    Carey from abundance in the boondocks


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