There's no such thing as a free lunch, politicians often say. Except on Election Night, when candidates lay out victory-party spreads for the faithful.
Owing to professional ethics, I generally refrain from sampling the buffet line. But eating is a social — and thus political — ritual, and politicians know it. District 4 City Councilor Natalia Rudiak, for example, was accused by her opponent of not patronizing Brookline's Moonlight Café often enough. Her election-night gathering was held just down the street at the Isis Café, an Egyptian-themed eatery that, like a handful of other ethnic restaurants, opened up during her first term.
But the key match-up, of course, was the mayoral race. Jack Wagner's event, held at the IBEW hall on the South Side, was very much in tailgating mode: nachos, soft pretzels, burgers and dogs. On tap was Yuengling, a suitable choice for a former Pennsylvania Auditor General: economical but made in state. (Coors was also available.) A few blocks away, meanwhile, City Councilor Bill Peduto tapped Lawrenceville's Church Brew Works to wash down pizza, hot dogs and that other hometown delicacy, Eat'n Park Smiley cookies.
When Peduto launched his campaign late last year, guests were provided with bowls of "Peduto Punch." I tried some — purely in the spirit of journalistic inquiry — and found it fruity but not insipid.
When asked to provide the recipe, however, Peduto demurred, citing an "ancient Italian secret." Needless to say, I'll be scouring his campaign spending records for clues.