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Newt! No Twittering at the Table, Please!

When you’re thinking of Newt Gingrich, “restaurant critic” isn’t the first description that comes to mind. The former Speaker of the House is known for multiple talents: Along with his 20 years in Congress, he’s a former college professor, best-selling author, cable-news pundit, documentary filmmaker, and possible 2012 presidential candidate. In recent weeks, those who follow Gingrich on Twitter have noticed a trend toward the culinary.

“Callista and I had a great dinner with greta van susteren and her husband john at one of my favorites l’auberge chez francois in great falls,” Gingrich tweeted in May. The previous month, he’d visited Inox, McLean’s newest high-profile restaurant, and noted his approval: “It may be the best new restaurant in the tysons area. Very imaginative.”

Gingrich, with his wife Callista, tends to frequent places close to home—McLean Family Restaurant is a favorite for Sunday breakfast—although he doesn’t always spell their names correctly: “Off to tachubana for shabu shabu A great meal.” (It’s Tachibana.) A rare trip outside the Washington area garnered rave reviews: “The trellis in williamsburg is a brilliant restaurant. There are 8 of us and every person thinks their meal is fabulous.”

Gingrich followers will note that he tweets only about restaurants he likes—a familiar approach for him. A Weekly Standard article in 2004 uncovered the fact that he’s a prolific reviewer.

His Amazon bio explains: “Speaker Gingrich is an avid reader. He does not review all of the books he reads. You will not find any bad reviews here, just the books he thinks you might enjoy.”

At the time, Gingrich had gained a coveted spot among the top 500 amateur reviewers on the site. Now it’s been more than a year since his last review, and he’s fallen to around 3,000th place.

If the rumored presidential run doesn’t work out, stay tuned: Gingrich’s Twitter bio says he’d like to be a movie reviewer if he had more time.

This article first appeared in the July 2009 issue of The Washingtonian. For more articles from that issue, click here.   

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