Out to Lunch: Something for everyone at Cannon basement café

Located in the basement of the Cannon House Office Building, around the corner from the shoeshine and behind a bank of elevators, the Cannon Carryout can be a challenge to find.

But once you arrive, it’s a cornucopia of choices. There is everything from the Burger Bar (an array of burgers — single, double — and toppings) to a wide variety of salads that include the spinach salad with goat cheese, the Cobb and the lemon shrimp. There are hummus dips and a grilled chicken sandwich with roasted pecans.

The soup offerings are many: chili, tomato basil bisque and House bean.

One favorable aspect to this café is that it can be horribly bad for you — french fries, onion rings and chicken tenders — or relatively healthy — veggie burgers or a tuna salad wrap that, though hard to eat in its loose, runny construction, isn’t drowning in mayonnaise.

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Dessert could throw you back to childhood. There is both chocolate and vanilla pudding and, on this day, banana pudding with nice touches of freshly cut banana and a vanilla wafer on top. Inside the freezer are Dove bars, Drumsticks and Tollhouse ice cream sandwiches. On the way out are little Mary Jane taffies — the molasses and peanut candies that taste wonderful but could break your teeth.

A highlight of the eatery is the interesting variety of beverages, one of which is the zero-calorie Sobe Black and Blue Berry Lifewater, not too syrupy-sweet and chock-full of antioxidants to get you through the afternoon. The name itself makes you feel like you’re drinking healthy.

Pluses: Inexpensive (a hamburger costs $2.45); the sheer number of choices; friendly service.

Minuses: Hard to find; limited seating

Who you might see there: Garland Thompson (the white-haired U.S. Capitol Police officer who shouts at you if you cross the street against the light at 1st and C streets SE); nerdy staffers; Architect of the Capitol employees; and Del. Madeleine Bordallo (D-Guam).

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