For my New York Social Diary column today, I write about The Ivy Hotel, newly opened in Baltimore, a romantic luxury getaway that is within walking distance of museums, historic sites and interesting architecture. A Baltimore Social Diary seemed ideal for Halloween week, given that this is the city of Edgar Allan Poe and John Waters.
I'm pleased to announce that Bob Woodward will be the December guest at The Q&A Cafe, discussing his new book, The Last of the President's Men. It will be Bob's 4th time on the show, and like his previous appearances will of course be a fascinating conversation. The date is Friday, December 11. Seating begins at noon. For reservations please call 202-333-9330 at The George Town Club. We won't be selling books, so please buy it in advance and bring for Bob to sign.
Also book now for the Friday, November 20 show with awesome morning drive time star Tommy McFly. This show will also be at the George Town Club at lunchtime with noon seating.
DEREK BROWN, CENTER, ON THURSDAY NIGHT AT JULIA CHILD AWARD DINNER WITH PATRICK O'CONNELL, LEFT, AND DANIEL BOULUD, RIGHT.
A reminder that this evening, October 23, we welcome Derek Brown to The Q&A Cafe. He’s been called the “Godfather of Washington Mixology” but he calls himself a businessman, bartender, restaurant entrepreneur. He’s also a sought after lecturer and writer — here, across the country and around the world. Even the White House called Derek to create cocktails at a private party held by President and Mrs. Obama. He founded the Columbia Room speakeasy, the Passenger, Eat the Rich, Southern Efficiency and Mockingbird Hill. There's more here at Wiki. Check out some of his columns for The Atlantic.
I call him the quintessential 21st Century Washingtonian because of articles such as this one.
Those lucky folks who are at this show will be privy to some very cool news, too.
Derek is fascinating and you’ll want to be at the George Town Club to hear our interview. We'll be talking drinks and mixing drinks, which is why the start time is 5pm, this allows for a couple of drinks for you, (or not, up to you) and some food, and for the all inclusive price of $35. For reservations, please call the GTC at 202-333-9330, or email GTC Reservations. Derek's bringing a bartender with him, who will whip up some new classics while we talk.
Coming to the show on November 20, DC’s popular morning drive-time radio host, Tommy McFly. You’ll want to be there for that, too. Lunchtime.
A crowd of Georgetown's most charitable tonight gathered in a pretty garden to honor Gunther Stern for 25 years of service to the Georgetown Ministry Center as its Executive Director. He was praised for dedicating his professional career "to rebuilding and empowering the lives of people who are homeless," and for his "immense commitment, passion, and experience." Ward 2 City Council Member Jack Evans lauded Stern in off-the-cuff remarks, and then read an account of his accomplishments before he presented him with a gold statue that looked quite like the Oscar. Not bad. "Best performance by a citizen looking out for those who have less or nothing."
"Under Gunther's remarkable leadership, GMC has grown from a small outreach center to a warm and welcoming clubhouse that provides people with a sense of respect and community," said the program. "His work doesn't stop there. Gunther has used his expertise and passion to advocate for those without a voice." He graduated from George Washington University and the University of Maryland.
Also speaking at the party, hosted by Ellen Charles in her home and garden, were Georgetown Ministry Center board president Patricia Davies and benefit committee member Outerbridge Horsey. They gave flowers to Ellen to thank her for donating her home and also to the event's co-chairs, Jocelyn Dyer and Page Evans (in the photo just above). Everyone seemed to be enjoying the catering -- including crab cakes, spiced shrimp, ham biscuits -- from Broad Branch Market.
The weather was gorgeous. But in embracing the balmy air it was a reminder that it won't be this pleasant for long. When the winter comes with its brutal cold and biting winds, think of the people who have no home to go to and keep warm. That's when you go to this website, Georgetown Ministry Center, to see how you can help Gunther. Bookmark it!
Way back in the 80s I had the privilege of producing a live TV show about food and the star guest was Paul Prudhomme. Charlie Rose was the host. I recall the experience in my New York Social Diary column today.
The Tadich Grill DC is now open for dinner and will open for lunch, also, in another couple of weeks. A longer version of this story, about the opening party for the San Francisco transplant, previously appeared on New York Social Diary.
|TADICH GRILL OPENS
Please be my guest as we squeeze our way into the opening party for the Tadich Grill, which has been declared by the media to be the new DC power spot — without having yet opened for business. Clearly, Washington is eager for a new power spot, or was the mosh pit turnout the Trump effect?
Tadich, a landmark in San Francisco, planted its flag on Pennsylvania Avenue, in an empty office building space that last was an Asian restaurant. It is across the street from the looming, and under construction, Trump Hotel. By looming I mean as only the Trump name can loom. Whatever, the party was a ratings winner.
It was a sensation, too, even if at times it felt like a running take-off. What do you do if your VIP guests, such as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a San Franciscan, arrive at 6 PM and you just got your liquor license at 5 PM, which is what happened.
|Knowing that 800 were invited, we perched on a barstool near the front door, to not get lost in the crush, and it was an epic crush. A friend, who was game to venture to the back room, and into the main dining room, said, “If I’m not back soon send a search party.” When he returned, wide-eyed and thirsty, he could only gasp, “you need skills to get through that.”
I’m not sure the barstool on which I was perched is the “David Rubenstein barstool,” but it provided the best view. Rubenstein is one of the founding partners of the elite private equity firm The Carlyle Group. Tadich is in Carlyle’s building, and it’s expected that when it officially opens on October 8 Tadich will also be Carlyle’s unofficial lunchroom. Thus, the owners said they plan to name a barstool after Rubenstein. He doesn’t strike me as the barstool type, but then David is a man of many fascinating parts.
|If Rubenstein is concerned he’s being singled out. He’s not. A Tadich investor said Ivanka Trump, who is overseeing the hotel development, is getting a barstool, too. (Is this the next elite status symbol, comparable to a picture on the wall at The Palm?)
Will someone please let me know the day David and Ivanka are there at the same time, possibly on side-by-side barstools, so I can see this with my own eyes?
With its location in the hub of the lobby and legal swarm and in view of Capitol Hill, and close, too, to the White House, there will be many provocative pairings, no doubt. Politically, expect it to lean left. Why? Many of the investors are big D Democrats — Hunter Biden among them, and he was at the party — and the Pelosi factor. Besides, Republicans pull rank up the street at the Capital Grille, also on Pennsylvania, four blocks closer to the Capitol.
|It has been a long time coming for Tadich in Washington. It was first announced in the spring of 2013, and then months of delays followed. There were rumors of architect, builder and permit approvals complications, which are not unusual for DC. Also, this is the first expansion of Tadich in its 165 years. Owners Gerard Centioli and Mike Buich, familiar with longevity, could take their time to get it right.
As the party reached its peak, I was thankful for a solid seat near the front door. Otherwise, the current of human bodies might have carried me away. Who was there? Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy and his wife, who were greeted by Centioli and Buich; that reluctant party goer, ESPN’s Tony Kornheiser, with his son Michael Kornheiser, a high school English teacher, and daughter-in-law Elizabeth Hardwick, and best friend Alan Bubes; Christopher Ullman, managing director of communications for Carlyle, investors Gerry Harrington and James Beaty; Erik Huey, musician and SVP of the Entertainment Software Association; Dave Grimaldi, head of public affairs for Pandora, and Washington veteran Bob Crowe; also, taking in the scene, Lyndon Boozer and The Washington Post’s Manuel Roig-Franzia, author of The Rise of Marco Rubio.
|We asked one of the investors if Vice President Joe Biden might make an appearance. He has been known to drop in at DC parties, and this one seemed a natural since it involved his son. “Probably not, not with the campaign,” he said, with a wink. “The campaign?” I shot back. “Yes, the campaign.”
The party was hot, steamy and a mosh pit but no one seemed to mind. We’ll be craving warmth soon enough as winter creeps in. It was a “hail fellow” reunion, the first big party of the city’s influence set since getting back to business after the summer holidays. A crowd not big on bold face names, but then this is a city where in certain jobs it’s better to be lower case in public and bold face behind the scenes.
|They swarmed the food buffets, resplendent with oysters, clams and shrimp, or lobster, shrimp or crab rolls, or hand carved beef, and helpings of the restaurant’s signature cioppino, a classic San Francisco fish stew. In their crisp white jackets, the newly recruited waiters and bartenders, some from here, some from San Francisco, some from New York, were as busy greeting friends as they were passing food and pouring drinks.
Still, in a crowd of VIPs, the dude who pulled rank as MVP was the young air-conditioning repair man, hard at work, trying to ice down the room at the same rate as the servers tried to ice down the Champagne and replenish the booze. Work gloves on, tools at the ready, he was a busy man.
|For the record, Tadich has a great look, clean and bright, with just enough old-school touches (private booths in the back) to appeal to many tastes, and while the look conjures a steakhouse, don’t make that mistake. Boozer, a friend of the house, was still miffed that Politico would call Tadich a “steakhouse,” and admonished me to steer clear of the meat route. “It is a seafood restaurant. Make that clear, please — a seafood restaurant.” Okay. Got it.
I have not tried the food, yet, but a check of the online menu confirms it is heavy with fish and shellfish. It does have a small section offering red meat, however.
Boozer had another observation, too. He pointed to the Trump hotel across the street, which recently suffered the loss of its signature restaurant, when Chef Jose Andrés pulled out of the deal in protest of Trump’s rantings on immigration. Lyndon said, “Tadich will be Trump’s restaurant, too, since they don’t have one.”
Friday, October 23rd, 5pm: The art of the cocktail is the theme when we welcome bartender & restaurateur Derek Brown, the godfather of Washington mixology. He is an expert on the anthropology of spirits and drinks. He travels the globe lecturing on the subject. Here in Washington, he is the founder of the landmark speakeasy The Columbia Room (now closed), as well as The Passenger, Mockingbird Hill, Eat the Rich, Southern Efficiency. He has written for The Atlantic, The Washington Post, Huffington Post, Entrepreneur, Punch and Bon Appetite.
We'll tape this show at the cocktail hour, and for good reason. At The George Town Club, $35 all inclusive of cocktails & canapés. Bring a drinking buddy. LBD's and double breasted blazers welcome.
Friday, November 20. Lunchtime. Come and meet Tommy McFly while DC still has him. One wag joked that Ryan Seacrest ought to watch his career because Tommy might get a piece of it. He is that multi-talented. He's the host of the Tommy Show, weekdays from 5 to 9 am on 94.7 Fresh FM.
The Washington Business Journal included Tommy in its “40 Under 40” roster. He takes an active role in every segment of Washington and sets service as a high priority. He’s the chairman of the Washington Humane Society’s marquee event, Fashion for Paws, which has raised more than $2.2 million in just six years.
Additionally, Tommy works with Best Buddies, GW University Mobile Mammography Unit, The American Red Cross, Chris4Life Colon Cancer Foundation, The Alzheimer’s Association, and many other organizations on projects throughout the year. His charitable engagement scored him an invitation to a small lunch with President Barack Obama to discuss the Affordable Care Act. From The Washington Post: “Yes, of course,” the president had said when Tommy introduced himself. “You’re the DJ.”
Also at The George Town Club, $35 all inclusive of lunch, soft beverages, tax and tip.
Don't miss these shows! All are welcome. Phone 202-333-9330 for reservations.
As a former restaurant owner I can testify that it is a blessing and burden when a menu item is beloved by the patrons. Mostly it is a blessing, though. It means you serve something they love and most likely, for them, it is attached to happy memories. At Nathans, it was the Fettuccine Alfredo, prepared with delicate noodles that were hand made fresh in-house every day by Chef Loredonna Luhrs. At one point, when I switched the menu from Italian to American, and briefly considered removing the pasta, well, there was hell to pay. Pasta remained on the menu for all the years I owned the restaurant.
For Washington chef Eric Ziebold it is his version of classic Parker House rolls. He served them -- to much fanfare -- for the decade he was executive chef at CityZen at the Mandarin Oriental hotel. He closed CityZen last December so that he and his wife, Celia, could open their own restaurants this coming winter. Will they serve the Parker House rolls? That question is at the heart of my New York Social Diary column today.
We were out in the Virginia horse country over the weekend to visit the new Red Truck Rural Bakery owned by Brian Noyes, in Marshall, and also to attend a polo match hosted by the National Sporting Library & Museum in Upperville. Actor Robert Duvall appeared at both. We report the details on New York Social Diary. In the photo above, Duvall and poses with women polo stars for an iPhone photo shot by his wife, Luciana Pedraza.
THE AFTER HUNT DINNER
Each year at the annual Citizens Association of Georgetown the auction items include one that has scored three years of popularity: The Georgetown Scavenger Hunt. As the name indicates, it is a scavenger hunt to the east, west, north and south of Georgetown, and many points in between. All kinds of stops, tasks, and "pieces of evidence" that must be benevolently purloined. The lucky bidders gather for the challenge, and tonight was the night, though the 2015 edition, sadly, is the last of this fun game. I got to experience it, thankfully. Constance Chatfield-Taylor, one of the organizers, enlisted me at the last minute to be a clue and a judge. Here are some photos from the evening.
The Hunt began at 5:30 in Constance's garden, where the five teams were handed their clue sheets (beer, wine and snacks, too) and instructions on protocol and timing. There were a lot of stops they had to make and they had to be done by 8:30 on the dot.
And then every body was off.
I was asked to post the full scavenger list, and here it is as it was written. The numbers are somewhat scrambled, but I gather that's part of the adventure.
1) I’m not that old, but I AM the first hotel in Georgetown. Can you find Charnee? She’ll have the key to success! 5 points
2) Built in 1765, I’m the oldest standing building in Washington. Look under the steps for rock solid evidence and bring it with you. 5 points
3) shhhhh…..Tonight is Light the City Georgetown from 6:30 – 8:00, and 13 churches in Georgetown will participate in this the open church candlelight tour, to pray as a community for peace and unity. 3 of the 13 will be featuring gospel music. Record 30 seconds of video of gospel music. 15 points
4) One of the best parks in Georgetown, I’m named for a flower. There is something wonderful going on tonight there. Can you find me? I’m the featured guest and I’ll be within 20 feet of home base. Look high and low! 15 points
5) ‘Oh, say can you see’ a tribute to me and my song? I was certainly the rage last year, with the big anniversary and all. Is there proof in the night? We think so… 10 points
**6) In 1576, the Republic of Venice publicly condemned this sport, punishing those who played with fines and imprisonment. YOUR TEAM, however, can be strikingly good! Ask for Ben ** 7:00 – 8:30 ** ALL HANDS 20 points
7) Is it worth it, my sweet? Bring me back a cupcake – 5 point
8) I’m a restaurant that is named after the year the constitution was adopted, and I must say, I’m a cozy nod to America's romanticized past. Care to comment? Ask the bartender downstairs for a card… 10 points
9) This townhouse was John F. Kennedy’s fifth, and last, Georgetown home. He left from this house to take his oath of office at the Capitol, and give his “ask not what your country can do for you…” speech on that cold January day in 1961. A neighbor’s house was known to reporters as having the best vantage point for viewing the happenings at the house. There is a plaque (clearly visible from the sidewalk) on the neighbor’s house.
What does this plaque say? 10 points
10) I’m new, and I’m cool, and here you will find a different kind of pleasure. Think Garden and Gun comes to Georgetown. Deer, antelope, zebra, water buffalo (good thing I’m right next to the canal). See Elise – she has a game for you. Onward! ALL HANDS 20 POINTS
13) George and Pierre designed the layout of Washington here, with drawings spread out on a large table on my second floor. I’m still around today as a private club, and many dignitaries and locals grace my curved stairway leading to the front door. I’m fairly exclusive, but see Joseph - he will help you solve the mystery Q&A! ALL HANDS 20 POINTS
14) We might not have social security if not for Frances Perkins, who lived in Georgetown and signed the social security act. There are warmongers, ironmongers, fishmongers, cheesemongers and ?? Go to this local student hangout and find Pria – and The Woman behind the New Deal. Check out page 163 and proceed to this nearby house! This is where the social security act was sealed with a bottle of whisky. ALL HANDS 20 POINTS
15) Feeling like a little adventure? On the East side of one block of Wisconsin Avenue in Georgetown, you can shop in China, Italy, India, the Spice Islands, Lebanon, Japan, America and the UK. Bring back proof of your travel from any one of the international destinations… 10 POINTS
16) There are three of us with the same first name, who were all democratic senators, and we all ran for president. Oddly enough, we all lived in the 3300 blocks of N, O and P. Who are we, and can you give us the street address of any one of the houses on N, O or P __________________________10 POINTS
**17) There is one of me in Alexandria, too. I smell GREAT and feature jars of Backwoods Hickory Rub, Jamaica Jerk, Onion Obsession, Tailgater’s Blend. Cumin, Coriander, Curry. Mmmm…. But wait! There are 3 types of flowers, the only flowers, all together. What are they
____________, ____________, and ____________.
Ah, sweet smell of success. 15 POINTS
18) Sing us a song you're the piano man. Sing us a song tonight. Well we're all in the mood for a melody . And you've got us feeling alright --- Find Gene!
*not on K street ALL HANDS – 20 points
18) OMG! I really need an exorcist as everybody is scared of me. Starting at the bottom, what numbers are my landings? _________________ 10 points
19) This bank has won a gazillion awards, and was one of 150 companies in the Greater Washington area to be named a Washington Post Top Workplace in 2014 and 2015. Find this bank, it has a view of the FOUNTAIN on the waterfront, and bring back a photo of the logo! 10 points
20) In 1745, I was the first real commodity in Georgetown. I was brought in by the wagon load from Maryland and Virginia and inspected, and ships would pick me up at the waterfront and sail me away. I’m still sold HERE in this smokin’ hot town. Don’t forget your tokin’… Walter, Theresa, Chris or Seth can help.
20) Talk about history! Truman, LBJ, Nixon, JFK - wow! I’ve dished out lots of stories over the years. JFK proposed to Jackie in booth 3, but see Claire for your 'carry out’. Who was the meat loaf lover? __________________ 10 points
The full list numbered 25, with bonus questions.
My assignment was to be at The George Town Club, where I host The Q&A Cafe, with a new one coming up, and the Scavengers were to approach me, sitting at the bar, with these clues:
I produced a Charlie Rose interview with Charles Manson at Saint Quentin prison for CBS News, and also had dinner with Albrecht Muth and Viola Drath at their home around the corner from the GTC. Muth was convicted of the murder of Drath, and is now in prison. The Oscar-winning actor who will play him in the movie is Cristoph Walz. The costume Muth liked to wear as he walked around Georgetown was an Iraqi general's uniform. Once they got the clues, they left with GTC cocktail napkins ... to prove they were there.
Four of the teams made it but it was becoming a long wait for the fifth. It's lonely being a clue, sitting by myself at an empty bar. YES, A SELFIE
I had promised a friend, Larry Calvert, that I would stop by the annual end-of-summer pool party he hosts with his husband, Mike Mitchell, at their home, which is about a half block from the GTC. When it seemed that maybe the 5th group might not make my stop I left a note with the maitre' d, giving Larry and Mike's address, should they appear. My instructions were they could come find me at the party ... like a clue. And that's what they did. When they walked in, Larry said, "you must be the Scavengers." He offered them beers and lobster rolls, and I took a photo of the group. I said the "task" was them jumping in the pool.
Larry was such a good sport about the Scavengers. It turned out he knew some of them. But they couldn't stay long. They had to find a gospel choir, which they did at Mt. Zion Church, just as evening services ended. No problem, several members of the choir sang to them on the street.
All the teams showed up on time at the Scavenger Hunt Dinner at Frank Marshall's, where Charlie and Constance began to tally scores.
But mostly everyone was interested in the Tex-Mex buffet from Guano's and the margarita machine, and who can blame them? These folks were hungry and thirsty.
Not a scavenger item, but a house party is not complete without a dog!
When I booked Ron Kessler for the first show of the new season of The Q&A Cafe it was for his expertise on the U.S. Secret Service. I wanted to talk about the "Secret Service in campaign mode" as we embark on the 2016 campaign in earnest. He has written a number of books about the USSS, and the FBI, and the CIA. That was a couple of months ago. In the interim, Donald Trump has entered the campaign picture in a big way, and Kessler also claims expertise on Trump. He wrote a piece for The Washington Times, "The Real Donald Trump," based on his relationship with the Republican nominee wannabe.
So, we will talk about Trump -- because he has dominated the political landscape this summer-- and we will also talk about the Secret Service, when Ron joins us at lunchtime on Friday, September 25, at the George Town Club. It should be lively because Kessler, like Trump, is not shy about stirring it up. He is controversial, and often criticized, but he also breaks a lot of stories. We first met when he was an investigative reporter for The Washington Post, which he left to pursue book writing.
Please make your reservations early for this Q&A Cafe, the first of our 14th season. To do so, phone Austin Mason at 202-333-9330 or send an email to GTC Reservations. The fee is $35 for the lunch, all inclusive. Seating begins at noon, the program at 12:30.
It was good to see The Georgetown Current newspaper give prominent play to the recent power outage that hit the residents in and around Thirty First and P Streets, Dumbarton, O Street, and a few other Georgetown streets. As I said to neighbors, it was "deja vu all over again." And you get that, right? Right. If you've lived here long enough you have vivid memories of manhole cover explosions, followed by power outages, week after week.
One thing that did not come across in the story -- and it would be hard for a reporter to grasp this without being on the scene -- was the dedication of the Pepco street crews and the support they got from Georgetown residents. Maybe it was because we had no power, no TV or internet, and so the entertainment became standing in the street and to watch the work get done. But bonds were formed. We learned that the Pepco website and Pepco emergency number -- while basically useful -- was no match for the information we could get from the techs down in the manholes and digging up the street.
The best example of this was the second night of the power outage, when a half dozen of us stood there, toes practically at the edge of excavation, watching every little maneuver of pulling out old cable, feeding in new cable, splicing together new cable coming from opposite ends of the street. This was an arduous process, especially on an airless, hot, and humid night. We stood there and served as a cheerleading squad, and I think the Pepco workers appreciated our involvement.
According to the Current, Pepco officials called some higher up Georgetown residents to keep them posted, but for the rest of us -- who did not receive those kinds of calls -- it was street level information that was the most valuable currency. In the end, everything they told us played out as truth. And we were grateful.
I'm sorry I don't have any pictures of this moment, but as the second night wore on, the heat bearing down, we kept asking the crew if they wanted water. "No, thank you," they said. My guess is that's what they have to say. One of the neighbors on O Street went off to Safeway and returned with bags of frosty cold tall bottles of water. The workers twisted off the caps, upended the bottles, and gulped down the refreshing cold water.
Let's hope this doesn't happen again, or at least not anytime soon. The street crews told us there's still old and damaged cable down there. They are replacing as much as they can, but often it takes a crisis to get the attention needed. Let's hope, also, that Pepco gets its website more in gear with actual real time information. But failing that, go out in the street and support the work at hand. Talk to the workers. They were responsive. At one point I offered to help splice cable. Hehehe. No takers.
There's a new restaurant to try along one of Washington's prettiest and most elegant boulevards. It is called The Riggsby, in The Carlyle hotel on New Hampshire Avenue just up from Dupont Circle. It's a good place to stop in for breakfast, lunch or dinner, or to meet for drinks. I liked it so much I wrote about it in my New York Social Diary column.
I love to share new places, but it's not whimsical or random. I think about it. I stopped in The Riggsby a couple of times before I had a meal there. It kept drawing me back. Maybe it will do the same to you.
The estate of Paul and Bunny Mellon, which has been on the market for a year as an intact property of 2,000 acres for $70 million, and with no buyer, will be sold in parcels, the executor and real estate overseers have decided. This was an exclusive to me for New York Social Diary and the full story is here.
The Washington Post recently broke the news that the Julia Child House -- in Georgetown, on Olive Street -- was sold to a Washington couple, Patricia and Rory Veevers-Carter. It turns out I know them, and on New York Social Diary today I tell readers something about them. They have an interesting backstory, just like the house and Julia Child herself. They have big plans, too, for their new abode.
Here's my interview with Wednesday Martin, taped on July 16 at the George Town Club. She is the author of "Primates of Park Avenue," the best-selling anthropological analysis of the lives, needs, wants, wins and losses, fears and hopes of rich women who reside on the Upper East Side of New York. We go deep into it and the points she makes are revealing, more than just dishing Botox and Birkin bags, though they get their shout outs. Please give it a watch.
It was a good time interviewing "Primates of Park Avenue" author Wednesday Martin today at The Q&A Cafe. We went deep into her memoir, which takes a fascinating anthropological look at the very rich mothers of New York's Upper East Side. She found some parallels with wealthy Washington, too, well covered in The Washington Post's Reliable Source column. The full interview will air on Channel 16, DCN, tomorrow, and I'll post a YouTube link soon. In so many words, she says that the rich in Washington covet "influence" the way the rich of NY covet the Hermes Birkin bag.
This was a fun show to tape because I love to talk about sports and because Thom Loverro and Kevin Sheehan and smart, but also cut-ups, and so we talked a lot of sports and laughed a lot, too. Just right for summer. I hope you have as much fun watching as we had taping.
I do not know Bill Cosby nor have I ever met Bill Cosby, but once, when I was a producer for Larry King Live, I did a phone pre-interview with him. He wanted to come on the show. Believe it or not, it wasn't a given that any celebrity who wanted to come on would get on. There was a process. The executive producer asked me to call and talk to him about whatever it was. I don't remember the issue or topic - it was a pet cause, not a movie or show - but we didn't book him that occasion.
What I do vividly recall is his intolerant tone when he talked to me. He was exasperated with me from the start. He had a lot to say and, as was my job, I would ask an occasional question. He would pause, sigh, and say, "Will you let me speak?" I would back off politely and he would drone on again. If I commented in any particular way on what he was saying, he'd say, again with a pause and a deep sigh, "Are you done? May I continue?"
He was hostile and aggressive. I was eager to get off the phone but the conversation went on for an hour -- round and round, with the same back and forth, him doing all the talking and me commenting or asking a question, with him asking if I was "done" or "may I speak?" That he treated me in a demeaning way -- and in that job I talked with lots of "celebrities," who were by and large polite -- made a lasting impression.
Again, I never met him. I did go up to New York to cover the Autumn Jackson paternity trial in 1997, but there was no personal contact.
The phone conversation was my only "up close" experience with him, but when accusations of rape were made against him, and various women came forward, and they talked about his "tone," it was eerily familiar.
This photo could be from one of our recent boffo electrical storms, but no, this was my view of the cloud-shrouded July 4th fireworks on the Mall. The clouds and fog played cray cray with the 'works, producing apocalyptic images. I watched from the rooftop of the Capella Hotel, where they hosted a lively party with (loud) music and delicious ribs and burgers. Lots of fun.
The photo below, on the other hand, reminds me of an electrified deep sea squid-like creature. Again, thanks to the clouds. Happy 4th, all.
We walked into Fig & Olive today and thought we were on the set of the "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills." There was the distinctive mellow, blonde vibe typical of the restaurants seen so often on that show. The image would have held except the Washington patrons weren't tricked out with enough Botox to scare zoo animals. They looked like real people, having a pleasant meal in a pleasant, sunny room.
F&O is in the heart of CityCenterDC, behind the dancing fountains, across from Hermes, adjacent to DBGB Kitchen + Bar, and it is the latest restaurant to open in the ritzy mall compound. It is part of a small chain started by a French chef who used Provence as the inspiration, as that sunny region is for many of the bistros in Bev Hills, too.
We - Izette Folger and I - were invited by the restaurant to be their guests for lunch. We made the most of it. Three hours of nibbling, sipping, talking and lots and lots of laughing. We were very comfortable. I love it when restaurants invite me to come in for a bite and a look and some photos.
From the downstairs we headed up to the upper floor. While the lower level was virtually empty and quiet except for the piped in jazzy music, the upstairs was packed and the din of conversation filled the creamy bright room. We were led to a corner table in the back.
The view from our corner table. It was their first lunch and the place was hopping. We ordered a sampler of different crostini, gazpacho, lamb and chicken paillard. Accidentally they also brought us a paella, and so we ate that, too. Plus apple sorbet with citrus.
Directly behind our table was a large glass-enclosed dining room -- white, on white, on white, with a bit of yellow -- which appears to be available for private parties and possibly also dinner. This was the most California room of the whole place, with Provence well represented in the rosemary plants bordering the room in window boxes.
Feeling sunny, Cali, loungey? Fig and Olive could be your place!
Please make a reservation today for this evening's Q&A Cafe -- a look at professional sports, DC and beyond, with the hosts of ESPN 980's "The Sports Fix," Thom Loverro and Kevin Sheehan. We'll discuss the Nats, the Wizards, the Caps, the Redskins, DC United, but also Tiger Woods, Tom Brady, Alex Rodriquez ... and more.
It's a special late afternoon-early evening taping. Seating will begin at 4:30 at The George Town Club, Wisconsin Ave and Volta, and we'll start the show by 5. They plan to have cocktails and a keg, mini hot dogs, hamburgers and lobster rolls, for a fee of $25 all inclusive. Stick around after to watch the last innings of the Nationals game on the TVs in the GTC's pub.
For reservations please call 202-333-9330. Or email GTC Reservations. All are welcome.
Coming Thursday July 16 at lunchtime, "Primates of Park Avenue" author Wednesday Martin.
For most of the tonight's Nats vs Rays game the rain held off. Maybe it should have started sooner. After a boffo Tuesday the Nats had a less than glam Wednesday. Still, it was a pleasure to be at the ballpark.
Win or lose I watch Johnny Holiday and Ray Knight before and after every game. Their style is easy-going and informed. This is my fangirl photo.
I took the "children." Ha. My son Spencer Joynt on the left, and then beside me, Nina Charness and Joe Powden. The three of them were high school classmates at Georgetown Day School.
Even on an off night Bryce Harper is a treat to watch. The complete all-star.
Screech! He's just like us. He sits and watches the game with occasional anxiety.
What does an old dirt road mean? I explain on New York Social Diary today.
It has to do with a party on the Western Shore that unexpectedly placed me on that road, and at a home, only a field over from where we lived in the late 80s and 90s. The road was as familiar to me as anything that's held close to my heart. When we packed up and left Galesville, MD, in '99 I had overnight become many things: a widow, solo parent to a 5 year old, saloon owner, federal tax fraud defendant, as well as still having my day job as a producer for Larry King Live. There was no way to deal with all of that and hold on to our beautiful place that I thought would be home for the long haul.
A big bump in the road, alas.
So, here I was deep in the past. How was it? Beautiful, of course. A chance to embrace old friends and views of the tranquil water. I loved life on the Chesapeake Bay. It's a treasure of our region. Rumor was my old home may be going on the market soon. Hmmm. That was then. Who knows what now has around the corner.
On New York Social Diary today we wrap up the spring social season with the Hillwood Gala, shown above. And from there we go to 14th Street, to an art opening, "Black Whole" at Black Whiskey, which was curated by my son, Spencer Joynt and JD Deardourff.
Have fun at both.
But here's a little more on each film.
In a silly way, the critics were just plain snarky about the "Entourage" movie. Maybe that's because a lot of film critics don't watch TV shows. So, forgiven. But I liked it from beginning to end - and especially the end. The production values were a tad on the tight budget side, but the boys (and girls) came to play. I was a fan of the HBO series, and actually recently re-watched in advance of the film release. In other words, I came to the movie pre-disposed to appreciate. It could have let me down but it didn't. It was a pleasure. btw, if you are an Entourage fan, don't miss Jerry Ferrara's Bad 4 Business podcast. He is known as "Turtle" in the show, but, gosh, he's a fine interviewer, and his "Entourage" series is a treat for buffs of how the sausage is made.
"Spy." I like Melissa McCarthy. I'm a fan of "The Heat," but less so of "Bridesmaids." Why? Her comic timing is so fine and so naturally gifted that she doesn't need the testosteronish vomit and shit jokes, though I understand they are critical to box office $$$$. I worry about her weight, and hope she doesn't keep it on because "Hollywood" has told her that's the golden ticket. What she accomplishes in her movie roles transcends her weight. And "Spy" is just one more example.
I walked into "Spy" expecting to enjoy myself. Seeing Jude Law in a well-cut suit, doing a charming spoof of James Bond, was a treat. The fact he's aging nicely is also a treat. Jason Stathem. Well, I've seen all his films and I'm a fangirl. He spoofs himself, but (like Law) in some fairly awesome duds. If McCarthy is the delish entree of this film, Law and Stathem are the excellent side courses. The theater at this early matinée was not filled, but everyone was laughing.
I saved the best for last, without even knowing that was the flow, though this was the order in which I binged this weekend.
"Love & Mercy" made me swoon with the opening credits, a sentimental head trip through the hey day of Beach Boys hits. The film takes us intimately into the creative life of the "surfer" band and their visionary force, Brian Wilson. Most of all Brian. I can't love this movie too much. It is excellent and essential for anyone who loves pop music.
Oldies playlists, or greatest hits of the 60s, 70s, 80s, etc on Sirius, aren't big with me. I tend to aggressively not live in the past, which hosts a lot of pain; the music stirs emotional turmoil. Watching glimpses of Brian Wilson's brilliance was so inspiring and warming and took me back to some very important markers of my life on earth. I eagerly wanted to jump back in to their song list.
The critical arc of the story is Brian's music but also his mental anguish. They never give it an official medical diagnosis, but do attribute the influence of drugs and alcohol, and an abusive father. As we know from his very public story, he pulls free from a controlling "life coach" - before we called them that - and gets it together and there is a happy ending.
We all have our different frailties. I watched my husband, who suffered from chronic depression, transform on Prozac, and I've periodically been glad there was Lexapro for my fits of anxiety (true business hell, jobless/debt madness). "Love & Mercy" is an empathetic balm, and the performances and the music are enriching on many levels.
I especially loved delving into the process, watching him work with The Wrecking Crew, the details and elements of crafting a record. In a word, its engrossing.
So, now, go to the movies.
PATRICK O'CONNELL, GLANCING AT HIS NEW BOOK, "THE INN AT LITTLE WASHINGTON: A MAGNIFICENT OBSESSION."
Patrick O'Connell, the man who took a near ruin, an old basket shop and a former garage, and turned the whole package into The Inn at Little Washington, was the guest on The Q&A Cafe on Thursday, May 21. We taped the show at Tudor Place. A steady spring shower fell on the tent where we taped the show, and the temp hit a high of 52 degrees. We smiled through, and Patrick couldn't have been more entertaining and interesting as he took us through the three decades of creative vision and energy that made the old garage into the globally acclaimed restaurant and inn that it is today.
Here's the show on YouTube. Its 45 minutes. Sit back, listen and laugh. (You can also watch on the big screen, using your Apple TV)
Our next Q&A Cafe is Thursday, March 24, with "rocket man" Scott Altman; former astronaut, shuttle commander, "Top Gun" stunt pilot, and retired Navy captain. He flew four shuttle missions, including a mission to service the Hubble Telescope. $35, all inclusive, with lunch. Seating begins 11:45, the program at 12:15. At the George Town Club, 1530 Wisconsin Ave NW. Reservations: 202-333-9330. Open to everyone.
Visit this link to view our archive of broadcasts: The Q&A Cafe on YouTube
Author, journalist, interviewer, producer & photog. Read more...
Here is information for my popular memoir Innocent Spouse...
MEDIA: For book-related inquiries, please contact my agent, Laney Becker, at 212-243-8480