Possibly a little rude but who could resist checking out the breaking news tonight as the Boston Marathon manhunt came to a close? I couldn't, that's for sure, even at a crowded social event. On my behalf, I pulled out my phone only while alone at the table, waiting for the others who were seated there to show up. By the time they arrived the drama was all over. There will be more about the Corcoran Ball at washingtonian.com on Monday. For now, here are some pics from the evening.
STRENGTH AND RESOLVE
At the Boston hockey game last night, the anthem singer realized quickly that the fans owned the stage and the moment. In post-9/11 America we run toward the crisis to help, we fight back if we can and we sing loudly together as a chorus.
In the top middle of this photo in the dark shirt is Vijay Kumar, my brother-in-law, at his birthday party Saturday night, celebrating with his nearest and dearest, including his sons, Cameron Kumar and Zal Kumar, daughter-in-law, Sonia Kumar, niece Rakhi Kumar, and his wife, Martha Joynt Kumar. He turned 80, which is difficult for me to believe because whatever 80 means, and I believe in our culture it means "ancient," there's nothing ancient about Vijay -- unless ancient is another word for wise. Also, he's still a fierce tennis player. Happy Birthday, Vijay.
Matthew Morrison, star of "Glee," was in town tonight as the main event at the Washington Performing Arts Society's spring gala. He put on a show that ended up as a dance party for 600+ guests at the Ritz Carlton West End. More about it on Monday at washingtonian.com, but for now here are some photos of Matthew, starting with the VIP reception, then the show, and at a small private after-party where he sipped the Jameson's he first asked for on stage. btw, he's s sweetheart. Zero attitude, loves DC, and takes the time to talk to everyone and pose for pics.
The Washington Ballet held it's annual ball Friday night at the Library of Congress. It was a good choice. A refreshing break from the usual venues -- National Building Museum, Reagan Building, Mellon Auditorium, hotels -- and the elegance of the building suited the evenings theme: "Hemingway in Paris." I'll have more about the party on Monday at washingtonian.com, but for now here are some photos.
The luncheon Thursday was on behalf of the Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation but the star of the event was designer Jason Wu, whose clients include First Lady Michelle Obama. I have a full story at washingtonian.com, but shot many more photos than we used. So, here are some of those photos. I was seated at the end of the runway with Saks Fifth Avenue president Ron Frasch, other Saks execs, luncheon sponsor Elise Lefkowitz and her husband, Marc, and ... Jason Wu. All I had to do was lift up my camera and snap.
It's almost here, the annual social ritual known as the White House Correspondents' Association weekend, which is a four-day wraparound to a Saturday night dinner. So many parties are compressed into these four days that we've come up with a handy guide, useful to those who are invited, hope to be invited, or will pretend they are invited: An A Lister's List of WHCA Parties
We're a relatively small village here in Georgetown and when we buzz it's about a few different topics, but chiefly real estate. The buzz the past few weeks has been that Conrad Cafritz bought the Roth house at the corner of 30th and O Streets. I've heard it several times. I do know the house sold and the price was $8.7 million. (The asking price was $9.2 mml) I also know that Conrad was "looking."
The other day I saw Mr. Roth on the street, as he was packing up some furniture, and asked if he had sold the house and was moving. "Yes," he said. "At the end of the month." The Roths are moving across the river, leaving behind for the new owner a home with 9 bedrooms, 7 full baths, 12 fireplaces, swimming pool and a three-car garage, and almost $50K in annual property taxes.
Conrad, who is a developer, and who uses email quite a lot, did not respond when I wrote to ask him about the purchase, which probably means I was on to something.
Conrad's brother, Calvin Cafritz, also lives in Georgetown, in an art-filled house near the mansion that formerly belonged to Katharine Graham but is now owned by Mark Ein.
Just down the street, Rick Rickertsten reportedly sold his really sweet house for $7.6 million.
In recent history, the Roth house is best known as the home of Hugh and Janet Auchincloss, during the time when her daughter, Jackie Kennedy, lived at the White House. Later, Mrs. Auchincloss moved to Volta, to a house bought for her by her by Jackie and her other daugher, Lee Radziwill, or so it goes according to Georgetown real estate legend.
The Roth house also later belonged to Jennifer Phillips, an ex-wife of Conrad Cafritz.
So, again, if the rumors are true, and the question is asked, that's the house. As a landmark, it is directly across the street from Christ Episcopal Church. That particular interesection has a remarkable structure on each corner. George and Dina Perry on one corner, Steve Rales on another corner, the church on the other. It's why that intersection, or any real estate nearby, is considered the most prized in Georgetown.
At the Opera Ball tonight, Vice President Joe Biden, and his wife, Jill Biden, made a surprise visit. It was her second visit the Italian ambassador's home in a month and, as before, she stole the spotlight in a red drop-shoulder evening gown. More about the evening on Monday at washingtonian.com.
Now that the date draws nearer for a second 7-Eleven to open in Georgetown, residents are beginning to pay more attention to its proposed location: the corner of Wisconsin and O Streets. The plans went before the ANC, according to The Georgetown Current, and the result was not happy for 7-Eleven. Some residents and business owners frankly question whether it is appropriate for that corner, which already faces the challenges of nearby Wisconsin Avenue "blight." The businesses on O Street, for example, are trying very hard to preserve some integrity on their block.
The "look" is a big issue. There's a relatively new 7-Eleven on P Street at 27th and while definitely convenient it is also an architectural eyesore. What's troubling in particular is the window trim that blocks any view into the store. That's unpleasant, but I would think it's also a crime waiting to happen. Bad guys could be in there holding up the clerks and no one on the outside could tell. While that 7-Eleven look may blend in on a highway or in a strip mall it doesn't blend in among 18th century buildings. It stands out, which means it is not blending in.
Some say they want a grocery at Wisconsin and O and that's a proposal with merit. 7-Eleven says it is a grocery. It's not. That's like CVS calling itself a grocery. Selling freshly-cooked hot dogs does not make a convenience store a grocery. Maybe on Mars, but we're not Mars. A 7/11 is a convenience store. Georgetown Dinette and Wingo's do a better job with food made to order - better than any 7/11 could accomplish. Neam's, now gone, was a grocery. Dean & Deluca is a grocery (high end, but still a grocery). With CVS so close to the 7-Eleven location it is tough to see what 7/11 can offer than we don't already have in the vincinity -- other than lottery tickets. Well, Georgetown Dinette has lottery tickets. And, as already stated, there's a double-wide 7/11 only a few blocks over on P Street. Isn't that enough 7-Eleven for Georgetown? When there was a second one before, at Wisconsin and Q, the second one failed.
The real issue is what it always comes back to in Georgetown: landlords. How involved are the landlords in looking for the best possible tenant for that corner? Is there pressure on them from the ANC to spread the net wide, to factor in the community, to consider the whole? The principal landlord of 1344 Wisconsin Avenue is deceased, and the building is in the hands of his heirs. Do they live in Georgetown? Have they visited the businesses adjacent to the corner, to listen to what those business owners have to say? Are they involved or just leaving it to their commercial realtor? Is it only about the rent, as it so often is with Georgetown landlords? These are questions that need to be answered, now and in the long-term with other commercial buildings.
History matters less and less in Georgetown, but it still matters. To that end, notably, that corner was once home to the venerable "Doc" Dalinsky's pharmacy. Not a grocery, but still a vital part of the community. Neighbors gathered there to hang out, to talk with the owner -- who they knew well -- making it an anchor for the community. Around the corner his wife owned a quirky store that was both a beauty and smoke shop. Why not use Dalinksky's as the inspiration for this property? A unique concept, something that suits the community, something visually in harmony with its neighbors, and not redundant. Think Stachowkis, Baked & Wired, Pie Sisters, Scheele's.
Whenever I write these kinds of thoughts about Georgetown I become dispirited after, because unless the ANC changes the culture of Georgetown landlords -- and by that I mean become badass toward them -- decisions about tenants will continue to be made based on only one factor: money. Do all Georgetown landlords deserve to be painted with this brush? No. But yes to most.
A wonderful day at Nats Park for the season opener. I'll be frank, to be there in the park watching Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper it's not a leap to feel in the company of greatness. Strasburg is the cool one, Harper the hot one. In the same game, what a show.
The crowds pouring into the Nationals main gate at 11:30 a.m.
Well, it was a work day. I like this photo because the man and woman in the middle didn't mind being photographed. The people who belong to the other hands didn't want to be seen at the game.
Total curly W cool.
Truly, just married, at 10 AM at the DC courthouse. Then to Nats stadium to watch their team win.
The Nats line-up after individual introductions.
This could be the depths of summer, but its Lombardozzi and Tracy simply waiting for the season opener to begin.
The staple of a Nats diet: hot dogs.
Screech was in rare form.
For real, the requisite red sequins suit. Don't know the guy. Seemed happy.
Strasburg in action.
Harper in action. Result: home run.
Bryce Harper, after just scoring a homer, slaps five with Ryan Zimmerman. In the foreground is some ding dong who holds up a rubber chicken after a score. Impossible to explain. Fans come in all forms.
Home run #2.
Breakfast and a tour this morning with Bruce Bradley, whose dream come true is his Capella Hotel Georgetown. Please read what he had to say here: washingtonian.com And enjoy some of the photos take didn't make it into The Washingtonian article.
Marriott International chairman J. W. "Bill" Marriott, Jr., will be the guest at our next Q&A Cafe on Tuesday, April 9 at the Ritz Carlton Georgetown hotel. We will discuss his life and business and his new book, "Without Reservations," which will also be available for purchase and signing. Please make a reservation and join us. Seating begins at noon, the fee is $38 -- covering all food, soft beverages, dessert from Georgetown Cupcake, tax and tip. We wrap by 1:3o, at the latest. To make a reservation, please contact the Ritz at 202.912.4100, or email Esmaralda Prifold.
Coming on Thursday, May 9 - Christopher Kennedy Lawford.
When you reach a certain age (and it feels younger all the time) there's only a few degrees of separation from the realities of alcohol and drug abuse, addiction, the struggle for sobriety and recovery. Also, that this illness does kill. In a hard-charging, high-wire town such as Washington, the stresses of public and private life take a toll, exacerbate weaknesses and drive people to make dangerous choices, often hidden. We hear about celebrities and their addictions, but the same lonely, dark cycle happens to regular people, too. There are so many people who need help, and who feel helpless.
The circle is much larger than the user, too. It's the family, the friends, the colleagues.
Christopher Kennedy Lawford, who faced down both drug and alcohol addiction, and is 24 years sober, will be the guest at The Q&A Cafe on Thursday, May 9. We'll discuss the public and personal faces of addiction; also his life, his struggles, his successes and his book, "Recover to Live." One doesn't have to be an addict, or know an addict, to be interested. It's a topic of our times.
Christopher is, of course, a member of the iconic Kennedy family, who have had to cope with the crisis and heartbreak of addiction too many times. His parents were actor Peter Lawford and Patricia Kennedy Lawford, sister of President John F. Kennedy.
Please make a reservation and join us. As always, on May 9, seating at the Ritz Carlton Georgetown hotel will begin at noon. The fee is $38, covering all costs of food, including dessert from Georgetown Cupcake, soft beverages, tax and tip. Christopher's book will be available for buying and signing, too. For reservations please call the Ritz Georgetown directly at 202.912.4121. Another number is 202.912.4100. Or, send an email to Esmaralda Prifold.
Reminder: The Q&A Cafe on Tuesday, April 9, features an interview with J.W. "Bill" Marriott. Another must see.
A realiably fun, elegant and delicious dinner tonight at the home of the Italian Ambasador and his wife. Ambassador Claudio and Laura Bisogniero, Elle magazine and Gucci invited a group of us to the Villa Firenze to celebrate Washington women "luminaries," including vice presidential wife Jill Biden, who showed up in a basically demure dress but with a low slung back that some guests thought was "daring." Oh, Washington. Will this town ever learn? More about that tomorrow on washingtonian.com.
Right now, before bedtime, I'd like to share these photos, which capture a few highlights: the back of Jill Biden's dress, the Gucci shoes worn by Heather Podesta, who was dressed from top to bottom by Gucci, and the brigade of staff from Cafe Milano who, when I complained about the pain caused by my vintage Gucci shoes, all whipped out theirs -- well, no, not that -- their shoes and said, "us, too." We laughed a lot and I snapped a photo, of course ... because that's what I do at parties.
Just about the only thing that lifted my spirits this evening was that the butcher, Jaime Stachowski, was having an equally non-A day, and then, also, what he sold to me - a freshly pounded chicken paillard. We commiserated but decided not to discuss the details of our blue moods. Save that for another, brighter day. Instead, we talked about food. I noticed the foie gras and asked if he'd be making terrine. "Soon," he said. "I've had many requests." Can't wait. I asked him to please let me know the next time he makes his fabulous boudin blanc. He wanted me to buy liver. Nah, I told him. I had prime rib last night, beaucoup Chinoise the night before, and Bourbon Steak the night before that. "How about a stuffed pork chop?" he asked. No, not tonight. We settled on a chicken breast and, obligingly, he pounded it flat as a pancake for me.
It doesn't get more simple than this preparation: I heated up good olive oil in the sauté pan, added salt, pepper, diced shallots, chunks of celery, and when everything began to rip I slipped in the chicken. I served it with apple chutney, French chardonnay, candle light and Seinfeld.
Result: spirits lifted.
Such a simple and casual meal. The chips make it casual, but I like the contrasting crunch that chips add to a Sunday egg dish vs roasted potatoes. Pommes Soufflé would be the ideal, but I didn't have the time. I started with a big bunch of fresh baby spinach, sauteéd with truffle oil and pinches of salt, pepper and grated nutmeg, and set it aside. Made the omelettes with fresh farmers eggs. Good fresh eggs don't need anything added to them beyond salt and pepper. I debated whether to add mushrooms or parmesan, and even Virginia country ham, but opted to, again, keep it simple. After all, the theme here was the color green.
The photo below shows one of the omelettes cut open. With it, a glass of French sauvignon blanc. As Selma Blair says daily on my TV: "awesome."
The green bagels from Georgetown Bagelry, served at breakfast, were devoured before they could be photographed, alas.
Note: My firned Lynn Novelli said she missed my postings about food/home cooking. I said I do it principally when I'm NOT eating a lot/dieting. Well, I'm about to start a spring cleanse & detox & shape up (as in no potato chips!), so brace yourselves for lots of food porn.
I love this place. The Columbia Room is one of America's great bars, though not conventional, more of a "club" or "speakeasy." And Derek Brown is such a talent and charmer. It's a pleasure to listen to him, to watch him create and to drink his cocktails. Easily the perfect spot for St. Patrick's Day eve.
The Q&A Cafe interview with Christopher Kennedy Lawford will air on Friday May 17 at 8 pm on DCN, channel 16. We discuss his life, his addictions, his recovery and it's all good. Please tune in.
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