Main Dish

Heather & Tony Podesta Host Dolce DiVita

January 10, 2010

Scusi, but we left Georgetown Thursday night to attend a book party for Venetian chef Luca DiVita, friend of Heather and Tony Podesta, at Tosca downtown. The party marked the American premier of DiVita's cookbook Venice, Food and Wine (lineadacqua).

Tony and Heather love Italian food. So much, they bought an apartment in Venice to be closer to Alle Testiere, DiVita's restaurant. "We wanted to be able to open a second bottle of wine and walk home without falling into a canal," Tony said.

Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius grazed through the chef's samplings. Italian food is healthy, remember? The sea bass with the bechamel and the cod with braised sweet onions were excellent. The tender scallops and the swordfish ravioli with tomato and ricotta were no slouches either.

The chocolate mousse with crunchy hot pepper dessert was fantastic. Self-control? We did that in 2009.

Superlobbyists Tony and Heather Podesta know how to pick their restaurants. Tosca is an elegant gem, its reputation as a power gulch notwithstanding. On TripAdvisor, Alle Testiere is rated #7 of 524 restaurants in Venice. Frommer's Guide writes: "The limited seating for just 24 savvy (and lucky) patrons at butcher-paper-covered tables, the relaxed young staff, and the upbeat tavernlike atmosphere belie the seriousness of this informal osteria."

More dramatic dishing about the osteria is at Chowhound.

All the items we sampled (except the scallops) are in DiVita's cookbook. If only we could cook!

Asked not if she cooks but whether she speaks Italian, Heather offered a hint: "Tony is fluent in reading Italian menus."

At the party: Donna Marie Artuso, Affairs of the Art, Nora Halpern, Americans for the Arts, Jay Bonitt of Eli Lilly, Paolo F. Valentino, Corriere Della Sera, Mary Jordan and Jonathan Capehart of The Washington Post, attorney Scheryl Portee, Juanita Colbert, Linda Banton of Lockheed Martin, Tom Sneeringer of US Steel, Donald Gilligan, brother of Secretary Sebelius and President of the National Association of Energy Service Companies, private equity honcho Mike Stakias and Jean Stakias, lobbyist Patrick Collins, the Podesta Group's Ellen Haas, heading up the firm's Food, Nutrition and Agriculture Policy Practice,  Scott Salmon of US Steel and Stephanie Salmon of the American Foundry Society, and Sandy Ford Miller and Jill Miller, Heather Podesta's parents.

Nancy Kasler contributed to this article.


Click here to share your thoughts.


Virgin America Gets its Party On

January 1, 2010

Actually Beth Solomon is on her way to San Francisco. Here's her good time: The lights were low and white shirts glowed as Virgin America Flight 71 readied for take off to SFO. Dulles looking spiffy after endless renovations, but we exerted 2009 self-control and saved the first drink for later. Self-control -- so 2009. Bring out the disco ball!


Click here to share your thoughts.