Runaway Spoon

In the Pink With Farruggio

February 4, 2013

International business guru Daniel H. Pink has singled out il Canale on 31st Street,  in Georgetown, for praise in his brand new book “To Sell Is Human,” which is available at Barnes & Noble and Amazon. What’s more, Pink, who resides in Washington, D.C., with his family, had a banner article in the Washington Post’s business section on Sunday February 3 about his views on what makes effective business sellers tick.

In his book, Pink wrote about a framed sign Giuseppe “Joe” Farruggio, the owner of il Canale, posted near the inside front door asking for comments, negative and positive. The sign gives Farruggio’s personal cell number: 703-624-2111.  (This is different from the restaurant phone which is 202-337-4444.)  The sign  also bears Farruggio’s photograph.

“Farruggio, who came to the United States from Sicily when he was seventeen, is in sales, of course,” wrote Pink.

“He’s selling fresh antipasti, linguine alle vongole, and certified Neapolitan pizza to hungry families. But with this sign, he’s transforming his offering from distant and abstract—Washington, DC, is not short on places that serve pizza and pastas—to concrete and personal.

“And he’s doing it in an especially audacious way. For Farruggio, service isn’t about delivering a calzone in twenty-nine minutes. For him, service is about literally being at the call of his customers…

“But the importance of what he’s doing isn’t the calls he’s receiving from customers. It’s what he’s communicating to them—namely, that there’s a person behind the pizza and that person cares about whether his guests are happy … Many of us like to say, ‘I’m accountable’ or ‘I care.’  Few of us are so deeply committed to serving others that we’re willing to say, ‘Call my cel l …’” 

The sign also lists Farruggio’s e-mail:

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Substance For Lunch Before Alfalfa For Dinner

January 27, 2013

The herds who flocked to the Alfalfa Club dinner Saturday night at the Capital Hilton surely thought it was a great social networking affair. Well, it most likely was.  But others might point to smaller exclusive opportunities to break bread as a mite more substantive and influential.  Not to mention an ideal platform to show some smarts and wisdom garnered through years of on-the-job experience.

Mrs. Albritton (left) & Mrs. Terra (Photo by: Natalila Janetti) Mrs. Albritton (left) & Mrs. Terra

The pre-Alfalfa luncheon hosted by the Center for Strategic & International Studies at the Willard Hotel was one of those theaters. Principal speakers were former Secretaries of State George Shultz and Henry Kissinger; Zbigniew Brzezinksi, national security advisor to President Jimmy Carter;  former Sen. Sam Nunn, CSIS chairman of the board and cochairman and CEO of the Nuclear Threat Initiative, introduced what the program called “The 3 Tenors.”

The energy sector (petroleum, natural gas, pipelines) and national security as it pertains to the Middle East and their dual effect on the future of America was mainly the conjoined topic from the stage.  Off stage, however, it was a time for friendships to be rekindled.  The younger set and the newcomers seemed to be in awe of so many ex- officials who once shaped history, and often still do in quieter ways.

Colleen Nunn & C. Boyden Gray (Photo by: Natalia Janetti) Colleen Nunn & C. Boyden Gray

Just to name some of the more than 250 guests (and if one needs Google searches to find out their illustrious history and current jobs, go for it):

Lloyd and Ann Hand, Jane Harman, James Jones Jr., Chuck and Lynda Robb, William Sessions, William and Lynda Webster, Anthony “Tony” Williams, John Chapoton, William Cohen, John and Deborah Dingell, Barry Goldwater Jr., William and Dorothy McSweeney Jr., Maxine Champion, David and Barbara Pryor,  Sen. Mark Pryor, David Boren, Kay Bailey Hutchison, Sam Skinner, Tom Korologos, John Engler, David Abshire, Sen. Diane Feinstein, James Billington  and U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy.

CSIS, a DC-based think-tank, will open its new headquarters overlooking Scott Circle in 2014, a multi-level building that will have the most modern of technology, social media presence, and conference space.

Andy Card at Points of Light brunch (Photo by: Natalia Janettti) Andy Card at Points of Light brunch

A guest of J. Willard Marriott Jr., was Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his absolutely beautiful wife, Ann, both of whom were gracious, charming and very approachable. Guests from both sides of the political aisle were eager to chat them up.

The Mondavi family attended and supplied the event with wines, including Isabel Mondavi’s Pinot Noir from Oregon’s Willamette Valley and Hangtime Chardonnay from California’s central coast.

Earlier in the day, C. Boyden Gray hosted a private informal breakfast brunch at his Georgetown home for Points of Light, a worldwide network of volunteers headed by CEO Michelle Nunn

The organization was inspired by the words and vision of President George H. W. Bush.  Among those attending were  former Cabinet official Andy Card;  David J. Albritton (VP & chief communications officer of Exelis Inc.)  and Mrs. Albritton;  journalist and former CNN president Tom Johnson; Brett Greene, D.C. lobbyist for multi-national corporations;  Judith Terra, chair of the D.C. Arts and Humanities Commission; and Sam and Colleen Nunn.

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The Challenge: Not Tripping Over the Famous, The Influential & The Rich

January 20, 2013

Hundreds of famous faces packed Cafe Milano Sunday at the Newsweek/Daily Beast and Credit Suisse bipartisan brunch bash Sunday, including the likes of the upcoming Secretary of State Sen. John Kerry and his wife Teresa Heinz Kerry, the President’s top political consultant David Axelrod, Virginia gubernatorial hopeful Terry McAuliffe, Hollywoodfilm producer Harvey Weinstein, and actress Eva Longoria.

Terry McAuliffe (left), David Axelrod & Tina Brown (Photo by: Natalia Janetti) Terry McAuliffe (left), David Axelrod & Tina Brown

And for more bold face names keep on reading.

In fact, it got to be a challenge to identify all the familiar-looking entertainers, politicians and media types who walked the red carpet for the invitational event.

But it was that none other than Golden Globe nominee Eva Langoria, of ABC TV’s Desperate Housewives  and CBS’ soap opera The Young & The Restless fame, who was the top billed glitz.  In the morning, Longoria, executive producer for the Latino Inaugural 2013 and co-chair of the Presidential Inauguration Committee, did a stopover to do an interview on ABC’s TV “This Week” morning news show.  Also on Saturday she participated in the National Day of Service.

Speech writer & columnist Peggy Noonan chats with friends. (Photo by: Natalie Diblasio) Speech writer & columnist Peggy Noonan chats with friends.

For the tented Georgetown party, Langoria wore a simple, purple dress that showed off her long, dark hair and fabulous figure. She came on time, chatted it up with fans, and posed for photographs -- all in good cheer.

Other brunch headliners included Newsweek/The Daily Beast editor-in-chief Tina Brown, Credit Suisse senior executive Pamela Thomas-Graham, and political advisor Mark McKinnon,who has worked for Republicans including former President George W. Bush and for the 2008 Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain.

Miss America (Photo by: Natalie Diblasio) Miss America

Among the 400-plus-plus guests were Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor to President Obama;  pollster Frank Luntz; media analyst Howard Kurtz; former Secretary of Defense Bill Cohen and his wife Janet Langhart; Rep. John Dingell and his wife, political activist Deborah Dingell; Susan Blumenthal, former U.S. Assistant Surgeon General; former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright; former Sen.Chris Dodd, Washington Post political writer Bob Woodward, CBS’ Bob Schieffer; Nancy Brinker, founder of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure breast cancer race; Gen. Colin Powell and his wife Alma; Arianna Huffington of The Huffington Post; TV talk show host Charlie Rose; Miss America 2013 Mallory Hagan; anti-tax guy Grover Norquist; Star Jones; and CNN’s Piers Morgan.

Ed Rogers of BGR Group and a longtime consultant to top Republicans was upbeat about the inaugural.  “It’s President Obama’s Day,” he said. “Some of my friends are leaving town. I’m not.” And with that, and a true grin on his face, proceeded to meet and greet a whole cadre of Democrats at the party, who, of course, instantly recognized him

Piers Morgan interviewed (Photo by: Naatalie Diblasio) Piers Morgan interviewed

Last Thursday evening, to get the fun rolling, President and Mrs. Obama celebrated the First Lady’s 49th birthday with friends upstairs at Cafe Milano. All was top secret until the security motorcade arrived on Prospect Street, then the world slowly got word of the excursion, primarily through AP coverage. It was the first time the President and his wife together visited Cafe Milano.

Tina Brown (left) talking with Sen. Kerry and Teresa Kerry (Photo by: Natalia Janetti) Tina Brown (left) talking with Sen. Kerry and Teresa Kerry



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