Runaway Spoon

People Who've Been There, Done That

January 29, 2012

A cerebral collection of think-tankers, business leaders and diplomats cheered former Sen. Sam Nunn as he unleashed his wit on the political primary shenanigans at a pre-Alfalfa luncheon at the Willard Hotel on Saturday.

“I believe most American voters are frustrated with the low level of political discourse,” said Nunn. “The Republican campaign has been marked by allegations of marital troubles ever since Herman Cain learned that harass is not two words.”

And under the current administration’s philosophy: “It’s no longer a sin to be rich – it’s a miracle!”

former Sen. Sam Nunn (Photo by: Natalia Janetti) former Sen. Sam Nunn

Nunn, a Georgia Democrat, is chairman of the board of trustees for the D.C.-based Center for Strategic and International Studies, which sponsored the lunch attended by more than 150 mostly famous faces -- many of whom had a hand in shaping history.

Thayer Lodging Group founder and chairman Frederic Malek, an advisor to several Republican presidents, told The Georgetown Dish: “I am supporting Romney, who else?”

Nunn said there are some rules that Alfalfa club members abide by: (1) you can’t take your politics seriously; (2) you’ve got to laugh even at the corny jokes, especially mine; (3) and, as former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor often advises us: “Alfalfans don’t have to drink to have a good time, but why take a chance.”

Then in a tribute to the Mondavi wines served at the lunch, Nunn said it brings to mind a woman who was drinking a glass of wine while sitting on the patio with her husband.  She says: "I love you so much, I don't know how I could ever live without you."  Her surprised husband asks, "Is that you, or the wine talking?" She replies: "It's me--talking to the wine."

Didi Culter (left) and Colleen Nunn (Photo by: Natalia Janetii) Didi Culter (left) and Colleen Nunn

On a higher note, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, former Defense Secretary William Cohen, and chairman and CEO of C.V. Starr and Co. Maurice Greenberg spoke on Asia’s economic relationship with the United States.  Some of their remarks focused on Kissinger’s 2011 book, On China.

On the guest list were arts philanthropist Adrienne Arsht, former Labor Secretary Elaine Chao, Rep. John Dingell, Motion Picture Association Chairman Christopher Dodd, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, former U.S. Senate Majority Leader William Frist, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Peter Pace, President of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars Jane Harman, U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, former New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu, former Secretary of State George Shultz who is now at Stanford University, former U.S. Ambassador to Belgium Tom Korologos, former U.S. Senator Chuck Robb,  President of the University of Miami Donna Shalala,  former U.S. Senator John Warner, and a host of foreign diplomats including Ambassador Han Duk-soo, of the Republic of Korea, AmbassadorYousef Al Otaiba, of the United Arab Emirates, Japan Ambassador Ichiro Fujisaki, and Ambassador Chan Heng Chee of Singapore.

Maxine Champion, a Corcoran Gallery of Art Contemporaries board member, (left) and Judith Terra, chairman of the DC Arts and Humanities Commission (Photo by: Natalia Janetti) Maxine Champion, a Corcoran Gallery of Art Contemporaries board member, (left) and Judith Terra, chairman of the DC Arts and Humanities Commission



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A Party with POTUS in the Background

January 25, 2012

Can you image a party on State-of-the-Union night in Washington where the rule of the event was that politics are off the table?  That was the directive for Tuesday night’s 60th birthday party for PR executive (and mayor’s girlfriend) Linda Mercado Greene.

For the last hour, President Obama’s State of the Union Address was on the huge flat screen TV in same room as the three-hour bash at Cafe Milano. The sound was off but the streaming caption was there to read for any who wanted to.  Few did.  More of the partygoers focused on the birthday girl and her frequent escort, Mayor Vincent Gray.

Make no mistake, he, too, abided by Greene’s Night of Politics Off Limits during her party and seldom glanced at the TV screen. Gray, who went to last year’s State of the Union as the guest of D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, preferred to attend the birthday party in Georgetown this time.

This is “not a political or business event,” firmly stated Greene’s e-mail invitation to some 40 close buddies. “We all need to relax sometime. This is the occasion to do it.  In advance, I thank you for adhering to this request of no politicking.”

Hip, hip, hooray!

Among those attending were Greene's three children, Tamia Harper, Hani Ahmed and Brett Greene; and the Mayor's son Carlos.

Also celebrating were Councilmember Marion Barry and his son Christopher.  Greene was Barry’s chief of staff  in 2005 after she ran his council reelection campaign in 2004.

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il Canale Accepted into Ranks of Top Pizza Making Authority in Italy

January 23, 2012

For its pizza-making prowess, il Canale in Georgetown has been awarded membership in the prestigious Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana, headquartered in Naples, Italy.

Il Canale, at 1063 31st Street NW near the C&O Canal, is owned by Sicilian-born Giuseppe “Joe” Farruggio. It opened in 2009.  The executive chef is Antonio Biglietto (from Naples) and the general manager is another native Italian, Vittorio Rosso.  Il Canale won the privilege of being the first restaurant in 2012 to be accepted into membership.

“Il Canale’s thin-crust pizzas are made with ingredients imported from Italy, including the bufala mozzarella, tomato sauce and flour," said Farruggio. “Our dough is made fresh daily right on the premises. Our pizza Napoletena is the best.”

il Canale pizza ready to be served (Photo by: Il Canale ) il Canale pizza ready to be served

Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana (VPN Association), which has been established by the Italian government as the controlling body when it comes to determining true Neapolitan pizzas, has strict rules that govern the ingredients, preparation, and manner of cooking.  According to its website, the VPN Association is ”the only non-profit association that safeguards and promotes the culture of the real Neapolitan pizza worldwide.”  

Its register of members “was created to protect and to professionalize the pizza makers in Italy and abroad that will undertake to make the Vera Pizza Napoletana (true Neapolitan pizza), according to tradition, thus ensuring the quality of the production process and products use,” said the association website. Il Canale is the only restaurant in Georgetown to receive the certification.

“We are elated to be accepted by the VPN Association,” said Rosso, il Canale’s general manager. ”We see a lot of Italians who now live or work here or are tourists who come in because they like to get a taste of real Italian pizza.”

Il Canale has a wood-fired pizza oven shipped from Naples and an Italian dough-making machine, all in compliance with the association’s standards. Adding to its Italian connection is the TV at the bar that shows European football games, Italian music and banners touting Italian heritage.

Logo to be shown on il Canale's window and menus (Photo by: Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana logo) Logo to be shown on il Canale's window and menus

Il Canale’s menu also features other Italian foods, such as pasta, soups, meats and fish dishes.


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