Ever sipped wines or vodka from Melania Trump’s homeland? Likely not. In fact, most Americans probably can’t find Slovenia on a map.
To put an emphasis on the Eastern European nation, 450 guests gathered at the Sister Cities International’s gala Tuesday night as Slovenian Ambassador Dr. Božo Cerar kicked off one of the first black-tie inaugural balls of the week in honor of President-elect Donald J. Trump. More than 40 foreign diplomats attended.
Quick-stepping violin music set the mood.
How did the liquor sit with the palates of the distinguished guests?
“Very nice, outstanding,” pronounced one guest sipping a darkish red Slovenian Premium Wine. Another described Slovenia Vodka as a bit “more powerful” but smoother (because of the main ingredient, buckwheat) than its Russian counterpart.
Melania’s new status as the future first lady is a source of national pride. Although she wasn’t at the party, her glamorous presence was still felt ... from the remarks onstage to the conversations over clinking glasses.
Through and through, it was Slovenia’s night at the Organization of American States. A buffet of international cuisine included various Slovenian dumplings (meat and vegetarian) and other Eastern European dishes.
Sister Cities International President and CEO Mary D. Kane commented, “We are delighted to celebrate this tradition of presidential support as well as showcase the important role of people-to-people citizen diplomacy in furthering peace and prosperity on a global scale at our Inaugural Gala.”
Spotted were Trump transition team staffers and an executive from the new MGM National Harbor Resort & Casino.
Event co-sponsors with the Embassy of Slovenia included the International Economic Alliance. Partnering organizations were American Women for International Understanding, Anciens Association of the NATO Defense College, and the Washington, DC Chamber of Commerce. The honorary host committee was comprised of more than 30 ambassadors, including Dr. Hamdullah Mohib of Afghanistan, Ambassador Wolfgang Waldner of Austria, Ambassador Tiena Coulibaly of Mali, and Ambassador Carlos Manuel Sada Solana of Mexico.
P.S. Slovenia is northeast from Italy.
With Hungary’s ambassador in attendance, D.C. hostess and interior design executive The Hon. Aniko Gaal Schott hosted an intimate reception Saturday night to introduce Csaba Káel, CEO of Hungary’s famous Müpa Budapest (Palace of The Arts), the equivalent of the Kennedy Center.
Káel also is chairman of the organization that runs both the Budapest Spring Festival and the CAFe Budapest Contemporary Arts Festival. He has directed and produced numerous Hungarian films and directed more than 40 operas worldwide, include in Shanghai, China. He is currently working on yet another opera production, Kalman's Die Csardasfurstin.
The ambassador to the USA, Dr. Réka Szemerkényi, was joined by her husband who only hours before arrived from Budapest. Among the 40 or so invited guests were social writer Mary Bird, Joann Mason, Washington Life senior editor Kevin Chaffee, Diane and Roland Flamini, and Alexandria de Borchgrave.
Hungarian fare at the reception at the Schott's Foxhall home consisted of caviar, smoked salmon, bite-sized pancakes, and cream-filled pastry, among other delicacies.
Schott is an American-Hungarian and is active in Hungarian cultural events and celebrations. She spends significant time in President-Elect Donald Trump’s social hotspot of Palm Beach, Fla., dubbed the to-be Winter White House.
Perhaps partly due to Trump’s Slovenia-born wife Melania, it might be conceivable that Eastern European folks will be so “in” for four years, and, who can predict, maybe more. Could be, in the entire scheme of things nowadays, you might get extra points if you can speak with an Eastern European accent or live in Kalorama.
An exclusive post-inaugural brunch, “Salute to Freedom,” will be held Saturday, January 21 by the Hungarian embassy to celebrate the inauguration of the 45th president of the United States.
Food Quiz Challenge: Which knowledgeable cuisine critic did Queen Latifah use to find il Canale Saturday night?
The answer: YELP.
And: The Queen wasn't disappointed, either.
"Amazing!," the rapper, singer, actress, songwriter said after dining with a friend at the Georgetown restaurant.
She and Eboni Nichols selected brushetta with mozzarella, eggplant parmigiana and calamari fritt, and three pastas--spaghetti alle vonole, risotto with mushrooms and lobster ravioli.
Afterwards she happily agreed to smartphone pictures with staff as well as other dining admirers.
Picture with GM Matteo Russoniello (far right) and Bruno Conti (left) and Tommy Kanavivatchai.