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With the soundtracks of Seasons 1 and 2 piped into the lobby of the Four Seasons Hotel, all you needed was to follow the whiff of Beef Stroganoff to find the celebration of Mad Men’s 4th Season Finale taking place in the private dining room of Michael Mina’s Bourbon Steak Restaurant. Then, all those pearls, the pill box hat and elbow length gloves suddenly made perfect sense.
Under the stewardship of manager Dan Mizrahi, server Paul Womble, captain, John Gilbert and bartender, Kazuki Sakamoto, the guests at the sold-out event enjoyed cocktails, a sixties-inspired prix-fixe dinner that included Swedish meatballs, green bean casserole and iceberg lettuce salad, before being treated to truffle popcorn to watch “Tomorrowland.”
Winning “Best Dressed “(along with Michael Mina’s cookbook and a bottle of his 2008 Qupe Santa Barbara Syrah) was die-hard fan Toya Johnson. Her favorite line from all four seasons was in Season 3 to Henry from his mother: “Why would you want Don Draper’s trash?” Last night, it seemed as if Henry was finally asking himself just that question.
When Don proposed to Megan, there was an audible gasp in the room. But did anyone ever doubt that Faye Miller’s fate was sealed after her lack of mommy skills were exposed earlier in the season? Or when she caddily said, “Have your girl make reservations.”
It was a season that began with a reporter asking,"Who is Don Draper?" and ended with Sally asking, "Who's Dick?" It was about more than Don Draper’s lost weekends, weeks and months following his divorce, and his attempts at integrating his past (with the help of the doomed Dr. Faye). You could see where things were headed when Stephanie gave Don the engagement ring Anna had bequeathed to him, the one she'd received from the real Don Draper.
This was one evening when there was more alcohol consumed off camera than on screen. I counted a series low of four drinks (and that includes a shot of whiskey Don’s financial advisor slipped into his own coffee AND Henry’s oh-why- did-I-ever-marry-Betty-beer). And except for the furtive puffs exchanged between Peggy and Joan in their pow-wow over THE ENGAGEMENT, smoke did not get into everyone’s eyes.
While Peggy was pitching the wonders of Topaz pantyhose, the room erupted in giggles over the idea that wearing pantyhose was perfect for work, an evening out and for sport! "There's a business I know that makes its employees wear pantyhose,” a dinner guest said with a grimace. There was a time (some of us can remember) when the invention of pantyhose meant relief from garters and girdles.
If you have no idea who these characters are (and why their quests for happiness and success mean so much), you can still enjoy knowing that Michael Mina’s Bourbon Steak Restaurant in the Four Seasons Hotel with its emphasis on seasonal ingredients and organic beef and seafood, also has a bar the Mad People of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce would kill for.
“Don’t you want to go home and see a steak on the table?” This question was posed to Don, living in a dingy Greenwich Village apartment following his divorce from Betty as he sorted out the value of his properties. The answer: “Yes,” especially if it’s poached in butter from Michael Mina’s kitchen.
The only actor to have appeared in the greatest mobster movie series (as Johnny Ola in The Godfather II) and as a regular in the greatest mobster TV series (as Uncle Junior on The Sopranos), Dominic Chianese was spotted Tuesday afternoon at Il Canale enjoying pizza with friends Fred Cannon and Hemmendy Nelson of Broadcast Music Inc.
Incidentally, The Godfather was Chianese’s very first film role after a 20 year career on the American stage. And you saw him last season as Stuart Zedeck on FX's legal thriller Damages.
This multi-talented artist, who got his start as a musical-comedy performer is also an accomplished musician. Remember his moving rendition of Salvatore Cardillo’s sentimental classic "Core 'ngrato" ("Ungrateful Heart") on the third-season finale of The Sopranos?
Relaxing with a glass of Pinot Noir before performing at the “ThanksUSA” benefit concert for military families held at the Four Seasons Hotel later that evening, Chianese explained his life-long love of music, “While acting is a collaborative art, music speaks directly to the soul.”
“I’m a kid from the Bronx who sang (“A Fool Such as I”) at the Grand Ole Oprey.” Speaking lovingly, it was his Neapolitan grandfather who came to New York in 1904 from whom he learned to appreciate music, “Listen to the birds,” his grandfather said. "Music is everywhere."
In the 80’s Chianese took his passion for song (everything from Italian ballads to musicals and country) and started singing to residents in nursing homes. Inspired by what a difference regular interaction with trained musical artists made, he started “Joy Through Art Foundation, Inc.” to improve residents' quality of life.
What’s next for Chianese? For starters, a new band. Look for Hank Alfredo and the Spaghetti Westerners Traveling Roadshow debuting November 3rd a the Cowgirl Sea Horse Restaurant in New York City. But first, time for rehearsal.
If you were anywhere within a 10 block radius of Georgetown Saturday, the wafting aromas and grilling smoke signals would have drawn you to Wisconsin and M Streets for the 17th Annual Taste of Georgetown.
Hosted by the Georgetown Business Improvement District, and benefiting Georgetown’s Ministry Center’s services supporting the homeless, this premier family and dog-friendly food and wine festival drew a huge crowd on a perfectly sunny 80 degree fall afternoon.
Over 30 local restaurants offered their tastiest treats for sampling. And if you came early you would have seen a truly rare site: a short line for a Georgetown Cupcake.
Celebrity judging resulted in:
Most Colorful Dish:
- Muncheez Mania – falafel wrap
Best Use of Spices:
- Neyla – all dishes (chicken shawarma sliders, hummus, baba ghannoug, etc.)
Dish that Made You Go “Mmmmmm”:
- Fahrenheit (at the Ritz Carlton Georgetown) – Fire grilled sweet chili wings with cool cucumber mint sauce
Most Creative Dish:
- J. Paul’s – Chorizo corn dog with shrimp slaw
Most Delicious Way to Get a Cavity:
- Hook – Campfire s’mores
- Filomena Ristorante – Beef brisket ravioli with a dolcetto wine and crimini mushroom sauce
Jazzy melodies from Michael Bowie Trio entertained while chefs prepared their signature dishes. Except for the lines, it was speed-dating for the palate.
Putting its best paws forward was Lucky Dog Animal Rescue. This non-profit rescues homeless and abandoned animals from high-kill shelters and from owners who can no longer care for them.
Executive Director, Mirah Horowitz explained the interview and adoption process to select a new best friend like "Sampson, a loving five year old Rottweiler or Tao, a gentle nine month old Huskie."