A La Carte

Summer Sarabande Soirée

August 26, 2015

At a Bonhams' estate auction I recently won the tableware collection belonging to the screen siren who taught Steve and the rest of us how to whistle. 

Edwin Neill III, Ada Polla, Natalie & John Divney, Joel Kallett (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Edwin Neill III, Ada Polla, Natalie & John Divney, Joel Kallett

The French design happens to be my own long-loved pattern. So, with enough matching plates and bowls to open a bistro, it was time for a party.

Alain Cohen modeling sporks and plates (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Alain Cohen modeling sporks and plates

I made everyone don color-coordinated spork necklaces, smile and say 'Summer Sarabande Soirée!'

Ian Mitchell, Hillary Leeb, Kimberly Casey and Sara Mokhtari (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Ian Mitchell, Hillary Leeb, Kimberly Casey and Sara Mokhtari

Over Ruilly (my new favorite Burgundy wine), sangria and Mediterranean-inspired tapas fare, dear friends came together on a cloudless August evening ... to meet, mingle and make plans for our next party.

Jennifer Altemus, Holly Styles and Tricia Huntley (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Jennifer Altemus, Holly Styles and Tricia Huntley

Santé Lauren Bacall!

Alain Cohen and Sarah Mokhtari (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Alain Cohen and Sarah Mokhtari


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An Evening in Montefalco

August 24, 2015

Albertino Pardi (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Albertino Pardi

"When you look up Umbria in the dictionary, you'll likely see a photo of Pardi," explains Bill Menard. Alongside his wife Suzy, Bill introduced guest of honor Albertino Pardi at a very special Casa Luca dinner Sunday.

Pardi's family has been in the textile and wine businesses since 1919. The Menards, who own Via Umbria in Georgetown call themselves 'informal ambassadors for the splendors of Umbria' for good reason. With their emporio (re-opening in October), online shop, rental property and tours in Umbria, and wine and food classes, just about anything from the region makes its way here via the Menards.

Cocktails before dinner (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Cocktails before dinner

So it is with the great wines from the Pardi family winery, Cantina Fratelli Pardi, served at dinner alongside authentic dishes native to Umbria.

The Pardi story begins when brothers Alfredo (1880-1953), Francesco (1882-1965) and Alberto Pardi (1889- 1943) established the Cantina Fratelli Pardi.

Suzy Menard and Chef du Cuisine Thomas Harvey (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Suzy Menard and Chef du Cuisine Thomas Harvey

From 1919 to 1945, the brothers worked the grapes of their family vineyards by hand on the ground floor of the abbey of San Francesco in Montefalco. The Bianco, Rosso and Sagrantino Passito wines produced in this historic winery were marketed all over Italy, and the most prestigious buyer was the Vatican.

Albertino Pardi have been carrying on the traditions of their great-grandfathers’winery. With  passion, Pardi explained how after World War II, the family decided to make wines exclusively with grapes grown on their vines.

(Photo by: Judith Beermann)

The entire restaurant was reserved for the party, and the lucky guests were treated to cocktails and appetizers before a lavish meal paired with the following wines:

Cantina Pardi, “Colle di Giove”Montefalco Bianco DOC (Grechetto,Trebbiano Spoletino, Chardonnay) Montefalco, Umbria, 2014

Cantina Pardi, “Spoleto”Trebbiano Spoletino DOC (Trebbiano Spoletino) Montefalco, Umbria, 2014

Cantina Pardi, Montefalco Rosso DOC (Sangiovese, Sagrantino, Cabernet, Merlot) Montefalco, Umbria, 2013

Cantina Pardi, Sagrantino DOCG, Montefalco, Umbria, 2011 Cantina Pardi, “Sacrantino”Sagrantino DOCG, Montefalco, Umbria, 2011

Cantina Pardi, Sagrantino Passito DOCG, Montefalco, Umbria, 2009

(Photo by: Judith Beermann) "Sacrantino" Sagrantino DOCG (2011)

All of these wines are available through Via Umbria.

Hand twisted pasta, golden heirloom tomato and anchovy sugo finto and Australian black truffles (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Hand twisted pasta, golden heirloom tomato and anchovy sugo finto and Australian black truffles

Crispy suckling pig, roasted wild fennel, heirloom baby carrots (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Crispy suckling pig, roasted wild fennel, heirloom baby carrots

Traditional Umbrian corn cake of white peaches, golden raisins & toasted nuts with summer corn gelato (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Traditional Umbrian corn cake of white peaches, golden raisins & toasted nuts with summer corn gelato


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Carl Ray Does a One80

August 16, 2015

After living in Italy, Morocco and Puerto Rico, Navy brat Carl Ray landed in Virginia Beach. It was there when his parents divorced that an "art-driven" 14-year old had the opportunity to experiment on his first canvas. To help her get back into the dating scene, Ray started doing his mother's makeup. Proving to be a natural, he had found his calling.

Carl Ray at One80 Salon (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Carl Ray at One80 Salon

In Georgetown at George Salon at the Four Seasons Hotel, this gifted face painter was discovered by Michelle Obama. Early in the first administration he auditioned for the coveted job, and won over FLOTUS immediately. First time he ever did her makeup was for the First Lady's private birthday party. Soon he was traveling the globe, and has been by her side ever since.

"I've always wanted to help make people look and feel their best," says a smiling Ray as he talks about his latest venture. Starting in September, he'll be the resident makeup artist for One80 Salon. Why One80 Salon? "The talent here is enormous," he says. "They do fantastic color, and it's a full service salon in the heart of the city, near The White House and CityCenter."

Carl Ray (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Carl Ray

Three to four months notice for official functions leaves Ray enough time to keep lots of other Washington women looking their best. "The Obamas have brought fashion and style to the city, and DC women have gotten 100% better looking since I've been here," explains Ray. Techniques have improved too. "There's high definition quality makeup now that allows for a totally natural look." And how about those fabulous lashes Michelle is known for? "She's got great eyelashes and always looks terrific," he agrees.

An homage to the last seven years, he calls it his 'Obama Arm.' Intricate hand-drawn designs including a thunderbird and a colorful maze of flora adorn Ray's left arm. Secret codes? He's not talking.

And what's next? " I love doing bridal makeup," says Carl Ray Makeup Artist. "It's one of my favorite occasions and I'm looking forward to expanding that aspect of my work here at One80."


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