On New York Social Diary today we recap the Kennedy Center Honors, where the producers themselves produced a showstopper.
Take a few minutes to read the Washingtonian account of a very nasty real estate battle that is going down between some very rich people in Georgetown. In one corner is socialite developer Jane Cafritz. In the other it is venture capitalist Mark Ein. They are backed by their supportive spouses, teams of lawyers and architects, and each side wants its own way. What's the cat fight over? The (relatively moderate) upgrading Ein would like to do to a property he owns, the former home of Katharine Graham. It is next door to the the Cafritz house, which already underwent several upgrades.
Read the whole sordid story from Luke Mullins: The Catfight Over Katharine Graham's House. (But, please know, this is not typical Georgetown, where folks are generally quite neighborly).
After Peacock Room opened on P Street for a brief time earlier this year or late last year before closing for a season of renovations. It is now open on again - on P across from the 7/11 -- and seems open to stay. They serve lunch and dinner Wed-Sun, and also have wine and beer and coffee bar. They open at noon, except on Sunday, when they open at 8:30 am (with pastries on hand).
It's a pretty place and worth checking out, and a welcomed addition to the upper middle part of the village, where we need more small bistros and cafes. The menu features items such as baby beet salad, roasted chicken soup, fluke crudo, procini stuffed chicken, heritage pork loin. For sweets and savories there are black walnut pain perdu and a macaron ice cream sandwich.
There's more information here at the website: After Peacock Room.
Dog Tag Bakery opened today. It's been a long time coming. I wanted to get something up ASAP, so that you'll go and go often, so here's an edited version of the press release:
Dog Tag Bakery officially opened for business today at 3206 Grace Street, NW. The enterprise is a work-study program for veterans with disabilities and their spouses seeking to begin civilian careers in business. Dog Tag offers breakfast and lunch menus filled with sweet and savory breads, cookies and pastries, including vegan and gluten-free items.
The first class of fellows recently completed the program and was awarded certificates in business administration from Georgetown University’s School of Continuing Studies. The group, comprised of seven men and women from various branches of the military, attended rigorous classes while also completing hands-on job training at the bakery. Responsibilities range from baking to operations to marketing. The program is designed to help the veterans acquire practical business skills. Run as a business rather than a charity, the bakery’s proceeds are used to support the program.
Dog Tag Bakery was born out of a conviction that no veteran who wants to work should be unemployed. The founders are Father Rick Curry of Georgetown University and philanthropist Connie Millstein.
The ADA-accessible bakery also features coffee from veteran-owned Compass Coffee. Proceeds from the bakery are reinvested in the program. The bakery also features a custom-made dog tag chandelier, where visitors can add their name for a donation of $125.
For more information, visit Dog Tag Bakery at 3206 Grace Street, Northwest, Washington, D.C., or visit its website,dogtagbakery.org.
Do this one of these wintry nights: drive to Petworth, 828 Upshur NW to be precise, and tuck into a table, or a seat at the bar, at cozy Crane & Turtle. Chef Makoto Hamamura and his crew produce a tasty and innovative dining experience, starting with excellent cocktails and small bites. We started with Hamachi Tataki and Big-Eye Tuna Tataki (irresistible, both) and then moved on to appetizers of Japanese mushroom tempura and a dish of roasted butternut squash, followed by the entrees, Maine scallops and Pan Roasted Monkfish. For dessert? Apple Rangoon and, for the chocoholics, Mount Fuji. Just go. You'll thank me.
On another night in Petworth, do also try the original Chez Billy. Much attention is being paid to the new one in Georgetown, Chez Billy Sud, which is a treat, but you've got to try to Chez Billy Petworth, too. Darker, more moody, a bigger bar, fun and delicious.
I never thought in a million years that I'd write a New York Social Diary column about bacon, but perhaps it underscores how seven years as a diarist can lead a writer to the most interesting opportunities. And so it is, as today's column is about The Bruce Bacon. One of the publisher's of the site, Jeff Hirsch, sent this encouraging message: "Didn’t think it was possible to write a story about bacon (and make it) interesting. But you somehow did it!"
It's not a crime wave, but there is an uptick in the word on the street of incidents -- mostly car breakins, package thefts, but this accompanies the earlier report of some armed hold-ups in Cleveland Park and Georgetown. Not sure what came of that. Whatever the reason, this weekend I noticed an increased presence of police even on the residential streets.
Marion Barry Jr., who died last night at the age of 78, appeared on The Q&A Cafe twice, the first time long before the program was recorded and aired on cable TV. The second interview, above, occurred in September of 2012. He was very candid, engaging, and amusing, and its worth a watch. We covered a lot of territory. First, though, please read this review of the Barry interview and my remembrance on New York Social Diary
Chuck Todd, host of NBC's Meet the Press, will be the guest at The Q&A Cafe on Friday, December 19. (Consider this my holiday gift to you, fair readers and audience members). Do I need to say there will be a lot ot discuss? Nah. You know there will, including his new book, The Stranger, about President Obama. I would like to say we'll have books for sale, but I don't know at this point if we will, so please buy it in advance, bring it, and I'm sure he'll be happy to sign.
The location is The George Town Club on Wisconsin Avenue at Volta. Seating begins at noon, the program begins soon after 12:15. Lunch is served. The all-inclusive price is $35. For reservations please call the club at 202-333-9330 or email to GTC Reservations.
Chuck first appeared on The Q&A Cafe in 2008, when he was a relatively new on-air political correspondent.
We still have some seats available for the Redskins Bruce Allen next Tuesday, Nov. 18. Please join us. Dan Rather, alas, is currently sold out. We hope soon to announce a date for DC's new mayor.
When I suddenly became a solo parent to a 5 yr old, and a federal tax fraud defendent, and bankrupt, with all the chaos that landed on me, Eminem was my soulmate. He wrote to my pain and rage. His tunes were my hymns and anthems. He kept me from chugging pills and booze and committing God knows what. He tamed me. Lifted me up. He was my troubador. He comforted me in countless commutes and carpool lines and girded me before confrontations with adversaries who just wanted to take me down. Great to see him perform at The Concert for Valor on the national mall tonight, becaue he is a true American. He understands pain and rage and, from what I can tell, not giving up.
I hope he reads Innocent Spouse.
There are dozens of questions Bruce Allen should be asked. I will try to get to at least 15 or 20 of them on Tuesday, when he is the guest at The Q&A Cafe.
But now, as I write this on Nov 21, the big one is probably: what's with two times cancelling a scheduled interview? Which is what happened on Monday afternoon.
Here's the thing: while canceling the interview may seem like a small thing in the scheme of things of the Redskins organization, here's what it means in my orbit: I don't get paid. The District Cable Network is out a scheduled program. The George Town Club, which has booked the space for the show, is without a room full of patrons that day, so left high and dry. In other words, there are ramifications.
I'm happy to say very few people have canceled the show at the last minute. One was the former president of Spain, Jose Maria Aznar, one was Larry King, and one was a Chicago newspaper columnist. In 13 years of more than 350 shows, that's all.
My much relied upon Sony RX100 camera died a couple of weeks ago and the repair was so costly it made more sense to buy a new camera, which arrived on Friday. It's the newer edition of the RX100. I took it out for a spin this weekend. I found a lot of love on the riverfront, the newly married and the newly engaged, posing here, and here, and there.
As well as a lovely Saturday lunch at Fiola Mare.
Having dinner at Le Diplomate, doing its part to remind me why this is one of the best bits of culinary theater in town. Theater for the palate, the eye, and the mind. As one who slogged through this business for a dozen or more years I am always impressed with "Le Dip's" consistency of food and service. It's not easy to achieve either and especially both.
After I heard concern from The Georgetown Metropolitan's Topher Mathews that a bank might be a likely tenant for the old Neam's market space, I reached out. I sent a message to George Neam, who is overseeing his family's search for a new tenant. I asked whether a bank was under consideration. "That's not on my radar," was his response.
Sincerely hoping his radar is accurate, because the last thing Georgetown needs, especially in such a prime location, is one more bank. What would be nice is a market bistro. They can put an ATM in the back.
I'm following up on the post earlier today that Dan Rather needed to reschedule our interview that was to be this Friday. It will now occur on Friday, December 12 at The George Town Club. Seating begins at noon, the fee is $35. For reservations, please call 202-333-9330 or email Q&A Cafe Reservations. (If you were wait-listed for 11/7 it's good to check on this new date, because perhaps not everyone who had a reservation can keep it).
Our next Q&A Cafe interview is Tuesday, November 18, with "Redskins" president Bruce Allen. Please join us. This has a lot of availability and will be a very interesting show.
It would not be a complete Halloween without a drop by Bill Dean's annual Halloween party ... always reliably naughty and nice. We recap it today, with lots of photos, on New York Social Diary.
The photo above is from the 11am All Saints service at Christ Episcopal Church today, notable because it was Rev. Stuart Kenworthy's last as rector after more than 20 years. The Christ Church congregation includes a lot of us here in Georgetown, but also people from beyond Georgetown's borders and, over the years, presidents and others of the nation's leaders. A few weeks ago Stuart and I did a "farewell" interview at The Q&A Cafe. He's interesting throughout, but especially when he talks about his time serving in the Iraq war and when, while he was there, a member of his Washington parish sought him out. That individual was Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Please watch.
It was a day in March and I got up early to drive the long drive to Wallops Island, Virginia. It was a cool but sunny day and the drive was easy. NASA officials met me there and we were joined by photographer Ron Blunt to spend a day at the launch pad and assembly facility to shoot a story for Washingtonian. It was fascinating. The launch pad that was involved in last night's explosion is shown immediately below. It does not look like a conventional launch pad. There is no gantry. It's more of a hole in the ground supported by an elaborate concrete launch mechanism. Above and below are photos inside the assembly building, Ron and me, with Antares rockets behind and beside us. They are brought from Ukraine and repurposed, workers come from there, too, which is why a lot of the signage is in two languages.
Back in the day I covered launches at the Cape Kennedy/Canaveral in Florida for the wires and then Time magazine, including the troubled Apollo 13. Everything was huge -- rockets, the Vehicular Assembly Building. Wallops is boutique-sized, to fit the modern era of more un-manned space business. But note also in the photo below, on the horizon, an old-school gantry.
We taped this interview with Greg Valliere on October 17 at the George Town Club. Our next show is Friday, November 7, with Dan Rather. After that, November 18, the guest is Redskins president Bruce Allen. So much to talk about, and we make enough time at The Q&A Cafe. Join us. 202.333.9330.
Two weeks ago I was a guest of Ferman Patterson on his Washington Full Circle broadcast. It was a very humid bad hair day that particular afternoon, but nonetheless a pleasant half hour in the air-conditioned studio. We taped the interview at the District Cable Network's new facility, the former studios of BET. Very big and nice. I hope you'll give it a view. At the very least you get to see photos of the amazing guests, and watch me age - and have various shades of hair color -- over 13 years of The Q&A Cafe.
The late Ben Bradlee, who died today, appeared twice for interviews on The Q&A Cafe. First with Bob Woodward, and then a second time with his wife, Sally Quinn, and their son, Quinn Bradlee. The family interview, taped at Nathans, was broadcast and is preserved on YouTube. It's a rare and interesting glimpse of their closeness. Others who knew him better and longer will have many words to write and say about him, and I will read their eulogies with appreciation and sadness. I put up this interview as my own memoriam.
When I write about new places I love I risk making it impossible to get back in, because others may follow my advice and max it out, but I also love to see good restaurants do well. Thus, on New York Social Diary today I write about Chez Billy Sud, which opened last week in Georgetown on 31st Street just below the C&O Canal. I believe this week they start serving lunch, too, and eventually will also have weekend brunch. I've been in on a few evenings, so far, and was not disappointed.
I'm not going to give up the original Chez Billy, in Petworth, because it's got a different vibe and is worth the trip to an interesting neighborhood.
It was a perfect day to spend in Rappahannock County, Virginia, and that's exactly what I did, doing a morning/afternoon getaway with my pal Myra Moffett, who used to live across the way from us in "Little" Washington (the county seat). Stopped by a friend's farm to walk the hills and fields and snap some pics, including of our host in hiding under a mask. Also made a pit stop at the great Red Truck Bakery to pick up a pumpkin pie, which makes for the best breakfast. Pie for breakfast; try it sometime.
DC Police Chief Cathy Lanier appeared on The Q&A Cafe on Friday, September 26, to discuss the job, how its going, how she deals with stress, and, with a new mayor on the horizon, the future. Also body cameras and much more. Our next show is this Friday, October 17, looking at the mid-term elections.
On Friday October 10 it will be my last day at Washingtonian magazine. It will also be three years to the day since I joined the staff as Editor-at-Large. On October 20 I begin a new chapter as Vice President of Communications for the FP Group. I'm eager for a new challenge. As I depart Washingtonian this week I'm thrilled about what's ahead but know I will miss good friends and the laughs we had and some memorable experiences, especially producing the monthly photo feature "Behind The Scenes." I'm so proud of that series. I'm also grateful for the support from publisher Cathy Merrill Williams. Washingtonian has an innovative new editor, Michael Schaffer, and many years of great issues in its future.
Along with my role, FP CEO and Editor David Rothkopf announced two other new hires: Gopal Ratnam and David Francis.
Here's the full announcement:
Brought this home last night from DBGB Kitchen + Bar to have while watching Sunday Night Football. Daniel Boulud may be a world famous French chef, and his new DC restaurant has a fine French menu with the sausages of his Lyon childhood and the best duck breast I've had in ages (plus foie gras, steak tartare, escargots), but he also knows his American fried chicken.
Georgetowners in the area of 31st and P and O Streets aren't the only individuals suffering through bumptious home renovation drama. They have solidarity with the New Jersey neighbors of Ice-T and Coco, whose own home renovaton in Edgewater has the community "fed up," according to Page 6.
Renovations at two homes on 31st pushed neighbors past their boiling points weeks ago, but at least their frustrations were heard by Ward 2 Council Member Jack Evans and the Advisory Neighborhood Commission, who voted unanimously to crackdown on dumpster abuse. The measure now goes to the city for approval.
The immediate neighbors of these two homes have made a number of complaints to the homeowners and contractors, but at the heart of them are the dumpsters, which foul the streets, and the excessive number of parking spaces claimed by contractors (sometimes as many as 15 vehicles in the block are for those two houses), and the sometimes lack of consideration toward neighbors (jack-hammering early on weekend mornings, smelly portable toilets).
If the dumpster restrictions receive approval then something positive will have come out of what's been a spring, summer and now fall of neighborhood discontent. Both homeowners have said they will move into their re-booted abodes in November. No one faults them the right to renovate their homes, only a perceived lack of restraint and the periods of havoc it caused. One of the homeowners has reached out to his immediate neighbors, with varying degrees of appeasement.
Peace will return ... until the next renovation ... and wishing Edgewater NJ the same.
Our next Q&A Cafe, on Friday, Dec. 12, is with CBS News legend Dan Rather, followed on Friday, Dec. 19, Chuck Todd, host of NBC's "Meet the Press."
Visit this link to view our archive of broadcasts: The Q&A Cafe on YouTube
Author, interviewer, and photographer. Read more...
Here is information for my popular memoir Innocent Spouse...
MEDIA: For book-related inquiries, please contact my agent, Laney Becker, at 212-243-8480