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The Scene Bisnow
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November 19, 2008



We were on hand last night for the gala re-opening of the Smithsonian American History museum—closed for renovations over the last two years, including a whole new gallery for the centerpiece Star Spangled Banner (the flag that flew over Ft. McHenry and inspired the national anthem, for those of you a little rusty on your history).


New Secretary of the Smithsonian Wayne Clough (who stepped down this summer as president of George Tech), Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne and wife Patricia, and two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning author David McCullough (Truman; John Adams) and wife Rosalee.


The various areas had guides reflecting different parts of history—we think these were costumed WW2 USO gals, but we suppose there's a slight chance they were for real.


Betsy Ross made a flag cake.


Hundreds packed Café Atlantico to congratulate DC's most famous celebrity chef (and we have quite a few of them now), José Andrés, on the release of his new book Made in Spain. His TV show of the same name airs weekly on PBS, and has been the most popular TV show of any kind in his native Spain. Above, Newsweek's Richard Wolffe and CBS's Bill Plante with José, who now co-owns seven restaurants: not just Jaleo, Zaytinya, and Oyamel here, but also his newest—The Bazaar at SLS Hotel, which opens this week in LA. Richard co-authored the book and also helped translate for us when the excitable José's accent became too much. Not that it was always easy to understand Richard, who's British.


Keith Lombardi and Dan Krupnick flank Fannie Mae VP Jodie Kelley. Dan was just named chief of staff for newly elected Rep. Dan Maffei (D-NY). Keith was a staffer on Maffei's campaign, which is another way of saying he's now looking for a job.


Last night, Best Buddies Virginia, devoted to help people with intellectual disabilities, held its annual Life Is Sweet fundraiser at Audi in Tysons. Former White House Executive Pastry chef Roland Mesnier rallied 30 of DC's top chefs to share their best desserts, and it tasted as good as it sounds. Above, Miss Virginia Teen USA Maggie Lawson and Miss Virginia USA Maegan Phillips are joined by their buddy Caesar and Sargent Shriver (Peace Corps co-founder, McGovern running mate in '72, and JFK's brother-in-law). Best Buddies was started by Sargent's son Anthony in '89. While we have a photo of Anthony, we're trying to help the charity by leading with a picture of the ladies.


Here's Anthony with Tana Leasure, a member of the Best Buddies VA advisory board. Last night's event tallied $150,000 and featured such DC culinary greats as Michel Richard of Citronelle and Central, and Cathal Armstrong, of Restaurant Eve. Anthony was still a student at Georgetown when he started Best Buddies, and it's now active in all 50 states and dozens of countries.


Roland Messnier (with the hat fit for a White House chef) joins Best Buddies VA founder Steve Mutty and chefs Jonathan Krinn and Jon Mathieson. Roland served five Presidents before retiring in '04. Now he says he lectures, signs books, and "women hire me for private functions, but I won't disclose what I do." It's good to be the chef, eh? Come January, check out Jon and Jonathan's new restaurant, Inox (means stainless steel), which opens in Tysons. Both worked at 2941 before setting out to open this new contemporary American restaurant.


The Vermont Ave bar with a name fit for Napoleon's first wife was the place to be last Friday night. Of course, weekend nights at this Victorian-style lounge never fail to pack the house, but this had the added incentive of being local promoter Eric Lund's birthday. House music spun in a main room outfitted with a stripper pole, and in the back gold room a hip-hop DJ revved up the crowd. Mari Oh of General Dynamics and friend Kristen Emory say they couldn't miss out on a celebration for Eric, someone who keeps DC partying all year.


Here's the birthday boy with Miss DC Kate Grinold. The party doubled as a charity event to benefit The Children's Miracle Network.

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