- The Washington Times - Monday, April 29, 2002

The dress code was "creative black tie and blue jeans" at Share Our Strength's annual Taste of the Nation gala, though jeans were far more common than black ties among the hundreds of guests gorging on donated delicacies from the Caucus Room, 1789, Galileo, Georgia Brown and many other restaurants.
"They have a really creative approach to hunger relief," joked former Clinton administration Press Secretary Mike McCurry, one of the hosts of the anti-hunger and anti-poverty organization's benefit at the Ritz-Carlton on Thursday night.
"I have Czech beer and Italian food I love it," said Ingrid Aielli, the Slovakian-born wife of Teatro Goldoni chef Fabrizio Aielli with whom she owns the restaurant. She recommended the restaurant's Norwegian salmon alfalfa sprout roll with mango as an excellent summer dish.
Seafood was also the focus at Cities, as Chef Aret Sahakyan filled heaping platefuls of sea bass with artichoke alongside roasted potatoes with sweet garlic.
A number of restaurants concentrated on the sweet tooths in attendance.
Frank Morales, who came on as executive chef at the Oval Room seven months ago, offered a tasty goat-cheese dessert.
"It's a tough town, but I love a challenge," he said of his brief stint thus far in the District.
Patrick Bazin, chef at the Occidental Grill, offered guests peanut butter served in a chocolate shell, a popular choice.
"It's like a Reese's peanut butter cup for adults," he chuckled.
The big topic of conversation among guests was the event's change of venue from the rather cavernous halls of Union Station to the more intimate atmosphere of the Ritz.
"There used to be two to three times more restaurants," one guest said in a huff.
Others, however, preferred the new location. "It's much more exclusive and special," Mrs. Aielli said.
The amount raised was not yet available, but the event has provided more than $840,000 for Share Our Strength's local programs since 1988.

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