- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 14, 2009

In vino veritas

There was no shortage of small talk among guests at celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck’s celebration Monday night of the second anniversary of his D.C. restaurant, the Source. He rang in the popular establishment’s third year with a wine dinner in honor of Robert Mondavi, the legendary American winemaker.

Perhaps it was the wine talking, as the collective sound of merriment during the pre-dinner reception rose to a roar. Guests were thoroughly lubricated with champagne from the Kluge Estate Winery and Vineyard. Patricia Kluge herself, the socialite and businesswoman from Charlottesville, swept into the reception on the arm of her husband, entrepreneur Bill Moses.

G2 asked the man of the hour, Mr. Puck, if he was a fan of Bravo’s popular television show “Top Chef.” “I was a judge on it once, but I don’t watch it regularly,” he admitted.

Judging that reality television has been, on balance, good for the restaurant biz, Mr. Puck said, “It attracts young people.” At the same, time, he cautioned, it has created some unrealistic expectations, as now “chefs expect overnight success.”

The Los Angeles-based chef readily took up our challenge to compare the City of Angels to the nation’s capital.

“There are a lot of lawyers in D.C., and they get dressed up to go out. So do the ladies,” he observed.

“In L.A., the men especially don’t like to get dressed up. They prefer to wear sweats,” he added as he surveyed the room full of men and women looking spiffy - and perhaps a bit square? - in their business attire.

Hats off

G2 barely recognized Ken Salazar without his trademark cowboy hat on Tuesday. The secretary of the interior was joined outside the Capitol by “Desperate Housewives’ ” Eva Longoria Parker, Sen. Robert Menendez, New Jersey Democrat, and other members of Congress to announce the leadership of the 23-member National Museum of the American Latino Commission, charged with planning a national museum of Latino culture.

With the sun shining brightly, we couldn’t resist asking Mr. Salazar where his hat was on such an appropriate day for it.

“You know what?” he confided. “I stepped on it on the plane.”

After the press conference, G2 barely had time to ask Miss Longoria the inevitable “Who are you wearing?” before she was whisked away in her stunning red dress.

“Diane von Furstenberg,” she replied as she dashed off.

To contact Stephanie Green or Elizabeth Glover, e-mail undercover@washingtontimes.com

• Stephanie Green and Elizabeth Glover can be reached at undercover@washingtontimes.com.

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