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A Night Out: A Reception at the State Department

What: Dubbed “The Secretary’s Reception for Donors to the Diplomatic Reception Rooms,” this two-hour cocktail party honored more than 200 donors who contributed more than $850,000 to conserving and maintaining the rooms where Condoleezza Rice and Dick Cheney meet with foreign officials.

Where: The Department of State

When: Friday, April 25, 6 to 8 PM

Who: Rice was the main attraction, hosting a receiving line on the way in to shake hands (and score us a great new Facebook profile picture). We were one table away from Attorney General Michael Mukasey and wife Susan, who looked sharp in a pinstripe suit and black-and-white patterned dress. Marcee Craighill, director of the diplomatic reception rooms, also joined the donors.

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Food
: Waiters passed hors d’oeuvres—our favorite: tuna tartare served in mini ice cream cones—while hungrier guests served themselves tender beef and lamb, shrimp glistening with butter, yellow-pepper topped quiche, surprisingly bland penne, and too many tiny desserts to try them all (except oh, we did). But food always tastes better when eaten off plates stamped with a gold Presidential seal, right?

Drink: No red wine meant no risk of staining something antique and/or super expensive. Besides Chardonnay, bartenders poured beer (Sierra Nevada was a popular choice) and mixed drinks.

Scene: After a run-in with a Secret Service agent (despite the X-ray machine at the door and pack of guards in the lobby, she was worried we had somehow slipped security), we took it all in: antique couches and tables, cabinets of 18th-century china, a ballroom with eight glistening chandeliers and a balcony overlooking the Mall, and the nicest bathrooms we’ve ever been in. We sat through a ten-minute thank-you speech from Condi and mingled with guests wearing drab suits and skirts. On the elevator ride down, we caught a glimpse of one of the other floors—so business-like! so sterile!—and realized we truly had been in another world.

Ratings
:

Boldface names
:  4 (out of 5)
Swankiness: 3 (out of 5)
Food and drink: 3 (out of 5)
Exclusivity: 5 (out of 5)

Total score: 15 (out of 20)

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