Blue Duck Tavern was apparently the dining room to go to: Faith Hill, Tim McGraw, Tom Hanks, Rita Wilson, Ben Affleck and Larry David were all at the farm-inspired West End restaurant on the same night.
Actor Val Kilmer—who’s looking less like Jim Morrison and more like Mickey Rourke’s long-lost brother these days—had dinner at Indian hot spot Rasika. Word is he’s thinking about running for governor of New Mexico.
Rahm Emanuel ate at downtown DC Tuscan spot I Ricchi with his family. Also at the table: Curb Your Enthusiasm’s Larry David. Earlier in the month, Emanuel ordered skate wing and Shiraz at Zola in DC’s Penn Quarter.
Oprah Winfrey hosted a Sunday brunch with chef Art Smith at his new Art and Soul. The Chicago-based Smith was Winfrey’s personal chef for a decade. Also, there were a handful of big-name foodies: Alice Waters, Tom Colicchio, and locals Rock Harper and Spike Mendelsohn. Bill Clinton stopped by, too.
Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington went low-key at Bistrot Lepic.
R&B star Alicia Keys hung out at wine bar Sonoma.
Washington-raised comic Dave Chappelle brought his family to Al’s Pizza in Southeast DC.
And the oddest of all, Chesley B. “Sully” Sullenberger, the pilot who safely landed a US Airways plane on the Hudson River, chose to dine here at . . . Hudson.
• Tommy Jacomo, the man to know at the Palm, tells the Examiner that he’s “very disappointed” that the recently departed President Bush never came by for dinner. Bush is apparently the first president to snub a meal at the steakhouse since it opened in the ’70s. Jacomo has higher hopes for the Obamas, and Barack and Michelle’s faces have already been added to the wall.
• Tom Colicchio isn’t only the baddest judge on Top Chef, he’s also a fast-thinking lifesaver. When cookbook author Joan Nathan choked on a piece of chicken during a party at her home and Alice Waters shouted around the house for a medic, Colicchio sprang forward and performed the Heimlich. Nathan was soon A-OK. What were the chefs doing at Nathan’s house? Taking part in one of 12 Art.Food.Hope fundraising dinners that benefited DC Central Kitchen and Martha’s Table. Also there: José Andrés, Daniel Boulud, Lidia Bastianich, Rachel Maddow, and Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. Ezra Klein of the Internet Food Association gives his firsthand account.
• At the same dinner, former White House chef Walter Scheib hugged it out with organic proponent Alice Waters. According to New York Times writer Marian Burros, they’d been sniping back and forth about Waters’s agenda for the White House kitchen and current chef Cristeta Comerford. Scheib countered that many of Waters’s ideas are already in place thanks to Hillary Clinton and Laura Bush. “To her credit,” Scheib said, “Mrs. Bush was adamant about organic foods. It goes counter to her perceived personality, but it was never important to her that the information be released.”
• Food & Wine reports that the fare at New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd’s swinging, celebrity-packed pre-inaugural party included pigs in blankets made by TV critic Alessandra Stanley, “lots of little ham sandwiches,” shrimp cocktail, and red-velvet cupcakes from Georgetown Cupcake.