As last night’s sold-out Best of Washington party wound down, one happy attendee wrote on Twitter that the evening was more than worth the price: “priorities straight for paying bills, but the Washingtonian Party was terrific.” Whether roaming the first-floor circus scene or enjoying the VIP party on the second floor of the National Building Museum, 1,500 Washingtonians turned out in force to eat and drink exciting creations coming out of area restaurants and to support the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
Former George W. Bush administration official Scooter Libby may not need a lawyer anymore—particularly not while chatting with fellow guests on the museum’s balcony. But if anything had come up, there was a wealth of legal expertise in the house. President Obama’s acting Solicitor General, Neal Katyal, and Fred Fielding, who served as White House counsel to Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, were on hand—though presumably off the clock for the evening.
Political types of more current vintage included former Virginia Republican Senator John Warner and current Maryland Republican candidate for Lieutenant Governor Mary Kane and her husband, former Maryland Republican Party chairman John Kane. Representing the other side of the aisle were Tennessee Representative Bart Gordon and Debbie Dingell, wife of Michigan Congressman John Dingell. And John Berry, director of President Obama’s Office of Personnel Management; Sean Green, associate director at the Small Business Administration; and Shawn Henry, the FBI assistant director in charge of the Washington field office got a night off from government work for the occasion.
The politicians and lawyers mostly stuck to business suits, but it was hardly a drab evening for clothes. Rich Amons, husband of Real Housewife Mary Amons, wore his signature patterned pants, paired with a blazer with a contrasting lining, to compliments from Co Co. Sala owner Bharet Malhotra. (He takes his wife’s advice and doesn’t wear the pants for another Washingtonian party in the first episode of the show, debuting August 5.) Mary Amons didn’t make it—her husband said they were hoping to make a Washington Kastles party later in the evening—but Katherine Kennedy, who stars in the still-unaired MTV reality series Blonde Charity Mafia, came by.
Fitting with the evening’s theme of great food, there was a strong showing for Top Chef competitors, too. This season’s local contestants Timothy Dean and Tamesha Warren were there—Dean was spotted during Washingtonian’s after party. For Warren, who was eliminated on the episode of Top Chef that aired during the party, the night out may have been a convenient distraction. Season-six contestant Zaytinya’s Mike Isabella (who’s about to strike out on his own) worked the restaurant’s table in a chef’s jacket that showed off his tattoos.
Reality television wasn’t the only kind of media that mattered, though. The Washington Post’s Amy Argetsinger was in attendance, as was WUSA sportscaster Brett Haber and Atlantic Media’s events guru, Elizabeth Baker Keffer.
While the evening may have been work for some of the party’s sponsors, including Verizon Wireless, BMW, Coca-Cola, Hargrove, and Stella Artois, their representatives certainly had a good time. BMW’s Craig Helsing and WashingtonFirst Bank CEO Shaza Andersen circulated at the private party upstairs, while PricewaterhouseCoopers managing partner Chris Simmons couldn’t resist the lure of the food and carnival atmosphere on the main floor.