It was barely possible for superstar chef José Andrés to eat, drink, or talk at his
20th anniversary party, because so many well-wishers crowded around to give him hugs
and kisses. They included Supreme Court justice
Sonia Sotomayor, US senator
Mark Warner, Spanish ambassador
Ramón Gil-Casares, and DC mayor
Vincent Gray. The party, held Tuesday night at Andrés’s flagship Penn Quarter tapas restaurant,
Jaleo, was described as only the beginning of a yearlong series of celebrations.
Working the room along with Andrés was his business partner,
Rob Wilder, and other members of Think Food Group, which owns Jaleo, Oyamel, Zaytinya, and Minibar
in DC, in addition to several other restaurants in Beverly Hills, Las Vegas, and Miami.
But Jaleo came first, in 1993, setting a new standard for Spanish cuisine in the capital.
The party was virtually all Spanish—the food and the drinks. The evening’s cocktail
was a gin and Aperol concoction, the red and white wines were from Spain, and the
passed food included oysters in gin and tonic and cones with salmon roe. Midway through
the party, the kitchen staff brought out a jumbo dish of paella.
The streets outside were packed with spring tourists and locals on their way to the
Verizon Center to see Fleetwood Mac—and Jaleo was equally crowded. Other guests at
the party included developer
Herb Miller, White House chef
Sam Kass, businessman
Steve Case, WRC-4 anchor
Eun Yang, lawyer
Stuart Pape of Patton Boggs, Haitian ambassador
Paul Altidor, and
Luis Alberto Moreno, president of the InterAmerican Development Bank.
In his remarks, Mayor Gray declared April 9, 2013, Jaleo Restaurant Day.
Next up on the celebration calendar is Jaleo’s first ever Bocata Classic, a foosball
tournament, which will take place at the restaurant between 1 and 2 PM April 22 through
26. Patrons can form teams, and the winners will receive a Jaleo cocktail party for