In the Spotlight, Unhappily
For years, Cafe Milano has served as D.C.'s culinary equivalent of a red carpet. It's the place to see and be seen, to introduce the world to your new squeeze or your new face. Everyone's there, so don't go if you don't wanna show.
But it seems that some secrets are sacrosanct at Milano: After an incident that made headlines overseas, the restaurant fired a waiter who dished too much about the Turkish first lady's dinner.
During an official Washington visit last week by Turkey's president, Abdullah Gul, his wife broke away for a ladies' gathering at the Georgetown hotspot. Bilge Isa Seyran, a Turkish freelance writer, was at the bar with another journalist, scoping out the VIPs.
Seyran told us they watched Hayrunisa Gul take a prime corner table. And he caught up with the party's Turkish-born waiter, Kerem Celik, who told him the five ladies left a generous 20 percent tip on a $500 tab -- and that Mrs. Gul ordered the lobster linguini.
Well! Seyran's report, picked up by Turkish papers, caused a sensation. Commentators expressed shock that Mrs. Gul -- known as a devout, modest, hijab-wearing Muslim -- would eat shellfish at a jet-setter clubhouse.
Milano confirmed it dismissed Celik after getting a call from the Turkish Embassy. "We have a policy that waiters should not divulge information to the media," said a rep. Which may confuse those who have read a thing or two about Milano patrons in this column . . . but, proper channels and all that. Also, we're told Milano never divulges a tab or tip. "This was a private party," said the rep. "They expected confidentiality."
Celik learned a lesson: He declined to talk to us. "I've moved on from this incident and look forward to finding a job." No complaints about getting fired? "They did the right thing."
From Machu Picchu and Stanford, Tales of Two Daughters
First daughters update:
Jenna Bush yesterday ended a six-day trip to Peru, where she arrived on a commercial jet and visited the historic Incan city of Cuzco, along with Machu Picchu and a number of UNICEF's children's projects in the southern part of the country; she blogged about the trip Wednesday on UNICEF's Web site.
Chelsea Clinton is taking flak for Sunday's appearance at her alma mater, which left a "bad taste in the mouths of the many Clinton fans and political junkies across campus," according to an editorial in the Stanford Daily. The former first daughter spoke at an unannounced, invitation-only gathering of sorority members. "Chelsea sought 'accessibility' for her mother's campaign at a private event that, ten years ago, then-student Chelsea Clinton would not have been invited to attend," sniffed the newspaper.
Glad-Handing for Gladwell
Book club at Cathy Lanier's! Should we bring wine? D.C.'s top cop is so impressed by author Malcolm Gladwell that's she organizing a citywide meeting (location TBA) to discuss his books, reports our colleague Allison Klein. In an e-mail to thousands of MPD police Listserv users yesterday, Lanier wrote that she's asked her top staffers to read Gladwell's "The Tipping Point" and "Blink" and wants to discuss the books with city residents sometime in March. Lanier even included an Evite -- as of press time, there were 594 seats left.
"Mom, this is a love child."
-- Matthew McConaughey to his mom, Kay, after she asked the ever-articulate movie star when he's going to marry his pregnant girlfriend Camila Alves, according to People magazine. (Times sure have changed since Diana Ross sang about it: "Love child, never meant to be. Love child, scorned by society.")