In Washington, in August, everybody's watching Elizabeth Taylor's Private Life.
And sending sweets to the suite.
The actress, accompanied by her parrot, Alvin, and her fiance', Victor Gonzalez Luna, checked into the Vista Hotel Sunday night. Previews begin tonight of Noel Coward's "Private Lives," starring Taylor and her ex-ex-husband Richard Burton at the Kennedy Center.
Taylor, who in the past has complained about a bad back, reportedly "loved" the elaborate massage and adjustable features of the king-size bed in the Presidential Suite. Gerard Lavergne, the hotel's rooms manager, instructed the 5-foot-4-inch actress on the mechanics of the bed (purchased especially for an earlier visitor, the 6-foot-11-inch president of Senegal).
The management sent a dozen yellow roses, said to be her favorite.
Vista Chef Uwe Toedter, hearing of her fondness for Famous Amos cookies, asked his assistant chef Maria Nainggolan to bake Taylor a batch of the Vista's special recipe for its own chocolate chip cookies. The recipe makes 300 cookies. A dozen or so fresh cookies on a footed silver tray are being presented every day. Alvin's opinion on the cookies is not known because all he says, according to the staff, is "Hello, Alvin."
Hearing that Taylor likes "light, sweet surprises," the chefs also sent up a peach mousse in a small crystal glass Monday evening.
Taylor and Luna had a late supper Monday night at Dominique, her old friend's restaurant.
"Looking very beautiful, very happy and very much in love," according to Dominique manager Diana Damewood, Taylor and Luna came into the restaurant about 10:30 p.m. and stayed, lingering over candlelight and red roses until midnight.
Taylor wore black pants with a black and gold top.
At an adjacent table, a small girl, about 8, kept watching Taylor and singing: "I can't believe I'm seeing Elizabeth Taylor." The child finally fell asleep in her chair. The accompanying adults, quieter, but as entranced by the free glimpse of "Private Lives," wouldn't leave until Taylor did.
Taylor and Luna had no appetizer, but ate steak au poivre, potatoes au gratin and creamed spinach, accompanied by a 1982 Louis Jadot Beaujolais.
For dessert, Taylor and Luna split an order of a confection billed on the menu as: Chocolate Truffles, Elizabeth Taylor's Favorite Dessert (a bowl of whipped cream, into which are dropped chocolate truffle balls , all topped with toasted almonds and chocolate sauce).
To make the Vista cookies, according to Nainggolan: 3 pounds brown sugar 3 pounds granulated sugar 2 ounces salt 4 pounds shortening 16 eggs 2 ounces vanilla
1 pint water 1 1/2 ounces baking soda 3 pounds, 8 ounces chocolate chips 14 ounces walnuts 7 pounds flour
Mix brown and white sugar with shortening until creamy. Add eggs slowly. Add water, salt, flour, baking soda, vanilla. Fold in chocolate chips and walnuts. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes. Yield: 300 cookies.