Washington Life Magazine
Washington Life Magazine


Le Paradou Gains National Critical Acclaim

Choosing between the many Washington restaurants serving “contemporary French cuisine” can prove a formidable task. Discerning palates, however, hail Penn Quarter's Le Paradou (named one of Esquire magazine's “Best New Restaurants of 2004”), where world renowned Chef Yannick Cam creates elegant and delectable French cuisine. Lunch at Le Paradou can include a two- or three-course prix-fixe menu at $28 and $35, respectively, while the prix-fixe dinner menus include twocourse ($58), three-course ($75) or six-course ($100) options, as well as the nine-course chef's tasting menu for $135. A “to die for” lunch option: succulent lobster meat with carrot jus combined in a lobster purse, followed by any entrée that includes Chef Cam's signature boudin blanc— a palatable combination of pork, chicken, eggs, cream, breadcrumbs and other seasonings. The décor of Le Paradou, named after a scenic village in the hills of southwestern France, is the perfect setting to entertain clients or friends. Cream colored suede panels complement an earthy taupe and beige color scheme; in the evening, the ceiling becomes a star-filled sky using fiber optic lighting, thanks once again to the ingenuity of D.C. designers Theo Adamstein and Olvia Demetriou, who aimed to capture the intimacy and beauty of the French village. Make sure to pair your meal with some suggestions from sommelier Nicolas Roudet's extensive wine list.

Celebrity Sightings

Where to see and be seen: D.C.'s swank Sports Club/LA. Recently, a number of A-List celebrities have been working out there, including NBC's Katie Couric, who was spotted lounging on the sundeck late last summer. John Travolta recently visited the Club's Splash Spa for a relaxing Swedish massage. Philadelphia 76ers star Allen Iverson joined friends on the basketball court for a pick-up game this fall, and singer Dave Matthews spent time working out with a Sports Club/LA trainer, before being interrupted by a false fire alarm (giving members a chance to mingle with the superstar).

Sports: Breaking Records, Breaking Barriers

Basketball legend Bill Russell and Olympic Gold Medalists Nancy Kerrigan and Keri Strug were just a few of the athletes on hand to celebrate the opening of “Sports: Breaking Records, Breaking Barriers” in October at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History. The exhibition highlights well-known athletes whose accomplishments have affected America's changing social landscape. On exhibit until January 9, the artifacts from 35 athletes in 17 sports include the basketball Russell used to score his 10,000th rebound in 1962, Muhammad Ali's robe from his “Rumble in the Jungle” match, a baseball card autographed by Jackie Robinson, Gertrude Ederle's English Channel goggles and Lance Armstrong's yellow jersey. After the Smithsonian, the exhibit will depart for a two-year, seven-city tour.

“The honor is to compete. Winning is just a bonus,” Russell told the crowd at the opening party. A former Boston Celtic player and coach, Russell is a longtime civil rights advocate and the first African American to coach a major sports team.

Hot Ticket

Corporations are lining up to pay a minimum of $25,000 per couple to be part of the exclusive dinner that Rima Al-Sabah, wife of Kuwaiti Ambassador Salem Al-Sabah, and the Kuwait-America Foundation (KAF) are hosting to benefit Iraqi refugees. The benefit dinner, “A Tribute to Friendship,” will be held at the Kuwaiti residence on March 9. All proceeds benefit USA for UNHCR, which is the U.S. fundraisingarm of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees for Iraq. There are 340,000 Iraqi refugees, mainly women and children, living in urban centers and camps in Jordan and Saudi Arabia. These refugees fled Iraq under Saddam Hussein, and proceeds will help them return to their homeland. This is the largest benefit in the U.S. for USA for UNHCR.

Rima Al-Sabah, the driving force behind this hot ticket, stressed the need to “show the Iraqi people that we care.” In two months, Mrs. Al-Sabah has raised over $650,000 and money is still pouring in. With limited seating, already on board are ChevronTexaco, Occidental, Conoco Phillips, Raytheon, General Motors, Boeing, Investcorp, Exxon Mobil, Fluor Corp, Marathon Oil, Qorvis Communications, Shell International, Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, Grace and Morton Bender, National Bank of Kuwait, Creative Associates, Patton Boggs LLP, among others. It's also rumored that actress Angelina Jolie and Secretary of State Colin Powell will attend, and that Grammy winner Cyndi Lauper will perform.

Last Letters Home

HBO and LIFE Books have joined to present the documentary and accompanying book, “Last Letters Home: Voices of American Troops from the Battlefields of Iraq.” HBO and Sen. John McCain held a private screening of the documentary on November 9 at the National Cable & Telecommunications Association before it debuted on Veteran's Day, November 11. Based on a New York Times project which featured some of the contents on its op-ed page, “Last Letters Home” focuses on the messages from 14 courageous fallen soldiers to their loved ones (10 of those families are featured in the documentary). Sen. McCain, who spent six years as a P.O.W. in a Vietnamese prison, wrote the forward of the book, which is currently available in book stores. The DVD will be released in early 2005. Net proceeds from the DVD and the book benefit the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, which provides unrestricted grants to the families of military personnel who died fighting in the Middle East since 9/11.

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