Spring at the Butler Steeplechase


Eats: dining reviews, Hot Stuff

April 22, 2004|By Sloane Brown | Sloane Brown,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Last weekend was certainly the one to celebrate spring. Leave it to Baltimoreans to do just that. First, there was the Grand National Steeplechase in Butler. Beautiful people mingling on the meadows under beautiful sunny skies. (Goodness gracious, khaki factories must be working overtime.) Some 700 of the best-dressed gathered under a large white tent pitched near the finish line, where the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation was holding its annual benefit luncheon and party -- the biggest in the luncheon's 12-year history. Count on co-chairs Greg and Lisa Barnhill and Jennifer and Jay Snouffer to reel 'em in. Southsides were definitely the refreshment of choice.

While the purses for the afternoon's equine champions were a few hundred bucks, the foundation proved the day's big winner, raising around $65,000 for the charity.

And now for an interesting little sidebar. The next day, the Fox Movie Channel (available on satellite) aired the 1967 cult classic, Valley of the Dolls. And what should pop up in one scene? The CF Foundation logo! Betcha never noticed that Neely O'Hara (played by Patty Duke) gets her big break on the Cystic Fibrosis TV telethon -- with host Joey Bishop. Smells like a potential party theme.

A nostalgic night

Hey, come to think of it, nostalgia was the theme at the American Lung Association's "Breath of Life Celebration" Saturday night. Each table grouping was decorated in the look of a certain era -- the 1920s, '50s, '70s and the future. The '20s tables displayed feather boas and pearls, with an antique car nearby. The '50s tables had vinyl records, poodle skirts and big fuzzy dice. There was also a replica of a 1950s diner. The '70s tables featured disco balls. Or you could pose with a life-size figure of John Travolta from Saturday Night Fever.

Former Baltimore Colt Artie Donovan was the honorary chair. Apparently, he was well taken care of -- Schlitz beer was brought in just for him.

Walters' Art Blooms

Meanwhile, the Walters Art Museum's Women's Committee went back centuries for the theme of this year's "Art Blooms Gala," also Saturday night. The floral arrangements this year were based on pieces in the Walters' Medieval Galleries. Each arrangement was situated near the original artwork that inspired it. The sculpture court was decked out in royal purple and gold swags, along with flowers and greenery galore. But one of the biggest hits of the night was a new addition to the annual event. More than a dozen jewelry designers offered their creations for sale in a jewelry fair. The baubles seemed to draw more of a crowd than the blossoms. Pity the poor person who thought the night's expense would end with the price of the ticket!

Pepin fund-raiser

Nostalgia continues tonight. This time, we're talking food. Celebrity chef Jacques Pepin is in town to hold a fund-raiser tonight at Gertrude's at the BMA to rescue and restore old cookbooks. Accordingly, Gertrude's owner/chef John Shields has created hors d'oeuvres and a three-course dinner inspired by 19th- and early 20th-century Maryland cookbooks. Think classic dishes with a Maryland twist. Instead of terrapin soup, dessert will be a Smith Island 10-layer cake served in a soup bowl, in a pool of creme anglaise. Topping it off, a chocolate turtle (a little more appealing to the contemporary palate than the real thing). Believe it or not, you can still nab a ticket. Just call 443-872-8686.

Sasha in Provence

Speaking of unique eating experiences -- courtesy of a B-more restaurant -- Sascha's Catering and Sascha's 527 Cafe chef/owner Sascha Wohlhandler is teaching a cooking course in Provence, France, next fall. Seven days of visiting local markets, vineyards, olive oil and cheese factories in Provence. The yummy tour takes place Oct. 2-9. For more information, visit www.pictureprovence.com. Magnifique!


By the way, Sascha and social trendsetter Suzi Cordish are just a couple of this town's fashionistas sporting this season's hot-hot-hot accessory. Big pearl necklaces fastened on the side with a silk ribbon are popping up at all the best get-togethers these days.

To submit tips, ideas and possible items for Hot Stuff, send e-mail to sloane@sloanebrown.com or fax to 410-675-3451.

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