“The death of Trayvon Martin was a tragedy. Not just for his family, or for any one community, but for America. I know this case has elicited strong passions. And in the wake of the verdict, I know those passions may be running even higher. But we are a nation of laws, and a jury has spoken. I now ask every American to respect the call for calm reflection from two parents who lost their young son.” President Barack Obama

There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.” Nelson Mandela

“I get lifted” whenever I approach the Adams Morgan neighborhood in D.C. “…It’s electric…” the energy as people bustle from place to place with a season of purpose. The restaurants and the energy that exudes from this community are extraordinary. It reminds me of Sinatra’s New York, a city that never sleeps.

In the midst of Adams Morgan is the Marriott Wardham Park Hotel, a grand hotel that hosted Restaurants in Bloom Gala RAMMY Awards. The event sponsored by the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington resembled the Grammys with restaurants, staff, hotels and bars vying to be voted the best in their category in the industry. Guests circulated throughout the massive ballroom during the cocktail reception tasting regional drinks, Virginia wines and craft beers. Dinner was served in the beautifully decorated main ballroom with dinner stations representing food, drinks and desserts from Peru, Australia, Chile and Mexico. Guests visited each station to enjoy Australian Lamb, scallops in Chilean olive oil with Carca Pebre, smoked salmon with avocado, braised short ribs and dozens of other items including passion cupcakes and crème Brule. 

My first stop was at the famous Gifford’s ice cream station for a dip each of blueberry and toasted coconut ice cream and a homemade cake donut before having dinner.

Guests enjoying the fine cuisine and dancing to the Onyx band were Chef Ron Reid, Stacy Cowan, Pat Thomas, the ambassador of Peru, Mayor Gray, Alexandria, Va. Haute Dogs & Fries owners Pamela Swanson and Lionel Holmes and Chloe Swanson.

“Although we’ve come to the end of the road still I can’t let go… it’s unnatural” Boyz II Men

I met Andy Rosenthal about 10 years ago at Ruth’s Chris’ Steakhouse in Pikesville. As our crowd got larger we slowly “creep creep” into his space. He said, “You can sit at my table,” or something like that, and we toasted with a glass of Grand Marnier to our new friendship that is still strong. He invited me to his restaurant. He didn’t think we would come and I didn’t think he owned a restaurant so we were both pleasantly surprised. I showed up with about fifteen friends on his busiest night. When I got word that Shuckers was closing after a successful run in Fells Point, I was overwhelmed with emotions. Andy had “last call” so I called a group of friends to converge on Shockers for “another Saturday night…” “…for the good times.”

“…Neither one of us wants to be the first to say goodbye…” “Oh what a night” we sat outside enjoying the harbor breeze until the “other side of midnight.” When we left, he said, “I’ll see you tomorrow the last day. I didn’t go because I didn’t want to be there to see him ‘turn off the lights.’”

The week of July 4 became “blurred lines” as we travelled from one party to the next. Jimmy and Pat Fittings “set it off” at their huge barbeque with tents under the stars. “You can’t sit down…” the music played by DJ Turk was nonstop. The deejay and the grill never stopped as people “danced the night away.” It was great seeing former school CEOs Dr. Charlene Cooper-Boston, Dr. Walter and Adriene Amprey, Debbie Allen, Pat and Charles Payne and Michael Mitchell partying “in the heat of the night.”

July 4 we joined Tony and Paula at their fabulous 14th floor Harbor East condominium to watch the fireworks. The view was spectacular with the barge sitting in the harbor directly in front. What a view watching the fireworks in Dundalk and the harbor simultaneously.

“The most wonderful of all things in life, I believe, is the discovery of another human being with whom one’s relationship has a growing depth, beauty, and joy as the years increase.” Hugh Walpole Sr.

Family and friends surrounded Professor Larry and Diana Gibson as they celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary on a sultry Sunday afternoon at their lovely home. Guests brought plenty of hugs and kisses to the informal gathering to celebrate the couple. The magnificent feast of salmon, lamb chops, ribs, crab cakes etc. was plentiful and just when we thought we couldn’t eat another thing Danny and Della Henson arrived with hot fried chicken wings. Judge Robert Bell, David Allen, Randy Carroll, Joe and Kip Yoor, Angela Gibson, Charles Thomas, Kevin, O’Keeffe, Marta Pola, Frank Coakley, Paul Flower, Frank McNeil, Ralph and Dana Moore, Pat and Howard Jessamy, Esperance and Wendell Sutton, Fran Allen and Vernon and Linda Simms were among the folks bringing best wishes.

Happy 27th anniversary to Scott and Valerie Phillips and a special anniversary prayer for James “Peck” and Gloria “Tuttle” Began as they celebrate 52 years of marriage.

It’s your birthday AFRO editor Dorothy Boulware, Mayor Jeffrey Slavin, Everene Johnson-Turner, Greg Williams, Greg Hill, Dr. Patricia Schmoke, Takiea Hinton and Thurman Pinder.

“The highest reach of injustice is to be deemed just when you are not.” Plato 

Aleuta Continua (the struggle continues) Valerie & the Friday Night Bunch