John McCaslin

In need of advice

Former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel, one of the 2008 Democratic presidential candidates, appeared as a guest on the Laura Ingraham radio show yesterday, although he didn't know it at first.

"He came on, and he thought he was actually on the Dr. Laura show," Miss Ingraham's amused producer, A.J. Rice, told us yesterday. Indeed, Mr. Gravel's first words to Miss Ingraham after being introduced were "Dr. Laura . .."

Red Ritz

"It's definitely going to be the place for Washington power players to stay when they go to Moscow," says Vivian Deuschl, corporate vice president for public relations for the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Co.

She's telling Inside the Beltway about the new 334-room Ritz-Carlton Moscow, complete with imperial Russian facade and views of Red Square, that will open July 1 on historic Tverskaya Street.

"We believe the service will be as exceptional as the surroundings," notes Simon Cooper, the hotel company's president and chief operating officer.

The new hotel is built on the site of an 18th century tavern, which decades later became known as the hotel "Paris," a popular gathering spot for Russian writers and poets. In 1970, The hotel "Intourist" took its place, before eventually being demolished and making way for the new $350 million Ritz.

This is the first property in Russia for the Chevy Chase-based luxury hotel chain. Room rates will start at $1,000 per night.

Get your goat

That's talented chef Johnny Monis of Komi restaurant on 17th Street NW standing front-and-center on the July cover of Food & Wine magazine.

After all, the young man, who was born in Arlington in 1979, has been named one of the 10 best new chefs in the country by the magazine.

Food & Wine says it extended Mr. Monis the honors because in his "tiny 400-square-foot kitchen, he makes exceptional Greek-inspired food that's both creative and based on centuries-old traditions."

Komi is actually the name of a beach on the Greek island of Chios, where his grandmother lives and where his parents were born. In fact, Mr. Monis' first kitchen job was at his parents' Mediterranean restaurant, La Casa, in Alexandria.

Mr. Monis' ingredient obsession: goat. The restaurant, he says, goes through eight to 10 goats a week, despite only having 12 tables.

Honor thy father

In accordance with a joint resolution of the Congress approved in 1972, President Bush hereby proclaims this Sunday, June 17, 2007, as Father's Day.

John McCaslin

John McCaslin is a contributing columnist on and author of Inside The Beltway: Offbeat Stories, Scoops, and Shenanigans from around the Nation's Capital .

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