CHARLOTTE, N.C. What is New York chef Marcus Samuelsson doing at a political convention? Its actually not that far-fetched: He was the guest chef for the first White House State dinner, and he certainly has worked with first lady Michelle Obamas various chef initiatives for healthful food.
This time, he said his platform was what he calls bright food: Eating intentionally, and paying attention to what you eat and where you get it.
Samuelsson was in town as a guest of Arianna Huffington. He blogs on her website, the Huffington Post. Huffingtons Oasis is a rest-and-relaxation post that has taken over the Flex + Fit facility at Stonewall and Church streets.
One great moment: When Huffington, with her purring accent, asked him, Can you make seafood yummy? He assured her he could.
Afterward, we asked which Southern food he loves to eat. I love the greens, he said. Collards, turnip greens, okra. Without that, without the Southern greens, we wouldnt have so many greens in our American cuisine.
Then he asked a question of his own: Where should he eat last night? We suggested Merts Heart and Soul. Did he take our advice? Let us know.
Ill rub your back
Also at the Huffington Post Oasis, we heard Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa showed up Tuesday afternoon and got an hour-long table massage. Hes earned it: Hes chair of the DNC.
VMAs show respect?
Reports several weeks ago claimed Charlotte could blame MTVs Video Music Awards for the difficulty getting performers for big events during the DNC. The big-name acts apparently didnt want to miss performing at the awards. But according to POLITICO, MTV execs have said President Barack Obama will get center stage for his speech Thursday night.
Podestas party at the Mint
The New York Times reported Tuesday on a party at Mint Museum Uptown, given by superlobbyists Tony and Heather Podesta of Washington for corporate lobbyists and political friends.
Executives from Blue Shield, Wal-Mart and Novo Nordisk ate bite-sized biscuit and country ham sandwiches, deviled eggs with pickled okra, duck and corn quesadillas and bourbon molasses truffles.
The Podestas have been planning the brunch for a year; they sampled fare from 30 Charlotte restaurants before deciding on the menu.
Trivia at Ri Ra
Chris Cillizza of the Washington Posts blog The Fix prepared to lead a boisterous, beer-drinking crowd Tuesday through a trivia game at Ri Ra on North Tryon Street.
He started the game in Washington and has taken it on the road to Tampa and Charlotte. At the Iowa caucuses, the governor and lieutenant governor came. His aim: The idea was to take people who are into politics offline. Dont be so serious. Politics can be fun.
4/5ths of the Fierce Five
Gabrielle Douglas, McKayla Maroney, Aly Raisman and Jordyn Wieber, four of the five members of the Olympic gold medal-winning U.S. gymnastics team, are scheduled to attend a luncheon Wednesday on childrens health at the Foundation for the Carolinas uptown.