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New Venue, World Cup Distractions at the Rammys

Missy Frederick is the Cities Director for Eater.

[Photos: R. Lopez]

The best part of this year's Rammy Awards was the World Cup. Well, not really. But attendees were clearly distracted by the results of the US vs. Portugal match as presenters gave out awards during the game's final climactic moment. Read on for this and other Hangover Observations from this year's ceremony and party.

1) About that soccer match: So the US vs Portugal game took place during the Rammys cocktail hour and a good chunk of the ceremony, and the audience was often paying more attention to the score than the awards. Audible cheers, boos and chatter were heard during each score, and the award presenters did their best to update the audience on the results of the match.

2) New digs: Attendees seemed generally pleased by the change of venue: the Rammys moved from the Marriott Wardman Park to the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. The result: a lot more room, solid food offerings from a raw bar to ceviche, and a less claustrophobic feel, even though there were long lines at the bars at first, and attendees actually could realize it was daytime during the cocktail hour.

3) Rare sighting: Chef Geoff Tracy actually refrained from sporting his signature baseball cap during the awards (as RAMW board chairman, he was involved with much of the presenting).

4) "I miss y'all...I've also been enjoying life a little bit more." That's former longtime RAMW president Lynne Breaux, who received the Duke Zeibert Award for Capital Achievement.

5) No theme: In the past, the Rammy Awards had a theme, encouraging attendees to don hats, masks, 20s attire, even floral apparel. Gone this year: any sort of theme. That didn't stop attendees from getting fashionable with sequins, red dreadlocks, kilts, bright colors and printed suits.

6) "When I started working in this country as a waiter, I never realized there was an award for this type of job," said lifer Stelios Alexandris, who won employee of the year for his decades of service at 1789.

7) Jamie Leeds wasn't available to accept Hank's Oyster Bar's award for Favorite Gathering Place of the Year: apparently the chef is busy cooking in China.

8) "My grandfather was an old moonshiner" - what Trevor Frye says when accepting an award for Jack Rose's cocktail program.

9) The Red Hen's Sebastian Zutant thanked Rose's Luxury's Aaron Silverman...for not joining RAMW. Otherwise, he figures the critical darling would have taken home the Rammy for Best New Restaurant instead.

10) Haidar Karoum gave a touching tribute to his business partner Mark Kuller during his award for best chef, addressing him by his nickname "Grande," "because he is grande in every sense of the word." He likened the restaurateur to a father figure and thanked him for believing in him.

11) Following the reception, which featured live music and lots of dancing, attendees flocked to The Partisan for lambrusco, wings and revelry.
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