Tuesday, August 01, 2000

Nick, Nina Clooney just George's dad, mom




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        Heard here and there on the party circuit whilst eavesdropping over cocktail weenies . . .

        Part I: “People in town call it George's house. Well, I damn well wish George would pay for it.”

        That would be Nina Clooney at an Augusta Regatta party last week. She was chatting at part one of the event, cocktails at a home she rehabbed — the same one where she and husband Nick threw Rosemary Clooney's wedding reception.

        She was explaining: “People call this George's house because this is where he stays when he's in town” — prompting the remark about him paying for it. She was laughing at the time.

        So was Nick when people kept coming up for pictures. After which he whispered: “They get their picture taken with me, then they put it in an album and write, "George's dad.' ”

        The Regatta is Friday through Sunday on Augusta's riverfront.

        Part II: Eavesdropping on Kurt and Trudie Seybold at part two of the event — dinner and cabaret at Someplace Else, a banquet facility, bar and bowling alley with two lanes and, get this, human pinsetters.

        Trudie: “No, really. We do own it. Still.”

        She was referring to word on the street — it's been out there forever — that they had sold Forest View Gardens.

        “People think we sold it, and we almost did, but it didn't work out. Others think it's closed, but it's not. Our waiters are doing Grease right now. Everything's the same as ever.”

        Part III: “Thirty cities, dragging a toaster? Sure I'm tired. Is it starting to show?”

        That would be Surreal Gourmet — “call me Surreal. I like that” — Bob Blumer at an open-air cocktail party and dinner last week at Findlay Market.

        Blumer, don't you see, is two months into a three-month, 30-city tour promoting his Off the Eaten Path (Ballantine Books; $20) cookbook. Doing, he says, three events a day.

        He and J's Fresh Seafood owner Jimmy Gherardi were chatting it up at a Seton Family Center (SFC) do announcing a March 2001 benefit that will bring in Blumer and a batch of Food Network chefs to be named later.

        The toaster: Seems Surreal is towing a goodly sized Airstream trailer that has been gutted and outfitted as an industrial kitchen. It's topped by two giant half-pieces of bread popping out of the roof, giving it the toaster look.

        Blumer did dinner in it, once he took care of an oven crisis: Shrimp on the barbie, which was actually barbecued shrimp served on platters decorated with Barbie dolls, and sea bass baked in brown paper lunch bags with cilantro, lime, pepper, sour cream and chipotle , topped with papaya sauce — a meal Mark Kroeger, of Findlay's Kroeger & Sons Meats, pronounced “about perfect.”

        Wanna cook in it? Word is that Blumer is going to sell his toaster on eBay at tour's end.

        SFC, for the record, is an 11-year-old agency run by the Sisters of Charity to provide mental health services for low- and middle-income families.

        Knip's Eye View appears Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. Have an item to report? Call Jim Knippenberg at 768-8513; fax: 768-8330.