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More of the Best

As you read last month, Miss Delaware Kayla Martell certainly got plenty of attention at the annual Best of Delaware Party at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino, but there was another highly polished stunner getting star attention, too: a 2010 Mercedes-Benz C300W sedan.

The car was donated by the very generous i.g. Burton dealership of Milford. With a limit of 400 raffle tickets sold at $100 each, chances were good for the players. All proceeds of the raffle, like all proceeds for the party itself, benefit several worthy nonprofits, including the Delaware AeroSpace Education Foundation and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Delaware.

The lucky winner: Scott Baeder of Smyrna. Mr. Baeder was driving home when the drawing was made and his name announced toward the end of the party. When i.g. Burton owner Charlie Burton raised him on his cell phone, Scott said, “I’m turning around.” Congratulations, Scott.

Of all the delicious food at the party, we’ve already raved about the red snapper ceviche from Harry’s Seafood Grille, served by Holly Rybinski and manager Jamie Mullen. We haven’t yet raved about the turf near that surf: a garlicky rare prime rib crostini served by chef John Constantinou, owner of Walter’s Steakhouse. It was outrageous.

We enjoyed meeting Ana Valdez, Tina Cianfaro and Elizabeth Drysdale, three PYTs in tees from Sweet Lucy’s and summer tans. We also met fearsome threesome Natalia Ovive, Lauren Hanna and Laine Tunnell next door to Gianmarco Martuscelli’s Chesapeake Inn table at La Casa Pasta—also owned by the Martuscelli family. Why pasta, girls? Natalia: “ I have a husband to land, so I can serve this and tell him it’s homemade, ’cuz it is—just not by me.” Lauren: “Husband, boyfriend, significant other—this ziti pomodoro will get ’em.” Laine: “None for me thanks. I’m detoxing. Well, OK but just a bite.” Two bites later, “The detox is officially on hold.”

And that pretty much describes all the food at the Best of Delaware Party. Do we really have to wait another year for the next one?

Page 2: Automatic Winner


Automatic Winner

In an attempt to outwit mother nature, with her hot flashes and thunderings—all about as predictable as what Joe Biden will say next—Team Fox for Parkinson’s Research national director Debbie Brooks and the Pettinaro Petts—Vicky, Cindy and Tracy—rolled the dice, moving their outdoor block party into the Public House on Wilmington’s Market Street. Wouldn’t you know it? The rain never came. The moral of the story? Don’t guess with mother nature—or Mister V.P.

The hand dealt was a winner, though, Public House’s 50-50 bar-banquette floor plan is just that: public. Everybody showed up for the Parkinson’s fundraiser—singles, soon-to-be singles, the married (happily and otherwise), the older and the much, much younger (as young as 5, in fact).

The bash was a true suburban-meets-urban, family-meets-Market Street fun fest. Ernie and the Automatics, featuring members of the rock group Boston, came prepared to be heard from Rodney Square to Harvard Square.

Outside, beyond the range of the band, we conducted mini gab fests. Ms. Brooks ran down the guest list for Team Fox’s fundraising weekend in Portland, Oregon, the previous weekend. Mr. Michael J. Fox was there, of course. So were NBA greats Brian Grant (who’s father has Parkinson’s disease), Charles Barkley and Pat Riley. Actor Ryan Reynolds attended, as well as longtime Team Fox ally Muhammed Ali. (Wow, Deb, got anything big?) The delicate gold fox charm on her necklace was cunningly cute. “It’s by designer Helen Ficolora, available in sterling too, and all of the proceeds go to T.F.,” said D.B., sly as a—well, you know.

Next to park her Pinot at the door (“No drinks outside, please”) and join us in the relative quiet of increasingly busy downtown Wilmo was Vicky Pettinaro Martelli. Obviously a rock chick from birth, Vicky chose a Rolling Stones-themed bar in red and black for her new 6,000-square-foot home (which also has a shoe cubby that will hold 86 pairs). Vicky and hubby Matt worked with local furniture designers on the bed, chaise and ottoman. “We chose a large-scale, Schumacher print for the couch,” she said. “You just have to see it.” Uchi Design, also of Wilmington, did all the window treatments. “My big sis Cindy hooked me up with her fave fabulosity go-tos,” Vicky said.

Among a dozen other defectors from Ernie’s decibels was Wilmington In-bassador Dawn Rashmeussal, who pumped the Fringe Festival of alternative art. Jeff “Red Mohawk” Blake of the eponymous downtown art and photo gallery-studio tore into us with tales of fringing last year’s leftover T-shirts with a circular cutter.

Tracy Pettinaro Crowley and a clan of kids arrived with BFF Ingrid Yerger and boys Beau and Blaine. Ingrid’s Harley T-shirt was emblazoned with “I love rock and roll.” Back inside, Kathy Boardman was still suffering from prolonged Drink Order Indecisiveness. The tastemaker and shopper extraordinaire admitted missing her boy, who was trekking on the Switzerland-Austria border.

Coincidentally and re-convened on the concrete were Pett parents Verino and Midge Pettinaro with friends James and Brenda Webb of nearby Avondale. We warned them about the drinking and din in the dining room before they turned the revolving door to max volume. Midge (cutest name ever) pointed across the street. “That’s were I used to catch the bus to work,” she mused. “I have such good memories of downtown. It’s good to be here again.” (I just love saying Midge. Midge, Midge, Midge.)

Everybody joined Ernie and the Automatics in the dining room. Public House occupies a former branch office in the old Delaware Trust building. Where Mr. P kiddingly attributed former president Tyler McConnell’s banking success to positioning a pretty woman at the front desk—right where Public House’s host-hostess stand now is. Some things never change.

Ciao for now.

Page 3: Delebrity Dish


Suzette LeMaitre Rudawsky Photograph by Mark CampbellDelebrity Dish

How hot is actor Bradley Cooper? “So hot,” says Wilmington’s Suzette LeMaitre Rudawsky, “but don’t tell my husband I said that.”

Suzette worked in Philadelphia with Cooper as a principal extra in “The Dark Fields,” which stars film legend Robert DeNiro.

Suzette landed two scenes. In the first, she played an office worker who had to hail a cab and cross the street at 16th and Market several times. Dressed in a black suit and winter coat, she was, she says, “very hot.”

In the second scene, she was one of 12 actors drinking fake wine and dancing in the bar of Paradigm. “I was shoulder to shoulder with Bradley,” she says—close enough to hear Cooper kissing another actress. (So much for “acting.”)

Everything was shot in silence. The music and other sounds were added later. “They even put rubber padding on our shoes to silence the clunking.”

It was a long day, Suzette says. The extras waited quietly for their closeup in an empty restaurant on Chestnut Street. “But they took good care of us. They have to—SAG union rules.”

Local actor Lyman Chen (“The Departed”) helped Suzette get in with casting people. “The Dark Fields,” directed by Neil Burger, also stars Elizabeth Banks, Abbie Cornish and Anna Friel. From IMDb: “A copywriter discovers a top-secret drug, MDT-48, that enhances intellect and other abilities. As his usage begins to change his life, he begins to consider the drug’s shadowy origins; meanwhile, a group of killers trail his every move.” Hmmm. Look for it—and our own Suzette—in March.

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