Dinner Party Table
Best Dinner with a Conscience: People Serving People's Chefs for Change. Eight times a year, People Serving People brings in one of the Cities' best chefs to create a dinner party for forty lucky people who pay $75 to $100 a plate, with 100 percent of the proceeds going to fund the nonprofit's programs. Great food and a great cause? You have to love a dinner party with a purpose. peopleservingpeople.org
At a PSP dinner, you don't always know who your tablemates will be, so we asked ourselves, Who would be at our fantasy dinner party?
Best Guest: Kieran Foillard
Why he got the invite: His genuine Irish charm, penchant for storytelling, and ability to make anyone feel at home in his Irish pubs—The Local, The Liffey, and Kieran's—makes him the perfect guest.
Best Brave Face: Tim Pawlenty
Why he got the invite: Because he, and we, and a lot of other people thought we might be seeing McCain/Pawlenty '08 bumper stickers this fall. Love him or hate him, you have to feel for him—and he at least deserves a nice dinner.
Best Conversation Starters: Lori and Julia
Why they got the invite: Because these two inexhaustible gossip mavens are the only ones to take boys-club talk radio and flip it into something women (and an occasional man) can laugh with day after day. No, they aren't MPR, but let's all fall to our knees and be thankful they aren't Terri Traen, either.
Best Public Servant: John Harrington
Why he got the invite: St. Paul's in one piece post-RNC. It's damned if you do (crack heads, arrest nuns and reporters), damned if you don't (the barbarians run wild), but Harrington may have handled the powder keg as well as anyone. Plus, the funny, erudite top cop can easily hold up his end of the conversation.
Best "Oops, Did I Say That?": Michele Bachmann
Why she got the invite: After surviving the Ragin' Cajun's questions during her post-Palin-pick appearance on Larry King Live, she took on Chris Matthews on Hardball and ended up sounding like the reincarnate of Joseph McCarthy. Every good dinner party needs a wild card.
Best Multitasker: Jason DeRusha
Why he got the invite: The man handles Good Question for WCCO-TV, posts regularly on his blog, vlog, twitter, Facebook, and MySpace, manages to comment on just about every other blog in the Twin Cities and has judged glass art at the Uptown Art Fair. Jason, you're in charge of the apps.
Best Campaign, Successful or Otherwise: Ashwin Madia
Why he got the invite: An Iraq War veteran, an NYU law grad, and the son of immigrants, the thirty-year-old's run for Jim Ramstad's congressional seat in a traditionally Republican stronghold got him a write-up in The Washington Post under the headline, "Minn. Candidate a Poster Boy for Democratic Hopes." Talk about a war story.
Best Public Meltdown: Tom Petters
Why he got the invite: Because maybe after a few cocktails he'll give away secrets about how to commit $3 billion in fraud—or at least promise to send everyone a DVD player (sadly, Petters was not able to attend).
Best Person to Tell Us Things We Already Know: Katherine Kersten
Why she got the invite: She "broke" the story of girls sometimes kissing other girls—may be shocking news to her, but probably not to anyone under the age of thirty-five. Perhaps she can warn us all about the impending financial crisis—oh, wait.
Best Homecoming: The Coen Brothers
Why they got the invite: Despite enticing tax breaks from across the border, the Minnesota-bred brothers decided to spend their money right here in Roseville, converting the Keys Cafe to an Embers for their big-screen ode to their father, A Serious Man. Hey guys, what's it like working with Clooney?