Sunday, February 14, 2016

Governors gather, but where was Schwarzenegger?

Thirty-two governors met for dinner Monday at City Tavern, but the Republican from California instead shared stogies with an old buddy.

Governors gather, but where was Schwarzenegger?

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Harry Jay Katz and Debra Renee Cruz with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Harry Jay Katz and Debra Renee Cruz with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Thirty-two governors met for dinner Monday at City Tavern on the eve of the National Governors Association conclave, but California's Arnold Schwarzenegger instead shared stogies with his old buddy Harry Jay Katz of East Falls.

Katz, a socialite and semiretired man about town, says he got a call from Schwarzenegger at 10:15 p.m. as his plane landed.

"Harry, find me a cigar bar in Philly," Katz says he told him. (Not that Schwarzenegger can't light up back home. California's smoking laws are stricter than Philadelphia's, but there are still cigar bars there.)

Shortly before 11, Schwarzenegger and his administrative assistant rolled up to Mahogany (1524 Walnut St.) in a Hummer. He joined Katz and his girlfriend, Debra Renee Cruz, in a private room surrounded by security staff.  They spent the couple of hours reminiscing. (Katz picked up the tab, which included Schwarzenegger's two Courvoisier XOs at $23 each.) To prove Schwarzenegger's strength: Katz says Schwarzenegger knows that he and Shriver dated when she was an intern at KYW-TV in the late 1970s. Katz says Trudy Haynes fixed them up. Katz attended their 1986 wedding.

Schwarzenegger had been on the "yes" list for Ed Rendell's welcome dinner at City Tavern. For that matter, so was Sarah Palin.

Among the 32 states represented were Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, Alabama, Vermont, Maine, Georgia, Alabama, Vermont, West Virginia, North Dakota and Tennessee. Rendell, who is partial to City Tavern's barbecue basil shrimp, was offering tastes to any governor within fork range.

The restaurant's Paul Bauer says lobster pie, venison and rack of lamb were the biggest sellers. The National  Governors Association picked up the tab for the governors' meals. Each gov had an aide or two, who paid out of his or her own pocket. "Yes, separate checks," he said.

Staff Writer
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About this blog
Michael Klein, the editor/producer of philly.com/Food, writes about the local restaurant scene in his Inquirer column "Table Talk." Have a question? Email it! See his Inquirer work here.

Michael Klein Staff Writer
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