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The Oscars with the Austrians

February 25, 2013|By S. Irene Virbila
  • Director Michael Haneke accepting the award for Best Foreign Feature for his film "Amour."
Director Michael Haneke accepting the award for Best Foreign Feature for… (Christopher Polk/Getty…)

Over at the Governors Ball last night, the most famous Austrian in the cooking world, Wolfgang Puck, and his kitchen staff of 350 cooked a multi-course meal for a crowd of 1,600 following the Oscars.

Meanwhile, across town at the Austrian consulate in Brentwood, another Austrian chef, young Bernhard Mairinger, chef-owner of BierBeisl in Beverly Hills, set up a buffet for 200 or so guests of the Austrian consulate's Oscar viewing party. I was there, and thoroughly enjoyed the event.

Admittedly, everyone seemed more intent on getting that next glass of Domaine Wachau Federspiel Terrassen Grüner Veltliner and their fair share of wienerschnitzel ("Superbe!" a French guest whispered to me) than watching every quip from host Seth MacFarlane. Mairinger and his kitchen staff of two also sent out slender weisswurst sausages, homemade sauerkraut and cucumber or potato salad, and later in the evening, goulash. He had pretty pretzels, too, cured sausages and cheese -- and plenty of it.

The common language was German, the gowns chic and/or glittery, the eyewear distinctly European. I even spotted someone wearing a checked dirndl with apron.

It was a big year for the Austrians at the Oscars. The crowd was excited and the only time guests quieted down and really paid attention to the video monitors was the moment when "Best Supporting Actor" was announced and Austrian Christoph Waltz won for his role in "Django Unchained." Also, of course, when "Amour" from Austrian director Michael Haneke came up for "Best Foreign Feature" -- and won.

Cheers erupted. And guests snapped the video screen with their smartphones, sending photos whizzing around the world, or at least over to the mother country.

When Oscar winner director Michael Haneke eventually showed up just before midnight, Consul General Karin Proidl and Trade Commissioner Rudolf Thaler broke out the bubbly -- a lovely 2011 Hugo Rosé Sparkling from Weingut Markus Huber from the Traisental growing area.

It was a great party (even though "Amour" didn't win Best Picture) complete with red carpet secured by red duct tape at the entrance. At the bar, which served Austrian wines (and beer) exclusively, I discovered an Austrian red I liked, too, the Zantho Blaufränkisch from Burgenland.


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