WALKING INTO THE 17th annual Heartfest -- a benefit for Johns Hopkins Hospital's Henry Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Heart Disease -- the big question was: Where to head first? More than 25 restaurants and caterers had set up shop, with food stations to the right and left. So much to choose from, but everyone found a favorite.
"I really like the tortilla soup from Babalu Grill," said Maryland Athletic Club occupational therapist Ann Stocksdale. "The salmon tartare from Vin was delicious," said Michael Guterres, an AAI Corp. aerospace engineer. "La Tasca's paella was wonderful," said Jeanette Bead, a lawyer with Levine Sullivan.
"I like this party because you may try something from a restaurant you've never been to before," said Greenwood Group president Buzz Greenwood.
Heartfest chairs Ed Speno and Dr. Roger Blumenthal, the Ciccarone Center director, greeted friends like Nancy and Lou Grasmick, Steve and Mindy Geppi, Vic Broccolino, Dr. Luis Queral and Chip Silverman.
Actor John Astin, the party's celebrity host for the second year, was readying a skit that he, his Johns Hopkins theater students and his son, actor Mackenzie Astin, had written.
"My dad died of a heart attack," John Astin said, "and [the center] is helping people stay alive."
Heartfeast is "not just a good place to get heart-healthy food," said Erin Murray, a pharmaceutical sales representative. "This really makes you think about your heart."
A Drink With Ben and Jenny Hauser
United in love ... and chocolate
Jenny, 29, and Ben Hauser, 34, own and operate Glarus Chocolatier in Timonium. Ben grew up in the chocolate business in Connecticut and graduated from Loyola College here. Jenny grew up in the Baltimore area and worked in finance and marketing before she and Ben created Glarus. The Hausers, who met through match.com, live in Baltimore County with their cats, Edel and Dunkle.
Chocolate is often associated with love, but in your case ...
Jenny: I know. The whole cliche is right there.
Ben: We're happy to take that. It sells chocolate.
Are people always asking about your relationship?
Ben: Clearly people who don't work with their spouse ask how we can work together. But, then you have a handful of couples who come in [the store] in their 50s and 60s and they've worked together for years. They enjoy seeing a young couple just starting out, and they enjoy giving us tips.
What kind of tips?
Jenny: "She's always right."
Ben: Even when she's not. It always fixes things.
Jenny: Never go to bed angry. It's cliche, but coming from an 80-year-old, there must be some truth to it. For us, there are more challenges because we do work together. We're both stubborn. We have our own ideas about things. Being in business together, we have to come to an agreement.
Ben: Otherwise, you don't move forward.
Jenny: I find it's definitely challenging. But, at the same time, it's incredibly rewarding. At any given time, when you have successes, we're there together. We can share it together ... And when we do agree on things, and they actually work out, it's like "yeah!"
Ben: I agree with that.
In other words, she's always right.
Do you ever get sick of each other?
Ben: My cute answer is that we do have separate offices. That's how we keep our sanity. There's always a place to go to, to escape to.
Jenny: I will say, on the weekends, it's like a totally different relationship. We might think work. We might talk work, but it's lighter.
What do you do away from work?
Jenny: We used to be out doing stuff constantly. But, now ...
Ben: Now, we look forward to going home. The farm we live on is just beautiful.
Jenny: I really look forward to a glass of red wine and making dinner. Even if it's 8:30 or 9, which it usually is. Sometimes we eat dinner in bed. Sundays, we'll do things just like any other couple. We'll go to Best Buy, Circuit City, looking at TVs.
Ben: We're on a TV search right now.
Jenny: Then, around 5 on Sundays, we will try to stop everything, pop popcorn, put in a movie, maybe just have cheese and crackers.
Ben: Just snack all night.
Jenny: Yeah, and just relax.
What surprises people about you two?
Ben: How much chocolate we actually eat.
Jenny: That's so true! All day, every day, people [say to] us, "you probably get sick of it," "you probably don't eat it." If they only knew. We take home a bag every night, full of whatever we feel like eating that night. We never, ever, ever, get sick of chocolate.