Which is by way of saying I’m just back from Washington and reeling, yet again, at how radically it’s changed just since 2001, let alone since my first trip there in like 1974 or ’75. Judging only by the restaurant scene, it’s Vegas on the Potomac, and I will not soon get over how bizarre it was to see throngs of young people on the streets at near midnight on Friday in a town that always left the ghosts to prowl after 9 o’clock for as long as I’ve known it (or at least the part I’ve always known). At least this time there was acknowledgement that the city owes it all to the explosion of lobbying money under the reign of error from 2001 to ’09. Now, a pastry chef said, ethics rules are cutting into business; restaurants aren’t benefiting from senators treated to dinners costing hundreds of dollars. They have to adhere to a $15 lunch limit and the toothpick rule — only tidbits than can be eaten off the tip of them are allowed. Which hasn’t stopped a boom in back-room dining, of course. Apparently a whole lot of bought-off legislators will fit into a private party.