Monday, May 19, 2008

ZooFari at the National Zoo

Last Thursday I went to the zoo for ZooFari, which was held to raise money for zoo programs. These kinds of events are wonderful both for the causes they support and for the food. And my goodness, the food. Over 100 restaurants were there, and I couldn't think of one worthwhile D.C. restaurant that wasn't in attendance.

Obviously, I couldn't try everything, but I did have an advantage over many of the other attendees: I don't eat dessert. I do like dessert, but something tiny is more than enough, and I only eat it on occasion. So I was able to skip the tables with desserts (though I did try Ici's frog macaroon and the strawberries and cream from somewhere I cannot remember — the shortcake having run out).

Of all the dishes I tried, the number of which I can't even estimate, there were a couple that stood out. First was the Spicy Tuna Tartare Sesame Miso Cones from The Source. This was my favorite, and I'm delighted to learn that they are on the lounge menu. Another highlight was the cheese grits and shrimp from Restaurant K. Alison Swope also served a margarita, which was a nice change from all the wine being served. I'm a fan of Restaurant K, so I had to try it even though I was nearing completely full. I went back for seconds on Finn and Porter's spicy tuna, since raw tuna is one of my weakness foods. Seriously, I could eat it every day if I didn't sort of fear mercury poisoning. Central Michel Richard had some divine baked beans, and Brasserie Les Halles had some nice pate (I was hoping someone would have foie gras, then realized that foie is cruel to animals, and I was at the zoo, so chances were not good.)

The award for whimsy goes to Ici for the frog macaroons (this year's theme was Frogs and Friends) and a cotton candy flavored vodka.

And the zoo also gets an award for giving out plastic plates with a cup holder, which made balancing tasting plates so much easier. Why did no one ever think of this before?

The Smithsonian had lots of tables out promoting their programs and research, and it's great to see the work they're doing.

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