It is very possible that I found the best foodie event here in DC. Not, as you might imagine, at some brand new swanky eatery, or even a fancy downtown ballroom, but at a place that is not often associated with fine dining. I found it at the Zoo.
For the past 20 years, the Friends of the National Zoo (FONZ) have hosted one of the premier foodie events in the District at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo. ZooFari attracts delicious vendors from all over the Washington, DC area, including some of my favorite wineries from Northern Virginia (Barrel Oak, I saw you there). Last night, I worked with DC Hot Spots to interview some of the executive chefs and general managers of restaurants such as the dining room at the National Press Club, Nick’s Waterfront Grill, Hill Country BBQ, and Chef Geoff’s to name a few. I also saw booths for The Ritz Carlton, Sonoma Wine Bar, Proof, Ris, Central, and Bar Pilar to name a few more. I tried dishes such as crab macaroni and cheese, red snapper sliders, fancy pulled pork, scallops with mango salsa, and gourmet chocolate covered pretzels. I also sampled wines—white, red, and sparkling—from several different national wineries, like Francis Ford Coppola Winery in California. But perhaps the best part about this event is that the proceeds benefit the animals. Tickets for the event are not inexpensive, but if you are an animal lover, you can feel good knowing that your dollar is going to support your furry friends at the National Zoo.
If you missed out this year, I recommend that you buy your tickets early next year and enjoy a night of endless eats and entertainment—for the animals.