Sunday, May 23, 2010

Veronica takes on the National Zoo

Zoofari…more like Zoo-you might need to roll me out of here because I just stuffed my face and have grown to a rather unmanageable size-fari.  Doesn’t quite roll of the tongue with that title I think.  But it’s okay, right, since it’s for charity…right?  Anyone? 
Let’s get down to brass tacks here Zoofari is a great cause and you can feel good about yourself, but it’s about the food.  (Though the wine and beer doesn’t hurt either.)  It is one of the best foodie events of the season in DC with 120+ restaurants and food vendors set up along the winding paths.  And were talking the good ones, the restaurants that most of us young professionals pray are going to be participating in restaurant week so that we have an excuse to blow some of our money there in a more affordable way.  Zola, Central, Vidalia, Commonwealth, Belga, Taberna Del Alabradero, Coco Sala, etc; with a so many restaurants you know the offerings were to die for, or at least to go into a food coma for.

I make it sound like warfare!  Though when I think of it it can be a bit like warfare when it comes to these events.  First you have your mission: Eat/drink as much as possible without getting sick.  Second you have a game plan: Avoid eating in the first 10 feet of entering.  The really good stuff is toward the back of the event so you need to quickly haul ass down there.  And then take a look around before you begin piling your plates.  Third you have obstacles to overcome:  The dessert offerings are toward the front of the event, but you should not, I repeat, should not stuff you face in here first, take it from me.  Grab a cupcake and then save it for later.  Also lines will try to deter you, but I say move past them and head to the next booth, you can always go back.  I hope you are taking notes because my advice is like gold doubloons that you should stash away for future food pirating experiences.

And, of course, our beloved Equinox was part of the Zoofari experience as well, dishing out a few treats to get everyone’s taste buds ready for the delectables that would soon be bombarding their palates. What I really appreciated about Chef Gray’s offerings was that they were really the perfect size, as in bite sized. 

A Buttermilk Biscuit topped with Wild Ramp Butter and Duck Ham and a Brioche Grilled Gruyere Cheese Sandwich with Tomato Chutney and Chive Flower - sensible food to eat standing, with your hands and in a crowd.

Both were just enough and not so unwieldy that you were worried that cheese will drip on you and you are doing the infamous hunch and hold as you try to look cute in your sundress and cutest platforms.  Perhaps that is only a girl concern, but still with the magnitude of food that was being passed out it was nice to just have a bite so you do not feel like such a glutton.  Both appetizers were approachable for both adults and children, while being refined ideas of dishes that all of us have had in one form or another.  I am also just huge fan of the salty sweet combination in foods and both were right on target: sweet corn with salty prosciutto, a touch of sweetness in the brioche that offset the cheese and chutney.  My mouth is seriously starting to water over here, and I am getting strange looks from the other coffee shop residents.  Stay cool Veronica, play it cool. 

The most impressive part of all of this is what chefs are capable of cooking outside of their kitchen.  The Equinox staff had to set up shop in a tool shed with the bare minimum tools that could fit on the table: griddle, knife, cutting board, a tub of chutney, etc.  I can barely cook in my own kitchen sometimes, but this why I am the interpreter and they are the food experts.  Because did I mention that I set my toaster oven on fire once? I’m just saying that this is just one of the many reasons why we are all better off with me being the avid observer.


p.s. it is countdown time everyone!  Equinox will soon be reopening their doors and I hope that everyone is excited as I am.  So look forward to Memorial Day weekend and more news on upcoming events and news.  

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