If you love seeing animals up close and personal almost as much as you love seeing them on a platter with a side of au jus, then you won’t want to miss ZooFari 2014 on May 15! A fundraiser that supports conservation efforts at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., ZooFari brings name-brand chefs and other representatives from more than 100 of the area’s best restaurants to the zoo for a night of gourmet cuisine and fine wines.
Celebrity chefs will serve up their finest dishes during the event. — Photo courtesy of Matt Mendelsohn / Friends of the National Zoo
Eateries on hand for the evening soiree will include 1789 Restaurant, Art and Soul, Bar Pilar & Cafe Saint Ex, BLT Steak, Brabo by Robert Wiedmaier, Central Michel Richard, Chef Geoff’s, Cure Bar & Bistro, Dean & DeLuca, Zentan, Del Campo, Et Voila!, Equinox, Firefly, Firehook Bakery, Hank’s Oyster Bar, Westend Bistro, Hill Country Barbecue Market, Matchbox, Proof and Ted’s Bulletin.
Also serving up exquisite cuisine will be Mitsitam Native Foods Café (Locals know that Mitsitam, located inside the National Museum of the American Indian, offers some of the most delicious food anywhere at the Smithsonian.) and the famed Georgetown Cupcake – minus the endless lines typically snaking outside its doors.
Cupcakes and other sweet treats will be on offer at ZooFari. — Photo courtesy of Matt Mendelsohn / Friends of the National Zoo
And since good food demands good wine, more than a dozen excellent wineries will be standing by to offer guests a pour or two (or three!) of their best vintages. Whether your meal calls for a bold pinot noir, a not-too-sweet Riesling or an oaky chardonnay, wineries including Barefoot Wine & Bubbly, J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines, Hope Family Wines, Early Mountain Vineyards, Francis Ford Coppola Winery and Oyster Bay Wines will be poised with corkscrews in hand.
Of course, the event’s draws don’t stop at the menu. ZooFari guests will also enjoy a celebrity chef grill-off sponsored by Capital One Bank; a silent auction with critter-themed artwork, unique gifts and other must-haves going to the highest bidder; and animal demonstrations conducted by zoo staff.
Tigers are just some of the animals you'll get to know during ZooFari. — Photo courtesy of Smithsonian's National Zoo
But the biggest draw of the evening may be the most straightforward: the zoo itself. Relatively small and intimate, it features an impressive assortment of creatures great and small, from elephants and tigers to itsy golden mantilla frogs. Spend a couple hours walking among the zoo’s many displays, habitats and enclosures, and you’ll realize why events like ZooFari are so important: this is a zoo that deserves your support.
ZooFari 2014 takes place rain or shine on Thursday, May 15, 2014, from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $150 for Friends of the National Zoo members and $200 for everyone else.