• 19Nov

    In My Inbox.



    Last Call to Enter the Smithsonian’s National Zoo’s

    “Gin-GRR-bread” Contest

    Grand Prize is a Lion Pride Viewing

    Calling all chefs, avid bakers, cooking novices, animal lovers—even artists and architects: the deadline to enter the Friends of the National Zoo’s “Gin GRR bread” Habitat Contest, sponsored by Starbucks Coffee Company, is quickly approaching. The contest is part of the Zoo’s annual ZooLights event and puts a twist on the traditional holiday gingerbread house concept. The Zoo is asking “master planners” to design and build a gingerbread “habitat” for the Zoo’s new lion pride (consisting of father Luke, mothers—and sisters—Shera and Naba and their seven lion cubs). The winners will be awarded a “roar-ingly” incredible experience: prizes from Starbucks and a behind-the-scenes tour for the winner and five guests to meet the lion cubs and their keepers at the Great Cats exhibit.

    The competition is open to people of all ages with three categories in which to enter: (grand prizes will be awarded to each of the following):

    • Individual Youth: Children ages 16 and under working alone, with supervision of an adult.
    • Family or Youth Group: Teams with children ages 16 and under. Teams must be a minimum of two (2) participants, but are not to exceed six (6) participants, including one adult supervisor or participant.
    • Adult Individual or Team: Individuals ages 17 and over, or teams of participants ages 17 and over. Teams must be a minimum of two (2) participants, and are not to exceed six (6) participants.

    In addition to the behind-the-scenes lion cub tours, Starbuck’s will award a “Coffee Lovers” grand prize (a French press, a pound of coffee and other coffee accessories) to winners in the Adult Individual or Team category as well as the Family or Youth Group category. The Individual Youth category winner will receive the behind-the-scenes lion cub tour as well as a National Zoo gift basket (plush toys, Zoo gear and other items).

    Entry forms and contest rules can be found online at www.fonz.org/gingrrbread.htm. One entry per individual, group, or household is allowed. Due to space limitations, only 80 gingerbread habitats will be accepted into the competition with a base size no bigger than 15” L x 12” W. Entries may not be taller than 14”. Entries will be judged in three categories: Overall Appearance, Originality & Creativity, and Consistency of Theme.

    To be eligible for the competition, entry forms must be received by Nov. 29 at 4 p.m. or sooner, as registration will close when 80 entries have been received. There is a $20 non-refundable fee to enter which must be made by check at the time of habitat delivery to the National Zoo (only checks will be accepted, no cash or credit cards).

    Contestants must deliver their gingerbread habitats to the National Zoo Visitor Center between Nov. 29 – Dec. 4 from 9 a.m.– 5 p.m. The judging will be held on Dec. 17, with the winners announced at 7 p.m. that evening during ZooLights.

    ZooLights—powered by Pepco, in its fourth season, is a FREE holiday event featuring an array of lights illuminating life-sized animal silhouettes, trees, buildings and walkways at the Zoo. In addition to the spectacular lighting displays, guests can experience the Zoo in a whole new light: at night! They can enjoy costume character photo opportunities, a toy train display, treat stations and other festive, comfort foods including hot chocolate, donuts, and funnel cake. Visitors can stroll through several warming stations throughout the Zoo or tour animal houses and shop inside one of the Zoo’s gift shops. Each week of ZooLights different animal houses with special keeper talks and interpreters will be highlighted. A list of houses and dates can be found at www.fonz.org/zoolights.htm.[ad]

  • 21May

    What an event!  A text from my eating companion says it all, “This is heaven!”  Zoofari, a fundraiser at the National Zoo, happened last night.  With over 100 D.C. restaurants in attendance, it’s all a blur to me.  I do remember fish was the most fashionable ingredient of the night.  And that Blue Moon was the beer of choice.  Oddly enough, I spent two hours at the zoo and saw no animals, unless, of course, you count the woman with 5 Georgetown Cupcake morsels on her plate.  (And I’ll freely admit I’ve argued against boutique cupcakes in the past, but those were pretty damn good cupcakes!)  If I can remember correctly, I’ll share some highlights of the evening.  But again, I rolled out of the zoo last night like  a Violet Beauregarde blueberry.

    Mike Isabella of Zaytinya and Top Chef fame offered a melon popsicle.  Too bad melon isn’t in season yet.  Shouldn’t he know that?  The Source, sans Wolfgang Puck, served delicious dumplings – just one more tasty tidbit that reaffirms its place as one of the best restaurants in D.C.  BLT Steak had mini-burgers.  Mini-burgers that made me crave White Castle instead of their big brother.  Rocklands roasted a whole pig.  Belga Cafe had a few variations of a Belgian waffle.  I opted for the traditional topped with chocolate and whipped cream.  The waffle was warm.  Morton’s was a let-down.  Sure, there were a lot of soups topped with crab and various foams that I passed on, but a steakhouse, and a famous one at that, should not be serving teeny tiny slices of beef on a huge potato roll.  Tail gaiters can do better!

    I wish I could remember everything.  It all became a blur after a while.  And unlike a top news reporter or blogger extraordinaire, I was more concerned with not dropping my food and drink rather than taking notes and pictures.  But trust me, there were rows and rows of restaurants, beverage stations with wine and beer, and musical acts interspersed a long the way to keep the people happy.  Sure, Central, Chef Geoff and his offerings, and Zola are all a blur.  But it’s a good blur, and one I’d be happy to experience again.  But next time, I’ll be sure to pace myself.  One can’t eat so much delicious food so quickly!  It makes for gastro-intestinal mayhem and foolishness.

    Oh, and I almost forgot, I don’t remember who it was, but someone was serving what was essentially bacon juice soup topped with a goat cheese foam.  Yes, my friends, heaven it was.


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