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The Week in Food Events: Taste of Arlington, the Embassy Chef Challenge, and Zoofari

Plus crawfish boils return to Bayou Bakery.

Want to eat like the animals at the National Zoo? Head to Zoofari on Thursday. Photograph by Andrew Propp.

Beers and bowling: Pinstripes celebrates American Craft Beer WeekMonday through Friday brings a beery happy hour from 3 to 7, and again from 9 to close, with $3 brews from Victory Brewing Company, Port City, DC Brau, and more in the bar, bowling and bocce areas, and outdoor patios. On Thursday the focus turns to local 3 Stars Brewing with a social from 5 to 7 featuring samples of the beers, snacks, and a chance to meet the brewery’s team. No reservations are required.

Free ice cream: Mark your calendars: Local Häagen-Dazs locations offer free ice cream cones on Tuesday. Stop in from 4 to 8 for a single scoop of any flavor, including two new gelatos: caramelized banana chip and tiramisu.

Wine dinner: If Sancerre is your region of choice, head to Bastille on Tuesday for a dinner devoted to the Loire Valley wines. A five-course menu pairs dishes with whites, reds, and rosés from different producers ($119 per person).

Wine tasting and/or dinner: Alba Osteria plans two events around Manincor Wine Estate on Wednesday, a producer from the Alto Adige region of Northern Italy. First you can attend a tasting from 6 to 7 with three wines paired with small plates for $22. Then at 7:30 guests can opt for a five-course pairing dinner for $100 per person.

Taste of the embassies: Sample a global range of cooking at the Embassy Chef Challenge on Thursday, hosted at the Ronald Reagan Building. Over a dozen embassy chefs from Italy, Norway, Thailand, Botswana, and more come together to prepare their native cuisines alongside a range of beers, wines, and spirits, and the crowd votes for their favorite. Tickets are $250 online.

Zoofari: Over 100 local restaurants gather at the National Zoo on Thursday from 6:30 to 9:30 for the annual Zoofari celebration. In addition to all the eats you’ll find an auction, a grill-off, an international spectrum of wines and beers, and more. Tickets start at $175.

Aggio on the move: Chef Bryan Voltaggio pops up at Artifact Coffee in Baltimore on Thursday and Friday to preview Aggio’s upcoming Charm City location. Two seatings at 6 and 8:30 give guests a taste of the Italian fare and handmade pastas. Reserve a table by e-mailing

Crawfish return: If you’ve been missing the crawfish boils at Bayou Bakery, you’ll only have to wait until Saturday at 5 for the first of the season. The Louisiana mud bugs steamed with corn, potatoes, and spices go for $12 to $14 per pound, and you can wash them down with plenty of Abita beers.

Berry fest: The annual Montgomery County Strawberry Festival returns on Saturday to the White Oak Middle School in Silver Spring from 10 to 4. You’ll find tons of local berries, ice cream, and strawberry-inspired eats, as well as kid-friendly activities such as a petting zoo and face painting. Ticket prices vary by activity.

Taste of Arlington: One of the bigger food-focused events in Northern Virginia goes down on Sunday* at the Taste of Arlington. Sample fare from more than 50 local restaurants, drop into the beer/wine garden or Corona tent for refreshments, and bring the kids for a number of family activities. The crowd can also vote for their favorite dish among the eight Restaurant Challenge semifinalists to pick who’ll go on to the finals and open the next Ballston restaurant. Online tickets for the festival start at $35.

Brunch for fitness: Get your morning workout and breakfast in one at the Ritz-Carlton Georgetown, which launches its fitness brunch on Sunday at 10. Held weekly in the garden, hotel guests and locals can attend an hourlong, high-intensity boot camp class, followed by brunch at Degrees with bottomless mimosas and live jazz. Reservations are $40 per person.

Presidential drinking: Mount Vernon hosts its Spring Wine Festival this weekend, and tickets are still available for Sunday from 6 to 9 only (unless you want to book a $1,200 VIP table instead of a $38 general admission pass). Guests take a wine-centered tour of the mansion and property before tasting, and can buy fruit and cheese separately.

Looking ahead:

Love lamb? The annual Lamb Jam Tour returns on Monday, May 19, from 6 to 9 at Eastern Market. Local chefs from 1789, Zaytinya, Water & Wall, and more battle to make the best lamb dish, while guests watch butchery demos, sip local brews, wines, and spirits, and vote for their favorite eats. Tickets start at $60 for general admission, $90 for VIP (which includes an hourlong pre-party).

* Updated to correct event date from Saturday to Sunday.

  • Jane Ruggiero

    All these events sound really fun. Hope a lot of folks get to attend at least some of them.

  • CheckYourFacts

    The Taste of Arlington is on SUNDAY not Saturday.

  • swmluvah

    C'MON! $250 for the embassy thing? $175 for ZooFari?! This town is too expensive. I know it's for charity, but there are some egos at work here for these events to cost this much!

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