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Food Shines at the Washington Winter Show (Pictures)

Susan Gage’s exceptional spread steals the spotlight for the fifth year in a row.

Susan Gage's shrimp on grits were a big hit at the Washington Winter Show. Photograph by Michael Kress.

The Washington Winter Show, formerly the Winter Antiques Show, is a showcase for well-known antiques dealers from up and down the East Coast and some from more distant points—displaying fine furniture, paintings, and collectible objects. 

It also offers three days and evenings of lectures and events that pertain to the theme of the show (this year: the sporting life). And its opening-night party, held on January 10, doubles as the unofficial launch of the city’s winter social season—yes, even in an inauguration year—and a rare occasion when both the younger and older social set show up to mingle together. The party consistently features exceptional food—dishes that belie the notion that catered food has to be boring in appearance and taste in order to appeal to a large number of people. As she has for the past four years, Susan Gage catered the event.

Typically, the food is set out buffet-style in stations on all three floors of the Katzen Arts Center, where the show is held. Round tables are set out for dining, so that after the guests peruse the wares, which are all for sale, they can grab a plate and have dinner. It would be unfair to say guests go to the opening party for the food alone—they don’t—but it is a fact that more of them head home with a full and happy stomach than an empty wallet.

The menu included mini bacon-and-blue-cheese sirloin burgers, duck confit tacos, shrimp on grits, crab tostada, honey-cured ham with buttermilk biscuits, mustard and fig chutney, grilled salmon brochettes, grilled baby lamb chops, haricots verts with roasted beets and goat cheese, roasted pear and goat cheese tart, Stilton cheese with apricots, baked hot chocolate, blood orange sorbet, green apple and caramel tartlets, miniature lemon meringue pies, and shortbreads cookies. Click on the slideshow to vicariously experience the lavish spread.

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