A Night Out: Sugar & Champagne Affair

People and pets alike enjoyed a night of glamour and delicious treats from some of the area's best pastry chefs.

By: Kate Nerenberg

Photos by Rachel Cothran.

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What: The sixth annual Sugar & Champagne Affair to benefit the Washington Humane Society. Two-legged attendees were encouraged to bring their four-legged friends, and both groups were treated to desserts from some of the area’s top pastry chefs. This year’s event honored WHS humane-law-enforcement and animal-control officers.

Where: The Galleria at Lafayette Center

When
: Thursday, January 24, 7 to 9 PM

Who: The event was hosted by Ellen and Todd Gray of the DC restaurant Equinox. Miss District of Columbia, Chelsey Rodgers, coordinated a gold sparkling dress with her little pup’s attire, which proclaimed him a “gold digger,” while Apple, a four-month-old American foxhound up for adoption, was easy to spot in his orange vest. Traer Scott, author of the photo books Shelter Dogs and Street Dogs, signed copies.

Food: David Guas, 2005 Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington Pastry Chef of The Year, kicked off the night by demonstrating his butterscotch pudding and shortbread biscuits. Heather Chittum of Hook offered “whoopie pies”; Butterfield 9’s Manubu Inoue, formerly of Morimoto, created a trio of pink Champagne; and Robb Duncan’s Dolcezza, a Georgetown gelato shop, dished out tiramisu and dulce de leche gelato. Hand-painted chocolates graced Artisan Confections chef Jason Andelman’s table, while Jenny Webb of Sticky Fingers Bakery created fudgy vegan brownies and “pup-tarts” for the dogs. Doug Hernandez of Central Michel Richard presented an opera cake, and Cheesetique handed out four cheeses as a savory alternative to sweets. Krista Heinz of Doggie Style Bakery offered pooches only the best service with peanut-butter treats passed on a silver tray. Equinox pastry chef Melanie Parker made funnel cakes to order with three sweet dipping sauces.

Drink: Water bowls. Oh, and several Champagne distributors provided bubbly. Fabioli Vineyards poured its Raspberry Merlot dessert wine, Cricket Cola provided its own version of bubbly—green-tea sodas—and Illy coffee gave a jolt to those coming down from their sugar high.

Scene: About 400 people and 200 dogs wore only the finest outfits for this event. A black pug, Molly, donned a pink frilly dress that she last wore to her owners’ wedding. Another dog was wrapped in a zebra-striped vest, and a few others sparkled in rhinestone collars. Pink bows graced the heads of many female pooches, and a shaggy golden retriever wore a festive red bandana. The Galleria made for a dramatic setting with a split staircase and balcony; high ceilings and marble floors created acoustics that amplified barking and yapping—but luckily no growling. Most of the dogs, in fact, were playful and excited for the extra pampering. A silent auction included a number of dog-related baskets with toys, leashes, and dog bowls as well as artwork and gift certificates for cooking classes. Other items included rhinestone collars, politically inspired Bush Biskits, a T-shirt (for humans) that claimed “I sleep with dogs,” and heart-shaped dog treats. Halfway through the event, Lisa LaFontaine, president and CEO of WHS, lined up animal-control officers on the two staircases and honored each with a plaque. “Where else can you leave your diet behind and bring your dog along?” she asked.

Boldface names: 2 out of 5
Swankiness: 3.5 out of 5
Food and drink: 4 out of 5
Exclusivity: 1 out of 5
Total score: 11.5 out of 20