The Week in Food Events: Toki Turns One & Taste of the Nation

Plus: A wine-fueled lunch at Graffiato and waffles for dinner.

Tiny Toki Underground turns one, celebrates with discounts.

Forget swimsuit season: The weather is staying cool this weekend, so keep your clothes on and eat instead. We have six events to keep you occupied, plus the big-ticket gala for next week that’s selling out fast.

Second Annual Hunger is No Joke Fundraiser
Cafe Asia Party Loft
Friday, March 30, at 8 PM
Looking for plans tonight? Head on over to the event space behind Cafe Asia in Rosslyn for a party benefiting the Arlington Food Assistance Center. Draws include complimentary appetizers from 8 to 10 PM, a raffle, and live music from Over the Line. Tickets ($35 per person) are available online.

Boxwood Estate Winery Rose Tasting and Lunch
Saturday, March 31; complimentary tasting noon to 2, lunch by reservation
Here’s a good plan for Saturday afternoon: Head to Graffiato for a gratis glass of new-vintage rosé from Middleburg, Virginia, vineyard Boxwood Estate, and if you’re lucky, snag one of the few remaining reservations for lunch (reservations also available by calling 202-289-3600). Chef Mike Isabella is preparing several dishes to pair with the wine in addition to regular menu offerings, such as saffron spaghetti with clams and scallop caponata. And don’t worry if there are no tables left–you can always post up for a meal at the bar.

Talk with Giada De Laurentiis
Sixth & I Historic Synagogue
Saturday, March 31, at 8 PM
There are still tickets left for a chat with best-selling author, Food Network star, and leaker of top-secret restaurant news Giada De Laurentiis. She’s in town promoting her latest home-chef-friendly cookbook, Weeknights With Giada: Quick and Simple Recipes to Revamp Dinner. The Post’s interim food editor, Bonnie Benwick, sits down with the celebrity chef to chat about the book, which is based on meals De Laurentiis makes with her own family. Tickets ($35 per person, including a copy of the book) are available online.

April Fool’s Day Brunch
Jackson 20
Sunday, April 1, from 8 AM to 9:30 PM
You can have brunch for dinner on April Fool’s Day, as chef Brian McPherson is mixing things up for the occasion. Think $12 bottomless mimosas, $1 mini Bloody Marys, and a lineup of over-the-top dishes like waffles à la mode and poached eggs over crabcakes.

Anniversary Dinner
Toki Underground

Sunday, April 1
Chef Erik Bruner-Yang’s
 H Street ramen joint is turning one, and is offering 30 percent off all food during regular dinner service on Sunday evening. Unlike most one-year-olds, Toki is exactly the same tiny size as it was at “birth,” so get there on the early side or prepare to wait for one of the 23 seats.

Hanami After Dark
Ronald Reagan Building (Pavillion Room)
Sunday, April 1, from 5 to 8 PM
If you haven’t participated in any of the Cherry Blossom Festival activities, here’s a fun one for food lovers. In addition to an art display, the entertainment includes a maguro kaitai ceremony, a ritual that involves breaking down a 150-pound tuna. There’s also an extensive sushi bar and free-flowing wine, sake, andsochu. Tickets ($175 for adults) are available online, with proceeds benefiting the Great East Japan Earthquake recovery effort.

Taste of the Nation DC
The National Building Museum
Monday, April 2, from 7 to 10 PM
There are still tickets left for the big event next week: the annual Taste of the Nation gala, which brings together a cast of high-profile chefs, restaurants, and bartenders to benefit Share Our Strength’s campaign to end childhood hunger. In addition to contributing to a good cause, the event is a prime opportunity to sample fare and drinks from many of Washington’s top restaurants (see the list of participants here), and there’s also a silent auction with foodie finds like a private whiskey tasting for ten with the Columbia Room’s Derek Brown, and a Virginia wine tasting tour. Tickets ($95 regular admission; $150 VIP) are available online.

Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.