By Punch Palate Correspondent Megan McGrath
On the evening of June 25, José Andrés and friends launched the first annual Dine N Dash to benefit his charity, the World Central Kitchen. Eager groups of diners were able to travel between some of their favorite restaurants in Penn Quarter to sample small plates and cocktails. The dining destinations for the evening included Azur, Jaleo, Oyamel, Poste, Proof and Zaytinya.
Great food, and an even better way to support an important cause! José Andrés and his partner Rob Wilder founded World Central Kitchen, as a way to use food to create solutions for the problems of the world. Their goal was to end malnutrition and hunger in Haiti, and all over the world. All ticket proceeds from the Dine N Dash event went directly to support World Central Kitchen. The diners contribution will support some of the following development programs: Sustainable School Canteen in Palmiste Tampe; the Large Scale Feeding System in Codevi, Ouanaminthe; the Bakery in Zamni Beni, Crois de Bouquetes; and the Elie du Bois Culinary School.
I tried to sample as many bites and drinks as I could, and quickly realized that a few from each restaurant would suffice. Here are a few photos and descriptions of the night’s offerings from each stop on our Dine N Dash tour.
Stop 1: Oyamel. Definitely the best bites of the night. We had fresh guacamole with smoky salsa, crab tostada, chicharrone quesadillas and the salted-air Oyamel Margaritas. I also loved the new butterfly room. I haven’t been to Oyamel in a while, and am certainly planning my next trip soon!
Stop 2: Jaleo. An oldie but a goodie! This year Jaleo turned 20, and as expected, we were able to sample some of the signature offerings of red sangria, croquetas served in playful sneakers, and a massive dish of paella.
Stop 3: Proof. This restaurant is not a member of José Andrés’ empire, but definitely supports the mission of World Central Kitchen. Guests were able taste a strong, but smooth punch (just the way we like it around here), a pork belly dish, and also some amazing sticky toffee pudding. Proof also had a selection of their wines available for diners. After all, that’s what they are known for.
Stop 4: Zaytinya. You know I love this place! We were greeted by servers on the patio with icy cool drinks and a welcoming table of assorted dips and desserts. Servers also passed plates that included spanakopita and lamb lettuce cups. Perfect food on a hot day.
Stop 5: Poste. Another friend of José Andrés and supporter of World Central Kitchen. Guests were treated to two different kinds of mussels, it’s a brasserie after all. We also tasted a stunningly delicious porchetta with a kale salad, and their delightful truffle frites.
Stop 6: Azur. The newest restaurant on the block, and unfortunately the last stop of the day for me. I was so stuffed I didn’t think I could eat one more mouthful. Thankfully, I was just there last week for the Crab Fest. The restaurant produced fresh pink tuna on toasts, red sangria, and even chocolate hazelnut bars. The lighting wasn’t great at that time of night, so I took a picture of their stylish, under-the-sea, chandelier.
It was a wonderfully filling evening, and hopefully raised a lot of money so that World Central Kitchen can provide safe and healthy food to those in need. Thanks to José Andrés and Rob Wilder for all of their contributions to this effort.
Punch Palate Correspondent Megan McGrath is a serious foodie turned avid food blogger. Megan believes that food is fun, and is always looking for the next big thing on the DC food scene! She is the Assistant Director of Employer Outreach at a local law school in Washington DC, and works with all different types of legal employers and law students. Megan lives in Arlington, and can often be found experimenting in her kitchen for her blog http://imperfectlydelicious.com. Follow her on Twitter @imprfctlydelish.