shareWhen it comes to dining out in DC, we’re pretty damn lucky, and I’m not talking about the level of talent in the kitchens throughout the metro area.  Anecdotal evidence has shown that even in these tougher economic times, Washingtonians are still going out to eat on a pretty regular basis.  We may be skipping dessert, or making it a point to show up in time for a happy hour special, but most of us aren’t in any danger of canceling an OpenTable reservation – let alone missing a meal – anytime soon.

Share Our Strength’s Taste of the Nation is a great way to acknowledge our good fortune while helping to support local charitable organizations who work to fight hunger in our area.  This year, the annual foodie-fest takes place on Monday, March 30th, and proceeds from the event benefit the Capital Area Food Bank, DC Hunger Solutions, and Mary’s Center.

For $85 (or $150 if you’d rather attend as a VIP), you’ll get the opportunity to sample food and beverages from more than 40 of the top local restaurants in the swanky Mellon Auditorium on Constitution Avenue.  The event runs from 7 to 10 PM, giving you plenty of time to taste your way from Acadiana to the Westend Bistro and back again.  They’ve also added a Wine Bar that will feature wines from more than 20 vineyards.  VIPs get to start the party an hour early, mingle and enjoy cocktails made by top local and national mixologists, and indulge their sweet teeth at the VIP dessert den.

tixWhile you’re wining and dining your way around the room, you may also be tempted to bid on a few silent (and public) auction items, including a private mixology class with Tony Abou-Ganim and a multi-course traveling dinner for you and 10 friends on a DC50 party bus.

This year’s event will feature a handful of honored local chefs whose support for Share Our Strength and whose top-notch culinary skills have made them standouts on the DC dining scene for years.  Honorees include Jeffrey Buben, Bob Kinkead, Ris Lacoste, Jeff Tunks, Kaz Okochi, Robert Weidmaier, Roberto Donna, and Michel Richard.  All of them (with the exception of Richard) are expected to attend, and you can be sure they’ll be there to have a good time.

At the beginning of the month, organizers were able to reveal an extra draw to sweeten the deal further: Carla Hall, Top Chef finalist and owner of Alchemy Caterers, will also be participating in the evening’s festivities.  If you’re looking for a chance to tell Carla what a great job she did representing DC, this is a prime opportunity!

“But wait a minute,” you may be saying at this point.  “Even though I’m still going out to eat frequently, I am looking for ways to curb my spending a bit.  This seems a bit extravagant for a Monday night.”

When you think about the fact that you can enjoy tastes from 40 of the top-rated restauants in the area – including some from as far away as VOLT in Frederick – along with wine and an evening of entertainment for less than you’d spend at some of these participating restaurants for a meal, you realize just what a deal this represents.

And the chance to help end hunger in our own backyard certainly doesn’t hurt, either.

For tickets to the event or more information, visit the website.

Share Our Strength’s Taste of the Nation
Monday, March 3oth, 2009
7-10 PM
Mellon Auditorium
1301 Constitution Ave., NW