Washingtonian’s Annual Best of Washington Bash with D.C.’s Best Restaurants & Much More

The AT&T Best of Washington 2012 party was held on Wednesday, July 11, at the National Building Museum in downtown Washington D.C. Washingtonian‘s annual event was packed to the brim with eager guests — all in their cocktail attire finest, and all ready to partake, and most likely overindulge, in the great food, the open bar and everything else that the party had to offer.

Dozens of the area’s tastiest food and drink purveyors were on hand to dole out dishes ranging from the innovative and unusual to classic, can’t miss favorites. Here’s a quick recap and roundup of some of the highlights of the 2012 Best of Washington Party.

The Food

There were a few popular trends with the food served at the event, including soups, lamb dishes, guacamole, and ceviches or other raw or “uncooked” seafood dishes. Those four choices seemed to be mainstays from table to table and accounted for about half of what was being served.

Along the guacamole front, two must-have dishes included a heaping serving of Rosa Mexicano’s classic guacamole and chips, and BGR’s “In Guac we Rock” sliders featuring guacamole and tortilla strips, served with sweet potato tots.

Red Hook Lobster Pound was back again this year with their popular lobster rolls, always a popular crowd favorite. Sugo’s arancini with meat sauce and freshly shaved aged parmesan was a memorable bite — once you strolled by and spotted that massive block of tantalizing cheese sitting on the table, you knew you were going to have to stop and give it a try.

A few other noteworthy bites included Ping Pong Dim Sum’s spicy prawn and spinach wraps, Zentan’s red coconut curry chicken lettuce wraps, Jackie’s braised pig taco salad and oh, so much more. One of the more memorable items was the Papad roll stuffed with Maryland crab from Indique — think crab in an ice cream cone (I actually had something similar in Valencia, Spain last summer, although never thought to find it here).

There was also a huge range of desserts to be had, including delicate French macaroons, the ever-present cake pops, and the big winner of the evening, the bacon lollipops from Founding Farmers. Don’t worry, though, Georgetown Cupcakes was there too.

Guests also found a few extras placed around the sprawling event space, such as a flowing white chocolate fountain with plenty of small morsels on hand to dip and cover in rich, chocolaty goodness, and a snow cone station.

The Drink

A handful of restaurants served their own cocktails and there were several craft beer tasting tables, but most of the drinks flowed from the central bar. Patron Tequila was one of the sponsors for Best of Washington 2012, and so there was various Patron concoctions, such as a basil infused cocktail, and a cotton candy Patron drink. There was also the aptly named, sponsor fueled, “AT&Tini”, which was being served by the pitcher.

By the end of the evening, the bars were tapped, the wine was gone and the guests surely must all have been thankful that the Metro stop was right out the door.

That was especially the case if you happened to saunter by Bourbon Steak’s table, where alongside their delicious food sat a large bottle of bourbon, taunting you, daring you to try some. If you were able to work yourself into the good graces of executive chef Adam Sobel, he may or may not have shared a shot with you… thanks Adam.

Activities, Sights and People

In between bites of food and sips of booze, there was plenty to keep everyone occupied. And believe me, you would need the occasional break from the nonstop intake, because there was simply too much to be had if you let yourself continue unfettered.

Diversions included a photo booth, which not only printed up copies for guess to take home, but also displayed its pictures up on a massive, hanging projection screen for the crowd to ogle. In addition, there was a caricature artist, mini golf holes, and more. Patron was also giving out custom-engraved, handheld lime squeezers, so everyone could continue imbibing fun cocktails at home.

Other sights included the models dressed in hot pink dresses and other bright candy colors to match the apparent candy shop theme of the evening. One such woman was perched atop the bar, some 20 feet in the air, simply sitting and smiling all evening, while several others stood guard at the entrance of the party, awaiting photo ops.

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society held a silent auction, with over a dozen different items to bid on, ranging from nights on the town and restaurant gift certificates, to sports memorabilia and photography packages. It’s a nice thought that when you’re at your most gluttonous and unnecessarily extravagant — hey, at least it was for charity.

At the end of the night, it was another successful Best of Washington party. If you’ve never checked one out before, be sure not to miss it next year. It’s worth the splurge for such a unique experience, whether it’s the open bar or the people watching that calls you, or you’re just a foodie awaiting your chance to dive in and taste away.

This article was first published by Jake Emen on Yahoo Voices on July 12, 2012