Last night's Best of Washington Party, hosted by Washingtonian at the National Museum Building, kinda got off to a bumpy start. After checking in at the registration tent (which was nicely organized and efficient, by the way), we were directed to walk around to the front of the building -- where we encountered IT.
That's right, THE LINE. Did we ever tell you how much we hate waiting? And the worst part, this line was filled with hot and hungry folks who had shelled out serious cash for a ticket. Needless to say, we were an inpatient bunch.
However, thanks to strategic parking of the Sweetflow truck (meaning, on the grass), we were able to chill out with a sample of frozen yogurt that tided us over during the wait. Meanwhile, we were starting to get a bit nervous, as lines outside usually translate into lines inside. (Spoiler alert: This was not the case!)
Once inside the building, we were blown away by the vast and beautiful space, tastefully decorated in an Asian theme. Now on to the important parts: food and drinks.
First off, the long lines at the cocktail stations (and the thought of facing work this morning) caused us to stick to a glass of white wine from one of the three pleasantly empty bars staged on the outskirts of the room. However, after talking to a few people, we heard the beers from local breweries were all pretty standard, the rum and watermelon cocktail from Liberty Tavern was surprisingly refreshing, but that the standout was the gin and tonic from Restaurant Eve, which had a steady line throughout the night. Tempted to try it out, we thought about waiting in line, but quickly changed our minds after remembering that gin tastes like Christmas trees. No thank you.
We made a beeline for the food tables first, assuming they'd be depleted within minutes (although happily, they weren't). The small bite of tuna tartare from BLT Steak left us begging for more, while Mio's delicious chilled tomato soup with basil and mozzarella, served with pigs-in-a-blanket, reminded us of holidays at home. And we realized why there was such a long wait at Matchbox when we finally dug into their tasty hamburger sliders.
Our top three favorites: The friendly guys at Commonwealth served up tender, juicy brisket on a crostini (third place), while Bistro Bis and Vidalia's freshly fried pillow of happiness (what was in those?!) made us want to go back for seconds, thirds and fourths. (We swear we cut ourselves off at some point.)
But what really started a party in our mouths? The corned beef sandwich from Central. OMG. Beef and pickles, sandwiched between two pieces of buttery, toasted brioche -- and smothered with some sort of dijonaise, yummm -- made us want to do a couple backflips right then and there. It was like a one-way ticket to Delicious Land, the mecca of sandwiches. Put us on a steady diet of these babies, and we will be happy (albeit, chubby) campers.
There were definitely some highs and lows in the entertainment department. The Chinese dragon, which danced around to the beat of too-loud drums, caused a few traffic jams, but was nonetheless fun to see. The folks from Baked & Wired dished up their addictive sweets while dancing continually to the beats of the DJ, who played a near-perfect playlist for the well dressed 20- and 30-somethings who made up the majority of the party. And although we didn’t participate, the silent auction seemed to go off without a hitch.
Our two suggestions for next year (and you bet we'll be there) are for more tables and/or seating areas, and for an actual dance floor. Everyone was dancing in line for food, drinks were being gulped, and the music was just too good for there not to be a place for people to break out their moves and groove.
All in all, last night Washingtonian restored some folk's love for this city and gave us all a night that was well worth the ticket price. The lines at the food tables and open bars were on the short side, and only a select few restaurants (we're looking at you, Black's) ran out of food early in the night. Snaps and kudos to Washingtonian -- this truly was the party of the summer!
And confidential to everyone else who stuffed themselves silly last night: Meet you at the gym in 30.