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Photos By Jonny Grave, Words By Logan Hollers

Even a dark and stormy night couldn’t put a damper on the festivities at this year’s 28th Annual (!) Taste of the Nation. No Kid Hungry continued its tradition of presenting D.C.’s favorite culinary event for a cause, again hosting the event at the stunningly gorgeous National Building Museum.

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Chef Chair Bryan Voltaggio, Mixology Chair Derek Brown, Dessert Chair Tiffany MacIsaac, and Sommelier Chair Nadine Brown led a coalition of over 90 of the city’s top chefs and industry professionals, providing guests with signature bites from their bars and restaurants.

Gone was the dope bar made completely out of ice; replacing it this year was a much-appreciated sit-down area, which was clutch when trying to eat multiple plates of food while holding a notepad, camera, and two drinks, and listening to the DJ who looked like an anime character.

Best bites of the night included the goat tagine from Compass Rose, the salmon sashimi from Bar Pilar, the BBQ pork belly from Art & Soul, and the head-on grilled shrimp from Dino’s Grotto.

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Most prevalent (and perplexing) items of the night: salmon (everywhere) and grits (everywhere). Is Southern cuisine the new hot thing?

Drink props go to “Babicka Better Have My Money,” a mix of vodka, cucumber dill syrup, and lime juice from Eat the Rich; Columbia Room’s “Gin Punch a la Terrington,” with Green Hat gin, green chartreuse, and lemon; and Left Door’s “Belle Berry,” which combined lime soda with a homemade strawberry habanero moonshine.

We also had a drink with cotton candy and it tasted like diabetes. And we saw Doug Stamper’s dad and Donald Trump’s illegitimate nephew. Suffice to say, it was a wild night.

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Listen, there was some amazing food and booze here, but this event is about much more than just eating, drinking, and mingling. Taste of the Nation is first and foremost about making sure all children in DC have access to the healthy food they need. One in five children in the U.S. struggles with hunger; here in DC, that number jumps up to 30%. That’s unacceptable.

The problem is a lack of access. No Kid Hungry and its partner organizations connect hungry kids to the meals and resources they need to thrive. Last year, No Kid Hungry raised enough during Taste of the Nation to help feed children in need more than 2,300,000 healthy meals. That’s insane. That’s huge. Proceeds from this year’s event will be used to boost local beneficiaries, including the Capital Area Food Bank, DC Hunger Solutions, and Mary’s Center.

There’s always the faintest whiff of smugness at events like these; even so, the genuine goodwill and desire to help others permeated throughout, and everyone was reminded once again that, at D.C.’s Taste of the Nation at least, it’s possible to eat good food while doing good things. Check out below more great pics from the night.

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