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Photos By Sarah Gerrity, Words By Logan Hollers

Thousands of food-loving philanthropists flocked to the stunningly gorgeous National Building Museum Monday night for D.C.’s Taste of the Nation benefiting the No Kid Hungry campaign. The annual event brings together the DMV’s top chefs, sommeliers, and mixologists, uniting them for one admirable cause: making sure all children are able to get the healthy food they need, every day. As always, proceeds from the event benefit No Kid Hungry’s work to end childhood hunger in the U.S.

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Food Network star Melissa D’Arabian was on hand to emcee, and over 100 culinary rockstars set up tables with bites, tastings, and booze of all kinds. Highlights included Blue Duck Tavern’s short rib sliders with parsley salad and a horseradish cream; Osteria Morini’s housemade burrata with warm olive oil, roasted peas, and mint; an outstanding harissa-laced beef tartare on shaved black radish from the Fainting Goat; and the perfect sweet-savory combination of Le Diplomate’s foie gras macaron.

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Food wasn’t the only draw, however. There was a silent auction (too rich for my blood), a Citi vending machine (goddamn right I copped those orange sunglasses), a photo booth (no way – my modeling’s even worse than my writing), and a hella dope ice sculpture / bar which seemed to serve mainly as the central meeting area for the scantily-clad cocktail girls bearing trays with shots of rum and strawberry-lychee syrup.

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All the evening’s drinks were on point, with Derek Brown (of, among others, Mockingbird Hill, Southern Efficiency, Eat the Rich, and Columbia Room fame) heading an uber-talented mixology council. The two cocktails to which I found myself returning were the Alaska Avenue, a slightly bitter blend of Green Hat gin, yellow chartreuse, and Peychaud’s and orange bitters; and the Red or Dead, a boozy wallop of Catoctin Creek rye mixed with a Southern favorite of mine, Cheerwine.

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Listen, let’s get real – there was a ton of food and drink, most of it was awesome, and it was a great time. We could spend the next twelve paragraphs going over things we got to try (see gorgeous food porn shots below). But we don’t want that to be the takeaway from an event like this.

One in five children in the U.S. struggles with hunger on a daily basis, including nearly 31,000 kids in D.C. alone. That is unacceptable. Since No Kid Hungry began the Taste of the Nation events, the organization has connected these kids with, quite literally, hundreds of millions of meals.

This year alone, D.C.’s Taste of the Nation raised over $230,000! That money goes toward effecting real, lasting change; beneficiaries in the D.C. area include the Capital Area Food Bank, D.C. Hunger Solutions, and Mary’s Center, each of which is an essential partner in the fight to end childhood hunger. Even if you weren’t able to make it out for Monday night’s event, you can visit www.NoKidHungry.org/Act to make a donation or find other ways to get involved locally.

The space was gorgeous. The food and drinks were great. And the chefs and attendees were genuinely happy to be involved with such a great cause. Eating good and doing good truly is the perfect combination.

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