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All words: Laura Herman — All photos: Kevin Hulse

Put us in a room with food from DC’s best chefs, lots of bubbly and PUPPIES and we’re admittedly pretty content. So, this year’s Sugar and Champagne Affair benefitting the Washington Humane Society did not disappoint.

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Last Thursday, DC’s animal lovers gathered at the Ronald Regan Building and International Trade Center for the 12th annual dessert and champagne reception hosted by Chef Todd Gray & Ellen Kassoff Gray (of Equinox and Muse restaurant fame) to honor local folks who have helped made strides in the fight against animal cruelty. Many attendees had canine companions by their sides for what is surely one of the biggest nights out on a DC dog’s social calendar.

Human partygoers sipped bubbly and snacked on sweet treats and savory plates from a who’s who line up of DC’s best pastry chefs and restaurants. In an attempt to consume somewhat of a “well-balanced” dinner, we went straight for the savory before digging into dessert. This ultimately proved pretty futile after a third round of petite chocolate mousse cups…but ya know, bqhatevwr. Even in the savory arena, the theme of the night was sweets. Think: lots of candied bacon and sweet/savory pairings. We’re still salivating over Vinoteca’s cocoa liver mousse terrine with lavender honey, and Trademark Drink & Eat’s enormous slabs of candied pork belly. Oyamel also showed up with a refreshing, twangy salmon paired with crème fraiche and blood orange on an slightly sweet tortilla.

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The sugary spread was not for the faint of heart, nor those with sensitive teeth or any diabetic condition. Bananas foster Twinkies from Beucherts Saloon, pecan squares from The Source and Poste’s strawberry-banana chocolate moon pies were particularly memorable, but there were desserts to hit a sweet spot on everyone’s palate. Overall we found ourselves partial to fruit-y, less cloyingly sweet desserts, but one could have easily subsisted on chocolate and gelato for the entire evening.

To wash it all down, there was a bevy of sparkling wine, tastes from local vineyards and cocktails from some of DC’s favorite mixologists. We spotted Gina Chersevani from Hank’s Oyster Bar and Buffalo Bergen; Tahara Ismail of Mike Isabella spots Bandolero & Graffiato etc.; Todd Thrasher from TNT Bar; and Rob Yealu from The Federalist.

We people- and dog-watched with the best of ‘em. Humans and canines alike dressed to the nines, ready for their close ups. Our favorite four-legged friends from the night sported tutus, knitted sweaters, special dye jobs and doggie hats. There was, of course, a special “Bark Bar” those with paws, and no shortage of water bowls and doggie treats. Some booths even offered homemade treats for humans and their dogs. Awww. Can’t vouch for the dog treats here, but that’s another BYT post for another occasion…

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Sugar and Champagne Affair honorees included local law enforcement officers, animal care and control officials and humane educators. The evening concluded with a Cake Walk and auction to raise funds to support the ongoing work of the Washington Humane Society. There were also a number of adoptable doggies in the crowd who are cared for by WHS while they’re looking for full-time loving homes. To learn more about local pet adoption or the Washington Humane Society’s work, click here.  As tempting as it was, we refrained from adopting 17 dogs on the spot. The night ended with a sugar crash and a lot of dog hair stuck to my jacket. Sweet success. 

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