Every major metropolitan area usually has a zoo and Indianapolis is no different. The zoo in Indy is a nice and clean atmosphere with a lot of panache. I like it because of how it marries flora and fauna into the fabric of what they want to accomplish and that is to minimize the concrete and establish a feeling of wilderness. Bravo, job well done.
It takes lots of money to keep up a place like your local zoo and most folks don’t realize this or understand how difficult it is to drum up support or the finances for such an endeavor. The zoological society of Indianapolis is partnered (to a degree) with the state park system as it is located within the confines of the “White River State Park” as is the AAA minor league Indianapolis Indians (affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates) and the NCAA athletic organization. The whole shebang is located along the banks of the White River and it is gorgeous.
|What's Chef looking at?|
|Ben and Nora (the brains)|
One of the ways to drum up money is to throw a fund raiser and that’s where Zoobilation comes in as a venue for donors to enjoy the park and zoo with a strolling dinner so-to-speak. I was able to take part in this year’s event because I’m a volunteer for Second Helpings and they were invited to attend this event as a Culinarians sponsor.
Restaurants from around the city are invited in to show their wares and tasty fare (free of charge of course) as a way to showcase their establishment and feed the hungry donors. You can imagine they are all putting their best foot forward as a matter of pride. That pride is also rewarded with “Best-in-Show” awards in several different categories. It’s a feather in your cap for a year’s time to bring home one of these awards which will most certainly be put in an area that can be shown off to your customers.
The atmosphere was electric for me as this event requires a high level of decorum and dress. All the men were wearing tuxedos and the women in high fashion evening gowns. There were variations on the theme of course as differing personalities wish to show a “personalized” style when they attend an event such as this such as: snake ties, giraffe cummerbunds and I even saw a guy wearing what looked like fish and turtle zooba pants…remember those? They were a hit for the gym scene in the mid-nineties…fantastic stuff indeed.
|I'm getting ready for the crowd to arrive|
The ladies were a bit more demure and well, lady-like. Oh sure, there were some dresses that showed a bit more skin than usual and thankfully the women sporting this attire could pull it off quite well thank you very much. Seriously, thank you very, very much.
|Mr. Zooba pants!|
Our booth featured mini cupcakes with tropical fruit and pulled pork crostini’s with a spicy Caribbean salsa adorned on top of a deep fried plantain. They were delicious and seemingly flying off the plates as we struggled to keep up with demand from the passersby. Chef Sam Brown and Chef Liz Gimenez certainly know how to tickle the palates of the Indy elite as folks would scurry up to our façade and exclaim they heard someone talking about the food we were serving. Well done chefs.
Have a great day and never give up!