Thursday, June 4, 2009
L.A. Zoo: Chefs, hot dogs and bears, oh my!
It was an early morning for CC and her entourage as we hit the Los Angeles Zoo to watch chefs from around the city feed a pair of California Black Bears. The event served as a preview for the 39th annual Beastly Ball fundraiser, to be held June 20 among the zoo's lively inhabitants.
Culinary experts from such L.A. restaurants as Pink's, Yamashiro, Spitfire Saloon, El Cholo and La Poubelle prepared watermelon bowls full of goodies like carrots, lettuce, kiwis, papayas and mackerel for the hungry duo.
I have to admit, when I heard Pink's would be there, I couldn't wait to see a bear negotiate a bun and a little relish. Would he go for the chili dog or plain with mustard? Turns out, the hot dogs were for the salivating onlookers, and selfishly, I was fine with that.
In addition to brief speeches from L.A. Zoo officials Connie Morgan, John Lewis and Tom Mankiewicz about the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association (GLAZA) fundraiser, City Council member Tom LaBonge (outfitted in an orange L.A. Zoo T-shirt) offered his support and warned listeners, "Don't tell my doctor I'm (at Pink's) all the time."
Beastly Ball honoree Laura Z. Wasserman also stepped to the podium (in killer red heels) and mentioned how growing up in L.A. strengthened her commitment to the zoo.
Listening to her talk about life in Los Angeles made me wonder what my little Angeleno would cling strongly to as an adult, what adventures would serve as her most vivid childhood memories.
After the chatting, it was chow time. And Pink's was certainly ready. My little munchkin devoured nearly a whole hot dog, mustard, cheese (much to Ian's chagrin) and all.
These restaurants will be back in action for the Beastly Ball, donating their services to the event. GLAZA chairman Tom Mankiewicz told me the ball is not black tie but a great outdoor party held among the nearby bears, tigers and gibbons. Some especially creative attendees, he added, sometimes bring out the safari gear.
Tickets to the ball are $1,000 per person -- a little steep for this L.A. explorer but hopefully a reasonable donation for generous supporters from around the city.