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Published: Saturday, 5/30/2009

ZOOtoDO event to showcase Toledo area restaurants

Guests will sample foods from more than 50 of the area's finest restaurants and caterers at ZOOtoDO from 6 p.m. to midnight June 12 at the Toledo Zoo. The journey begins at 6 p.m. when guests are greeted with a glass of champagne for a reception near the Africa! exhibit. At 7:30 p.m. they may cross the bridge to the zoo's historic side for music, food, and fun.

Chef Sam Misiura of Toledo Zoo Catering has planned Laughing Bird Shrimp Ceviche and Loch Duart gravlax (salmon), which is in keeping with the Toledo Zoo's sustainable seafood initiative utilizing seafood harvested under the guidelines of Seafood Watch (recommendations from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Foundation). Laughing Bird is a producer of sustainable shrimp. Loch Duhart is an aquaculture operation in Scotland. For the gravlax, the chef will cure the salmon in beet juice and fresh dill and serve it on a Kettle Chip with creme fraiche and micro-dill. Skewers of Laughing Bird Shrimp will be prepared ceviche-style with lime and orange juices and apple cider vinegar.

From Evans Street Station in Tecumseh, Mich., there will be bronzed gnocchi with fresh fava beans, tomato concasse, and Applewood smoked bacon.

Nagoya Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi will feature crab egg roll and sushi, while PF Chang's China Bistro will have veggie and chicken lettuce wraps and PF Chang's Orange & Kung Pao Chicken. From Premier Catering, you'll find Black & White Bow Tie Pasta with "White Lion" sauce. Gourmet caramel apples and chocolate-covered strawberries will be featured by Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory.

Rosie's Italian Grille will serve balsamic seared scallops and lemon risotto and gazpacho. Sylvania Country Club has planned grilled shrimp and avocado topped with balsamic glazed tropical fruit. From Hilton Toledo's 3100 Restaurant comes penne pasta with fresh arugula and grape tomatoes in lemon cream sauce. For a complete list of participating restaurants, visit toledozoo.org.

The event will have four stages featuring live bands. Proceeds benefit the zoo. Tickets are $150 per person, which must be reserved in advance and which are sold on a first-come, first-served basis. Guests must be 21 or over to attend. The event takes place rain or shine. For tickets, call 419-385-5721 or visit the Web site.

•If you are planning a trip to New York City in mid-June, look for the seventh annual Snapple Big Apple Barbecue Block Party, which will be held 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. June 13 and 14 in Madison Square Park. FastPasses for the New York City event are $100 at bigapplebbq.org. The event offers seminars, cooking demonstrations, live music, book signings with barbecue experts, wine and barbecue pairings, and merchandise for the home pitmaster.

•If Washington is your destination through Sept. 17, the National Gallery of Art has teamed with Spanish chef Jose Andres at the Gallery's Garden Cafe to serve signature Spanish dishes inspired by works of art in two exhibitions. Luis Melendez: Master of the Spanish Still Life will be on display through Aug. 23, and The Art of Power: Royal Armor and Portraits from Imperial Spain will be exhibited June 28 through Nov. 1. Chef Andres is the host of the PBS-TV cooking series Made in Spain and the chef/owner of THINKfoodGROUP which operates Washington restaurants Jaleo, Cafe Atlantico, and others. The menu items will include a buffet as well as a la carte dishes paired with wines. Recipe cards for some items are available to cafe patrons with their meals.

•Swannanoa School of Culinary Arts at Warren Wilson College in Asheville, N.C., will have two sessions this year: July 12-18 and July 19-25. Each day consists of a three-hour class with a master chef, a gourmet lunch, and an recreational afternoon/evening session. This year's lineup includes Herve This, author of Molecular Gastronomy: Exploring the Science of Flavor on July 12; Asheville restaurateur Mark Rosenstein, and soul food specialist Rodney Lytle. Enrollment is $1,400 per week. For information, a schedule, and to register go to schoolofculinaryarts.org.

When it comes to pairing wine with traditional summer foods, D'Acqua Ristorante in Washington has these tips:

For barbecues with grilled dishes that have bolder flavors, pairing options include cabenet sauvignon, zinfandel, or sauvignon blanc. Serve grilled steak with malbec or merlot, and grilled fish with sauvignon blanc or chardonnay.

For picnics with salads and cold pasta dishes, a dry rose is a good choice. Sauvignon blanc goes with mild cheeses and fruit.

At pool parties, serve pinot noir with lighter meats and seafood options.

When serving international foods, pair the dish with an appropriate wine. For example, if you are serving a Spanish dish, opt for a Spanish wine

Kathie Smith is The Blade's food editor.

Contact her at:

food@theblade.com

or 419-724-6155.

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