A lot has been happening in life lately. I kind of alluded to the fact that things have been kind of crazy around here. More on that later (sorry).

But a week and a half ago I had a chance to kind of set all of that aside and went[ to the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo for the Cleveland Zoological Society’s annual Zippity Zoo Doo. The theme was Serengeti Sunset and besides being African-inspired, I wasn’t sure what to expect.

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I was greeted by valet and an owl! Talk about rolling out the red carpet! But really, the owl was adorable. And I did not expect live animals, but what a pleasant surprise! And that wasn’t the end! Once I met up with Jen from Why? CLE and her husband, we headed for a glass of wine and scoped out the hors d’oeuvres! I had stalked the menu prior to the event and as more than excited for the African-inspired menu.

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I realized after chowing down that I was so excited I forgot to snap a couple of quick pics! Above (clockwise from left) is the event tent (which was MUCH larger than it appears in this picture), a grand display of the Lamb Tagine & Couscous and sliders, followed by a close-up of the delicious (and spicy!) South African Farmer’s Sausage Slider with Crunchy Slaw! Not pictured, but also delicious, were the Lobster BLT and the Peri Peri Chicken Kebabs. Seriously so good I ate too fast for a picture. Ha!

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After we snacked and sipped we took a quick trip to the new Ben Gogolick Giraffe Encounter! The previous giraffe area had a single-file line type of walk-up where you can feed a single giraffe. The new setup features a large patio that allows visitors to walk right up to the giraffes (yep – multiples!). Sadly, the giraffes were in “hiding” while we visited, but we were still close enough to see the mama and baby!

We also had a chance to ride the carousel. In honor of Moosh, I rode “Nemo,” also known as the clown fish. I sent Moosh and Chad a picture while I was on it. Which apparently prompted Moosh to want to watch Finding Nemo! Ha!

We eventually ventured back down to our table for dinner. We met up with Alicia from Poise In Parma and sat down for an amazing dinner. While we ate, chatted, and laughed, the auction festivities were on a roll, including the highest table for the Giving Tree (the highest table as of 9pm received a ‘backstage’ visit at the giraffe encounter). Our table wasn’t quite in the running, but that’s OK because we were enjoying the food SO much!

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The salad? Was. To. DIE.FOR! It’s unfortunate I ate so many hors d’oeuvres because I would’ve eaten way more of the salad (which was spinach, grilled pineapple, bell pepper, raisins, toasted coconut, and pineapple ginger dressing!). Next up? Smoked fennel crusted filet with golden fig chutney (yum!) and red snapper yassa. The wild rice and filet were delicious. For whatever reason, snapper just isn’t my thing. Ya know? By the time dessert came out I had to leave (I know – lame! It was only about 8:45, but my mom was coming into town from Kentucky and I wanted to be there when she arrived (and it’s about an hour drive home). On my way out they were serving dessert — French cheesecake with raspberry drizzle. Umm. It was hard not to sit my butt back in my chair and indulge, but I left without dessert (I heard it was delicious). And I’m secretly still dreaming about the “what if” I stayed to eat it. Ha!

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The only thing that would have made this night more perfect is if Chad would have been able to make it with me. But I had a blast with the gals. Thank you, ladies, for hanging out with this ‘single lady’!

 

Disclosure: I was asked by the Cleveland Zoological Society to help promote Zippity Zoo Doo. In exchange, I received one complimentary ticket to the event. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Crystal @EatDrinkCLE June 16, 2015 at 11:49 am

The food sounds SOOO good! I definitely prefer events that include strolling apps and a sit down meal. I hate trying to balance food and drinks all the time.

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