Making a meal at Zoobilation

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As I write this, it's the day after Zoobilation, the annual benefit for the Indianapolis Zoo in which patrons sample fare from 60 or so restaurants.

I'll leave it to a mathematician to tell you all the possible meals you can make from the offerings at Zoobilation. Instead, with stomach still full and memory yet green,I've raided my notes to try to come up with a great Zoobilation seven-course meal. (And, before you start screaming for the always-wonderful St. Elmo Shrimp Cocktail or other favorites, know that I leaned toward less familiar dishes on this hunt.)

1. For starters, let's dip some veggies into Palomino's Moroccan Hummus, with its addictive cumin/paprika/curry spicing. I returned for more carrots and celery but could have happily eaten this by the spoonful.

2. Even Indy foodies might not recognize the name Dark Horse Delicatessen. The vegetarian and vegan caterer embraced Zoobilation's koala theme by including popular-in-Australia Vegemite, in cream form, in creating its Smoked Peach Soup. Honey, red onion, cucumber and microgreens added accent.

3. For an intermezzo, Spoke & Steele's Margareta-infused Watermelon will do just fine. What sounds like a tailgating treat turned out to be a welcome, refreshing break. I found myself directing more than a few overheated folks to the booth.

4. While the booth was dominated by signage for its parent company, Cunningham Restaurant Group, the Farmstead Burger was unmistakably a product of Bru Burger. There was a good reason the line for it stretched past other booths.

5. And let's side that with Lobster Mac & Cheese  from Prime 47. You don't need a description. It's all there.

6. In the June 15 IBJ, I wrote about Louie's Wine Dive & Mass Ave Kitchen, highlighting its pillowy Bread Pudding. Finding the Indy newcomer at Zoobilation serving its specialty proved an unexpected but very welcome pleasure.

7. And because this is Zoobilation, I'll indulge in a second dessert. Hello, 120 West Bar & Grill's Kiwi Panna Cotta.

So did you have a Zoobilation favorite? Feel free to add your picks below.

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