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Posted at 7:00 AM ET, 05/14/2009

Feast This Weekend: Food Fests Across the City

By Julia Beizer

Spring rolls at the 2006 Taste of Wheaton. Who's getting hungry? (Katherine Frey - The Washington Post)

That Carla Hall is one busy lady. Last weekend, the "Top Chef" contestant cooked in Adams Morgan, and this weekend's full schedule of food festivals will keep her moving, too: she'll be cooking at ZooFari tonight and Taste of Wheaton on Sunday. Get the intel on those culinary events and more of this weekend's festivals for food folks after the jump.

Taste of Wheaton
Amid its booths for Dunkin' Donuts and Starbucks, Sunday's festival does let you get a glimpse of the ethnic food that many associate with this neighborhood. Try Salvadoran cuisine at Sergio's tent, Italian at Lucia's and Vietnamese at Saigonese Restaurant's. Tastes cost $1 to $5 at festival tents, but if you go between noon and 3 p.m., it may be worth shelling out $15 for the Ethnic Food and Wine Tasting. Choose the Latin, Asian or European flight and enjoy three dishes paired with three wines. Carla Hall will prepare one of the plates in the European flight; the well-reviewed Nava Thai will prepare one in the Asian. Buy tickets in advance for this pavilion.

Taste of Arlington
There'll be 43 restaurants participating in this sprawling fest that shows off some of the city's best dining options. Jaleo, Yaku and Liberty Tavern are all scheduled to attend on Sunday, but the must-visit booth may indeed be that of Sangam, which has won the competition for the last three years. There will be blues and funk bands, dance troupes and a kids area with a moonbounce and activities organized by the National Science Foundation.

Fiesta Asia

Performances are the focus of this Saturday fest in Penn Quarter, and since it's free, anyone can stroll in to see martial arts, dance or even a Lao reggaeton singer (I am not making that up). But in addition to all the performances, 15 food vendors will dish up meals and snacks priced between $2 and $10. Sure, you can find the typical Thai offerings, but one of the organizers, Wuiping Yap, told me she's particularly excited about the vendors she sought out from places like Kyrgyzstan. Wash the dishes down with bubble tea or sugar cane juice.

Other food-focused events this week:
* Tonight, release your inner beast on the dance floor during the National Zoo's ZooFari. Okay, I kid. The event's a little classier than that. It's more like this: listen to live music and mingle, check out a silent auction, see a Carla Hall cooking demonstration and taste food from more than 100 restaurants, all while supporting the Zoo's conservation efforts.
* We Gurus just can't help it. We geek out on the Saint Sophia Greek Festival every year. Enjoy delicious lamb off a spit, souvlaki and Greek pastries on the grounds of this church in Northwest all weekend long.
* Cupcakes Actually -- a new (another?!) cupcake shop -- celebrates its grand opening with a block party at its Fairfax location. Balloon artists, jugglers and face painters all add to the carnival-like atmosphere. The event is free; the cupcakes'll cost ya.
* For more ideas, check out Ms. Leigh Lambert's handy To Do list from this week's Food section.

-- Julia

By Julia Beizer  | May 14, 2009; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  Restaurants  
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