For those who have never been, Jazzoo is a fundraiser for the Kansas City Zoo, that takes place at the zoo. There are over 60 food vendors, bands, shows with select animals, and an extensive open bar. The main demographic that attends this event are rich white people from Leawood, as the tickets are astronomical (but it is for a good cause). However, if you are able to score a couple free tickets, it is an epic party! You get a bunch of old rich guys that are used to wearing suits to ditch the suit slacks, but keep the top half of the suit. the slacks are replaced with anything from golf pants, to animal print, to board shorts, or (in my case) light pink shorts (#getit #nothingextremethough).
Once we got in and got our first drink, we mingled a bit and then started hitting food vendors hot and heavy. There were so many vendors there that we could not possibly hit them all, as we were already late due to the traffic jam of cars trying to park. Some of the vendors were not so great, some were good, and some were amazing. For the purpose of not writing a novel the size of Of Mice and Men, I will do my best of hitting the high points.
The first standout dish of the night was the spinach, artichoke, and crab dip that was provided by Orange Box. It was a very creamy, but not overly rich, dip with a large amount of crab. Seafood loving dip heads, this is what your life has been missing! My only complaint was that there weren't enough chips to eat all of the dip with.
Next door was Fogo de Chao, they were serving up sirloin and Italian sausage. The sirloin was more tender and juicy than any sirloin I had ever had before, it was on par with what I would expect from a higher quality steak cut, not quite a filet, but then again, nothing is really a filet. The Italian sausage was flavorful and juicy, just as we have all come to expect from Italian sausage. The cherry on top of this great plate of meat, was just that, a grilled cherry. I would have never thought of grilling a cherry, but it blew my mind!
Mestizo by Aaron Sanchez, by all accounts, was serving up delicious crab tostadas. I cannot wait to visit the full version of Mestizo and try out the full menu.
K.C. Hopps had a very strong showing.
75th Street Brewery had 4 of their micro (or possibly considered nano) brews. Women in my group thought a lot of the raspberry wheat. I personally tried the brown and the IPA. Both were very good and what I would call fairly hoppy for their style of beer. A Coloradoan would ask if there were any hops in them at all, but for those of us down at "sea level", they should be plenty hoppy for your liking.
Blue Moose came strong with a shrimp and chicken curry dish. The dish had great flavour and lots of meat. It was a bit runny for my taste, but that is what the rice is for.
810 Zone had shrimp wontons and mini martinis. The shrimp wontons were as good as you expect shrimp wontons to be. The martini was SUPER strong, it was almost like a shot, both in size and in potency. 810 Zone has very good bar food, and although it has proven to be a bad luck location to watch a KU game, it is still worth a visit.
To bring it home for K.C. Hopps was O'Dowd's with the bread pudding. It had great flavour and consistancy. It was not too runny, like flan. It was not too dry, like bread. It was the perfect level of moisture.
Although the K.C. Hopps restaurants had a very strong showing, the Bread & Butter Concepts restaurants stole the show!
BRGR was handing out full burgers, that I believe to be a modified version of the Knob Hill burger. Quite delicious, I was going to town on that burger so hard that I even ended up with a little sauce on my suit jacket sleeve (Ooops).
Urban Table was handing out samples of their Urban Chicken Salad Sandwiches. It was awesome, but it left me with one question. What exactly made this chicken salad so "urban", so I asked, and I believe that I stumped the poor girls working that booth. They gave me an answer something to the effect of "it has cranberries and arugula in it". Which may make it delicious, but last time I checked, neither of those things are native to downtown KC. Perhaps someone else can "riddle me that", or perhaps it like how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop, "the world may never know".
Finally, best in show, Gram and Dun. Gram and Dun was serving up Chicken and Waffles! My North Carolinian soul food roots screamed like a little girl full of excitement when I heard about the chicken and waffles. I gladly waited in the longest line that I saw that night, while many in my group scoffed at the wait, I was just happy to give it a try. A fried chicken tender served on a homemade waffle, topped with both hot sauce and syrup, GENIUS! The hot sauce was quite hot, I am very glad that they used it sparingly, or we may have had issues. Gram and Dun won my heart that night, can't wait to try the rest of the menu!
After this, we tried a couple other booths, but none of them quite measured up. So we danced the night away with a good group of friends to some Earth, Wind, and Fire before making our way over to see Dolowite shut the party down.