Zoo presents gourmet Valentine's dinner with a side of animal magnetism

February 3, 2012 - 3:04pm

Guests invited to join zoo experts for evening of fine dining, fascinating facts

Looking for both animal magnetism and a romantic dinner this Valentines’ Day? The Oregon Zoo’s Feb. 14 Dine and Discover event, beginning at 6 p.m., may be just the ticket.

Dine and Discover pairs an intimate food-and-wine experience with a chance to hear from some of the zoo’s renowned animal professionals. And in keeping with the event’s Valentine’s Day theme – “Let’s get it on” – a panel of zoo experts will share some fascinating facts about the zoo’s breeding programs and the animals that are “active” participants in Species Survival Plans.

Zoo deputy director Chris Pfefferkorn, Asian elephant curator Bob Lee and senior Africa keeper Asaba Mukobi will comprise the panel. Zoo director Kim Smith also will be on hand.

The zoo’s executive chef, Paul Beppler, has designed a sumptuous multicourse menu for the occasion. Dinner begins with hors d’oeuvres, followed by a mache salad with duck confit, Granny Smith apples and sherry vinaigrette. The entree features seared salmon or lamb with an espresso-pomegranate reduction, accompanied by smashed Yukon gold potatoes and roasted vegetables. (Vegetarian options are available for all courses.) Fine wines by Owen Roe and Vinum Wine Importing will be paired with each course. And, of course, diners should be sure to save room for the chef’s personal selection of petite desserts.

After dinner, guests can wrap up the evening by taking a spin on the dance floor or just enjoying the company of friends.

Cost for Dine and Discover is $100 for zoo members and $125 for nonmembers. Seating is limited to the first 150 paid registrants. Guests must be 21 or older.

Proceeds from this event support the Oregon Zoo’s animal welfare, conservation and education programs and activities.