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Los Angeles Zoo’s Beastly Ball Press Event Prior to the Main Event on Saturday, June 3rd

Julie Chang, Tom Jacobson, and Denise Verret (Photo LA Zoo)

By Judy Shields

Los Angeles, California (The Hollywood Times) 05/19/2023

What a beautiful and sunny morning it was for the Beastly Ball Press Event this past Wednesday.

The purpose of this event is to showcase the food and beverage partners who will be part of the Beastly Ball on Saturday, June 3rd.

The Beastly Ball fundraising gala, lauded as one of the best parties in town, will return with actor, comedian, and host Joel McHale on Saturday, June 3, 2023, at the Los Angeles Zoo. McHale, who believes “there should be a great zoo in every great city and a great snack bar in that zoo,” will emcee the evening of fun and philanthropy in support of the Zoo and Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association’s shared mission to save species and connect people with nature. The progressive party starts “Down Under” in the Australia section and makes its way through the Zoo’s lush grounds, with guests sampling regional and global cuisine from popular L.A. eateries including Little Sister, Momed, Yakumi, Luminaries, El Cholo The Original, Pink’s Hot Dogs, and many more while sipping refreshing libations from Sammy’s Beach Bar Cocktail Company, WhistlePig Whiskey Co., Lalo Spirits, and others along the way. Partygoers will learn firsthand about the Zoo’s animals and conservation efforts through engaging animal keeper chats and feedings; enjoy live performances and music; and view and bid on an array of amazing silent auction items.  The after-hours stroll will culminate at the Zoo’s Treetops Terrace with the evening’s program along with dancing, drinks, and desserts by McConnell’s Fine Ice Creams, Milk Jar Cookies, John Kelly Chocolates, and Krispy Kreme.

The food was delicious and the beverages were thirst quenching.

Once we entered the Private Event area for the Beastly Ball Press Event, there were all the different vendors. The Taste of the Wild Catering at the Los Angeles Zoo was the first one when we entered. I was able to bring my daughter-in-law Raquel and four year old grandson Max.  He was so excited to be there and could not wait to see all the animals, especially the elephants.

Here are a few pictures of the area the LA Zoo had designated for the vendors.

The festivities started with remarks from Denise M. Verret, Zoo Director & CEO who welcomed us all and thanked us for being there to be part of The Beastly Ball pre-event.  She talked about the best party in town returning on June 3 with favorite L.A. eateries, who some where in attendance, special animal experiences, dazzling entertainment, an incredible silent auction and more.  She told us all about GLAZA Trustee Diann H. Kim being honored at this year’s Ball.  Kim is a long-time Zoo member who has made significant financial contributions through animal naming gifts and a leadership donation that spurred fundraising for the planned Angela Collier Garden at the Zoo.

Tom Jacobson, the President of GLAZA talked about the Honorees for this year, City Councilmember Tom LaBonge, affectionately known to many as “Mr. Los Angeles,” who will be honored posthumously with the Betty White Conservation Hero Award for his unwavering support of the L.A. Zoo and surrounding Griffith Park.

Julie Chang was so happy to be there with her sister and two children and was looking forward to the elephant feeding and the golf cart tour later.  She also talked about this year’s online auction, which opens on May 26 and features an array of unique and exciting items, including art, luxury vacations, one-of-a-kind experiences, and so much more.  The main auction closes June 3 at 9 p.m., while bidding on Super Silent auction items will conclude on Sunday, June 4 at 6 p.m.  To learn more, please visit: www.lazoo.org/beastlyball

Taste of the Wild Catering at the Los Angeles Zoo proud chef (Photo THT)

They were featuring a BBQ Smoked Pulled Pork “Sundae” – Scoop of mashed potato (to look like a scoop of ice cream), pulled pork, BBQ sauce, and cherry tomatoes in a waffle cone bowl. Brilliant idea and so tasty. It was delicious!

Next up was breakfast with Chef Dora Presents, who features Ube Waffle Station with fresh berries, whipped butter, coconut, maple and Ube syrups, macadamia nuts, mini chocolate chips and toasted coconut. WOW. What an amazing taste, those Ube waffles. Max even liked them! They also had this refreshing bottle water with a mint leaf, lemon wedge and a few slices of strawberries known as aqua fresca.  What an awesome way to drink water.

Next up was The Federal Bar (@thefederalnoho) with a some sliders made with a beef patty, cheddar cheese, balsamic onion, garlic chip, iceberg lettuce and a peppercorn aioli.  Yummy and just the right size.  Also featured is their famous and delicious Mac & Cheese for all ages!

What would the Beastly Ball be without Pink’s Hot Dogs?  So glad they are part of the food vendors for the press to try out.

Stretch beef, turkey and vegan hot dogs. Choices of toppings included Chili, cheese, mustard, ketchup, relish, onions and sauerkraut.  All the fixings.  They are so yummy. Check our their zebra balloon too!


There was even some sushi from Yakumi. Yellowtail Jalapeno Roll, Spicy Tuna Roll and Salmon Nigiri with truffle soy and sesame seeds.  So very fresh and delicious.

@Momed.la with a beautiful display of their cuisine (Photo THT)

Momed L.A. (@momed.la) short for the modern Mediterranean, featured CRUDO, Fluke, sour cherry verjus, lime, and jalapeno, basil.  I have to say that was the first time I experience CRUDO and to my surprise I really enjoyed it. Glad I was brave enough to give it try.  It was refreshing and a unique taste for my taste buds.

I really enjoyed having a great cup of coffee provided by Don Francisco‘s Coffee, one of my favorite brands.  They had 100% Colombia Supremo, Decaf 100% Columbian and Cold Brew with creamer and liquid sweet syrup.

There was also Krispy Kreme Doughnuts @krispykreme with an assortment of fresh donuts and a table with Milk Jar Cookies @milkjarcookies with mini cookies that included Birthday, Chocolate Chip, Rocky Road and Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies, which Rocky Road was my favorite.

Some photos Courtesy of The Los Angeles Zoo of the food vendors and adult beverages:

My Grandson really enjoyed being able to watch the two elephants Shaunzi and Tina being fed a couple of watermelons and other healthy snacks.

L.A. Zoo VIP Tour host Albert and former Entertainment Ancho for Good Day LA Julie Chang (Photo THT)

After we got to sample all the delicious food and sample the beverages of our choice there was a VIP golf cart tour to see some of the new baby animals and we were all looking forward to it.  We had an amazing tour guide, Albert, who works in the marketing department of the L.A. Zoo.  We also had Julie Chang and her family with us and a professional photographer.

If you haven’t been out to the L.A. Zoo, please make it a family outing this summer. You and the kids will have a great time and try and get there when it opens, since that is when most of the animals are out and about.  The Los Angeles Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), the landmark Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens, drawing more than 1.8 million visitors each year, is home to a diverse collection of nearly 2,000 animals representing 290 different species, 66 of which are endangered. Its lush grounds on 133 acres feature various plant species from around the world and California including many rare and endangered species.  The Zoo is located in Griffith Park at the junction of the Ventura (134) and Golden State (5) freeways.  Admission is $22 for adults and $17 for children ages 2 to 12.  For more information, call (323) 644-4200 or visit the L.A. Zoo website at www.lazoo.org.

Enjoy these photos taken at the L.A. Zoo by The Hollywood Times.  The best reason to go and visit the zoo, to see all these animals in person in their nature’s habitat.

While on the VIP tour we cam across this wonderful and knowledgeable woman named Muriel Horacek, who is a volunteer at the L.A. Zoo.  She told us she was 96 years old and we all said 96 years young. She looked amazing and was so excited to share information about the Echidna, who lives in Australia and her study of this egg-laying mammal species.  They can live up to 40 years. Their spines are actually long, tough and hollow hair follicles.  When predators strike they will roll up into a ball of radiating spines to protect themselves or dig themselves to safety. She shows us that their hind limbs are curved backwards to help them dig, which is another way they help protect themselves from danger as they can dig their way out of trouble. That was fascinating!  It was pure delight to have met Muriel that day and as we rode away we all yelled out “thank you Muriel,” and that put even a bigger smile on her face.

We thank the L.A. Zoo public relations for the invitation to attend the Beastly Ball Press event.  It was so much fun and on the way out we were given a Don Francisco’s swag bag with different types of coffee and an environmental type travel coffee mug. Thank you Don Francisco for that.

Don Francisco’s Swag Bag