The Rammy Awards returned to the Walter E. Washington Convention Center for the second year in a row. Local chefs changed out of their whites and cleaned up with suits, gowns, and some unique attire for the formal event. Find this year's winners here. Read on for other Hangover Observations from this year's ceremony and reception:
1) Creative black tie: Fashion themes of the evening included floor length gowns, sequins and gold dresses (though this being D.C., there were also plenty of black cocktail dresses to go around). Agnes Chin, this year's winner of pastry chef of the year, wore a glamorous jumpsuit, and so did last year's winner, Caitlin Dysart. Jonathan Fain of Cafe Saint-Ex brought his game as usual with a top hat and patterned pants. Atlas Brew Works probably generated the most fashion chatter, courtesy of lead brewer Daniel Vilarrubi in a tie-dyed suit.
2) Get used to the Convention Center: RAMW president Kathy Hollinger said during the ceremony that she’s aiming to get a ten-year contract with the Convention Center to continue to host the Rammys in the future. "Your house is our house. Don’t tear our house apart," joked the Convention Center’s Greg O’Dell at the ceremony.
3) Top Chef Sighting: Philadelphia chef Jen Carroll, a contestant on Top Chef's sixth season, was spotted at the event. Carroll recently filled in for chef Marjorie Meek-Bradley at Ripple while she took a vacation.
4) Standing room only: The Rammys were sold out this year. O'Dell noted this was the first time he saw people crowded in the back trying to watch the presentation.
5) The Mayor's remarks: D.C.'s new mayor, Muriel Bowser, told the crowd, "I’m so proud to say we have the best restaurants anywhere right here in D.C." She also announced the city's restaurant industry is projected to do 2.8 million in sales this year.(Updated)
6) Selfies: Both presenters and award winners like Agnes Chin took selfies from the stage during the ceremony.
7) Score one for Maryland: While often edged out by competing restaurants in D.C. and Virginia, a Maryland restaurant did take home a trophy this year. The Daily Dish in Silver Spring beat out competitors like Clarendon’s Liberty Tavern and Dupont Circle’s DGS Delicatessen in the everyday casual brunch category.
8) Kilts: It seemed like anyone who wore a kilt automatically won this year. Scott Harris of Catoctin Creek said he spent a good chunk of money on one during a trip to Scotland, so he wears it whenever possible. Harris was the first to accept an award in Scottish gear, followed by Mark Benson from Bar Pilar and Neil Blackwood from Mintwood Place. Sue Palka of FOX 5 DC told the crowd, "I’m so buying my husband a kilt! I love ‘em!"
9) Remembering Mark Kuller: The presentation included a moving tribute to the restaurateur who passed away last year. The former tax lawyer turned owner of Proof, Estadio and Doi Moi was nicknamed "Grande" because of his large personality and big heart. His brother, Jason Kuller, said, "Mark died the way he lived, without regrets."
10) Blind item! While most attendees rushed to get drinks at the cocktail hour before the awards presentation, a certain restaurant group's crew BYOBed their own wine, including a 2010 Chateauneuf-du-Pape. Hint: This group definitely knows its wine.
11) Restaurant Week: In his acceptance speech for chef of the year, Victor Albisu of Del Campo and Taco Bamba said in a sarcastic tone, "I want to thank RAMW for restaurant week." The bi-annual week dedicated to restaurant deals around town is not a favorite among restaurant staffers.
12) No sign of José Andrés: D.C.’s most famous chef wasn't there to accept his award for Restaurateur of the Year, nor was co-winner Rob Wilder. Another representative for ThinkFoodGroup accepted it on their behalf.
13) The food and drinks: Members of D.C.'s restaurant scene are a tough crowd to please when it comes to eating and drink. But the booze selection was plentiful, and attendees loved cocktails made with local Green Hat Gin and Catoctin Creek whiskey. There was, though, a shortage of glassware, with bartenders scrambling for glasses after cocktail hour and attendees spotted drinking whiskey in champagne flutes during the ceremony. Long lines made getting food difficult, though, and several attendees grumbled about the quality of the food. It's worth noting that 95 percent of the food was generously donated for the event, according to RAMW president Kathy Hollinger.
14) After-parties: Following the reception, which featured a DJ and lots of dancing, attendees headed to The Partisan for an after-party, as well as smaller gatherings at Graffiato and Del Campo.