Thoughtful Revolution

Vegan DC

First order of business: Why does DC not have a vegan blogger?

We’re arguably the American capital of political activism, of putting our actions where our mouth is — at least, that’s been my experience.  So it surprises me that, even with countless animal rights groups headquartered in Washington, the vegan community has so little in the way of publicity.  DC Vegan is the closest we get — but, as an erratic and not-always-helpful anthology, it can’t rival the entertaining, all-encompassing, personalized vigor of a Stumptown Vegans (Portland) or a Vegan Score (Seattle).  Even the fairly rural Shenandoah region has a fabulous blog of its own.  So I call on DC vegans, members of what I am sure is a sizable if under-the-radar community, to start their own DIY restaurant critic services — and if they don’t, I just might, student budget be damned.  (P.S.  If anyone chooses to ask me about veganism itself, I may write a nice little post on the issue.  Take that as encouragement or threat, whatever you will.)

On that note, I feel it’s time to add my meager information to the pot.  These places all hover in varying degrees of fantastic; if someone happens to lend their valuable patronage to one of them because of this post, I will personally find said person and give him or her a gigantic hug.

Sticky Fingers Bakery: probably the worst kept vegan secret in DC, and for good reason.  The entrees, stored in plastic containers in a large refrigerated shelf, may look about as prepossessing as your average airline cafeteria food — but don’t let that scare you off, as they’re uniformly delicious (I particularly recommend the faux-chicken wrap, bursting with lettuce, black beans and that cool, summery flavor).  But the reason to come to Sticky Fingers is the baked goods, especially, in my humble opinion, the cookies.  As someone who is, by parents’ and cardiologist’s mandate, not-quite-vegan,* I have the authority to say that these cookies are the best in DC, better than any you’ll find in a mainstream bakery.  The Sweet and Salty cookie may sound a little intimidating, but after a bite of one exquisitely chewy, intensely flavorful disk, you’ll be a convert; the same effort and inventiveness is poured into every cookie.  And if, on the day you show up, there happens to be a flavor with “lemon” or “coconut” in the title — go for it.  No matter what, it’s worth your while.

There are a couple of excellent vegetarian Chinese restaurants in the region (Harmony Cafe in Georgetown, Sunflower in Vienna and Vegetable Garden in Rockville are both worth visiting, though the latter is certainly overrated and overpriced) but the best, in my opinion, is Rockville’s locals’-paradise Yuan Fu Vegetarian.  Entirely vegan and MSG-free, nearly all the dishes at YuFu have something to bring to the table — particularly when you avoid the tofu-and-mixed, vegetables comfort zone and plunge straight into the fake meats.  Faux-chicken, so often gluey and disappointing, is the restaurant’s specialty, with a texture and flavor that lends itself beautifully to frying, steaming and braising alike; the mundane-sounding Chicken with Cashew Nuts is outstanding, as is the unusual but lovely Curry Chicken with Potatoes.  “Beef,” “duck,” veggies, and a variety of hot pot dishes are equally appetizing, though not as authentically meaty; the only disappointment comes in the pork, overseasoned and a bit on the tough side.

Other favorites are a pair of Korean-American-Italian-vegetarian-everything-but-the-kitchen sink establishments — the ubiquitous and much-acclaimed Java Green in DC proper, and the homey Takoma Park mainstay Mark’s KitchenElla’s Wood-Fired Pizzas and Pizzeria Paradiso both offer vegan pies, and any of the Chipotle/Burrito Brothers/California Tortilla/etc. burrito establishments stock plenty of dairy-free options.  If you’re interested in something a little different, try out the fabulous Malaysian cuisine downtown at Malaysia Kopitiam.   And, of course, most of D.C.’s plentiful and excellent Ethiopian restaurants (Addis Ababa in Silver Spring is a not-too-busy personal favorite) have many a dish for vegans.  And if it’s late at night and you need nothing more than a quick bite, Amsterdam Falafel Shop has falafel and (unbelievable) French fries enough to serve the most urgent oil craving.

If anyone has a burning recommendation that I’ve missed, please tell me!  Or, better yet — start your own blog.  You have at least one avowed reader.

*Still trying for it, though!


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Things that Taste Better than Skinny Feels (and Why This Post Is Worth Writing) « Thoughtful Revolution pingbacked on 9 years, 6 months ago


  1. * Cindy says:

    Wow! Thanks for linking to my blog! I’m honored!

    | Reply Posted 9 years, 8 months ago

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