Thursday, May 31, 2012

Hello Cupcake, Washington DC

Location: 1361 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20036, USA
From Vegan Gastrobot
On our super tour of the Washington DC area the last cupcake place we tried was Hello Cupcake.
Again there was only the option of vanilla or chocolate cake and a few different frosting flavors. I really don’t know why cupcake places cannot figure out how to make a vegan flavored cupcake. I mean they had normal cupcakes in fun flavors like chai, and caramel apple. Is it really that hard to put some chai flavor in your vegan batter? I mean I make them at home so it is not that difficult…it is like vegans can only have chocolate or vanilla. I often joke how I should start a bakery so vegans can have better options (even the all vegan bakeries don’t have fun flavors like Sticky Fingers! Disappointing). Anyways we tried the peanut butter chocolate cupcake. It was alright. Not the best and not anything I would make a trip for.  The frosting was good – light with a light peanut butter flavor.

Overall – Another cupcake place that has the standard so so cake with different flavors of frosting. If I were in the area I would rather got to Red Velvet or Bakeshop (even though they are farther away from downtown)

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Mellow Mushroom, Washington DC

Location: 2436 18th St NW, Washington, DC 20009, USA
From Vegan Gastrobot
We almost skipped Mellow Mushroom  as we were way too full the first time we stopped by. The following day however we were going to be walking by so we stopped and got a pizza to go just to try it. We ordered a pizza with BBQ Tofu, broccoli and vegan cheese. It was so nice out we walked down to a park and ate in the sun. The pizza was amazing! Definitely the best we had in DC. The dough was very chewy and really really good. The BBQ sauce was sweet, the tofu tasty, and the broccoli was still crisp. It looked like a mess, was kind of a mess to eat, but was so tasty I didn’t mind. Definitely stop by for some pizza if you are in the area.

Overall – If you want pizza in Washington DC definitely stop by Mellow Mushroom. It was the best pizza we had on our visit (a close second was District of Pi).

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Sticky Fingers Bakery, Washington DC, Brunch

Location: 1370 Park Rd NW, Washington, DC 20010, USA
From Vegan Gastrobot
While picking up treats from Sticky Fingers Bakery we saw that they have brunch on the weekend including biscuits and gravy which is one of my favorites. There are a few food items that if a restaurant has it I like to try it and this is one of them. I never had non-vegan biscuits and gravy so I am not 100% sure what it should taste like, but I know what I like in the breakfast food. You can get the biscuits and gravy by itself or as a platter with cheesy grits and tofu scramble. We decided to go with the platter to try a little bit of everything. The cheesy grits were…not my thing. They did not have any flavor and I don’t know that I have ever had grits before. Maybe if you like grits you would like them. The tofu scramble was alright. It had a very light flavor and was not bad. The biscuits and gravy were delicious! The biscuits were light and fluffy, the gravy was very meaty and like a dinner gravy, but it was good.

From Vegan Gastrobot
We also picked up a Mini Berry Pie to eat later. We heated it up and it was really tasty. The crust was flaky and delicious, the filling quite good.

Overall – Sticky Finger I found to be hit and miss. The biscuits and gravy were delicious, the mac and cheese amazing, the pie and cookies good everything else we tried was just not so good. I am still so disappointed that they only have chocolate and vanilla cake bases….and that the cakes were very dry. Would it hurt to add a little flavor and make it fun?

Friday, May 25, 2012

Red Pepper Chinese Restaurant,

Location: 13075 Fair Lakes Shopping Center, Fairfax, VA 22033, USA
From Vegan Gastrobot
After a full day of walking all over DC we got back to my friends place and were hungry and tired. We originally were going to go out for dinner, but she had too many last min things to get done so we just ordered delivery. I wasn’t expecting much from Red Pepper Chinese Restaurant. We ordered the steamed vegetarian dumplings which were tasty, but not at all what I was expecting. The filling was tofu, mushrooms and veggies. It was almost like a tofu scramble dumpling. Odd but tasty.

From Vegan Gastrobot
Next we tried the mu shu vegetables. We get them at the one Chinese place in Seattle and love them. These came with…tortillas as a wrapper not the wrappers they are supposed to come with. Strange, but I like tortillas. This was just alright. The cabbage was not cooked as much as I would have likes. It was almost not cooked at all – super crisp and hard to deal with. I would have liked it cooked a little more to make it softer. The other veggies were alright, but the sauce was pretty salty.

From Vegan Gastrobot
Next we tried the String Beans Szechwan Style. I have never gotten this before and didn’t really know what it was, what it entailed. Usually I go with a noodle dish or fried rice or something, but my friend recommended it. This was delicious! The beans were cooked till tender, the sauce was not super spicy which is good, overall amazing. It was a little oily, but super delicious.

Overall – It is take out Chinese food. I wasn’t expecting much and didn’t get much, but the Szechwan String Beans were delicious. If you are just too tired to cook or go out and are in Fairfax then sure you can give it a try. Don’t expect the most amazing Chinese food, but it will suffice.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

District of Pi, Washington DC

Location: 910 F St NW, Washington, DC 20004, USA
From Vegan Gastrobot
We walked into District of Pi to pick up a pizza to go and good thing – it was crazy busy! I guess it doesn’t help that it was Fri at 5pm in downtown DC. We ordered a thin crust pizza with vegan meat and cheese, spinach and green peppers. I wasn’t really expecting much from this as well…I didn’t think it sounded amazing. They use Daiya cheese which normally if you use too much of it is way too much. Raymond doesn’t really like it, though the mozzarella he can handle. We opened the pizza box and there was so much cheese on it! I though this is not going to be good…but it was super delicious! The cheese was not overpowering even though there was a ton, the crust was thin and crispy and really really good. The toppings paired well with the cheese and crust, the sauce was tasty. All in all I would definitely go back for this again if I were in the area.

Overall – Definitely check out District of Pi. Be warned that it gets really busy at peak times, but the wait is worth it.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Kabuki Sushi and Teriyaki, Washington DC

Location: Ellipse Rd NW, Washington, DC 20502, USA
From Vegan Gastrobot
Seattle is like the home of teriyaki. I remember when I moved out here there was a Teriyaki place on every corner and I ate it all the time. Unfortunately, though, it is hard to find tofu teriyaki and when you do it is disgusting. It is one of my favorite foods, and I don’t really know how they mess it up so badly. Usually the tofu is super soft and disintegrates when you try and pick it up with the chopsticks...not good. We were walking around downtown Washington DC and needed some food and saw a small food court. We went exploring and found Kabuki Sushi and Teriyaki…with tofu teriyaki listed so I had to try it. It came with some rice, a salad with a peanut dressing (I think) and the teriyaki was lots of tofu and veggies. I really enjoyed all of this except the salad. The dressing was….not good so we didn’t eat it. The rice was sticky and rice, the sauce was sweet and tasty and the veggies and tofu were cooked surprisingly well for a food court. If I worked in the area I would stop in for lunch.

From Vegan Gastrobot
We also tried one of the asparagus rolls to try out more sushi. It was good – just rice, seaweed and asparagus. The rice was on the outside so I was good (I don’t like the seaweed on the outside as I think it is disgusting when it is the first flavor to hit my tongue) and the asparagus was still crisp.

Overall – I wouldn’t make a special trip to get this, but if you work in the area of just need a quick bite to eat it is a nice option.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Dama Pastry & Cafe, Arlington VA

Location: 1505 Columbia Pike, Arlington, VA 22204, USA
From Vegan Gastrobot
When searching for vegan treats in and near Washington DC I found Dama Pastry and Cafe  listed as having vegan desserts. I put it on my list and it was a little bit out of the way, but also near the Pentagon and Air Force Memorial so why not? I had never been over on that side of the river site seeing so it would be fun to explore. Well we got off at the Pentagon subway station and walked out past the Air Force Memorial to Dama. We were walking and I just kept thinking is this right? It doesn’t look like there is anything out here…then we came upon it – there are really four different stores on the same lot – a bread shop, a restaurant, a grocery store and the bakery/coffee shop. The parking lot is completely full of taxis – I don’t think there was a non-taxi parked anywhere near here. We walked in and everyone was hanging out watching Ethiopian tv and drinking coffee – It was just full of Ethiopian taxi drivers. I take that as a good sign as it must be somewhat authentic if all the people from that country are eating there! So they have a half case of vegan cakes to choose from – coffee, chocolate, fruit, etc. We went with the fruit cake even though I was a little worried it would be lemon flavor. The lady working however told us the fruit was just on top so we tried it. It was sooooo moist, not too sweet and completely delicious! There was a light lemon flavor, but not too bad. The cream was super good, like whipped cream, just light and fluffy and delicious. The jellied fruits on top added a nice sweetness.

Overall - Really amazing and if I am in the area again I would go back for more (and try the restaurant out as it smelled really good). The chocolate cake it probably incredible!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Red Velvet Cupcakery, Washington DC

Location: Washington, DC, USA
From Vegan Gastrobot
Red Velvet Cupcakery is one of a variety of places to get a vegan cupcake while in Washington DC. After the very disappointing cupcakes from Sticky Fingers, an all vegan bakery, I did not have high hopes that Red Velvet would have a good cupcake. They make a lot of non-vegan varieties, but always have a white velvet (vanilla) and black velvet (chocolate) which are both gluten free as well. Raymond is particular about gluten free baked goods - he usually finds them too grainy and won't eat most of them. These cupcakes however were great! The White Velvet was very moist and full of flavor. The frosting however was way too sweet for me and a very buttery butter cream. Raymond enjoyed it, but I am particular with frosting - I don't like most frostings. The Black Velvet was super moist as well and the frosting....the frosting was amazing!! Very light and fluffy with a light chocolate flavor and I could eat a bowl of it! I've always heard of people who will just eat a container of frosting with a spoon and it always made me cringe, but if it were this frosting....I would definitely go for it! It was like a whipped mousse and just amazingly delicious. Both cakes are amazing, and you would never know they are gluten free.

Overall - definitely stop by here for a Black Velvet Cupcake. The frosting itself is worth the price.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Bakeshop, Arlington VA

Location: 1025 N Fillmore St, Arlington, VA 22201, USA
From Vegan Gastrobot
Bakeshop is a cute little bakery in Arlington VA (off of the orange at the Clarendon Station stop). We walked in and I was really excited as they had tons of unique flavors of cupcakes like nerds and sprite...but they were not vegan. Unfortunately the vegan cake flavors were just chocolate and vanilla  - that is my one complain about this bakery and every other bakery in the area - why can you not add different flavors to the vegan batter like you do with the non-vegan ones? It makes no sense to me....however they did have other tasty treats and I really loved it. Bakeshop is run by a cute couple with a few employees and everyone was super super friendly.

From Vegan Gastrobot
We did try one of their chocolate peanut butter cupcakes and it was delicious! WAY better than the Sticky Fingers one we had. The cake was really moist and the frosting was light and whipped and very peanut buttery and amazing. So much better than the dry lackluster Sticky Finger peanut butter cupcake we had....

From Vegan Gastrobot
They also had a vegan Oreo Chocolate Chip Bar. This was soooo good! It was cookie dough sandwiching Oreo cookie was not like they just wrapped the cookie dough around the Oreo - they were too big for that and no round Oreo edges. Somehow they made a layer of Oreo in between the layers of cookie dough. Amazing. And really really tasty. The chocolate chip cookie tasted a lot like the ones  I make which I love so it was good. I am definitely going to have to make this at home! They were so good that on our last day we stop just to get more (and bought them out!) so we had some once we got home.

Overall - definitely stop in at Bakeshop and pick up an Oreo Chocolate Chip Bar!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Le Pain Quotidien, Arlington VA

Location: 2900 Clarendon Blvd, Arlington, VA 22201, USA
From Vegan Gastrobot
While walking from Red Velvet to Bakeshop in the Clarendon area we walked by Le Pain Quotidien and I decided to spy on the menu. They have everything labeled that is vegan, which I always like, and they had a few baked goods that sounded delicious. We walked in and the space was very open with long tables for people to sit together and I really enjoyed the atmosphere. We were just going to get a few baked goods and decided to eat them there. Once we sat down though and I looked at the menu we changed are mind and decided to share a Tartine as well. The menu started Tartines were a Belgium open faced sandwich, and I was intrigued as a few of them sounded amazing. We opted for the seasonal special - Sweet Pea Hummus Tartine. This had sweet pea hummus, carrots, radish, cucumber and smoked green tea vinaigrette. The presentation was lovely (though it doesn't really look like it from my photo) and the sandwich was delicious. It tasted light and felt summery even though it was a chilly overcast rainy day. The sweet pea hummus was flavorful and the green tea vinaigrette gave it a little kick. All the veggies were crisp and the bread was very crusty and rustic which I loved. Overall the sandwich was delicious, though a little expensive.

From Vegan Gastrobot
After finishing our sandwich we ordered our baked goods - An Apple Cannele, A Carrot Muffin and an Organic Hazelnut Flute.
From Vegan Gastrobot
The Hazelnut Flute was just like a very crusty bread stick with raisins and nuts and all kinds of goodness in it. Almost like a crunchy raisin bread stick - I really liked it, but I really like crusty bread. The Apple Cannele was amazing - really moist with lots of apple pieces, a bit of a sharp vinegary flavor and it reminded me of a dense apple cake with apple slices baked in. Delicious! The carrot muffin was really good - cinnamony and savory with a little bit of sweetness. I wish we would have picked up more baked goods to bring home with us as they were very tasty.

Overall - If you are in the Clarendon area definitely check out Le Pain Quitidien if you have some extra money to spare. It is not cheap, but the food was very good.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Don and Clare's Beach Shack, Falls Church, VA

Location: 130 N Washington St, Falls Church, VA 22046, USA
From Vegan Gastrobot
Clare & Don's Beach Shack is a fairly large restaurant that was very popular even though we stopped by early on a weekday. They have a few different types of tofu (buffalo, coconut, bbq, grilled and traditional) to choose from for their sandwiches and other options. There is even a tofu sampler for dinner. We were there at lunch so we ordered the fried tofu sandwich. This didn't look like much so I was setting myself up for another disgusting disappointing sandwich like we had at Smoke & Barrel. However, this was really good. The tofu was seasoned well and the sandwich came with lettuce and tomato. This was surprisingly good. The fries were just alright - they tasted like frozen fries you get from the store, though they were seasoned with salt and pepper so I enjoyed them. It was really busy so everyone working there was rushing around, but the waiter did check to make sure everything was vegan for us which is always nice.

Overall - If I were in the area again I would stop by for another visit, especially if it were trivia night. The multiple flavors of tofu is a nice addition even though the menu is fairly simple.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Soul Vegetarian, Washington DC

Location: 2606 Georgia Ave NW, Washington, DC 20001, USA
From Vegan Gastrobot
Soul Vegetarian is a tiny little takeout place with one table to sit at. If not for the mac & cheese offered daily we probably would have just walked right by this place without giving it a second glance. Even with the promised mac & cheese I almost bypassed it didn't look like much. We went inside and the lady working was incredibly friendly. She helped up pick out a few things to take with us and eat later. We ordered some of the mac and cheese and the BBQ twist. The BBQ Twist I really enjoyed - it was chewy and like BBQ meatloaf - delicious! The mac & cheese was different...I cannot put my finger on what it tasted like and what was different, but it was so good mixed with the BBQ sauce. We got the take out with the BBQ Twist on the bottom of the container and the mac & cheese on top. Next time I would definitely get the mac & cheese on the bottom so the BBQ sauce would mix with it better.

Overall - I would definitely go back here. The food was cheap and pretty tasty.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Amsterdam Falafel Shop, Washington DC

Location: 2425 18th St NW, Washington, DC 20009, USA
From Vegan Gastrobot
Normally I wouldn't go to a falafel place on vacation in the US as I can get good falafel in Seattle. I saw that Amsterdam Falafel Shop had a toppings bar that you could use to doctor up your sandwich however you would like I put it on the list.

From Vegan Gastrobot
We ordered a small white pita with cucumber salad, hummus, cabbage, beets and a few other salads on it. This was very disappointing. The toppings were really good - the beets very sweet and pickled, the cucumbers crisp and tasty, but the falafel...the falafel did not have much flavor except hot spice, and it was incredibly greasy. Raymond made the comment that they left them in the oil too long or left them sitting in oil or something...they were just spicy hot grease balls. I really don't know why people like this place. We spoke with numerous people about falafel while we were in DC, and overheard people talking about it, and the common consensus was that you have to go to a place where that is all they make - like Amsterdam Falafel - for good falafel. I just don't get it. Maybe they just have never had an actually good falafel sandwich and everything else is worse than this in DC? That is the only thing I can think of.

Overall - Skip Amsterdam Falafel. The falafel is greasy and lacks flavor and it just not good.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Smoke & Barrel, Washington DC

Location: 2471 18th St NW, Washington, DC 20009, USA
From Vegan Gastrobot
Smoke and Barrel was the restaurant I was most excited to try in Washington DC. They have smoked foods which I love! I use my smoker all the time at home. We ordered the smoked vegan wings served muddy (wet and rub). These were so good! Just the normal vegan drumstick, but so much better. The BBQ sauce that was served on the side was incredibly spicy so I did not use that, but the BBQ spice rub was perfect. I would definitely go back and get these again.

From Vegan Gastrobot
We also ordered the BBQ Smoked Tofu Sandwich (Hand pressed, rubbed with our house bbq rub, cold smoked, then grilled and served "all the way" - coleslaw and a pickle slice - like a traditional bbq sandwich). This sounded delicious, but it was sooo disappointing and gross. The roll was not good - mushy and not tasty. The tofu was mush and had no flavor. The coleslaw...I don't even know why they added it as it tasted like nothing. The whole sandwich was like eating mush with no flavor. It was really not good. I would not recommend ordering it....I still can't get over how bad it was. How can smoked tofu and BBQ spice rub and coleslaw equal no flavor?

Overall - I would go back here as I really liked the atmosphere and would just hang out with some drinks and smoked seitan wings and a few friends. We sat on the porch which was open to the outside and it was perfect as it was a beautiful day. Just don't get the smoked tofu.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Radius Pizza, Washington DC

Location: 3155 Mt Pleasant St NW, Washington, DC 20010, USA
From Vegan Gastrobot
We had a full day of eating in Washington DC so while we were walking to Radius Pizza I mentioned how I wish pizza places had personal pizzas all the time, or slices of vegan pizza as I we couldn't eat a whole pizza. We walked in to Radius Pizza and what do you know? You can order a slice of any pizza until 7pm! Perfect! We ordered a slice of the Giler made vegan - onion, spinach, red pepper, and Teese. Pizza Pi in Seattle uses Teese and it is my favorite vegan cheese. On this pizza however...there was too much of it. I would have preferred no cheese and just veggies. The crust was really thin and tasty - not really filling like a tick crust pizza. They have a special 5-7 every day - $5 for a slice of cheese pizza ($1 extra for vegan cheese) and a pint of beer. Pretty good deal and I would check it out next time we are in the area.

Overall - This was pretty good pizza. I say skip the cheese and just get veggies.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Julia's Empenadas, Washington DC

Location: 2452 18th St NW, Washington, DC 20009, USA
From Vegan Gastrobot
Julia's Empenadas always has one vegan option. The have multiple locations throughout the city so you can stop in and pick one up. We shared one of the vegan options of the day - broccoli, sweet potato, onions, spices.

From Vegan Gastrobot
I was really excited to try this. I make empenadas at home and I love foods I can eat on the go like that - hand pie type things. This was...VERY disappointing. The dough was very thin and crispy like a cracker. The insides were like curry, but just an okay curry. Really if I would have like the crust better it would have been good, but unfortunately it was just lacking. I am not sure if that is the way the empenada dough should be as I have never had it out, but if so then I just don't like empenadas as much as I thought.

Overall - I would skip Julia's Empenadas. It was just not that good.