Sunday, December 08, 2013
Today I had the most wonderful vegan dining experience. Washington, D.C. is getting its first snow of the year and was turning into a winter wonderland by the time my husband and I walked down to the National Mall to see the tree put up for the holidays. It isn't as spectacular by day but my husband wanted a few pictures.
After hurrying to join a special tour of the yoga exhibit at the Smithsonian Sackler museum, we headed toward home. I was wearing a long coat that was not exactly windproof compared to my L.L. Bean ski coat I left at home. Plus my husband and I wore sneakers, since it sounded like we were going to get a snow dusting.
Passing by a restaurant that I recalled having vegan menus in the past, I urged my husband to check for available tables. We got lucky. The place had been packed earlier, but we got seated very soon after arriving. We had a booth with lovely views of the snow coming down on the street outside. We could even see how snow was gathering on green awnings next door.
Being able to finally order roasted cauliflower and butternut risotto was wonderful. I didn't have to hear about the joys of processed foods such as veggie burgers or be told that the kitchen staff could take the cheese off something. Instead I could look at a vegetarian and vegan menu, both clearly marked so that I could quickly see the difference. I had more than once choice or could choose something else where I would leave off the cheese, get more roasted veggies.
I chose this fantastic vegan meal and finally got to find out why former President Clinton thought roasted cauliflower was so delicious. The butternut risotto was amazing, too, and it could qualify as a gourmet meal.
Typically I have to check menus and search for restaurants where I can find vegan fare, and I am not talking about vegan dishes that taste so awful that I can't even eat them or taste so bland and crappy that I'd rather go hungry. Sometimes I've had to research 20-30 restaurants when I am on a trip, just to find one that has something vegan or the menu or can be easily turned into a vegan meal. (I also have a shellfish allergy so I have to take that into consideration when choosing the type of restaurant.)
On a snowy day, it was a wonderful afternoon to celebrate breaking an 18-day fast (several days later) with my husband who treated me to such a lovely afternoon. We both enjoyed our meals and got to enjoy our first snow of the year. The restaurant atmosphere was a farmhouse one and the restaurant is based on sustainable, local farming, something else I really love about the place. And this place is always packed because the food is so good. In fact, I gave up trying to get reservations.
I'm hoping more restaurants will add vegan options. But for now, I am basking in the joy of having at blissfully lovely meal and where I didn't have to go through some menu gymnastics or be treated like a royal pain trying to get a vegan meal. And this was the perfect kind of meal to celebrate breaking a fast. It was not too heavy and taxing--plus it was very healthy. Just right.
Soon I'll be pouring over vegan recipes to find out what else I can make. But honestly I have an entire fridge full of kale that still needs to be juiced or turned into delicious salad fare. Tonight D.C. is still a winter wonderland although sometimes the snow has tried to turn to rain. I am glad my husband and I didn't have to drive any where today. One of the joys of living in the city is that we do get to walk more places. But next time I certainly will put on my boots!
Adding to my joy was the discovery that going on the 18-day fast seems to have made it easier for me to lose weight through healthy eating and exercise.