Well Dined


Vegan Restaurant Challenge – Pt 1

My friend Keerin, who is a vegan, recently sent me a list from the Washington Post of the best restaurants for vegans and vegetarians in the area. She challenged me to try them out with her, and we hope to get through the whole list at some point.

Surprisingly, my favorite pizza place was on the list - Pizzeria Paradiso! They celebrated their 20th anniversary last week and were offering special deals, including all-you-can-eat pizza and beer for $20! We hopped at the chance and met up at the Dupont Circle location. We found out that while the AYCE pizza part was true, they were only including two $6 draft beers in the deal - which is only half of their draft list, and half of those they were out of. So we only had 3 or four beers to choose from, but they were also having a happy hour with 1/2 price drafts so we were fine.

As always, the pizza was fantastic - the crust is just thin enough with puffy edges and a little bit of char. The great thing about the AYCE deal was that I got to order my favorite, but try some new things too. Premium ingredients didn't cost any extra, so we could load them on. I even tried Keerin's vegan cheese, and it was pretty good!

Clockwise from top left: my favorite - the classic margherita with fresh buffalo mozzarella; the Genovese with potato, pesto, and Parmesan; Keerin's Siciliana with tomato, zucchini, eggplant, sweet peppers, red onion, capers, garlic, oregano, and vegan mozzarella; and my fall themed creation - sage pesto, apples, pancetta, spinach, pine nuts, and buffalo mozzarella.

Just today, we tried our 2nd restaurant from the list - The Vegetable Garden in Rockville. It is an all-vegetarian Chinese restaurant that is also vegan-friendly. I braved new territory and tried meat-substitute to find that it's actually pretty tasty!

Th lunch specials come with choice of soup (I got miso), but we also ordered some appetizers. California roll with carrot instead of crab was alright, not great but definitely a light way to fill up. The "avocado salad" turned out to be a whole avocado, sliced and drizzled with a thick, sweet sauce. I was doubtful, but it was actually quite good. The miso had large cilantro leaves in it, which I was able to fish out but left their flavor in the broth - pretty much the only flavor there, actually.

I ordered the sesame vegi-chicken, which was crisp and puffy and sweet - almost like little doughnuts! I asked to substitute a regular spring roll for the cilantro roll - it was light, crisp, and not greasy at all.

Keerin had the vegi-beef with pineapple - it was sweet, with a little kick. I really liked the texture of the vegi-beef: crisp on the outside, chewy but tender on the inside.

Stay tuned for more posts as we try new Vegan-friendly restaurants!

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  1. Well put. First time in the past year I've had good "cheese" piza! AND the host at PP even brought our drinks to us amidst the over-flowing quantity of pizza enthusiasts coming for the special! Veggie Garden never disappoints…

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