Vegan Eats in Maryland and DC: Part I

Greetings from Rhode Island! After spending five fantastic days in Maryland with S, I hopped on a quick one-hour flight to Rhode Island. Now I’m chillin’ with my family until S joins us late Christmas night. So far I’ve baked one batch of cookies (Five-Spice Snaps from Hannah Kaminsky’s Vegan Desserts: Sumptuous Sweets for Every Season), taken the train up to Boston to visit friends, and otherwise just schlepped around in my super-comfy new plushy bathrobe. Tomorrow we’ll do lots more Christmas baking and food prepping, so I’ll feel a bit more productive.

But I’m getting ahead of myself – I have some Maryland-related eats to share! I was blown away by all the veg-friendly restaurants S and I encountered in MD (and DC), so I figured I’d share ‘em! I highly recommend all of these places – each one was impressive in its own right, and definitely worth a visit. I’m splitting this post into two, though, because I’m prone to ramblin’ and it’d get mighty lengthy if I didn’t!

Great Sage in Clarksville, MD

S’s mom treated us to dinner at Great Sage on one of our first nights in Maryland. Their menu is totally vegan, and their dishes feature local and organic ingredients. We started with the Artichoke-Spinach Dip appetizer, a chunky dip with just the right amount of mozzarella Daiya. Spooned onto crusty crostini rounds, it made for a creamy and satisfying start to our meal. For my main dish, I went with the Santa Fe Salad because I was in the mood for something a little on the light side. The salad was fantastic. Mixed baby greens, black beans, roasted corn, red onions, and tomatoes were perfectly coated in a delicious house-made lime-cilantro dressing, then topped with a generous scoop of guacamole, a light sprinkling of cheddar Daiya, and finished off with tortilla strips and big cubes of marinated tofu. The combination was perfect, and I really loved the dressing – it was tangy and flavorful without being overpowering. I was slightly disappointed with the tofu, which seemed a little bland for my tastes – grilling or broiling it might’ve fit better with the theme of the dish. But otherwise, it was perfect and completely filling.

If only you could smell the dressing!

Sticky Fingers Bakery in Washington, DC

Man… I am so envious of anyone who has easy access to an all vegan-bakery like Sticky Fingers. On our list of stuff to do in DC, “visit Sticky Fingers” was right alongside things like “go to museums” and “visit the Botanic Gardens.” As soon as we arrived in the District, we headed straight for the bakery for breakfast and a coffee fix. S enjoyed the Breakfast Burrito, a whole-grain tortilla filled with tofu scramble, black beans, Daiya, tomato, and a generous helping of spinach. Because he’s a generous gent, he offered me many bites, and I can attest that it’s a solid breakfast option. The addition of ketchup made it even better, until some uptight indie boy came over and demanded that S return the ketchup then didn’t even crack a smile when S laughingly apologized for hoarding it. Uptight Indie Boy, you give vegans a bad name and I do not want to be associated with you. Anyway, S also sipped this pretty cappuccino:

Swirly!

I did not get anything nearly as fancy for my breakfast. I enjoyed a simple (but really tasty) cup of coffee along with a Cranberry-Ginger Muffin, their seasonal muffin flavor. I can’t remember the last time I ate a muffin that neither I nor my mom baked, so it was a real treat to enjoy a light, fluffy, bakery-style muffin that I didn’t have to lift a finger to prepare. If the ginger had been a little more prominent, it would’ve been an absolutely perfect breakfast! In fact, it was so good that I forgot to take a photo until I was halfway done eating.

Proof of this muffin's deliciousness.

S and I had plans to return to Sticky Fingers for dessert later in the day, but that didn’t pan out. Alas! I really wanted to try a Peppermint Fudge Brownie. Maybe one day!

Pho 14 in Washington, DC

After a morning of ogling gems and minerals and questioning the necessity of a Chilean miners exhibit at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum, S and I met up with two of his college friends for lunch. S introduced me to pho when we were in Chicago over the summer and I really enjoyed it, but sadly, Madison’s vegan pho offerings are non-existent. We made our own version once, but it wasn’t quite the same. So, S was pleased to discover Pho 14, which offers both traditional pho options and a more animal-friendly variety. While S opted for a veg bowl of pho, I went for something slightly different – Bun Chay, described rather sparsely as “vegetables with fried and dyed tofu.” I received a big ol’ bowl of yummy tofu, slightly pickled veggies, thin, round rice noodles, and even more fresh veggies, all of which tasted fantastic when doused in a sweet chili sauce. It was the perfect meal, the kind that fills you up yet doesn’t leave your tummy feeling heavy or uncomfortable. It was light, clean, and absolutely delicious, and it provided me with lots of energy for perusing the fantastic collections at the National Gallery of Art.

…and that’s it for this installment! I’ll talk about the rest of my yummy eats soon. But first – what fabulous restaurants did I miss in DC?! What’s your favorite travel destination, food-wise? 

And also… happy holidays! :)