During a recent adventure, we were lucky enough to spend a day in the beautiful city of Seattle. It had been a while since we had taken the time to enjoy such a city and were happy to walk along it’s docks and overcast skies.  Since we only had one day, we sought out a great vegan restaurant to try our taste buds on. We had heard through many a friend to definitely try this new vegan bar called the Highline, rumored to have the best vegan reuben in America. We walked, with luggage on our backs, over a mile to the bar. As we climbed the up the streets to Capitol Hill, a hip and culturally rich neighborhood, we found our destination. Unfortunately, to our dismay, the hours were listed incorrectly online and the Highline didn’t open for four more hours!

Our hearts were crushed and feeling rather defeated we sat on the steps outside the bar and regretfully used our smartphones to find a close vegan restaurant. Luckily, being in Capitol Hill, there were many options at our disposal. After much debate, we decided to walk another several blocks to a cute relatively new vegan restaurant Plum Bistro.

Set in a revamped warehouse that housed a few other businesses, Plum Bistro had an upscale industrial feel. The exposed pipe and roll up windows gave it a very unrefined look, while maintaining a classy feel with a full bar and nice furniture. The service was friendly and relaxed, helping us right away. While we looked over the menu, our server brought over some water. Now this wasn’t just any water, it was refreshingly tasty with fresh cucumber, lemon, and oranges, perfect after a long walk.

The lunch menu was limited, but literally everything listed on the menu sounded amazing with items such as Crispy Tofu Teriyaki Bowl and Spicy Jamaican Tempeh Wraps.  Most of the menu contained tofu or tempeh with a few “fake meat’ options such as seiten and tofustrami.  After much debate we settled on one appetizer and two dishes. We decided to try the Crunchy Garlicky Yam Fries with Aioli, ‘Strami on Rye Panini, and Quinoa Sliders.

The Garlicky Yam Fries were served first with a healthy amount of garlic. These well cooked sweet potato fries were crunchy, just as the menu boasted and definitely garlicky.  The fries were tasty, but what really won us over was the delicious aioli! It was incredibly full of flavor and gave the fries the extra oomph it needed. At this point, their fruity water just wasn’t doing the trick. We opted for a some dry natural soda, splitting the Rhubarb flavor. Definitely a great choice, as the soda was fizzy but not very sweet, just the way we like them!

We had almost finished off our yummy fries when the kitchen sent out our main courses! Even if they didn’t taste good (stay tuned), the presentation was beautiful!  Although we were salivating, we had to take a moment to take our customary photos! We couldn’t wait to dive in and decided to sink our teeth into the panini first! What a wonderful choice to begin with, this delightful panini. The tofustrami was really flavorful and not sure if it tastes like pastrami, but the taste was accented by melted vegan cheese (Daiya, we believe), tomatoes, and spicy mustard all on rye bread.  Mmmmm….

The panini was appetizing, but we still had not tried coup de grace. The next dish, we devoured in a manner of minutes! The Quinoa Sliders were adorable and came in a pair. Seriously, these may have been some of the best food we have ever eaten. They were made “sloppy joe” style with a millet and quinoa blend and topped with grilled onions, jalapenos, and orange slices. To top it off they contained more spicy aioli sauce that was to die for. Literally, these were creative, unique, and amazingly delicious. We have made a commitment to figure out there recipe at home in order to replicate it and if we can’t, maybe Seattle will be seeing us more often!

Plum Bistro turned out to be a gourmet, pleasant surprise, especially for a Yelp search.  Even though our hearts had been set on trying Highline, we were impressed with Plum Bistro’s unique and quality menu. Sometimes the best surprises in life are when you are exploring.

-Gina Williams 

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While down in DC for the inauguration, we decided to check out some of the local vegan options. One that caught my eye was Soul Vegetarian Restaurant. Being from Boston, there isn’t much soul food around or at least not vegan style. It was quite an adventure to find the restaurant as it was not in a central local. The print out we had stated it was right near a metro stop, however we had to walk about 10 blocks, which isn’t SO bad, but when its the dead of winter it can be worth it! The entire menu is vegan and their take on soul food really is excellent. Even with the walk, we were thoroughly impressed! And so is DC apparently, as the restaurant won 2008’s Best Vegetarian Dive in the Washington City Paper.

http://www.soulvegetarian.com/restaurants.php

The restaurant is nestled right near Howard University and upon reading reviews and as the name suggest we expected a full restaurant. When we arrived it was just a small take out place with limited seating. We didn’t mind this setting, it just wasn’t what we were expecting! The staff was friendly, laid back, and talkative. And the prices are totally worth the trek! Anywhere from $4-$9! They have daily specials that include several soy alternatives like pepper steak, tofu nuggets, and spaghetti with protein balls. Plus, our favorite baked mac n’ cheese! On top of the daily specials they also have everyday sandwiches, tacos, and pizzas you can order.  It does take a bit of time if you are ordering anything other than the daily specials, so be prepared to wait. My only complaint was that all the food is served in Styrofoam containers. Hopefully they will look into compostable containers for the future.

Baked Mac N Cheese Special

Baked Mac N Cheese Special

We decided to share the daily special of Baked Mac n’ Cheese, Green Beans, and Tofu Teriyaki and we also ordered a BBQ Tofu Sub which came with Candied Yams and Jerusalem Bakes! All of these dishes were quite delectable and filling! The Baked Mac n’ Cheese melted in our mouths and it is seriously the best vegan mac n’ cheese I have ever had! The BBQ tofu was really good as they baked the tofu in strips, smothered them with BBQ sauce, and wrapped them in a thick pita with veggies. Mmmm mmmm that sub was good! We also really enjoyed the candied yams, they were just sweet enough and we usually only eat that dish at Thanksgiving! This was the first time we had tried the Jerusalem Bakes which were thick potato wedges with a breading around them. It was definitely a filling meal!

On top of their service counter they have stacks of all types of vegan cakes made by the local bakery Sweet-n-Natural, located in nearby Maryland. The cakes ranged from cheesecake to carrot cake, but we decided to go with something a little less standard called a PinaColada Cake! The cake tasted exactly like what you would think! A whole lot of pineapple and coconut, but still very sweet and very moist. This was definitely a great end to our meal and we even had a little left over for breakfast the next day!

The restaurant also does brunch on Sundays. We were unable to attend this time, but according to locals the brunch is worth checking out! On a flyer we picked up it listed American favorites such as pancakes and cornbread. Next time we are in DC we will definitely have to check it out.

So if you are in the mood for greasy down home soul cooking, we suggest you check out Soul Vegetarian Cafe in DC. The food is perfect for that great comfort food in the winter or for long study sessions.  Let us know your experience or your favorite dish!

Soul Vegetarian Restaurant

2606 Georgia Ave NW
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 328-7685

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