A beautiful thing has happened in the past few weeks. Although I haven't been keeping up with my New Years goals at all with regard to exercise, I have been taking care of myself in other ways. Like sleeping for more than four hours per night, trying to increase my veggie intake, and staying positive. And it has really made a difference for me!
Maybe it helps that my responsibilities this semester have been taken down a notch, but I feel more at peace with the way things are. And when the timing is right, I actually feel like I want to workout. (That said, the timing hasn't worked out at all recently, but baby steps.) I am not giving up on running or exercise or the healthy life I strive to live, but I'm okay with being patient about it for a while. Sometimes you can't force things no matter hard you try. I think that sentiment jives with my personality because I don't perform well under stress. Yay for self awareness!
In other news, I have decided to not run the Cherry Blossom 10 miler in April, and I transferred my entry to a friend. I don't think I have trained enough to be able to complete the race safely and with my sanity, so I'm just going to stick to a routine of treating myself well and working out when I can. And eventually I will be able to better make time to train for a race and get into a routine I love. I am enjoying the things I am getting to do in school and outside of school. Just because I'm trying something different doesn't mean I'm a failure. (Wow, I have been using my blog to project recently and try to make myself feel better about things.)
But enough of that! How about some information that is more pertinent to your life? I'm going to list some of my favorite veg-friendly spots in D.C. I've lived here long enough to have been to some cool spots, and I thought it would be nice to list them, especially since D.C. is kind of a tourist destination. Keep in mind, these aren't necessarily the fanciest of places, but they do the job for a college foodie on somewhat of a budget. I am also including spots unique to D.C., so you won't see places like Chipotle, Le Pain Quotidien, or Sweetgreen that have locations in other cities (even though you can get a solid meal as a vegan at those places).
- Chaia: I got my first taste of Chaia at the Dupont Circle FRESHFARM Market last spring, but they have since opened a brick and mortar in Georgetown. They brand themselves as "farm to taco," meaning they source their produce from local farmers and transform it into a delicious, handmade meal. That means the menu changes with the seasons too. As it stands the menu is completely vegetarian, but it's super easy to ask for vegan tacos. These tacos are the bomb, and they come in unique flavors. My favorite is the mushroom taco.
- Busboys and Poets: This restaurant has six locations in the DMV and has a menu suitable for people with all kinds of special diet requirements. It was established in 2005 by an Iraqi-American artist, activist, and restaurateur intentionally for people of different races and cultures to interact and share ideas. The interesting name refers to Langston Hughes who worked as a busboy in a hotel before becoming a well-known poet. The menu is diverse but has clearly marked veggie-heavy (or not so veggie-heavy... pizza anyone?) vegan options (yes that is plural). But if you need to satisfy meat-eating friends or relatives, they'll be able to find something they like too.
- Shouk: Shouk only opened last spring (notice a trend? Plant-based eating has become more popular!), but I haven't been there nearly enough times yet. Their menu is 100 percent plant-based and Mediterranean-inspired. You can get a pita or a salad with some sweet potato or polenta fries on the side. The flavors are unique and inspired, and you will not be disappointed by a visit here.
- Open City: Basically anytime someone visits me in D.C., I bring them here. Open City also meets the needs of any eater, but there a several good options for vegans. I like to say that Open City has diner food, but upgraded from the greasy staples you may have come to know and love (but I'm a Jersey girl so I will ALWAYS appreciate real diner food). I'm a fan of the steel cut oats for breakfast (or dinner... because breakfast is served all day) and the veggie burger for lunch or dinner.
- Teaism: If you're looking for a nice cup of tea to go with your veg-friendly meal, I have found a place for you! Teaism has three locations in D.C. and a veggie heavy Asian fusion menu. I like to eat here especially when I want something that's a little different and spicy in a flavorful way. While working at the farmers market last summer, I discovered the South Indian Vegetable Curry, and I recently tried the Our Dream Salad which are both solid choices. You can order tea in the restaurant, but you can also stop by the tea shop in Penn Quarter if you're interested in bringing some tea leaves and other tea-making equipment (?) home with you.
- I'm going to shout out some of my favorite juice and smoothie locations here, because there are a suprising amount of them in D.C.: Jrink, South Block Juice Co., Fruitive, Greenheart Juice Shop. In addition to smoothies and juices, South Block offers a variety of toasts (one of which has avocado on it) and snacks while Fruitive has a full menu of wraps, salads, and tacos. Additionally, Jrink and Greenheart have some vegan baked goods and/or granola that make for a nice little treat.
- Sticky Fingers Sweets & Eats: Would I be vegan if I didn't mention Sticky Fingers Bakery? Vegans don't eat salad all the time; we eat "real" food too! If you're looking for a decadent dessert, they have you covered. From cookies to cake and cupcakes to doughnuts, it's heaven for a sweet tooth. Head baker Doron Petersan also won an episode of Cupcake Wars too. Sticky Fingers also offers a variety of other dishes that would make for a more substantial meal. Also check out sister restaurant Fare Well for a menu more geared towards meal time but still featuring Petersan's delicious baked goods.
- Beefsteak: It's ironic that this plant-based eatery is named after a revered carnivorous dish, but that's exactly what Chef José Andrés was going for. Actually, Andrés was referring to the beefsteak tomato and created Beefsteak the restaurant to highlight how versatile and tasty a meal built around veggies could be. Beefsteak locations are popping up all around the District and fit in with the city's trend towards fast casual. You choose a grain and/or greens base and add your choice of steamed veggies and sauces on top. There are options for vegetarians and omnivores as well, so everyone can be happy.
Are you a District native and think I missed the best spot? If you were to visit D.C. where would your first stop be? Let me know in the comments!