At Sunflower Vegetarian Restaurant
I had a blast at the Animal Rights 2006 conference. Had I had access to a laptop with internet connection, I would have posted updates on my adventures in this blog daily. Alas, I didn’t. As a result, I am now writing about my experience in entries organized not by day, but by the themes of food, people, schwag, and activism.
Like any veg*n gathering, a highlight of the AR 2006 conference was the food. This entry is about the food.
While the hotel offered a room full of food that catered to our vegan dietary needs, many folks (myself included) opted for the much cheaper options available in the exhibition room. Across from the Viva! table where I was stationed was the Road’s End Organics booth. While I find chreese borderline repulsive, the enthusiastic vegans lined up to score a lunch of grilled chreese sandwiches proved that my tastebuds are in the minority. Over the course of the weekend, I made frequent visits to the booth of a new-agey spiritual vegetarian group. The yummy faux bbq drumsticks, dumplings, fried rice, tofu, and noodles dished out by the group made me a believer!
Sweets were in full effect during the conference.
Temptation ice cream co-owner Ryan and buddy Jay manned a booth and must have served at least 200 waffle cones full of delicious soy ice cream on both Saturday and Sunday. (Each day they sold out within a few hours). Their peach cobbler flavor was out of this world! The chocolate was surprisingly outstanding too.
Satya pulled a trick from its sleeve when the magazine hosted baker Danielle and her Vegan Treats at its table. Everyone, and I mean everyone, waited in line for up to an hour just to sample an assortment of Danielle’s beautiful and delicious cakes, cheesecakes, cupcakes, brownies, and (*cue drumroll*) donuts. I sampled two donuts—a cookies-and-cream donut and some other sprinkle covered donut I ate too fast to really know what it was. These donuts were unlike any other vegan donut on the market. There was no suggestion that they were muffins or cakes in a donut shape. These were the light and oily sugary kind of donuts you imagine seeing a cop savouring with a cup of joe when you peer into a Krispy Kreme window. These donuts deepened my faith that anything can be veganized by a good enough baker. It broke my heart to learn that Danielle has no plans to ship them to NYC along with all her other goodies. Looks like I’ll be driving to Pennsylvania at least once a month!
Sticky Fingers Bakery was also exhibiting at the conference. It was heart-warming to spy Danielle and Kirsten (co-owner of Sticky Fingers) chatting amiably about how it’s not a competition and it’s just great that there are more vegan bakers out there in the world. Word up!
Each night I left the hotel with conference mates for dinner. I think these may have been the only times I was outside of the hotel.
Friday night, a caravan of cars left the hotel with the single objective of enjoying a comforting meal at Soul Vegetarian & Exodus Carry-Out. Unfortunately, the owner had handed out coupons for the spot during conference, so the small restaurant was teeming with hungry AR activists. I opted to leave and go to the nearby Everlasting Life/ Eternity Juice Bar. There I picked up a platter of wheat loaf covered in bbq sauce, collard greens, and a portion of their truly amazing portion of mac and “cheese” (not to be missed by anyone visiting DC). I also ordered a carrot nog, which I would have thought was great had I not sipped some of my friend’s cashew nog. The creamy drink was hearty and mildly spicy with an underlying flavor of coconut mik that made it easy to see why this drink is a customer favorite.
Saturday night a huge group of us drove to Sunflower Vegetarian Restaurant. The food was okay (aside from some horrible sushi), but most impressive was the extent to which the sunflower theme was carried out. A sunflower motif adorned every area of the restaurant, from the curtains, menus, and framed artwork to tchotches like a sunflower costumed baby dolls and teddy bears.
Obviously this post isn’t suitable for more aspirational vistors to the DC area or those who may be free to leave their hotel for more than a few hours a day. Check out Compassion Over Killing‘s VegDC.com for a more comprehensive guide to dining out in DC.