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Vegan Planet: Short Trip – Great Food

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


Short Trip – Great Food

After working practically non-stop for months on my upcoming cookbooks, I finally got away to DC last weekend for a little relaxation. The weather was perfect — sunny and warm with a slight breeze. Much better than summer’s oppressive heat and humidity that will settle in soon enough.

Living in a rural area with limited (make that closer to zero) dining-out options, I end up cooking at home all the time. Not a bad thing, of course, but I do enjoy the occasional break from routine. That’s why anytime we go into the city, one of the highlights is going out to eat. This trip we had some terrific veggie sushi and some great Thai food.

The best meal of the weekend, however, was one we enjoyed on the drive home at a little Vietnamese restaurant in Centreville, Virginia. It’s a cute place and the food was great. Best of all, they have an entire vegetarian menu page and are sensitive to using vegan ingredients — I was assured that they use an all-vegetable broth in their vegetarian pho and that they use no egg or dairy in their vegetarian menu items.

The most difficult part for us was restraining ourselves from ordering everything on the menu. As you can see in the photo, we came pretty close to doing just that. We shared an order of super-yummy spring rolls (which we inhaled before remembering to snap the photo!), a wonderful bowl of pho that contained thin slices of seitan, an addictive banh mi sandwich on fresh crisp French bread, and their “special rice dish” that included a slice of delicious shredded tofu loaf served with broken steamed rice. Everything was super-fresh and reasonably priced.

After our fabulous Vietnamese meal, we stopped at Trader Joe’s, which is just down the road from the restaurant, and loaded our car with all the ingredients that I can’t find in my local supermarket. Now that I’m back home and my kitchen is well stocked, it’s back to home cooking. But I’ll save that for another post.

Can I ask which restaurant? I live in Centreville and have never ventured into the several Vietnamese places here because I just assumed they'd all be meat-centric.

Julie: The restaurant is called Pho Hot. I've seen mixed reviews online, but I've been there twice now and had a stellar experience both times. Naturally, with the pho, you need to season it up yourself with sriracha, hoisin, lime juice, and herbs -- but that's part of the fun. Hope you like the place as much as I did.
yay dc!! if you ever come back i could tell you tons of places that are veg-friendly. glad you had a great trip though, and all the food sounds awesome.
VeggieVixen: I'd love to hear about more veg-friendly restaurants in DC -- we go there at least a few times a year. When you have time, it would be great if you could e-mail me a list of places to check out. Thanks!
Robin, you have such a beautiful blog. Thanks for writing and inspiring all of us.
Thank you, Robin! I think we'll go there tomorrow!

If you're looking for other DC-area vegetarian places, my faves are JavaGreen, Vegetate, Sticky Fingers vegan bakery (all in the city) and Sunflower and Lotus Vegetarian out in VA.

(As an aside, I'm making my menu for this week and just pulled out "Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker" to look for something to make on one of my long work days!)

Love the blog!
Julie: Thanks for the list of restaurants in the DC area. Been to a couple, will have to check out the others. Hope you enjoy Pho Hot if/when you get there.
I have family in Centreville. I will have to look up that restaurant next time we visit.

Do you have any idea when your new cookbook will be out? I have already started to drop hints to dh that I am going to be getting them. :)
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