Got Plans? The Going Out Gurus were joined by Erica Meier, a vegan advocate with Compassion Over Killing, and discussed veggie dining in D.C.

Jan 26, 2012

Got Plans? The Going Out Gurus were joined by Erica Meier, a vegan advocate with Compassion Over Killing, and discussed veggie dining in D.C.

Welcome, going out people. Today, we've got guest Guru Erica Meier, a vegan advocate, on hand to guide you to D.C.'s vegetarian eateries, but if vegetables aren't your bag, the rest of us are still here tackling all your other nightlife, bar, theater, museum and other dilemmas. So, let's get going.

Erica, not really a question, just a Thank You !! COK has done so much to bring favorable attention to the suffering of animals, and also to expand non-meat food options in the DC area. Any prognostications for what's next?

Thanks! Compassion Over Killing often gets calls or emails from restuarants who want to add vegan options, and aren't sure what to do next.  And we're happy to help out in any way. We'd love to see more vegan options on food trucks, which we're working on for Meat-Free Week, starting Feb 6. And we often get asked about vegan gourmet dining options in DC, which right now is limited compared to other cities but I think that will soon change.

I've noticed being vegan in DC is very easy. With so many vegan options available, what are some of your favorite places to take friends who eat meat to try great vegan food?

Finding great vegan food in DC is definitely getting easier every year -- more and more restaurants are offering meat-, egg-, and dairy-free foods, and we're also seeing more eateries open up that are 100% meatless.  You can find them listed on -- to highlight a few of my favorites for new vegetarians or vegans, I'm likely to go to Java Green or Cafe Green, Sticky Fingers Sweets & Eats, Great Sage, Soul Vegetarian, Sweet & Natural, Bread & Brew, or Founding Farmers. And there are many other great places, too.

Saw your article on the new St. Arnold's Mussel Bar in CP. Do they have the same happy hour as the Dupont location? It was discounted beer and $9.99 mussels but don't see it on their updated website. Thanks!

They weren't offering it (yet?) when I was there earlier this week. I would hope that it will be -- the $9.99 pot of mussels is a steal when a regular pot is $18.

I know Compassion Over Killing does a lot of work with restaurants in DC--have you all ever thought about listing which pizzerias offer non-dairy cheese in the area? Do you or does another organization have anything available listing this?

There are a lot of great places in DC dishing out vegan cheese pizza! Have you tried Duccini's or Pete's Apizza? We've got a sorted listing here on

Is there any place to get Pho with vegetarian broth in the area?

Have you tried Pho 14 on Park Rd?  It's a local favorite for vegetarians and vegans.

I've found veggie pho at Pho D.C. near Chinatown too! Also, it's not pho, but Toki Underground's veggie bowl is the real-deal, too - no meat. And one more: Pho 88 in Falls Church. Also veggie.

Hi All Knowing Gurus, A friend of mine wants to do a fun girls outing as part of her birthday celebration on Saturday night, Feb. 11th. She'll be about 20 weeks pregnant so I'm trying to think of something creative and fun besides just dinner, that doesn't center around drinking (wine tasting or clubbing don't seem to fit here). She is fine with there being some drinking (by the guests of course, not her!), but wondered if you all had any ideas for celebrating this fab mom-to-be? Thanks so much!

How about a chocolate tasting? Both Co Co Sala and Artfully Chocolate offer tasting classes -- with wine-pairings for the non-preggers ladies -- that would seem to fit the bill. A non-drinking happy hour and cocktail tasting at PS7's would also be an idea high on my list. I was off drinking for a couple of weeks earlier this month, and I have to say (again) that PS7's non-alcoholic cocktails were among the best in the city.

There's a new chocolate place too that does adorable classes -- in the old Biagio spot in Adams Morgan is now Cocova. And since it's Valentine's weekend there are lots of great dinners out there and events you could do, too, including Speakeasy DC is doing the "Sucker for Love" storytelling night.

I remember reading a national survey this fall that found DC to have the highest preference for vegetarian food. If demand is really higher here than in San Francisco, or Portland why haven't DC restauranteurs picked up on the trend and met the demand with even more veg options than SFO or PDX? Will we finally get see that happen this year?

I love how you think!  Yes, DC was recently ranked the "Top Vegetarian U.S. City"  by Living Social -- the poll found that more Washingtonians choose meat-free meals when dining out than in any other city. DC already has great options and the demand is showing DC could defintely handle more. One great way to help restaurants understand this demand is simply by asking them to add vegan options and letting Compassion Over Killing know if they have interest but need help (email us at Or you can also get these handy restaurant manager cards which do the talking for you!

is julia's empanadas vegetarian option also vegan, or is there milk or egg i should know about?

Julia's recently switched over some of their ingredients (removing egg wash) in their vegetarian options so they are now vegan!  Just ask which options are vegan. More details here:

Hi all, I'm taking my friend out for birthday brunch next Saturday and we'll be in the Chinatown-Gallery Place/Penn Quarter area. Any suggestions? It'd be great if we could make a reservation or easy to get into on a Saturday. Thanks!!

The new brunch menu at Poste has become one of my favorites, and the make-your-own bloody mary bar is, quite simply, awesome. Such a good time with friends.

My girlfriends and I, (single, late-20s-early 30s) are feeling the fatigue of the same old bars and people in DC. We basically go out on the hill and in Chinatown way too much, and are trying to branch out. We tried H Street last weekend and were underwhelmed and overstimulated at the same time - how can a place be both boring and make you wait 10 minutes to get a bartender's attention? At any rate we need an infusion of new fun for this weekend. We are looking for suggestions for bars/areas to go Saturday night. Keywords: sexy, fun, not too pretentious, dancing option, older crowd (but not too old), no cover. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated!!

I think a lot of people are in your same boat. Luckily there are a lot of newer options on 14th Street or U that you don't seem to have exhausted. I get the aversion to H Street; it skews young, and it's a little nuts. My mind immediately goes to a place like Lost Society or Policy, which will hit a lot of your musts, plus upstairs at Pearl Dive Oyster Palace (the bar is called Black Jack). Blackbyrd upstairs  also could totally be a scene you'd like.  And honestly, Ive found that I really like U Hall late at night; it's youngish, but probably the most unpretentious place to dance in town. You could always head there after a night at a more casual bar that doesn't have dancing. Hope this helps.

Hi! Do you have any suggestions for a solo lunch or dinner in DC this Saturday? I'm really open to anywhere in a low-to-mid-price range. (I like everything! I could look myself but know you always have good suggestions.) I'll be in the Penn Quarter, at the National Gallery, and then stopping by Pentagon City. Thanks! Re: Compassion Over Killing. I'm no longer vegetarian -- I go meat-free most days, however -- but can say I've always liked and respected CoK's message and work since first hearing about them at a DC animal rights conference eight? nine? years ago. Absolutely my favorite US animal rights org!!

In Penn Quarter, you can stop by Ella's Wood Fired Pizza to grab a seat at the bar or try Teaism -- check out 

Hi Gurus, Are there any good Pho restaurants in the Silver Spring/Wheaton area? I am new to this kind of dish, so I'd like to try it somewhere good. thanks!

Pho 75 in Arlington was on our list of Essential Eats, and there is actually a Rockville location, which isn't too far from you. I'd start there. And Alex here is a fan of Ba Le in Rockville, too; there's another one in Langley Park too.  Sorry none of these are quite in Silver Spring. Readers any pho suggestions in near Wheaton?

Hi! GOG's, During a recent trip to Kenya, we tried the Tusker Beer and loved it. Is there any place around the DC/NVA/MD area where I can buy it for dear hubby? Thanks!

Let's see -- I've had it to drink a number of African spots in D.C. (most recent, Ghana Cafe on 14th Street) so I know it's pretty well available in this area. I'm betting VA's Total Wine will have it. It's in stock at Chevy Chase Wine in D.C. -- my go-to beer store on Connecticut Ave. -- for $14.99 a sixer. I also remember seeing individual bottles of it at Cleveland Park Liquor for around $3 each.

Hello! I am vegan and recently started dating a non-vegan who is adventurous, but also has very little exposure to the vegan dining scene. I'd prefer not to overwhelm him all at once with a vegan/vegetarian restaurant. Do you have any ideas on a fancier date night place that would cater to both of us?

Oh how fun -- it's great that he's willing to try out some new foods. Try Founding Farmers for sure. It's a but more casual, though. For a fancy night on the town, maybe Equinox or The Source -- when you make your reservation, you might want to let them know in advance you'll be ordering veg options just to be sure they've got plenty to offer.

Matchbox is pretty delicious, but definitely make reservations!

They don't do reservations on Fridays or Saturdays, though...

Do you have the inside scoop on when Sticky Fingers is going to open another location? Or maybe 5 more locations?!

I wish! You can thankfully find Sticky Finger sweets in lots of shops around town, including Whole Foods. And  Sticky Fingers' founder Doron Petersan is coming out with a new cookbook and she'll be at launching it on March 1 in DC (check good time to ask her about it there!  We'd all love to see more Sticky Fingers around town. 

Looking for a good place in the city to do bottle service on Friday night? We are looking for a place with good music and a hip crowd. Any recommendations

My favorite Friday night bottle lounges would be Josephine, depending on the DJ (check to see the calender), Recess, Current -- maybe Bar 7 if you're into hip-hop over club bangers.

Hey, hoping you can tell me what time Jeff Mangum will take the stage at the Lincoln Theater on Firday. I've never bneen to the Lincoln before and I haven't heard anythign about an opener. The Lincoln website just says 7pm, and ticketmaster says 8. Would hate to miss any of the music but don't want to stare at an empty stage for an hour either, especially with so many other diversions nearby. Thanks!

Good question, since we're only starting to see bands playing the Lincoln, and movies (!)  So I checked, and the Lincoln says doors open at 7, and the show starts at 8. I'd believe them on that, since it's a seated show.  I'd definitely get there on time.

where can i get egg-free (or dairy-free, too, i suppose) cupcakes around here? my girlfriend is really weird about eggs and i want to treat her without having to bake...

DC is a great town for vegan cupcakes -- most bakeries now offer them regularly.  The local favorite of course is Sticky Fingers (a two-time winner of the Food Network's Cupcake Wars!) but you can also check out Bakeshop in Arlington, Hello Cupcake, Itsy Bitsy Bakery, Red Velvet Cupcakery, Sprinkles,  and Cakelove often has vegan options. Check out the "bakery" section on

Venturing to the Hamilton for the first time tonight with some girlfriends. Are we better off getting drinks and ordering food in the bar area? Or should we go for a full on sit down meal? We are probably more interested in a happy hour vibe but definitely with food. And I know you've said it's massive...any suggestions for a meeting place? thx!!

I'll preface this by saying my review of the Hamilton is in tomorrow's paper, but everyone can read it online now.

Depending on what time you go, you may wind up going to the restaurant because the bar areas are so slammed. (I've had better luck at 5:30 than the 6-8 rush hour.) The snacks are good -- I've liked the Korean beef wrapped in lettuce leaves and the awesome stack of sliders and house potato chips. And, of course, there's a lot of sushi to choose from.

If you're meeting up, I'd definitely tell your friends to congregate at the back-room bar or at the sushi bar. From the main entrance, walk through the doors towards the dining room and keep going until you dead-end.

Hi Gurus! I know there's a vegan focus today but I'm actually looking for a good prime rib without going to The Prime Rib or a chain steakhouse. Boyfriend wants to go around Valentine's Day and we'd like a better atmosphere than some of the stuffy steakhouses around. Any suggestions?? Thanks:)

Ray's the Steaks is still king for me. I've taken dates there, friends with visiting siblings there, college buddies -- we all love it. Amazing cuts of beef, fantastic wine service and so cheap without all the usual Prime Rib trappings.

And while I haven't been, friends (and Tom Sietsema) report good things about the steak at Lost Society. I usually just go for the late-night DJs and cocktails.

My husband and I are going to the Jeff Magnum show at the Lincoln Theatre on Saturday night at 7pm. Where would you recommend dinner before and a drink after for 2 late 30-something parents out of the town for a rare Saturday night?

Blackbyrd for seafood, Bistro La Bonne for simple, good-quality French, El Centro D.F. for better-than-you'd-think Mexican and margaritas.

Afterwords, I'd go to the Gibson (if there's no wait for the upstairs bar) or Blackbyrd for a cocktail, the basement tequila bar at El Centro, Vinoteca if you're more interested in a glass of wine or two in a chilled-out atmosphere.

The dance documentary Pina by Wim Wender (which was just nominated for an Oscar) comes out this weekend, but I cannot seem to track down in any way possible if it is showing around DC. A preview of it was at the Georgetown theatre this past week. Would you be able to track it down for me? A million thanks.

So many "Pina" obsessives this week! So, we just got word that it will NOT open here in Washington until Feb. 3. When it opens,  it will be at AMC Georgetown and AMC Rio in Gaithersburg, so you'll get to see it in 3-D, just not this week. The review will be in this week's Weekend section.

Hi! I'm looking for a bar/restaurant to celebrate my 30th birthday! It can be either in DC or Arlington but I'm looking for somewhere people can come at any point in the night have fun and not have to worry about lines. Any suggestions would be appreciated!

So I'm assuming it's on a Saturday. Or, barring that, a Friday. How many people are you expecting, and what sort of vibe should the restaurant have? (Are you looking for a dive, a place with a DJ spinning funky soul music, should there be skee-ball or games, etc.?)

H Street Goes Veg is clearly the best part of Meat-Free Week! Do you have any more details on specials for that day?

There's a lot going on on H Street for Meat-Free Week -- specials at Argonaut, Ethiopic,  and Dangersouly Delicious Pies to name a few. DDP makes really great sweet pies, though I personally think they're savory pies are amazing (tofu pot pie, chili pie, etc) -- plus they're donating 10% of their vegan sale proceeds to COK on Feb 7!  Stay tuned for more details on and

I had 24 freakin' awesome vegan courses at Rogue24. Just a tip for our vegan daters!

That's great!  Thanks for the tip - we'll look into adding this on

Can you recommend vegetarian/vegan restaurants whose menus are not laden with transitional vegan foods like mock chicken, etc?

I've moved away from a lot of the mock meats myself (the processed food part bugs me, plus I'm pretty much sick of mock meats) and you can find exactly that at raw restaurants, such as Elizabeth's Gone Raw, or eating the raw offerings at Cafe Green. The salad bar and some of the options at Everlasting Life don't use mock meats (though there is plenty of the mock stuff on the menu, too) -- I'm obsessed with the sweet kale salad there, and the mac and cheese, and the carrot salad is very popular.  Other options are vegetarian cafes and restaurants such as Nirvana Express, where about 90 percent of the offerings are vegan, or Woodlands Indian restaurant. For me, it has meant eating more at restaurants where meat is on the menu, but they have creative, interesting vegetarian/vegan dishes.

Hi Gurus, After reading about bone luges, I want to try it. Where can I mix my bone marrow with booze in DC and what liquor do you think would work best? I'm inclined to say whiskey.

I would love to try this at Graffiato, which uses a full split bone, chased with a full-bodied Willet bourbon.

(A bone luge, for those who haven't heard of this decadent idea, is devouring the marrow from a leg bone, and once finished, holding the cleaned bone up to your mouth while someone pours booze down the bone's central trough.)

If I may ask an off topic question, what do you suggest for things to do in Frederick, MD? I'm going there for a weekend get away with my boyfriend and I'd like to have a plan to fall back on!

Well, while I'm an expert in Frederick tourism, I can suggest some veg-friendly places to eat!  Check out

I was in NY for a long weekend -- tried Candle 79, which is a totally awesome vegan restaurant. Loved it so much we went back several times over the weekend. But now that I'm back in DC, it's so frustrating that there are no good vegan options in DC. I'd even settle for good vegetarian dining, but options are so limited . . . any ideas?

Ahh, I love Candle 79 -- I always recommend it to family members headed up there for romantic weekends. I get what you're saying: High-end dining, but veggie. Elizabeth's Gone Raw has really proven to be that here. There are also plenty of restaurants that do offer vegetarian tasting menus, including Equinox, the Source, and Restaurant Nora, and Rogue 24's is supposed to be great too. Readers, any other places that have a high-end feel and veggie fare?

If you're willing to take a 30-minute drive outside of DC, I highly recommend Great Sage (all vegan) in Clarksville.  The whole menu is amazing but it's worth the drive even just for the hot fudge lava cake on the dessert menu. 

The home front chat on organizing got me to thinking about how I'm still holding on to my wedding dress, but the box its in takes up so much room. I'm not sentimental about the dress anymore and would like to give it away, but where? Consignment stores won't take anything over 2 years old, and this one is 7 years old (but still beautiful I think). I tried Craigs list to no avail. I'm happy to just give it away but am hoping there's an organization a little more appropriate than just Goodwill. Any thoughts?

We couldn't think of any place, so we'll give it to the readers: Chatters, know of any places a gal can give away a wedding dress that's a little older?

More details: Friday night, love to dance but could do low key as well, thinking about 10 to 15 people will come and go throughout the night. I'm open to all of your suggestions!

If you do it in Arlington, I like Continental -- it's in Rosslyn, so off the usual Clarendon beaten path, and there's pool/darts/shuffleboard/skee-ball to keep you busy. For DC, I'd say Dodge City. I was just there for a birthday, and there was a great DJ and plenty of room for everyone to gather and chat. (And the outdoor area is now heated, which is cool.) You might also be able to do Blackbyrd's upstairs bar, Napoleon's downstairs champagne lounge (which has a DJ spinning late-night tunes), or maybe the new Irish Whiskey Public House just south of Dupont Circle. Pick a floor -- I'm partial to the upstairs with all the funky sofas -- and tell people you'll be hanging out there all night.

Is this a thing? As a meat eater and whiskey drinker, I'm even a little grossed out. I can't imagine what our vegetarian and vegan participants must think.

It is real. And scary.

I hope it becomes the new Icing. "Bro! Bro! BONE LUGE, BRO!"

My husband and I just moved to VA (from the midwest) about 2 weeks ago so I don't know where anything really is in DC. He's dragging me to the auto show on Saturday afternoon since he doesn't have anyone to go with (we're new so no friends here yet). I'm assuming it's going to be very busy in the afternoon but where can we grab a bite to eat afterwards (or before). It has to be cheap since we just moved here and we're not adventerous eaters.

Whenever I head to the Convention Center for events, I try to carve out a little extra time to stop by Busboy & Poets on 5th & K -- it's just a short walk from the Metro and they've got a great menu. If it's busy, you can order from the bar.

How about the Continental? It is often overlooked and thus not too busy.

You read my mind on both its fun and overlooked-ness.

Hi, You just reminded me of Equinox, which fell off my radar for a while. Anyway, which would you pick - Equinox or Cityzen for a terrific meal (the kind where you won't regret the effort and that's worth it) for a mostly-veg and a total non-veg person? The meal should be sumptuous to both, despite their dining preferences. Thanks.

CityZen! In part because I just can't think of a more affable staff. We're a little biased: We had sommelier Andy Myers on our chat, and he was wonderful. But we also did talk about how CityZen will go the extra mile for vegetarians, and obviously, it's tops with non-veg folks too.

Do you know a bar or restaurant or other venue that will be playing the Westminister Dog Show? Make fun of me all you want... just need a place since I've given up cable. Thanks!

Such a great question, but I have no idea. Since it's on at 8 p.m. on a Monday post-Super Bowl, I would *think* that bars wouldn't find putting one screen on it. (Something tells me the bartenders at Maddie's or Meridian Pint would have enough of a sense of humor to do this.)

Hi Ms. Meier, I'm interested in becoming vegan. I know there are a lot of websites for tips on making the transition but which one do you feel is best? Thank you, Hampton

Hey Hampton, that's so great that you're interested in becoming vegan -- it's one of the best ways to protect your health, the planet and animals. And a growing number of people are talking about these benefits, from Oprah to Bill Clinton to Mike Tyson!  Check out for sure for local resources (you can even order a printed Vegetarian Guide to DC to carry around with you) and also offers lots more info including recipes, meal ideas, new foods to look for in grocery stores, and even tips to help you along the way during your transition. Good luck!  And we're always here if you need any help:

Restaurant Eve is very accommodating--just tell them when you make a reservation.

Yes, I've heard that. I've been meaning to do it -- vegans, Eve can accommodate you as well.

Pho Hiep Hoa in both Silver Spring and Wheaton has the best vegetarian broth around! Plus tofu, which Pho 75 doesn't.

Thanks for the suggestions!

Hi GOG team! I am a native Washingtonian who has returned after living ten years abroad. When I left DC I was a newly minted masters graduate in my mid 20s. Now I have returned, older and a 'bit' more professional (but still loads of fun). The bars I used to frequent no longer appeal to me. Like so many other successful, beautiful, 30-40 something women in DC I am REALLY struggling on where I can meet my equivalent male counterpart. So I was hoping you could ask the 30-40 something professional men, who have a life outside of work, where they hang out. It doesn't necessarily have to be a bar or a volunteer event...I am open to new venues. Sincerely, PD

So, guys ... where are you hanging out?

I'll start by offering up sports leagues (anything from softball to skee-ball to bocce, though leave kickball for the kids), beer tasting classes at Rustico or through the Washington Wine Academy, Phillips After 5 or equivalent museum parties/happy hours (other than Hirshhorn After Hours, which is still pretty young), maybe the music or cultural events at the French/Swedish/etc Embassy? I always see groups of men and women at those...

I've donated bridesmaids' dresses to St. Anthony's Bridal in Rockville.  They offer the dresses for free to brides planning weddings for under some amount (around $5000).

Great suggestion! Thank you!

I am vegan, and it is incredibly difficult for me to find good brunch places that cater to vegans and non-vegans alike. Any suggestions?

Have you tried Asylum in Adams Morgan? It's a local favorite for its vegan-friendly brunch menu.  Artfully Chocolate (ACKC) also has vegan brunch options (and bottomless mimosas!)

You can also try Meridian Pint and Busboys and Poets. The ACKC, FYI,  here in Washington has closed.

For the person looking to donate her wedding dress - I don't know how it works, but what about looking into Brides for Breast Cancer?

Brides Against Breast Cancer looks like a cool organization - they raise money for breast cancer programs and families affected by the disease through the sale of donated wedding dresses. Thanks for the thought.

Going to H St for the first time this weekend... dinner at Ethiopic and meeting up with a big group later in the night. Any recommendations on where to grab a drink in between - probably around 10pm? Preferably something not super crowded / loud. Thanks for helping a newbie out!

Church and State, the dimly lit cocktail bar above Fruitbar, serves some of the best cocktails on the strip, and it's usually not *too* crowded. Upstairs at the Queen Vic should be fine around 10 -- gets much busier later in the night.

I have a friend coming into town this weekend and I am drawing a blank on where to take her. She is a vegetarian and dislikes most asian foods. Mexican, Greek, Middle Eastern are all great. We did matchbox last time which was good, but I want to try something new.

Near Chinatown, my first thoughts are Jaleo or Zaytinya -- there are always plenty of options for vegetarians, and it's not Asian food. Proof is also another option -- the menu is packed with vegetarian choices. And the Source, which we've mentioned in this chat already, will accomodate you, too -- though it may be a little too much of an Asian influence for your pal. 

I really prefer bar trivia where the host asks the questions which encourages the team to work together as opposed the the questions printed on a sheet and who ever has the pencil gets first crack at the answers. Would prefer to stay in Alexandria but will travel to Arlington for the right bar and good trivia. Went to P. Brennans on Tuesday, not impressed even though my team won.

I am very, very opposed to fill-in-the-blank-on-a-piece-of-paper pub quizzes. I prefer the old-fashioned "host reads the question, team squabbles about the answer before writing it down" format.

Our faves would be the Ireland's Four Courts (Monday nights at 9) and Ri-Ra in Clarendon (Tuesdays at 8).

I heard a rumor that this placed closed permanently due to a "family emergency." True?

I don't know anything about this rumor -- and actually have reservations about publishing this question because I don't want to spread it any further --  but yes, the ACKC on 14th Street has closed. You can find the other two locations still open, in Virginia.

My in-laws keep kosher, which means we can't cook food for them at home in our non-kosher kitchen when they visit. They are willing to eat at vegetarian-only (no meat on the menu) restaurants, but there seem to only be a few sit-down veggie-only spots in the city (All Souls, Cafe Green, Nirvana Express). Are there any spots I'm missing?

Be sure to check out -- there's a listing of the all-veg spots in the DC-area and there are over 2 dozen of them! Try vFalafel, The Vegetable Garden, Yuan Fu, Loving Hut or Elizabeth's Gone Raw.  Oh, and Soupergirl is an all-veg eatery right on the DC/Takoma line that is also a certified Kosher restaurant.  

Try the new Rays the Third in Arlington for steaks. awesome.

Will do!

Pho Hiep Hoa (in the same strip mall where Max's Kosher deli is) is my favorite in Wheaton. Corner of University & Amherst.

Lots of love pouring in for this pho spot, for our diners looking for veggie pho, and regular pho!

There's really good antique/junque/junk shopping there. Also a really great homebrew shop (The Flying Barrel.)

Frederick has some of the best antique malls around if you want to spend a couple hours poking through old books/clothes/jewelry/furniture/records.

And speaking of beer, you can also make reservations for a Saturday tour of the Flying Dog brewery.

Hi Gurus. I have reservations at the Columbia Room for drinks for my birthday. Dinner options nearby but not in Penn Quarter? Thanks!

You'll find Kushi a couple of blocks away will easily fit the birthday-dinner bill, as will Mandu next door.

I've heard that Thai X-ing offers a vegetarian menu once per week. I've also heard that their pumpkin curry is amazing. Can I assume that these two things go hand in hand? It looks like their menu changes, so just want to make sure that I choose the best day to go!

I confess I haven't been to Thai X-ing yet but my colleagues rave about it -- Sunday is the day to go, I'm told. That's when you'll find lots of vegetarian and vegan specials.

What happened to them? Did they move or shut down completely?

Ahhh, the Web site and the person I spoke with there, pretty much explain that a new person has bought it around April of last year. Biagio appears to be done, but the new chocolatier Cocova is in very much the same vein -- artsy chocolates -- with some fun new things, including the classes.

TJ Stones in Old Town does the preferred way as well. And their wings are awesome.

I've been meaning to get over there -- heard they had a pretty cool Port City Beer dinner recently -- and now I have a another reason -- pub quiz is Wednesdays, with signup starting at 6:30.

The steaks don't seem as good as the original Ray's, but the rest of the menu is much more varied (notably the fried chicken and the cocktail with bacon bits!).

Okay, so steak-loving boyfriend would be happier with my originial suggestion, Ray's the Steaks. Got it. Now I'm getting hungrier...

I saw your article on local Chinese food and was wondering, are there any places near Chinatown that serve dimsum for dinner? I've been to Ping Pong and was looking for something new. Thanks!

Ahh, so we checked, and we really didn't find anything quite like Ping Pong, serving these traditional foods on any days but weekends. Mark's Duck House says you can order some of the dishes on the weekend dim sum menu if you call and order in advance; I'd call and confirm that's the case, but that might be a choice.

Oh great GOGs - Please help! I'm submitting this early because I will be teaching my first graders the joys of addition during the chat but I need some help finding a place that is "cool and exotic" (his words) to take my boyfriend to for his birthday dinner. We will go anywhere in the city or NoVa. He mentioned Russian, Persian or Afghan food but not sure of a place that would have good food and a good vibe. Thanks!

Great to see first-graders joining in on the chat!  For dinner idea, there are lots of great Indian (Indique, Amma's, Woodlands) and Ethiopian (Merskerem, Dama) restuarants in the area, where you'll always find veg options on the menu.  Or try Afghan Grill on Calvert St in DC.

I am on a restrictive diet- no gluten or cow's milk. Any places come to mind where I can eat something besides a salad on H Street NE? Thanks!

How about Ethiopic? Great spicy veggie platters, and almost all injera bread is gluten-free, since it's made with teff.

Brides Against Breast Cancer are specifically looking for older styles

For the bride who wanted to donate: Brides Against Breast Cancer.

Shame, shame come you guys you need to post retorts to the vegan propaganda on this chat.

Y'all know next week is Meat Week, right?

Looking forward to some tasty 'cue from Hill Country and Smoke and Barrel...

Ahh, we're getting to them. One coming your way now. We're not here to spread propaganda today, just to get all of these veggie questions out in one go. Next week, we'll give Meat Week plenty of love.

I have been looking for a good juice bar that has fruits AND vegetables. Cafe Green is so expensive! Any suggestions?

You definitely need to check out Juice Revolution! It's a relatively new food truck in the DC/VA area that serves up fresh fruit and vegetable juices -- healthy and delicious!

My husband and I are somewhat of connoisseurs when it comes to veg restaurants. We've been to most veg and veg friendly places in DC and many around the country. We are always looking for more though - what can you suggest as sort of unexpected veg finds or places that have a random delicious veg entree? We love: Great Sage, Sticky Fingers, Everlasting, Soul Veg, Veg Garden, Yaun Fu, Sunflower, Java green, Woodlands, Asylum (past tense) and many others but would love any new suggestions.

I love the random delicious veggie entree -- that's actually one of the things I like to look out for: I'd put Blackbyrd's amazing vegan gyro on that list (housemade seitan!); and the barbecue sandwich at the new Smoke and Barrel; I love to chow down at the soon-to-reopen Bar Pilar, which has amazing beet salad and roasted potato; and I've found more vegetarian offerings on the menu at El Centro DF. The veggie burger at BGR is a favorite, too.

My husband and I are vegetarians and we had some great vegetarian hot dogs with all the trimmings in Williamsburg, VA. Is there any place in DC where I can find great veggie dogs? Thanks!

Surprisingly, there aren't many veggie dog options in DC. You can stop by Summer Delights in Takoma Park (they have vegan muffins and ice cream, too!) or Ben's Chili Bowl, but if you're vegan, the veggie dog is out (it's made with egg) -- they've got great vegan chili though!  

Thanks for taking my question, we have already done Jaleo and Zatyina, I should have made that clear. Anything new to the scene? Trying to coordinate with friends who live in blue/yellow and red line, so really doesnt have to be chinatown, but could do farragut area or south dupont. Thanks so much!

Not quite new, but I'm always surprised at how many veggie dishes there are on the menu at Oyamel -- rice sauteed with corn fritters and cheese, grilled cactus with tomatillos, cheese and chilies, fantastic brussels sprouts, etc.

Lavanya's also saying you should check out Pho DC if you haven't...

Most injera made in the states is made with a teff/wheat-flour combo. Make sure to call and ask the restaurant before assuming.

Thanks for the advice!

True, but most of your better known Ethiopian places -- Etete, Dukem -- advertise they're gluten-free. I know the injera you buy at the Ethiopian market next to Dukem is.

Any place good on the orange/blue lines? There will be a group of about 10-20 ages ranging from mid 20s to mid 40s. Laid back (no strict dress code, no hefty cover, affordable drinks) and hopefully not too crowded/loud? Thanks!

You just described the magic unicorn of bars: Cheap, quiet, unpretentious, undiscovered and plays the exact kind of music you like. That said, how about Farragut West, and Eden? Or Public Bar? They have a dress code at Eden, but if you're going dancing, you may as well dress up a little. Public Bar will be a little bit more of a walk, but they do fit the unpretentious bill, especially if you get there before 11 on a weekend night.

Check out District of Pi for vegan deep dish! Call a few hours in advance though to make sure they have the vegan deep dish crust already prepared for you.

Thanks for the tip.  Deep dish without a ton of butter sounds like the second magical unicorn in today's chat.

All the scientific data and studies show that seafood like mussels, clams and scallops have no ability to process thoughts. They basically have no brain and no ability to process pain in a traditional way. Why do most Vegans avoid eating them and if so, shouldn't you also abstain from any plants that can respond in a similar manner. Fruits and nuts would still be ok though.

Great questions. While most people thought decades years ago that fish probably don't feel pain, the scientific community has looked at new research and now overwhelmingly agrees that fish do indeed experience pain. This opens the door to wonder if we've also been wrong about other aquatic animals - and if we're unsure, seems preferable to err on the side of caution, especially since we can satisfy all of our nutritional needs with plant-based foods (and since there are so many veg options in DC!). On the other hand, the scientific community still overwhelming agrees that plants don't feel pain. And if we want to err on the side of caution here, eating veg foods is still the best option since we eat fewer plants when we eat them directly rather than ineffeciently feeding vast quantities of plants to farmed animals in order to eat their flesh.

Okay, we're out. Thanks for playing today, guys, and for all your veggie questions. Back to bars and such next week. See you then.

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The Going Out Gurus
The Going Out Gurus are the experts behind The Washington Post's Going Out Guide. They write about restaurants, bars, movies, the arts, special events and visitor attractions, and they're out every night to keep you on top of the D.C. entertainment scene.
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