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Picky Mother, Vegan Sister-in-Law - Birthday Lunch


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So here is the situation...

Mom's 70th B-day lunch on Memorial Day Monday...so we are looking for someplace nice...but not overly formal or stuffy.

Mom is a somewhat picky eater, struggles with most ethnic food (esp. Mexican/Indian/Asian countries), spicy food, pasta.

Sister-in-law is vegan

Everyone is staying in the Dupont area, so ideally something close by/walking distance. Suburbs not ideal.

We are already hitting Jaleo and Zaytinya during the weekend.

Tabard Inn would normally be a great spot for a Mom B-day celebration...but their vegan policy is the "veggie plate" consisting of whatever veggies they have that day. Yawn.

Thoughts/suggestions?

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Founding Farmers is a good 15 minutes walk from Dupont though. I think Firefly is the only thing that comes to mind that might fit the bill?

Ezme and Agora are on the the vegdc site, but are Turkish/Med cuisine, so maybe out. Other "safer" bets, but probably not as spectacular maybe Pizzeria Paradiso and maybe Ping Pong Dim Sum (although this option is probably not as satisfying for the money spent).

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Founding Farmers is in the running. The menu is even handily marked with "v" and "vg" to note the meatless options.

I thought of Firely as well. the menu online isn't particularly vegan friendly...but I'll give them a call to see what they can do.

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Is your mother okay with pizza, and is Pizza Paradiso nice enough? They've got some salads without meat, fish, or cheese, and some of the others might be able to be ordered without cheese. The pizzas can be customized, and they also have soy cheese.

[Oops. I didn't see PIzza Paradiso mentioned above.]

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Pizza? Paradiso does vegan pizza.

Nicer, probably, huh?

Firefly?

Darlington House?

(Obviously left this sitting too long before hitting post!)

Edited by saf
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pizza is an option...but vegan pizza just seems wrong!

Pizza bianca! Traditionally, it's made simply with garlic, coarse salt, olive oil and herbs.

However, two things FWIW:

1) this is a birthday dinner for the 70-year-old mother, not the vegan SIS, so go where you think the guest of honor would be happiest within your price range.

Calling Tabard Inn ahead to request something more substantial than an assortment of the day's vegetables for the vegan with suggestions that slightly modify what's already on the menu might work. For example, they offer lentils in soup and as a side dish, I would imagine. Pasta could be made without eggs--even if it means a high-quality packaged, vs. house-made noodle. That's about all you can do for an adult who has most likely been in this situation many, many times before and knows how best to cope. (Give her directions to Amsterdam Falafel for a late lunch beforehand.)

2) Since Nora's not within your price range for a large party, it's off the list. As someone who's eaten there just a few months ago, I can say that even though the restaurant is no longer on anyone's radar--in part, because its insistence on local, organic, seasonal ingredients is now standard vs. innovative--I thoroughly enjoyed a delicious meal. Nothing particularly jazzy, lots of uncomplicated comfort foods somewhere in between Europe, Northern California and Columbus, Ohio, beautifully presented and totally not scary. Plus, I really wished I had the stand-out vegan option that Don raved about elsewhere: an exquisite tofu hot pot.

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Honestly, I wish I could just tell the sister-in-law to suck it up this one time. But that's not going to work.

I spoke to Tabard Inn already. They told me that the only vegan specific item they do is the veg plate and the rest of the menu isn't vegan friendly. They were quite matter-of fact about it and I didn't feel like arguing with them.

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Is Clyde's in Georgetown to far to go? It is far from my favorite Clyde's location but the food is solid, if uninspired. They have a hummus app, plus lots of salads.

I've never been to Urbana but I've always been intrigued. Their lunch menu loos like it has decent options.

Good luck!

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It'd be worth calling Urbana and asking them - it's a pleasant place to have a meal, your mother would probably like it, and Urbana could tell you if the minestrone is vegan, if the eggplant sandwich would be vegan if the goat cheese was omitted, if the "market pizza" could be done cheeseless, etc. SIL could have hummos, olives, and the fancy field greens salad for sure.

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The key will be finding out what restaurants will be open on Memorial Day, and what hours, if so. Since most businesses will be closed, a lot of places could also be closed or have reduced hours. For a 70th Bday, I'm trying to think of places that may have some sort of uniqueness or difference to them.

Note: I'm used to perusing menus for picky eaters and for my own allergies and the places I've mentioned have at least some items that are vegetarian and may be vegan, but would of course have to be verified. (You should see how difficult it is to find a restaurant to suit my family--we've got several allergies, picky eaters, vegan, gluten intolerance, fructose intolerance... :wacko: !)

Kramer Books & Afterwords has quite a variety on their extensive menu. It's not "nice" per se, but definitely a unique experience and may suit all diners. It's also right in the heart of Dupont.

Another restaurant in Dupont is Scion.

South of Dupont on Connecticut is Casa Nonna, which has much more than pasta and something may appeal to your Mom.

Further south on Connecticut is The Mayflower Hotel Cafe Promenade. It's the Mayflower, need I say more?

A little west of Dupont is Hudson at 21st & M.

Further west of Dupont and very European-like, is Bread & Chocolate at 23rd & M.

And there is a Hotel across the street from Hudson that I can't recall the name, but there is a restaurant within that is supposed to be very good with a nice variety. I'll try to remember to look tomorrow when I'm driving in to work.

ETA-a bit east of Dupont, Logan Tavern and The Commissary. I can't access the menus right now and haven't been to the latter, but the former was able to accommodate my family--and every one was happy. Now that is a tall order.

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The advantage to the holiday is that some places that don't normally offer brunch might be offering brunch. This sounds like something that's going to require a bunch of phone calls, but the upside to that is it might be better for determining how far a place will go to offer vegan fare.

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wow you guys are great! Equinox and Firefly are on my call list today.

several restaurants are closed for lunch on that day...like the Tabard Inn (who had to call me back to tell me that they are indeed closed that day for lunch, after they said they would be open...yeah Tabard Inn you are not scoring many points on this one!)

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like the Tabard Inn (who had to call me back to tell me that they are indeed closed that day for lunch, after they said they would be open...yeah Tabard Inn you are not scoring many points on this one!)

Man, I'd be exactly the opposite - props to Tabard for actually calling you right back rather than waiting until that weekend or having you show up to closed doors...

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Man, I'd be exactly the opposite - props to Tabard for actually calling you right back rather than waiting until that weekend or having you show up to closed doors...

That is true...they could have not called at all. But they weren't making the cut anyway, due to the dreaded "vegetable plate"

ok, folks...so here is the verdict: Equinox closed, Firefly closed, Tabard Inn closed...basically, Monday lunch on Memorial Day not a happening time for restaurants.

We have a reservation for Founding Farmers, who will be serving their brunch menu...with a seperate vegan menu. That's about as good as it is going to get!

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We have a reservation for Founding Farmers, who will be serving their brunch menu...with a seperate vegan menu. That's about as good as it is going to get!

That sounds like an excellent choice. Kudos to you for going to so much trouble.

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