Monday, October 21, 2013

Where to Eat Vegan at Union Station

Sunrise Caribbean has several vegan options 
[UPDATE:  YO! Sushi has closed. Big Bite (now open in the lower level food court) has one vegan hot dog, made of the Field Roast Italian Sausage Link.]

[UPDATE 2: Sunrise Caribbean, Aditi Kitchen, and Vittorio's have all closed due to the construction of a Walgreens store in the food court area. Sunrise has an on again/off again kiosk at Union Station, but has also opened a full service restaurant at 5329 Georgia Avenue NW. Dangerously Delicious Pies also closed up shop. They have a nearby-ish store at 7th and I NW in Chinatown]

About to board a train or bus for a long trip? Waiting for the MARC or VRE to take you home? Just around for lunch? Here are some vegan-friendly spots to grab a bite at Union Station before or after your travels.

[NOW CLOSED]1. Sunrise Caribbean Cuisine: Hands down, this is the best option in Union Station. About half of the rotating daily menu is vegan. The collards, cabbage, and veggie rice are amazing as stand-alone dishes, but typically people get them as sides to the main dish. I order the vegan jerk chicken (#1) or the vegan bbq steak (close second). No joke, the jerk chicken will make you invent reasons to come back to Union Station. A main dish + two sides costs less than $10.

2. Le Pain Quotidien: First of all, they make a pretty good soy latte to take away if you're on the run. The best part is the standing-room-only tables, which are great if you want to sip on coffee for just a minute without being seated. The menu is partially seasonal, but is very similar to the other area locations. Try a vegan tartine, steel cut oatmeal, or ask for the vegan organic soup of the day with one of their vegan breads.

3. Roti: Really only one option at this Mediterranean fast casual spot, but it is consistently tasty: the falafel rice plate. You get three sides. I like the cous cous, cucumber/tomato salad, and roasted vegetables. FYI - the pita bread is not vegan, so go with the rice plate, not sandwich.

[NOW CLOSED] 4. YO! Sushi: Limited selection, but the vibe is fun and the staff is great. Stick with the miso soup, cucumber maki, vegetable yakisoba, and seaweed salad. The avocado rolls aren't vegan off the belt, but you can special order them vegan for no additional cost.

5. Chop't: Make your own vegan salad or go with the Vegetarian Powerhouse. There are several vegan dressings; 5 Flavor Asian and Spa Sesame Asian are the best. 

[NOW CLOSED6. Aditi Indian Kitchen: This Indian restaurant is located on the downstairs food-court level. Half of the 4-6 daily offerings are vegetarian, and usually vegan. Ask to be sure, as some contain dairy. I stick to the aloo gobi (potatos and cauliflower), string beans porial, vegetable samosas, and bhajias (aka pakoras). If they're serving it and you ask nicely, you can get the vegetable biryani as a base instead of white rice.

7. Chipotle: Order the vegan black bean burrito with fajita vegetables and guacamole. BONUS: Chipotle is slated to begin testing its vegan sofrito burrito at DC stores TODAY. 

[NOW CLOSEDDangerously Delicious Pies: If they have a berry pie on the menu, it's likely vegan, just ask. Good coffee.

[NOW CLOSEDVittorio's/Mama Ilardo's: They have dairy-free sorbets.