I am not a resolution maker. I just know myself better than that. However, it does feel good and natural to try to clean up my eating habits after the holidays, in the name of balance. We’ve spent the majority of 2017 so far eating healthy meals at home and cutting back on some of our favorite indulgences, like cheese and beer and fried food (sigh). After finally getting over my cold, we decided we needed a proper date night this weekend. In order to keep the healthy streak alive, we hit up Fare Well on H Street for a delicious vegan dinner with flare.
While I don’t come close to following a completely vegan lifestyle, I enjoy dining at vegan restaurants and cooking vegan dishes a couple times a week. We loved everything about Fare Well, including the incredibly clever name, from the minute we entered. Service was welcoming right off the bat, as we settled into the bar to take advantage of happy hour.
Happy Hour is offered daily, including weekends, at the bar with $5 beer, wine and seasonal punch. All wine and beer is served on tap to reduce the environmental impact of bottles and cans. The selection isn’t huge, but both wines Tom and I tried (a rosé and a Pinot Noir) were quite good.
We’d only eaten a light brunch earlier in the day, so we were ready to do some major work on the menu. All of the starters and salads sounded wonderful, making it hard to choose just two. After much deliberation, we settled on the polenta fries with garlic aioli and tomato jam and the buffalo cauliflower dip with toasted baguette.
Both starters were delicious. The polenta fries were crispy on the outside, soft and creamy on the inside with a wonderful herbaceous flavor. They should sell the bottle and sell the garlic aioli, which was so decadent I couldn’t believe it was actually vegan.
The buffalo cauliflower dip, made with roasted and whipped cauliflower and buffalo cashew cream, was heavenly and addictive. The buffalo flavor wasn’t quite as pronounced as I’d hoped for, but it had an excellent creamy texture and a nice subtle spice level.
I knew what my entrée choice would be as soon as I glanced at the menu. It’s hard to find pierogis in DC, so any time they’re available I am sure to order them. Fare Well’s take includes cashew cheddar, garlic and onion pierogis on top of sauerkraut and sautéed seasonal greens and topped with vegan sour cream.
This was another winner. The pierogis had a little more chew to them than I prefer, but the filling made up for it. I love sauerkraut, and the greens were cooked perfectly so this plate made me very happy. Fare Well does an excellent job of using a variety of flavor profiles to keep each dish interesting, despite the lack of meat and dairy.
I was vegetarian for a while in my early 20’s, so I’m pretty familiar with the myriad meat substituted available. Tom, not so much. However, being the food adventurer that he is, he had no problem throwing caution to the wind and ordering the southern fried seitan platter with roasted potatoes, greens and an herbed mushroom gravy.
Derived from the protein portion of wheat, seitan is a dense meat substitute that can take on the texture of beef or chicken. I haven’t always enjoyed it in the past, but how can you go wrong with a deep-fried version smothered in gravy? While he’s unlikely to give up his beloved fried chicken completely, Tom enjoyed this cholesterol-free version of one of his favorite foods. The roasted potatoes were some of the best we’ve had at a restaurant in a long time.
Fare Well is owned by the same people who are behind Sticky Fingers bakery in Columbia Heights, meaning the sweets are definitely on point. While we were too full for dessert right away, we knew we had to stop by the bakery counter and grab some goodies to go. My sister-in-law gave up dairy and gluten while she’s breastfeeding, so we got two gluten-free vegan chocolate chip cookies for her. We also took home a vegan fluffernutter for ourselves.
This indulgent little nugget was fabulous and would please even the sweetest sweet tooth.
Although this meal was a little heavier in carbs than we’re used to, we left feeling light and satisfied. I love the Fare Well’s commitment to sustainability and how accessible they make their cuisine for vegans and carnivores alike. We won’t become vegans anytime soon, but already have plans to return to try their brunch items and the veggie burgers.