Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Sweet & Natural

Jesse and I are always on the lookout for new veg-friendly places to eat in the DC-metro area. We particularly miss The Uptown Juice Bar, which is (was? I heard the may have closed) a vegan juice bar and restaurant in Harlem, NY that serves all sorts of yummy vegan soul food. We went all the time when Jesse lived in NYC. Here in DC, we've tried Soul Vegetarian many times (oh that macaroni!) and Everlasting Life Cafe (delicious!), but a co-worker recently told me that Sweet & Natural opened a small vegan eatery in Mt. Rainier, MD. I've long enjoyed their baked goods at places like Java Green and Roots Market so upon learning that they had a rotating menu of deliciousness, I needed to give it a try.

We got there just as they were about to close for the night on a Saturday (which I believe is 8 pm). I thought we might be out of luck but they still graciously served us dinner to go. I had the fried chicken, vegan gumbo and cauliflower gratin. A member of the staff asked me if I wanted to try their barbecue tofu too and when I said yes (how could I not?), she piled it on. I also got hot sauce for my "chicken". AMAZING. It's been many years since I stopped eating our feathered friends and the only thing I occasionally missed was tenders and hot sauce. NO MORE. This is sheer crispy crunchy spicy perfection!

When we patronize new veg restaurants, I feel a responsibility to really patronize them. So we ordered: two of these giant entrees (see picture), cornbread, banana bread, a lemon raspberry cupcake and a jelly thumbprint cookie. One of the staff members thought that they cupcake in the case wasn't fresh enough, so he went to the back to get me another one. And a different staff member insisted we take two of their veggie beef hand pies home to try. All of this vegan deliciousness? $30. We can barely get two salads out somewhere in this city for $30.

I want to sign the praises of this place from the rooftops! Please make the trip out there so that this place stays open! It's delicious.

If you go: Sweet & Natural is located at 4009 34 St., Mt. Rainier, MD. Warning: There is a lack of signage out front, so be on the lookout for it. It's located near Glut natural grocer. Their menu rotates and they don't have a website as far as I can tell, so be prepared to be surprised!

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