What's a vegan and her omni boyfriend to do for dinner in DC? Obviously there has to be fabulous food, romantic atmosphere, and with any luck, money leftover for booze. Here's what I've been considering.
#1. Dream-date: Reservations for two at Restaurant Eve
I've been wanting to go to this fabulous restaurant for a while. Its definitely a special occasion spot for our budget, but the couple-run Old Town destination has been getting raves on their creative cuisine and excellent drinks. And the best part? Right there, on the website:
"While our menu does not reflect many vegetarian / vegan options, we happily accommodate and serve vegetarians / vegans regularly. All one needs to do is let us know ahead of time."
Sounds perfect! Meat for my bf, vegan delicacies for me, and the famous sommelier for both of us.
The downside? The whole V-day weekend is booked, and even if it weren't, I might feel guilty about blowing the entire budget on a Hallmark-manufactured holiday. *Sigh!* Maybe next year.
#2. Beat the Crowds: A non-Price-Fixed Smorgasbord at an Ethnic Restaurant
Usually the places that everyone herds to on V-day are French or Italian hotspots with outrageously overpriced fixed menus. Now, there is something to be said for a thematic dinner and a restaurant full of other couples, but French and Italian places tend not to be kind to vegans, expecially with a special menu just for v-day (each special containing meat, of course). Why not go to an awesome Indian or Chinese restaurant and have a ball without breaking the bank? We could spend more money than we usually do and still be way below the Valentines day standard of a $65-$85 special menu, not including drinks.
The downside? It sounded like a good idea... There are quite a few Indian and Chinese restaurants listed on Washingtonion, but oddly enough, plenty of the nice ones also have $75 priced V-day menus. The not-as-fancy ones tend to be in strip-malls in Vienna... but I'll keep looking.
#3. D.I.Y.: Fix an elaborate, romantic vegan meal at home
This is the cheapest option. Even if we set the grocery budget at $100 (which I highly doubt we could spend) we'd still be saving big bucks as expensive as the night usually is. I mean, we could even get truffle oil and organic strawberries and fancy wine, and I bet we still wouldn't break $70 for the whole shebag. Here's a couple ideas for dishes:
-Mini pizzas (shaped like hearts!) with roasted garlic, plum tomatoes and roasted red peppers
- Carmelized shallot salad from V'Con
-Portabello mushrooms w/ port wine reduction over mashed potatoes with garlicky broccoli rabe
-Fancy shmancy NSA wine & champagne
-chocolate dipped strawberries (or maybe cupcakes from Sticky Fingers!)
I think this would be both a do-able and romantic dinner- all though I'm betting my bf would want to sub a petite filet for the mushrooms. :P
The downside? Atmosphere! Pushing aside the issue of roomate and doggy presence, dining in a room adjacent to the kitchen means having to watch the dirty dishes piled up in the sink. Not to mention that cooking all day doesn't leave me much time to get dolled up or find a red tablecloth of any other of the valentine's day nonsense. And call me old fashioned, but part of me likes to be wined and dined on special occasions. *Sigh*
So far, option three looks best, but I'm still searching out cheap-ish Indian restaurants. Restaurant Eve and its ilk will have to wait till next year (or when I'm makin big bucks as a public interest atty- ha!)