Below is a post by Dawn Bickett. Read more of Dawn’s posts here.
For many of us working in environmental fields, food choice is either a matter of principle or an area of personal conflict, as Jen Howard discussed in her recent post on healthy eating. Whether it is local, organic, fair trade, vegetarian, or some combination, we want what we eat to align with what we do.
But strict diets can make events like Restaurant Week, with fixed menus that often overlook non-meat eaters, disappointing. Thankfully, DC Vegan, The Kindness Collective, and Compassion Over Killing collaborate each year to put on Meat-Free Week, a celebration of all foods animal product-free. Started as a response to Meat Week (which precedes Restaurant Week and is exactly what you guessed) Meat-Free Week provide non-meat eaters with a celebration of their own. Now in its fourth year, Meat-Free Week fills 7 days with cooking classes, pop-up restaurants, and discounts on vegan and vegetarian fare across the city.
As a vegan new to DC, Meat-Free Week immediately caught my attention. Even days beforehand, most of the events were already sold out—a testament to the thriving vegetarian community in the District—but I did manage to snag a spot at the BBQ Kick-Off Party hosted by Cupcake Wars-winning Sticky Fingers Bakery.
Sticky Fingers is not known for its dinner options, so I was pleasantly surprised by their delicious Southern BBQ-style meal, complete with coleslaw, cornbread, collards, and sweet tea. Among the dishes, the real standout was their BBQ pulled “pork,” which achieved a pleasant soft and chewy texture that shone through the tangy and smoky sauce that covered it. And no meal at Sticky Fingers is complete without one of their award (and show) winning cupcakes. In this case, the chosen variety was a peanut butter banana cupcake so good that I seriously contemplated purchasing a few more to bring home.
Beyond the food, the Sticky Fingers event was enjoyable simply for the sense of camaraderie that filled the room. Diners were not just taking advantage of a chance for a good meal, but were genuinely excited to support and participate in a vegetarian DC event.
Meat-Free Week runs in early February with new events added each year. You can keep track of this event and other vegan news at the DC Vegan blog. Whether you are vegan or a carnivore, Meat-Free Week provides a delicious alternative to the usual dinner fare in DC.
Banana Peanut Butter Cupcake at Sticky Fingers Bakery
Want to know more about how to help your food choices match your work? Check out our Community Gardens resource page!