I had an amazing time visiting with my parents during the Christmas holiday in Alexandria, VA. While we always have great food, I must say that our visit to DC’s Woodlands Vegan Bistro was my food highlight from my visit.
Woodlands Vegan Bistro is located in the north west part of DC on Georgia Avenue. It is actually only a few blocks away from my alma mater, Howard University. I so wish Woodlands had been there when I was a student. I would’ve definitely purchased a meal plan there!
The restaurant is completely vegan ~ no animal products or byproducts. They serve a special hot dish every day (they had two when we visited!) with sides that include sweet potatoes, mac & cheese, okra & tomatoes, and cornbread stuffing. Plus, they have a slew of salad selections and sandwiches. I couldn’t find it anywhere on their menu or website, but I would say that when the need for good, soul/comfort food hits — Woodlands is your best bet.
Let’s talk food: To order at Woodlands, we had to go to the far back of the restaurant. Once there, we were greeted with an array of homecooked, fresh food and a warm smile. Before arriving, I had already decided that our best bet was to order family style instead of each person ordering his/her own plate. I wanted to try a variety of items since it would be some time before I would be back in the area. The nice lady fixing our food helped us get our portions just right.
From the hot bar, we ordered chick’n drummies (which I read great things about), 3 slices of barbecue roast, mac and cheese (which I also read great things about), and greens. We got a nice-sized helping of potato salad, garlic kale, and artichoke from the salad bar. But, we weren’t finished yet. The top of the hot bar and salad bar were lined with sweet treats — I, of course, grabbed the huge cinnamon roll and a slice of red velvet cake grabbed my mom’s eye. We wanted more, but decided to not get too greedy. Oh, I almost forgot about the huge slice of cornbread! Yep, we got that too.
So, how was everything? It was great, of course! The chick’n drummies were surprisingly good. I was a little hesitant about trying them, but the texture and taste were spot on. Oh, and the cute bamboo-like “bone” in the center was a very nice touch. The mac & cheese was creamy, creamy, creamy, creamy – perfection, which was a nice accompaniment to the saucy barbecue roast. I was in soul food heaven. Here’s the truth about the greens: I didn’t try them. I’m not much of a fan of greens, so I let my parents take those on. I recall them finishing it all. Now, for the salad bar. The potato salad was EVERYTHING! After finishing the dollop that was on my plate, I went back in for seconds. As soon as my Dad saw what I was doing, he quickly wanted to make sure that I wasn’t going to take the last scoop that was left on our family plate. He wanted seconds too! I left him a few potato chunks — he was happy with that. The artichoke salad held its own, and I let me parents take on the kale salad, which they both enjoyed. Oh, and the cornbread deserves its very own paragraph. Meet me below.
It was so, so good. Plus, it is huge. My mom is a cornbread fan, I am not. So, I was really not excited to try it but she kindly gave me the other half of hers, so I dug in. It had this slight sweetness, mixed with the grittiness of real corn meal. It wasn’t soft like the boxed kind of cornbread that I was so familiar with. This had real ingredients. I can’t really explain it except to say that its cornbread at its tastiest.
Lastly, the desserts! The morning after visiting Woodlands, I woke up dreaming about the cinnamon roll. I tried to think of a way to talk my parents back into taking that long drive simply for the chance to try it again. Enough said, but I will say a little bit more. The cinnamon roll is huge. We were able to cut it into 4 big chunks. The dough was so cinnamony and doughy, which I like, and the icing was the perfect “icing on top.” The red velvet cake was red velvet cake, but I honestly couldn’t keep my hands or mind off of the cinnamon roll, which is where all of my attention was focused.
The true sign that this is a place you should definitely pay a visit to, is my meat-eating, I-just-ate-a-huge-steak-two-days-ago, Dad. He really, really enjoyed it. Be sure to take a look at the pictures below from my visit.
For more information about Woodlands, visit www.woodlandsveganbistro.com.