Monday, March 2, 2015

DC Vegan Catering

Spunky -- that is the word that comes to mind when I think of Leah Curran Moon.  I met her one day in a dance class at Dance Place while she was earning her PhD in Public Policy and Public Administration.  We danced together, we laughed together, and somewhere down the line I discovered she was a feminist, band member, and vegan as well. So, we connected on Facebook, but lost touch for a while. Then, out of the blue, she tells me that she and her husband, Michael, just started a vegan catering company. DC Vegan Catering is the name and fresh food is their game.

Originally from Cleveland, Leah and Michael's friends over at Cleveland Vegan Catering inspired them to start a branch of this business in DC. Entrepreneurs at heart, Leah and Michael's business plan is now coming to fruition and they are excited to not only promote delicious vegan foods, but DC pride as well.

This 100% vegan catering business is up and running and operating out of Union Kitchen, DC's food incubator that serves as a place for budding entrepreneurs to take up shop and use commercial grade kitchen space at reasonable prices. They took us on a tour of the facility and it was, for lack of a better descriptor, super cool. They have access to all of the commercial equipment they could ever need from ice cream makers to large ovens and even a marketing company that houses itself in the same space. The vibe, they say, is inspiring, as the kitchen comes alive during the week with food entrepreneurs excited about their small businesses.

DC Vegan Catering has hired two chefs while Michael also works full-time in the kitchen and Leah manages the business side of things. As they are now set-up to take orders, they treated me and Chris to a meal showcasing a few of their favorite dishes.

First on the menu was the Cauliflower Wings. If I were to describe the perfect vegan buffalo cauliflower dish, it would be this one. On one side of the platter was soft, yet crisp cauliflower slathered and baked in buffalo sauce -- the buffalo sauce that Chris proclaimed was the closest to the buffalo sauce he so enjoyed throughout his life. On the other side, was a yummy mango sriracha version of the cauliflower. Both were made even better with the addition of a Ranch dressing that was very thick and loaded with dill. If I were to have a party, I would order tons of these!

Next up was the entree. I'll start with the main dish -- the Chesapeake Tofucakes. Served over a light coleslaw, these tofu-based crab-like cakes were coated with panko breadcrumbs and baked to perfection. The lemon aioli served to complement them perfectly by adding creamy, lemony flavor to the Old Bay-spiced crispy cakes. On the side were the Mashers, a buttery vegan version of mashed potatoes made with Yukon gold potatoes and sauteed leeks.

We were so full, but when the plate of cookies and truffles appeared, how could we resist?  The thumbprint cookies were sugar cookies filled with sweet raspberry jam and were reminiscent of the thumbprint cookies I so enjoyed as a child.

Also, on the menu are amazing dark chocolate truffles. We, of course, had to indulge in both flavors -- one covered in pecans and one in coconut. These coconut milk-based truffles are made with freeze-dried coffee and flavored with vanilla. They'll melt in your mouth, not in your hands.

The chef even gave me her version of vegan Butterfinger bars and they are really to die for! I'm truly excited about this new business. What I really like is that their menu is diverse enough to cater to a wide variety of events. I could see catering an office breakfast meeting with the Bullfrog Garden Bialy bagels, Lemon Mint Fruit Salad, and Chewy Breakfast Bars. Then, for the Superbowl party, you have Corn and Black Bean Boats, Cauliflower Wings, and a Hummus Platter. And for the wedding, you have Three Grain Bake in a cashew sauce, Beet Burgers, and Chesapeake Tofucakes with Raw Salted Caramel Chocolate Cups.  Yeah, it's like that!

To raise money for their new venture, they are selling these awesome DC Vegan t-shirts as well. View the video promotion here, and order the shirt here. And, yes, the girlie shirts are girlie cut. I am truly excited about DC Vegan Catering and how they will complement our limited DC vegan food offerings. To place a catering order, go here.

Go DC. Go Vegan.

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