As a non-meat eater, I get overly excited when I see an abundance of delicious-sounding vegetarian items on a menu. This causes me to over-order and over-extend my budget — not to mention my waistline. So, here’s to reeling it in, and saving some menu highlights for next time!
s a fan of Founding Farmers and Farmer’s Fishers and Bakers, it seemed only fair to try out the third Farmer in this D.C. trio, particularly because this one also fancies herself (ugh, fine, or himself) a distiller. The restaurant feels hip with just the right amount of whimsy. A sculpture of frisky beavers play hide-and-seek with bar-goers, and a ceiling of white flowers crown one of the seating areas. It’s all quite tastefully done, but I won’t mince words — I didn’t come here to visit with mynewfound beaver friends or gaze at the ceiling. No, the reason I came was to taste a forbidden fruit. My one, singular food obsession: The Impossible Burger. Supposedly a veggie burger so meat-like that it actually bleeds. But before we can even get to the burger, I have a confession: I also ordered two of the world’s largest appetizers, which may or may not have affected my appetite.
Note to future self: It’s not an eating contest!
The Money Score
This place is certainly not cheap, but you do get a lot of food for the price. Just ask the elastic on my pants. You pay a premium for the homemade Farmer’s and Distillers spirits, with my Bubbles and Berries cocktail clocking in at $15 for a dainty flute of berries and vodka. I’ve seen grandmothers take down bigger drinks than this. A free plate of three powdered-sugar donut holes did ease my wallet pain — though not my stomach pain — at the end of the meal.
The Consciousness Score
One thing that this place does well is tell you where your food comes from. An entire section of the menu is dedicated to illuminating the farms that provide the various ingredients. Now, you may not want to know that you’re eating Pugsly, Farmer John’s favorite pig, but it almost goes that far. When it comes to the lab-created Impossible Burger, things get a little weird. This burger is sold to certain restaurants by a San Francisco food-tech company, and the natural ingredient that makes it so meaty is called soy leghemoglobin. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration decided not to slap a seal of approval just yet, due to safety concerns about the possibility that this additive could trigger allergies. While that may sound scary, it’s still totally fine for the company to sell, and for people to consume (probably). This is all to say that I’m basically the Evel Knievel of veggie-burger tasters.
The ‘All The Feels’ Score
As I mentioned, the décor is whimsical with a taste of the Target Home section, and dinnerware from the White House. Gold metal pineapples line the back of the bar, while the leather-bound menus look like they contain the first draft of the Constitution. It’s a weird mix, but I’m into it. The wait-staff was quick, friendly and efficient, and my food appeared almost immediately after ordering. A more insecure person might think they were trying to get me out of there as fast as possible. But, I was too busy soaking in the endless vegetarian menu options, and then basking in the sudden envy of nearby diners as my giant appetizers hit the table.
What I ordered
Um, did I mention I love bread? Maybe it’s my intense love of French baguette — I was known for taking down one a day when I lived in Paris — but anytime an entire boule of bread ($6) with a perfect crackly crust and chewy center is delivered to my table, I am overcome with joy. A thick slice slathered in whipped butter, and I am in carb heaven. Place a literal kettle of kettle corn ($6) in front of me, and I will weep from truly being seen for the first time. Can you see why I was a little full when my entrée arrived?
My Impossible Burger ($14) came stuffed with cheese, topped with an array of veggies and sauces, and placed in-between a brioche bun the size of D.C. The first bite was a little strange; it had the mouthfeel of meat (at least as far as I can remember) with a bit of pink peeking out from the char on top. I could almost say it tasted too much like meat, but before I had a chance to mull it over, I’d taken three more bites. Final Verdict: It was pretty damn good, but probably not something I’d order every time.
Oh, did I mention it came with fries? Thick, crispy fries that I couldn’t stop eating. So good, in fact, that while I was deep in my “I can’t eat another bite” monologue, I spotted a rogue fry stuck beneath my sandwich, and immediately shoved it in my mouth.
Aside from the free donut holes, for dessert I got a scoop of handspun strawberry ice cream ($4) because I simultaneously hate and love myself. The flavor was on point, but, I feared if I put one more spoonful in my mouth, I would forever be stuck in the booth.
Total Bill (without tax or tip) $45
Despite the sting of the price tag, I did go home with half a loaf of bread, a bag of kettle corn, and two-thirds of a burger. Once my pants fit again, I plan to go back for round two.