So you don't eat meat? Avoid dairy? Eschew eggs? Ask any local vegan and you'll be directed to well-known dining favorites that are largely lacto- and ovo-free, such as lunch spot Java Green (1020 19th St. NW), the new Indian joint Nirvana (1810 K St. NW) or the pan-Asian Sunflower (2531 Chain Bridge Rd., Vienna). But to support D.C. area businesses that are 100 percent animal-free -- especially with this being Vegan Month -- we offer these options:
EVERLASTING LIFE. 2928 Georgia Ave. NW. 202-232-1700. 9185 Central Ave., Capitol Heights. 301-324-6900. www.everlastinglife.net. Call it a vegan Quick-E-Mart. You'll find basics from pasta to chips to cookies, plus convenience-store surprises like Tofurky kielbasa ($4.59). And at both locations: a juice bar stocked with popular nosh, such as spicy tofu and kale (each $3 to $6). Under the same ownership is the totally vegan Soul Vegetarian -- a sit-down restaurant in the Maryland complex and a takeout down the street from the D.C. market at 2606 Georgia Ave. NW.
GAIL'S VEGETARIAN CATERING. Silver Spring. 301-565-0674. www.gailsvegetarian.com. This 16-year-old company will bring a full vegan meal to groups of 12 to 300. The extensive Web site details a diverse range of options, including a Moroccan carrot salad, Szechuan sesame noodles and a veggie version of the Cajun classic boudin. Bag lunches run about $10, and a sit-down dinner is about $35 per person.
PANGEA. 2381 Lewis Ave., Rockville. 301-816-9300. www.veganstore.com. Primarily a Web-based business selling to people in vegan-light areas, this small market's main draws are faux-leather shoes ($30 to $120) and clothing. But you'll also find a smattering of cruelty-free health and beauty products, cleaning and home supplies, and non-refrigerated foods. Whizzers (an M&Ms substitute) from England are $1.99, and marshmallows packaged under Pangea's own brand, VeganSweets, are $3.99.
STICKY FINGERS BAKERY. 1904 18th St. NW. 202-299-9700. www.stickyfingersbakery.com. Co-owner Kirsten Rosenberg says her goodies are "virtually indistinguishable from traditional baked products" -- and an informal taste test proved her mostly right. This tiny basement bakery offers an array of pastries, cookies and cakes ranging from the obligatorily healthy (like the blueberry muffin, $1.50) to the downright decadent (the cream-filled, oatmeal Cowvin Cookie, $2.50).
THE VEGETABLE GARDEN. 11618 Rockville Pike, Rockville. 301-468-9301. www.thevegetablegarden.com. At this mostly Asian eat-in, color photos fill a massive menu (organic dishes indicated in red ink). Popular meals include Hen of the Woods, a saucy stir-fry with mushrooms, asparagus and red peppers ($15.99), and the Tofu Hot Pot, an organic mix of soy, basil and ginger ($9.79).
YUAN FU VEGETARIAN. 798 Rockville Pike, Rockville. 301-762-5937. This cozy spot's extensive menu looks just like most Chinese food restaurants', but specialties like Crispy Orange Beef With Broccoli obviously don't contain meat. Most entrees are $7.95 to $12.95.
Nicole M. Miller