It should be quite obvious by now that none of the writers for EDC are vegan. We’re not even vegetarian or pescatarian. So, when we were alerted of Chef Todd Gray’s new White Truffle VEGAN brunch at the 15.5 year old Equinox restaurant our emotions ranged from curiosity to flat out fear. However, knowing of Gray’s strong culinary background, his dedication to using local, seasonal, and sustainable ingredients, and his upcoming participating in DCCK’s Capital Food Fight fundraiser (one of DC’s best events of the year) – we figured there must be a reason why Equinox has been able to stick around for so long in DC’s ever changing restaurant scene.
The offering of a vegan brunch started with a simple request from his charismatic wife, and co-owner, Ellen K. Gray. Not quite convinced the new concept would work, their vegan brunch was held once a month. It was a hit. So they upped the ante and offered it every other weekend – which proved a little confusing for guests. Now, every Sunday is vegan brunch day. Equinox’s vegan offerings are so successful that they’ve had guests hug-it-out and cry in gratitude. Apparently finding quality vegan options in the area is not as easy as one might think. “The vegans are some of our best customers.”
Gray’s newest vegan brunch menu incorporates those special, elusive, and notoriously expensive fungi…the white truffle. Although the buffet is small with a little more than a hand-full of options, the food is filling, and the cocktails delicious. A little off the wall, one can expect the Gray’s to always be changing things up. They like to keep people guessing, and having fun. With white table cloths and crystal clear glassware gracing their tables, one might expect a stuffy restaurant experience, yet the Grays are anything but.
The first white truffle brunch buffet included Truffled Risotto Fritters (served with Garlic Chive Veganaise), Truffled Calypso Bean Soup (Path Valley Parsnips, Celeriac, and Shaved Truffles) – and we have the recipe below graciously provided by Chef Gray himself, Toasted Couscous Salad (Burgundy Poached Forbidden Apple, Spiced Pumpkin Seeds and Hazelnut Vinaigrette) Baby Spinach and Radicchio Salad (Shaved Young Fennel, Pomegranate and Tangerine Vinaigrette) Truffled Lentil “Cassoulet” (Slow Cooked Golden Beets, Caramelized Brussels Sprouts and Panko Crumbs) Spiced Bartlett Pear Stuffed French Toast (Granola Crust and Maple Syrup), A Selection of Vegan Pastries (served with White Truffle Vanilla Anglaise), and a vegan version of a design your own Omelette Station.
After making our way through the new menu, we realized that it’s not difficult to eat vegan, and vegan food can still be absolutely delicious – like those truffled risotto fritters and the truffled calypso bean soup (plus those salads were great). Likely, there are many meals we’ve concocted at home that are actually vegan, it just depends on what you use. Substitute butter for olive oil, or milk for almond milk. However, there is ONE thing that we still stand firm on. We don’t like “faux” meats. Sorry guys, but eggs are eggs and there’s no substitute that will work for us. No more vegan scrambles for us.
In addition to the vegan brunch, Equinox also offers a vegan tasting menu. After browsing the rest of their menus we’re most curious to see what their non-vegan dinner menu offers. We still love our meats and we have to say the Bacon Wrapped Rabbit “Porchetta” is calling our name – along with a huge helping of those risotto fritters.
- 4 Cups shelled fresh Calypso beans or white beans
- 1 small yellow onion, minced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 TBS olive oil
- 1 carrot, peeled and diced
- 1 parsnip, peeled and diced
- 2 celery stalks , diced
- ½ Cup celery root, peeled and diced
- 1 Quart vegetable broth
- 1 Quart home made almond milk or store bought
- 1 TBS fresh chopped thyme
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Truffle melange/ oil to taste
- Soak beans in water overnight
- Heat an 8 qt sauce pot to med temp
- Add oil, onions and garlic
- Cook 4 minutes till shiny and
- Add all other vegetables and drained beans
- Add milk, stock, thyme and
- Salt and pepper
- Gently simmer till beans are tender, approx 30 To. 40 min
- Remove 2 cups of soup and puree
- Add back to soup and incorporate
- This will give the soup body and texture.
- Finish soup with truffle melange and serve with crusty bread
818 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20006
- Passport 2-for-1 Drink Program Comes to DC + Launch Party May 20 - May 11, 2015
- In The Kitchen With Grand Trunk: Savor 1,600 miles of South Asian Cuisine in 1 Quick Serve Menu - April 30, 2015
- Products With A Purpose: 5 Food-Related Earth Friendly Products For Conscientious Consumers - April 6, 2015
- Art Institute of Washington Introduces GETCreative Courses for Teens & Adults + Goat Cheese Ice Cream Recipe - March 12, 2015
- Union Market to Host Cochon 555 Heritage Pig Culinary Competition March 22, 2015 - March 9, 2015
- W Hotel DC’s New Root Cellar Whiskey Bar Offers Happy Hour 5-8pm Monday through Friday - February 12, 2015
- IMUSA Chinese New Year Steamed Veggies & Pineapple Sweet and Sour Sauce Recipe - February 2, 2015
- Curried Stone Crab Risotto Recipe: Sponsored by RSVP International - February 2, 2015
- In The Kitchen With Medium Rare: The Best Brunch Deal In The District - January 28, 2015
- Waterfront Station Hosts First SOUP-er Bowl Competition & Taste-off January 24 - January 21, 2015