Once he takes the oath of office Thursday, Cory Booker will become the only openly vegetarian lawmaker (come out, come out, wherever you are, closet greens eaters!) serving in the Senate today.
The incoming New Jersey Democrat broke down his dietary decision-making last year during an “Ask Me Anything” exchange on Reddit, explaining that he swore off meat in an effort to goose his exercise regimen.
“I was a competitive athlete back then and wanted to see what could take my body to the next level,” he shared. Booker added that he’s even flirted with veganism — but gave two simple reasons why the even more restrictive diet didn’t take.
“Ben & Jerry — I couldn't leave them,” he joked, professing his love for the gourmet ice cream giants.
Given that he’s new in town, HOH has crafted a cheat sheet of local restaurants where Booker may want to book a table:
- Sticky Fingers: This award-winning bakery cranks out crowd-pleasing vegan sweets (their cupcakes are legendary) as well as savory creations (half-dozen faux burgers, tofu scramble-filled breakfast burritos). 1370 Park Road NW; stickyfingersbakery.com
- Indigo: Co-owners Dinesh and Nidhi Tandon of traveling kitchen fame (Union Station, Eastern Market) recently put down roots in NoMa, setting up a cozy carryout specializing in fragrant curries (peas and potatoes), robust stews (paneer in tomato sauce) and flavorful breads (onion roti rocks). 243 K St. NE
- Busboys and Poets: The pesto lasagna blew this professional meat-eater away. And given owner Andy Shallal’s abiding respect for problem-solving — take-charge pols, your money may prove to be no good here. Multiple metro-area locations; busboysandpoets.com
- Rose’s Luxury: Chef Aaron Silverman is so down with fresh produce, he’s got a trained horticulturist — Kate Lee, founder of Capital City Farm Co. — on staff. Their teamwork is manifested in a menu that’s roughly 40 percent vegetarian. 717 Eighth St. SE; rosesluxury.com
- Rasika and Rasika West End: These joints kill it nearly every night. All you need to know about restaurateur Ashok Bajaj’s twin Indian properties is your mouth will thank you (I often dream about the cauliflower bezule; so tender, so fiery), and hanging out here can only help your career (the Clintons and Obamas are regulars). 633 D St. NW and 1190 New Hampshire Ave. NW; rasikarestaurant.com