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The Dish: Original Mac n Cheese
Where to Get It: Everlasting Life inside the Anacostia Arts Center, 1231 Good Hope Road SE; (301) 324-6900; eliferestaurant.com
Price: $4.50 for an entrée-sized portion
What It Is: Elbow macaroni tossed in a smooth sauce made of chickpea milk, garlic, nutritional yeast, salt, pepper, and other seasonings, then baked and finished with paprika and fragrant dried herbs. Nutritional yeast is a magic ingredient that can infuse anything with the distinctive earthy flavor of cheese, while also supplying a host of minerals, vitamins, and amino acids. Enveloping the pasta in the nutritional yeast and creamy, protein-packed chickpea milk results in a baked pasta dish that is rich, velvety, and “cheesy.”
The Story: ELife restaurant founder Dr. Baruch Ben-Yehudah grew concerned in the 1990s when he saw that families living in impoverished neighborhoods in the D.C. area lacked access to healthy dining options. Over the years he has opened three vegan restaurants, the most recent of which is in Anacostia. He serves vegan soul food to demonstrate that vegan fare can be hearty and satisfying. His original mac n cheese is a family recipe developed more than 20 years ago. It is, and always has been, the most popular dish at all of his restaurants.
Why Even Meat Eaters Will Like It: This mac n cheese tastes even better than the classic dairy version, and allows you to indulge without loading up on dairy. The ingredients are flavorful and the dish is decadent, while still managing to be full of vital nutrients.