Credit: Photograph by Darrow Montgomery

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When I want to eat vegetarian, I don’t visit one of those mock-meat places that press mushrooms or tempeh into something that resembles a chicken breast. That strikes me as wishful eating, the saddest of all possible dining experiences. I prefer to sample cuisines that have a rich history of vegetarian cooking, like South India’s. Every day, Udupi Palace in Takoma Park offers a grazing tour of the South Indian cuisine inspired by the ancient Vedas texts. For a modest sum, you can have, if not a religious experience, then at least damn fine meal pulled together from a buffet table filled with idly patties, vada doughnuts, sambar soup, pullavs, and an ever-changing lineup of curries, some so hot you’ll drink every drop of water from the carafe on your table.

1329 University Blvd. E., Takoma Park, (301) 434-1531

Next up: Vidalia