Most book signings leave a big mess in their wake: stale crackers, stale cheese, even stale wine. Bread and Brew, however, credits one such literary event for adding a new dish to its constantly rotating menu.

Last year, when former Washington Post food blogger and current USA Today contributor Kim O’Donnel toured the country to promote her recent book, The Meat Lover’s Cookbook: Vegetarian Recipes Carnivores Will Devour (a follow-up is now in the works), she made a stop at the Dupont Circle baguette and brewski emporium.

For the book signing, O’Donnel whipped up a batch of her Chickpea “Crab Cakes.” Management liked the things so much that the venue has since adapted the recipe and made it its own. 

“We’ve changed it up [from O’Donell’s original],” says owner Teri Van Goethem. “The first time we made it was her recipe,” she notes. But later Bread and Brew added more Old Bay and garlic. Sometimes it has capers.

I found the the chickpea patties to be quite rich, and dare I say, tastier than even the real crab cake I tasted recently at Stoney’s on Broomes Island. Flecked with cilantro and kicky with cayenne pepper, Bread and Brew’s sliders satisfied the sandwich lover in me. Unfortunately, my patties arrived without any sauce.

Van Goethem says a Veganaise-based tartar sauce usually adorns the chickpeas, but the kitchen does it “different ways at different times.” It’s a shame that mine didn’t come with the sauce, as I slathered a creamy Dijon in its place. A girl can’t eat a dry sandwich, ya know.

As the menu changes frequently, it’s best to call ahead to make sure the vegan cake is on the menu. It appears often as one of B&B’s “Meatless Monday” options; and if you do make it there on that dreaded day of the week, take advantage of the daily special $5 selected cocktails from 4 p.m. to 8pm.

Photo by Stefanie Gans