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Not too long ago, Amber McDonald says she was the kind of aggressive steak eater who would have been an eager participant in Meat Week. But the antitrust lawyer switched to hardcore veganism a “little over a year ago when I read that a study had proven that cows were as intelligent and emotional as dogs. It woke me up. Why love one and eat the other?”

 Then she read last week about Meat Week and had another thought: “I knew that there needed to be an alternative point of view, and the community responded so quickly and with so much enthusiasm that it’s clear they agreed.”

The community, in this case, is the vegetarian/vegan crowd, including D.C. Vegan and Compassion Over Killing, and together they agreed to quickly organize a counter-programming event to Meat Week. It’s called, of course, Meat Free Week. Don’t fear it. McDonald says it’s not designed to brainwash you into vegetarianism.

“Vegetarians and vegans choose not to consume meat products so we were left out of Meat Week, but everyone can participate in Meat Free Week,” McDonald e-mails to Y&H.

“I don’t anticipate that Meat Free Week will make anyone into a vegetarian, but I hope that it will open people’s minds to the idea that they can have an amazing, entirely satisfying meal that doesn’t involve meat,” McDonald adds. “Maybe they’ll remember a great Meat Free Week meal the next time they’re preparing dinner at home or find themselves at a restaurant with a vegetarian option.”

Meat Free Week got off to a rough start, much like Meat Week end roughly. MFW was supposed to launch on Saturday with a dinner with Gene Baur, co-founder of Farm Sanctuary, at Great Sage in Clarksville, Md., but the snow storm forced organizers to reschedule it for Saturday, Feb. 27. But you can still eat at Great Sage this coming Saturday as part of the revamped Meat Free event.

A vegan bake sale scheduled for Sunday was also cancelled. A rescheduled date has not been announced.

But other than those changes, Meat Free Week plans to plow forward this week, with stops at other restaurants, including the Mansion on O Street, Nora, and The Source by Wolfgang Puck. Check DC Vegan for any weather-related changes. Also check it for any questions about the week-long event, including prices, attendance, and advice.

“Oh and, if the First Lady is reading this,” McDonald adds, “she’s welcome to join us too.”

The current schedule, subject to change:

Monday, Feb. 8: The Mansion on O Street, 2020 O St. NW. Dinner from 5:30 to  8 p.m. Reservations required here.  To get $5 off your dinner, note “$5 Off Meat-Free Special” in the “additional comments” field of the reservation form.
Tuesday, Feb. 9: Sticky Fingers Bakery, 1370 Park Rd. NW, to benefit Compassion Over Killing. 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.  No reservations required.
Wednesday, Feb. 10: Busboys & Poets, all locations, 11 a.m. to Midnight. No reservations required.

Thursday, Feb.  11: The Source by Wolfgang Puck, 575 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, 5:30 to 10:30 p.m. Reservations recommended.

Friday, Feb. 12: Restaurant Nora, 2132 Florida Ave. NW, 5:30 to 10:30 p.m. Reservations recommended.

Saturday, Feb. 13: Great Sage, 5809 Clarksville Square Drive, Clarksville, Md. 5 to 10 p.m. Regular dinner option. Reservations recommended.

Saturday, Feb. 27: Dinner with Gene Baur, 8 p.m. at Great Sage. Reservations required.