Northern Virginia isn’t a region rife with doughnut shops. Neither does it have a reputation for plentiful vegan options. Elizabeth’s Counter, then, is a welcome anomaly in more way than one. All of the desserts pictured above are completely absent of animal products. The cinnamon bun, the apple fritter, the matcha eclair. All of them.
And that’s not all. A menu of savory café-style grub feeds those hungry for a cruelty-free meal. There are quiches, breakfast burritos, and three types of burgers, but the staffer who assisted me recommended that I try the spicy chick’n sandwich. Served on a lightly griddled bun, frying does the soy patty great favors, imbuing it with a satisfying moisture that really did remind me of chicken. In terms of heat, just know to expect something a bit more like a fast food hot chicken sandwich than something you’d find, say, in Nashville. But for those who shrink from the threat of serious spice, that may not be a bad thing.
The mild heat is well-tempered. There’s a liberal smear of vegan aioli on the bun. Slabs of bright-pink pickled onion add acid, and a layer of spring mix contributes even more fresh crunch.
And the doughnuts? Though the yeasted delicacies aren’t as light as I might have hoped, the flavors made me forgive them. Miso caramel is just as advertised: sugary, with a splash of umami. Sesame seeds on top add even more excitement to each sweet-and-savory bite. Cherry-flavored desserts have a bad habit of tasting medicinal, but the chocolate-cherry doughnut had nary a hint of NyQuil about it, particularly thanks to the real fruit perched in the center.
For those keeping vegan, a meal at Elizabeth’s Counter is a delightful indulgence. For those who are just fine with animals products, well, it still is.
804 N. Henry St., Alexandria
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