Sticky Fingers is probably best known for its cupcakes, which invoke an ‘I can’t believe it’s not butter’ response and routinely crush the egg-and-dairy-filled competition in Food Network’s Cupcake Wars. This summer the Columbia Heights bakery moved into new territory: serving up multi-course, sit-down meals in a monthly themed ‘Supper Club’. We attended the last of the Summer Supper Club events last week, featuring a set menu of Mediterranean cuisine:
The amuse was a bowl of warm olives with orange peel, olive oil and fennel seeds served with bread. I don’t know why we don’t eat warm olives more often. The heat brought out their fragrance, along with that of the citrus and spices. It was a little tough to figure out how to get bites of olives, oil and bread all at once, so when we make this at home we’ll turn it into a coarse chopped warm tapenade for easy spreading.
The salad was a creative combination of ingredients that worked really well. Chunks of well-seasoned butternut squash were tossed with crunchy green beans, roasted fennel bulbs, and sweet onions, and topped with tangy tofu ‘feta’ (okay, it didn’t taste like feta but it was still good) and a rich balsamic vinaigrette. Again, the little surprises – who thought fall squash would go with bright summer beans – paid off.
For the main course, we were served a stack of lavash toasts and ‘Turkish shawarma’ style seitan, topped with tomato sauce and surrounded by tzaziki sauce. We’ll start with the good news: the herbed vegan tzaziki tasted just like a yogurt sauce should, leaving us wondering how they heck they did that. The tomato sauce was intense and went well with the bread. Unfortunately, although the seitan had good flavor, we just couldn’t eat it. The texture was a bit like how I’d imagine jerky to be – very tough and dry and hard to choke down, even when soaked in sauce. I’ve had much more succulent seitan before and was disappointed by its preparation here.
Anupama and I were split on dessert. The topping of stewed figs with honey and a trace of anisette was delicious, as was the rich brown crust. I didn’t really enjoy the cheesecake itself – it tasted too much like soy to me – but Anupama really liked it, as did many of the other diners.
All in all, we had a very nice meal. Sticky Fingers served creative dishes in a ‘finer dining’ setting than it has traditionally cultivated. We hope to see more efforts along these lines in the future (maybe a Fall Supper Club?), particularly now that vegan go-tos Cafe Green and Java Green have closed.
Sticky Fingers Bakery
1370 Park Rd NW
Washington DC 20010