One of my favorite places to visit in Washington D.C. is the Washington National Cathedral. The grounds around the nation’s spiritual home are incredibly serene and the interior of the cathedral is magnificent featuring intricate carvings, beautiful stained glass, and an incredible history that is entwined with some of the most notable events and people of the 20th and 21st centuries.
The National Cathedral tops the list of places I take out-of-town visitors, so when my aunt visited we planned to spend a morning exploring the Cathedral with one of their amazing tours.
After a full morning, we were ready for a bite of lunch, and decided to eat at Open City, the Cathedral’s resident cafe. I had heard of Open City’s gluten-free friendliness through Find Me Gluten Free and was excited that they had an outpost on the National Cathedral’s campus- which eliminated the need to catch a Lyft ride to their original Woodley Park location.
Open City’s menu is well marked to indicate gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan options. Gluten-free options are limited- more so when you add dairy-free as a requirement.
I started my meal with the masala chai latte, which features honey and your choice of milk. I opted for almond milk (soy milk being the other dairy-free option) because I love the way the nutty, creamy beverage works with the chai flavor. The latte is sweetened with honey, but don’t expect a super sweet brew because the baristas keep the focus on the complexity of the chai. Because the tea was served in a tea pot, I lost some of the separation of the tea and steamed milk, but nevertheless I enjoyed the smoothness of the tea once poured.
For my entree, I chose the raw salad, which features brussels sprouts, napa cabbage, carrots, quinoa, raisins, pickled beets, sunflower seeds, mixed greens and a lemon tahini dressing. I liked the freshness of the ingredients, especially the tart beets and crunchy sunflower seeds. My only complaint was that I couldn’t really taste the dressing- it would have pulled the ingredients together more if it was more vibrant. That being said, the salad was just what I was looking for in a lunch, and I am glad that Open City had gluten-free options to choose from.
While waiting to order, I noticed that there were gluten-free items in the bakery display case. Because of the bustling Saturday crowd, I did not ask about their baking protocol to see if steps were taken to ensure cross contamination did not occur. I also did not ask if they had dairy in them. Next time I will make a point to do so.
I am so glad I stopped in to Open City at the National Cathedral because it proved to be a a convenient and satisfying lunch spot. While gluten-free options are limited, I am glad that Open City has at least a few options on hand for hungry visitors. I definitely need to go visit their Woodley Park location soon to check out their full menu.