Weekend brunch is an integral part of Washington's social fabric, but it can be a lonely meal for vegans. Fried eggs, strips of bacon and cheesy potatoes so often dominate menus, leaving few options for those who avoid animal products. It's with that struggle in mind that American eatery Firefly created an omelet aiming to recreate the look and feel of the breakfast staple – without using a single egg.
"We needed a vegetarian option for our brunch menu and we wanted to do something unique," says Executive Chef Rich Falbo, who took over the restaurant's kitchen duties in April after stints cooking in Austin, Texas and Reston.
It's a natural extension of the Dupont Circle's menu philosophy, which includes plenty of options for gluten-free and meatless diets. The key to the faux omelet is its base of chickpea flour supplemented with turmeric and nutritional yeast. The mixture then becomes a batter that puffs and firms up in a very similar way to eggs.
"The omelet itself is more similar to a crepe," Falbo says.
It's not a perfect substitute, though it does take on an omelet's shape once it's prepared and folded on to the plate. The final product is filled with a a handful of baby kale, al dente butternut squash and an extremely believable vegan cream cheese.
The chickpea version definitely eats a little softer in texture than an egg-based omelet would. Anyone who's had the real thing would probably be left wanting more. Take it for what it is though, and it's a vegetable and protein-packed way to start a day or sop up a few mimosas. At $19, the serving and accompanying side salad is definitely enough to fill up a hungry brunch appetite. An order of Old Bay home fries makes for a good addition.
Firefly's location inside the Kimpton Hotel Madera means brunch starts at 9 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, which is welcome news for those who prefer an early start. And if any flexitarians out there are really craving a portion of meat, Firefly serves up sides of applewood smoked bacon and country sausage.
As far as the reception, Falbo says the dish is one that's well received by customers.
"Both vegetarians and non-vegetarians enjoy the dish," he says.
Firefly is located at 1310 New Hampshire Ave. NW. Brunch hours are Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.