It makes sense that Capitol Hill's recently opened Bang Up to the Elephant (1310 Pearl Street) would offer Caribbean-inspired vegan doughnuts, since the restaurant is anything but ordinary. The eclectic menu is inspired by the food of the West Indies, Africa, India, South America, Europe and China, and is described as "calypso," which owner Kevin Delk has characterized as the “punk rock of the Caribbean."
Bang Up to the Elephant offers at least three different varieties of doughnut each morning, in addition to its vegan Dirty Banana Balz. Doughnuts are made fresh so they change daily, but recent hits have included tiger-striped chocolate mango, passionfruit toasted coconut, soursop glazed, spiced cinnamon sugar, tamarind glazed, and spicy curried coconut.
As far as inspiration for flavors goes, Delk says the team is enamored of tropical drinks at the moment, which is inspiring their creativity. “We're also playing with future selections that will play off cute plants and cuddly animals,” Delk says, after the Easter Bunny doughnuts were a huge hit.
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Delk says both customers and staff were asking more and more about vegan options, so he decided to make all of the doughnuts dairy-free. “It's partly a fun challenge, but it's also because more and more of us are interested in cutting down or even cutting out dairy in our diets,” he says. “Minimizing our grocery list is fun in that it opens up the door to learning about new cooking approaches and ingredients, plus it's good for the environment — all while making your body happy.”
Doughnuts are $2 each for breakfast, but drop to $1 after 5 p.m. “Happily, we've learned to make these doughnuts to be just as tasty as non-vegan doughnuts, so there's no looking back,” Delk adds.
And if you’re not in the mood for a doughnut, the menu has plenty of other plant-based options for breakfast, lunch and dinner. A seitan Cubano, a jackfruit roti (a flatbread common in the Caribbean but with origins in India) and a pimento-wood-smoked jerk seitan are just a few of the spicy options that can be ordered vegan.