Photo Essay: boston. vegan. vacation. go.

Just what got checked off the Vegan To-Do List from my Return to Boston post…

See tall buildings? check!

beantown

As for food, let’s start with the No Name.  If there was a flag representing Vegan Boston, this would be on it.  The very first gluten/fake meaty anything I could stomach! (and now require at least once every two years).  Battered gluten, sweet and sour sauce, sesame seeds, broccoli – need I go on?

they call me no name

More from Grasshopper – Tofu & Broccoli

1/100th as exciting as the No Name, I know.

Grasshopper

What best follows Grasshopper?  Pizza! Who’s with me? (Not immediately after! Allicia can attest.)

Slice of the day from Peace ‘O Pie in Allston.  With Daiya, vegan sausage, pine nuts, kalamata olives, and roasted garlic.

Peace O'Pie

I was really content with my experience at the former T.J. Scallywagg’s.  On top of that, this was the first time I tried the Mozzarella Daiya and continued eating.  Super nice staff, great menu, and gluten free options!  Any place that optimizes the pine nuts gets a gold star in my book.

My friends shared this intense looking vegan ham & mushrooms pie:

Peace O'Pie

Tableside jar of Parma.  A shaker of nooch (okay, or Parma) is the true sign of a vegan friendly establishment.

Parma at Peace O'Pie


Soy Latte from Espresso Royale on Newbury Street

Espresso Royale

Featuring Bagel Rising bagels and cream cheeses & tofu cream cheeses!

Below, you can see my first East Coast bagel experience – a real treat with jalapeno tofu cream cheese, roasted red peppers, and sprouts. Thank you to my friend Sarah for the rec, even if I wasn’t badass enough for the vegan Tequila bagel sandwich!

bagel rising

Spike’s Curly Fries

spike's

Dinner at Montien Thai Restaurant in the Theater District.

One of those great, impromptu dining decisions.  I was really pleased that our server didn’t even flinch at the vegan requests.

Montien

Sorry for the flash photos, but what can I say? It was after a bubble gum martini at the IT.

Montien

Rice Noodle something something.

Montien

Back Bay, the old college stomping grounds.

boston

Comm. Ave – tiny little bits of old snow that broke my heart.

Comm Ave

Wired Puppy Coffee on Newbury St.

NEWBURY ST

Espresso from Wired Puppy.  Every now and I give in and decide my stomach is up to the task.  It was worth it.

Wired Coffee

Davis Square & Blue Shirt Cafe

Blue Shirt

My friend Millie and I decided to visit Davis Square for a bit. I have so many fond memories from my first apartment there.

Our original intention, besides wandering memories, was to visit the new, all vegan Pulse Cafe that someone had left me a comment about a couple months ago. Sadly, we were in Davis early on, and the cafe didn’t open until 5pm.
We then browsed the menu at Diesel Cafe and were both bummed that the most exciting vegan option being a hummus plate, and went corner the corner to Blue Shirt for lunch. The cafe had expanded since my days of running in for a wrap with tofu to quickly eat on the T to class or work downtown, and it at least seemed like their vegan options had as well.  There were a few more mentions of tofu on the menu, but bizarrely, it’s not that they weren’t vegan, because I comprehend that honey and eggs are utilized, but that there wasn’t a vegan-izable version of a couple of these options. Both Millie and I found our wraps unexciting, which is extra sad considering that a) we have just flown in that morning and were ravenous, and b) we’re both excitable people!

A Disappointed Millieship

millie! with a boring wrap.

Her Disappointing Curry Wrap

wrap

My Disappointing Wrap.  I rarely don’t remember what something was, but this…huh?

wrap 2

Expanded Blue Shirt Cafe

blue shirt

Ah, Chinatown.  I remember when I found you terrifyingly sketchy to walk through at night as a college freshman.  How things change. This is where the original Buddha’s Delight was. I did go for lunch at My Thai, and have a review in the works.

Chinatown, Boston

Soy Latte from Boston Common Coffee Co. in Downtown Crossing. News to me. I have to say that it doesn’t look like much, but it was decent.

soy latte

Let’s head to Kendall Square. When I lived in the area, I was constantly paranoid of secret helicopter pads and underground labs blowing up on the MIT campus.

jess 032

My reason for the venture to Kendall – scoping out the Clover Food Labs food cart. It was nearby the relocated Olive Tree cart, which was formerly my staple Jerusalem cart (and restaurant). I was in college, so my diet was supposed to consist of $3 falafel wraps.  C

jess 033

Heading down to Central Square – just because it’s fun, I will mention again how much I used to love Pu Pu Hot Pot, their free delivery, and Spicy Tofu and Broccoli in Garlic Sauce.  And again, did you see their name?

Central Square

The highlight of my time in Central Square, or Cambridge, for that matter,my first exposure to Leslie and the Lys!  Wow. Wow. Wow. WOW.

leslie

Another highlight? 1369 Coffee House.  So reliable!

jess 015

Vanilla Soy Latte.  Vanilla = Vacation.

Soy Latte from 1369

Next up, NYC.

Return to Boston, MA: My Vegan To Do List

The Vegan Strip in Allstron: Grasshopper, Peace O’Pie and Deep Ellum

vegan strip in allston

Prior to my return to Boston in February, I engaged in my normal vegan research:  googling “new vegan boston”, updating my facebook status with vacation countdowns, trying to make sense of reviews on Yelp, and inquiring with the best on a PPK thread.  A huge list of maybes was formed, with less than 4 days to make it happen…

These were the must-gos (and eats):

  • Grasshopper of course! My bad memories of this place are quite behind me.
  • Grezzo: upscale raw dining in the North End – crossed off because I went last Spring & I was on something of a budget.
  • Red Lentil – newer vegetarian restaurant in Watertown – I didn’t go, but my travel partner, Millie, raved about it and a cauliflower dish…
  • Deluxe Town Diner in Watertown- alas, I’ve yet to go.
  • Veggie dog and curly fries at Spike’s – curly fries, check!
  • My Thai Vegan Café (old Buddha’s Delight location, upstairs) – I’m working on a separate, small travel review for Stumptown Vegans. I miss Buddha’s.
  • Veggie Planet in Harvard Square – because I’ve been so many times & it wasn’t pulling me back on this trip.
  • Vegan ice cream and baked goods at Allston Café (formerly Herrell’s)
  • Wheeler’s Ice Cream – I returned for my second visit here, and…they weren’t open.  I’ve heard so many stories like this.  There were boxes all around the front room. Please post hours and keep to them?
  • Bagel Rising bagels – jalapeno tofu cream cheese & veggies on a bagel at Espresso Royale - and a fantastic soy latte.

Newer Recommendations:

  • Pizza at Peace O’Pie (old TJ Scallywag’s location)
    • And bringing said pizza into the glorious Model Café next door (if you haven’t been, or you have, you know I mean that fondly, but sarcastically).
    • Consider me a fan after my slice of the day!
  • Deep Ellum bar – the vegan offerings intrigued me, and the cocktails – even more so!
    • I had an El Diablo margarita with chili-infused agave. I wanted to sip it all night.
  • Clover Food Lab – vegetarian cart in Kendall Square/MIT – I sought this cart out for a meal, but sadly, they only had oatmeal available at the time for vegans, so I passed.
    • The vegan lunch options seemed more inviting – really nice staff working.
  • Jack and the Bean Bowl – vegetarian cart in Copley Square – wasn’t open on the weekends when I checked.
  • The Pulse Café in Davis Square – another sadface! stopped by with Millie for lunch, learned it didn’t open till 5.  A very disappointing meal followed nearby.

Also on my To-Do’s:

  • Great soy lattes – check! at 1369 in Central & Espresso Royale on Newbury
  • Leslie and the Lys at TT the Bear’s – Millie convinced me to go to this.  I took her word on it – and was AMAZED.
  • The Middle East – tends to be a regular stop on my trips, but not this time.
  • Cheap falafel – technically happened at Olive Tree, but it was so dry and everything else in the wrap was so bland. I don’t forget how blah vegetables can be around Boston.
    • particularly sad because I used to frequent their cart (or the previous owner’s) on a much-too-regular basis in Kendall Square
    • their bathroom situation was hilarious…leave the front door, walk literally around the block till you have the big green door in the back, and find the bathroom with the broken light inside.
  • Thai cuisine - surprise dinner at Montien in the Theater District – fantastic!
  • Harvest Coop – I browsed and picked up a fair trade coffee at Clear Conscious Cafe
  • Sam Adams beer – because it’s Boston? in any case, it didn’t happen this time. FYI, according to Barnivore, all their beers are vegan except for the honey porter and cherry wheat.
  • Karaoke - Do Re Mi almost happened, but it wasn’t meant to be…
  • Martinis with Maria – bubble gum martini, check
  • Wandering Davis Square
  • Frolicking in snow – there was some snow on the ground, but not enough to keep the smile on my face.

What actually happened?

I spent a few days in Boston just last May, so I didn’t have to jam it all in.  My primary reasons for going were snow, friends, and spending a few days of my much-needed vacation in a major city I was familiar with.  I attended Emerson College in Boston in the early 2000s (and I’m admitting it, Maria)! I’ve lived in historic buildings downtown, a beautiful old house in Davis Square, a craphole in Mission Hill and an ever bigger craphole in East Cambridge between Central and Kendall Squares. It’s the city I discovered my veganism, went to my first vegetarian restaurant (then Buddha’s Delight, originally upstairs) and started almost becoming an adult. And then I ran away to Portland, of course.

Food cart row at MIT – Clover is the furthest

jess 033

The No Name at Grasshopper

they call me no name

Slice of the day at Peace O’Pie with kalamata olives & vegan sausage

Peace O'Pie

Check back for more of the riveting, snow-less photo tour.