Category Archives: Massachusetts

Cafe Indigo’s treats head south!

Good news for those of you in the South End: a new mini-market and sandwich shop called Maax Market (named for the owners’ dog!) will be opening in the old Lambert’s spot sometime in the next few weeks.  (They picked a difficult time of year for new business, no?  But I wish them the absolute best of luck!!)

According to various reports, the store will stock conventional grocery products as well as natural and organic foods, and the sandwich selections will include vegetarian and vegan choices.  The best part is that the market will be peddling treats from Cafe Indigo, so you can get a cookie bar to go with that cruelty-free sandwich!

Here’s my favorite quote from the South End Patch article I linked above:

“You can come in here and get Pepperidge Farm cookies or you can get a vegan cookie or gluten free,” Gretchen said. “Residents have made it clear they really want vegan, they really want all-natural.”

Yay!  A similar bit from the MySouthEnd article:

“We’re nervous, of course,” Gretchen said, though she added the focus on low-cost, non-organic and organic foods would help in drawing a wider range of people in.

I find this really interesting, since even I am old enough to remember the days when advertising natural, organic, vegan food would certainly NOT help a store draw a wider range of people — and in fact actually might hurt business with its associations of hemp and granola (both of which are things I love, incidentally).  So that’s exciting!  People are starting to care about this stuff.  It’s a good time to be vegan!  And it’s a good time to realize that cheezy poofs aren’t really food.

The Maax deli is open for sandwich business already, though no word yet on when the CI stuff will get there.  If you’re in the area, though, stop in and say hi to the owners, Gretchen and Carl Blomendale.  They’re welcoming menu input, so if you’ve got any killer vegan sandwich ideas, why not put in your two cents?  And while you’re at it, let ’em know they made the right choice in stocking vegan cookies!

Maax Market is located at 682 Tremont Street in Boston.  No Web site yet but of course I’ll keep you posted!

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Hope your plans for Tofurkey-prep (or not) and reconnecting with family (or not) are going well.  I was last-minutedly alerted to one other vegan fine dining opportunity for tomorrow, in addition to the one at True Bistro.

Apparently UpStairs on the Square in Cambridge (the “Square” is the Harvard one) has been serving a full vegan Thanksgiving menu for years now, in addition to the traditional meaty one.  As I’ve never been, I didn’t know (too rich for my blood… more specifically, too rich for my wallet!).  But if I had the cash and was going to be in the area tomorrow, I’d try it for sure.  I’m not totally sure what “Suprêmes of Orange & Grapefruit” are, but no matter, they sold me on the baked stuffed acorn squash and persimmon compote.  Plus, native apple cider!

Check out what their executive chef, Steve Brand, had to say about UpStairs’s vegan Thanksgiving tradition:

“I feel strongly that vegans need a Thanksgiving too — one just as full of joy, comfort and good food as the one centered around turkey and dairy. I love cooking a vegan Thanksgiving, and we now have a faithful group of vegan eaters who come every year.”

Awesome!

Definitely call UpStairs on the Square at 617-864-1933 for reservations if you’re thinking of going, and be sure to specify you want the vegan option.

The meal is prix fixe but I’m a little confused on the prix itself.  The official Web site lists it as $68 for the whole menu if you’re over 12, or $34 for the kiddos.  But according to this City’s Best article, the dinner costs $65 with (vegan) wine or $45 without.  Either way, you’ll want to get reservations so give ’em a call and find out.

UpStairs on the Square is located at 91 Winthrop Street in Cambridge.  Their vegan Thanksgiving Day meal will be served from 1p-7p.  Call for reservations.  http://www.upstairsonthesquare.com/

True Bistro now open in Somerville!

Wow, I’m behind the times on this one.  I just found out that True Bistro, which had been floating around in not-quite-open-yet-land for a while, has officially been open since November 9th!  This is excellent news for Somerville, a lovely area (if I do so say so) that deserves more vegan dining options.

And what options!  The menu looks seriously awesome (complete with wine pairing suggestions!), the chefs have experience at Millennium in San Francisco, I love their statement of commitments and look! They are open for brunch!

True looks like a solid contender for successfully bridging the gaps between the various vegan varieties — they offer everything from raw food (portobello pave, granny smith apple salad), to mock meat-heavy dishes (Gardein cutlet, seitan cheeseburger), to classier fare (tempeh and walnut pâté, seared spaetzle, the list goes on…!).  My little snippets of the menu don’t even begin to cover the wide variety offered at True — read it for yourself; I promise you will have to continuously remind yourself that it is 100% vegan.

You can add True to your Thanksgiving options too!  They will be open for dinner from 2-9pm on Turkey Day with a $55 prix fixe menu ($80 if you want wine too).  Make sure you call to reserve a spot.

I am super-excited to try this place out!  Expect a full report when I do!

True Bistro is located at 1153 Broadway in Somerville, MA.  http://www.truebistroboston.com/

BVFF: One of Boston’s better ideas :)

So!  One week ago I was fortunate enough to be at the Reggie Lewis Athletic Center for the BVFF, snapping pictures and sampling samples, as promised.  If I had to sum up my experience in one word and “awesome” was prohibited, it would be: “crowded”!  Seriously, you’d think that the additional day would have lessened the volume a bit, but it was packed to the max in there.  I couldn’t actually walk between the rows of booths without bumping up against people on both sides.  Observe:

Crowded...

 

...and more crowded.

Even this is, however, awesome, since wall-to-wall veggies sends the message that this is a growing movement in the mainstream.  Maybe next year the festival can be extended to three days — or, better yet, given a larger venue.  We can hope.

There were all manner of veggie-related booths there, from the ridiculously healthy…

…to the ridiculously unhealthy:

baked goods from miss vegan

Among some of my favorite vendors in attendance were Larabar, Numi Tea, Café Indigo, Chicago Soy Dairy (maker of Teese Cheese and Dandies Marshmallows), Mary’s Gone Crackers, Nature’s Path, and Peace O’ Pie… though there were SO many more (see full list here).  There seemed to be a good mixture of local and national sponsors.  The speakers lineup was also impressive, though I didn’t make it to any of the talks — too crowded in there!

Probably my favorite new discovery was May Wah, a fake meat supplier…which surprised me, since I’m not all that into the fake meat thing.  Maybe it was the gazillion delicious samples they offered (check link above for pics of that) that swayed me.  In fact, a few clicks around the Internet reveals that May Wah is pretty ubiquitous, so I’ve probably eaten their stuff before in a restaurant.

a tiny, tiny piece of the May Wah table

Not all the booths were food and beverage vendors — most were, sure, but festivalgoers also got to peruse a wide selection of books, clothes, shoes, and even places to go on retreat.  If there was a vegan sample, though, you bet I was on it!  From to salads to hummus to seaweed snacks to “cheese” to raw cookies to tea to several different kinds of chocolate.  In fact, after tasting samples from nearly every food vendor that offered one (which was basically all of them), I didn’t even have room for lunch!  Which is really too bad, since the freshly prepared food options were tremendous.

Even after eating to the point of fullness, I still had these samples left in my bag when I got home!

magazines, tea and snacks from bvff

If you went, I hope you had as much fun as I did!  If you didn’t make it — make sure you go next year ;)

Veggiefest!!

I probably don’t need to tell you this, but just in case you haven’t heard: The Boston Vegetarian Society‘s 15th annual Boston Vegetarian Food Festival is this weekend!  All kinds of sweet exhibitors (Lunabar!  Cafe Indigo!  Chicago Soy Dairy!) and speakers (Terry Hope Romero, co-author of Veganomicon!  czech it!) will be attending, and there will be samples aplenty.  ;)  We veggies have been permitted to invade the Reggie Lewis Athletic Center for TWO days this year, and while the second day IS Halloween, it lets out at 4, leaving you plenty of time to get back for trick-or-treating with the kiddos.

Check out the official Web site here for more info.

Parking is free, admission is free, and many many samples will be free.  So if you are free…go!  I will be there at least one day stumbling around taking pictures of things, I’m sure.

Boston Vegetarian Food Festival
Saturday, 10/30/10, 10a-6p and Sunday, 10/31/10, 10a-4p
Reggie Lewis Athletic Center – 1350 Tremont Street, Boston
http://bostonveg.org/foodfest/

Peace O’ Pie brunch REPORT!

I was lucky enough to be in Allston this past Sunday when Peace O’ Pie served up their inaugural brunch.  Naturally, I couldn’t wait to check it out!  And since brunch is always better with friends, I dragged my vegetarian buddy along to check it out with me ;)

Let me start by saying that the pricing system Po’P has conjured up is just brilliant.  Pay-by-weight brunch is a GREAT idea.  No more stuffing your stomach to the point of explosion to “get your money’s worth,” and no more dirty looks if you return for just one more helping of tofu scramble to stuff in your takeout box.  The price per pound was $8, which I at first thought would be a little pricey but turned out to be completely reasonable.  I paid less than $6 for my meal (my friend’s was under $5!) and was totally full and satisfied.

The brunch spread was pretty tiny, but then again, so is Po’P, so this was to be expected.  The nearly-all organic brunch offerings were as follows (no particular order):

  • Tofu scramble
  • Breakfast potatoes
  • Veggies
  • Rosemary sausage
  • Cinnamon-coconut French toast
  • Tempeh bacon
  • Mac and cheese
  • Breakfast pizza

Desserts were also available for an additional charge, but I couldn’t bring myself to pay $3.50 for a cinnamon roll when these babies are only $5 for a whole package.  Granted, I’m sure the Po’P ones were homemade and therefore tastier, but… I’ve been trying to keep some semblance of responsibility with my food budget. :P

I tried a little of everything but the French toast (because my friend got some and I didn’t want a whole slice) and the veggies, which I decided weren’t really worth $8/lb.  Every healthy bone in my body said to load up on the veggies, but dude, you can get roasted veggies any day of the week.  How many days of the week can you get vegan pizza, sausage, and mac by the pound?  (Answer: one!)

Brunch at Peace o' Pie! SOOOO good!

The short version: THIS WAS AWESOME.  You MUST try this brunch at some point!

Longer version:

  • The tempeh bacon was really good — pretty sure it was just Lightlife, but they made it much crispier than I’ve ever managed to get it at home.  This is probably why they have a restaurant, and I don’t.
  • The scramble was a little weird.  I was pretty pleased with my first few bites, and then I tasted the green peppers in it…  I like green peppers usually,  don’t get me wrong, but these tasted like perhaps they were spoiled or just cooked funny or…?  Not my favorite thing on the plate but I’m willing to assume the funky peppers were just a fluke.  I’d still try it again next time.
  • Potatoes were… potatoes!  This is a good thing.  Breakfast potatoes were the perfect complement to this brunch.
  • The mac and cheese was super-tasty too (even though my portion consisted of the last dregs I managed to scrape up from the tray before they replaced it with a new one!).
  • The sausage was REALLY “convincing,” if you’re into that.  I’m not, so I had a hard time eating it!  I had to split it with my friend and both of us were amazed at how meaty it tasted.  If I hadn’t been dining in a 100% veggie establishment I would have assumed there was a mix-up in the kitchen.
  • The pizza was the crown jewel!  Not listed on their regular menu, the “breakfast pizza” basically consisted of most of the other brunch offerings (scramble, roasted veggies, bacon, potatoes) atop a generously Daiya-ed crust.  My friend and I, who have consumed plenty of pizza in our lifetimes, were both seriously impressed by how tasty this was, for whatever that’s worth.

I’m so excited Po’P has decided to make this a weekly tradition that I could probably ramble about it for a few more paragraphs, but the moral of this story is GO TO PEACE O’ PIE FOR BRUNCH!  Throw it into your monthly vegan brunch rotation!  It’s about time; the first-week-of-the-month slot has been open forever.  (Cafe Indigo offers brunch the 2nd and 4th Sundays and Grasshopper, of course, does the 3rd.)  Unless you are a total brunch hater (and if so, shame on you!) you will not be disappointed.

Peace o’ Pie is located at 487 Cambridge St, Allston, MA.  http://peaceopie.com/

Peace o’ BRUNCH!

Exciting news!!  ALL-VEGAN Allston pizzeria Peace o’ Pie has announced that they will now be open for Sunday brunch from 11-3 (priced by the pound, to be fair to people of all appetite sizes :)).  This Sunday, October 17th, is the first!  Mark those calendars!

Peace o’ Pie is a pretty special place for lotsa reasons.  First, the obvious: they offer all manner of (VEGAN) pizza pies, pizza slices, calzones, and awesome desserts.  But were you aware they also offer Daiya priced by the pound so you can make your own pizzas at home?  And that they offer gluten-free pizzas on Thursdays so errybody can eat and be happy?  Or that they deliver?!   If that weren’t enough… they are mostly organic, and one of the greenest establishments I can think of.  Their Web site says it best:

  • [Peace o’ Pie] used eco-friendly building materials during its remodel, including sustainably produced bamboo counterfront, a PaperStone countertop (100% recycled office paper), ceiling tiles with 65% recycled content.
  • recycles
  • composts
  • uses compostable, biodegradable packaging and supplies
  • uses CF bulbs wherever possible

When you dine at Peace o’ Pie, don’t throw anything away. Give whatever is left back to us, and we will make sure that as much as possible is either recycled or composted before we resort to the trash bin for biodegradables and other non-recyclables.

Dang!  That’s serious recycling commitment.

There are precious few vegan pizzerias on the entire planet (and probably none greener than Po’P), so we should celebrate the one we’ve got in our own backyard!  If you can make it out this Sunday, show Peace o’ Pie some love!
Peace o’ Pie is located at 487 Cambridge St, Allston, MA.  Their FIRST-EVER weekly Sunday brunch will be offered from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. October 17th.  http://peaceopie.com/