Category Archives: Restaurants

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/

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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/

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/

Tasty sandwiches near Symphony Hall

First, let me state the obvious: I didn’t go to Taste of Manchester.  If I had, I assure you, there would have been a full report on my vegan findings :)  If you went, though, my offer to post your review still stands!

Second, I have a new restaurant review for you!

My most recent trip to Boston was dual-purpose: to see my best friend, and to attend the BSO opening night!  (It was great!)  Before the concert, though, we stopped by The Otherside Cafe — or, more hipsterly, “the OTHERSIDE cafe” (see web site).  I’d been dying to try the food there for weeks so I was extremely happy to discover that it was less than a 15 minute walk from the cafe to the BSO!  We found street parking by the cafe and escaped the horrendous $20-$30 parking fees by the symphony.  Total parking cost for dinner and 2 hours of BSO: $3.  Awesome, I know.  They also have a huge bike rack so you can be so green it hurts.  You know, eating your sustainable dinner after Critical Mass.

The OTHERSIDE Otherside (gah, sorry, I can’t bring myself to type it that way) is not an all-vegan or even all-vegetarian establishment, but they are extremely veg-friendly.  A bonus: most of the lacto-ovo things can be made vegan upon request.  They also offer an extensive beer/wine list, coffee, tea, smoothies, vegan baked goods and other desserts, and a weekend brunch which I will have to scope out sometime just for the vegan breakfast burrito.  See all menus here (non-PDF).  Some of their food is even raw vegan…which warrants both kudos and a major CAUTION from me!  Do not order their (raw) vegan chicken salad expecting something like Gardein!

“Eclectic” is way overused as an adjective for any restaurant’s “vibe,” but I am scratching my head trying to come up with something better.  The vibe I was getting was one part bar, one part hipster, one part cozy university coffee shop.  And yet for all that, I could even see taking the family here from time to time (this is me assuming that it’s not always as noisy as it was when I went).  I don’t know, I’m at a loss.

There are three seating areas to choose from — patio, indoor ground level, and indoor balcony.  We were offered either patio or indoors (ground level) when we arrived, and as we had no real preference we were seated inside, but by a window so we could “kind of be both.”  (Cute.)

The Otherside has killer hours: M – W 11:30 AM – 1 AM, Thurs. & Fri. 11:30 AM – 2 AM, Sat. 10 AM – 2 AM and Sun. 10 AM – 1 AM.  I bet if I were at any college in downtown Boston I would be doing my late-night hanging out here all the time.  However, now that I’ve graduated and have adopted an Old Granny sleeping schedule, those hours don’t sound as appealing to me as they would’ve last year.

The unfortunate thing about this particular visit was that my friend and I had eaten a pretty late lunch so we were not at all hungry when the most convenient dinnertime rolled around.  Since a takeout box was thus inevitable, we both opted for sandwiches for ease of portability.

You can get your sandwich on one of four breads: white, multi-grain, rye, or a wheat wrap.  HowEVER both the multigrain AND the wheat wrap contain honey!  Which I am just now noticing.  I got mine on a wrap.  So don’t do that!  Argh. I wonder why the server didn’t ask to double-check why I would be getting a vegan sandwich on non-vegan bread.  I didn’t question it because the Hummus Wrap is listed as being vegan.  But their only wrap option is clearly honey-wheat, unless they have another unadvertised one hiding in the  back solely for the purpose of making one entree.  This calls for further investigation…later.

Vegan BLT

1/2 Vegan BLT in a wrap plus side of fruit.

I opted for the combo, which is $9 for your choice of two of the following: 1/2 sandwich, cup of soup, cup of fruit, or small salad.  I kinda wish I had opted for the cup of soup since I’m not sure I actually got $9 worth of food.  Luckily it was tasty fruit: bananas, pears, apples, and strawberries.

Vegan BLT wrap: closeup!

The BLT was delicious, but nothing too special — I’d recognize that tempeh bacon anywhere and the Vegenaise was, well, Vegenaise.  So could I have made the same exact thing at home for cheaper?  Yes.  Was it still incredibly tasty?  Yes ma’am!

Buffalo tempeh sandwich on multi-grain (bread contains honey, bleu cheese on the side is not vegan).

My (lacto-ovo veg) friend went for “Jon’s Buffalo Tempeh,” which consists of grilled tempeh in Buffalo sauce, lettuce, and tomato.  This had the option to be vegan too, though he didn’t take it (so the side of bleu is real).  The verdict on this one?  He said it was tasty, but would have been much better if it had been warm!  Yeah…pre-grilled cold tempeh has its place I guess, but I can see how this sandwich might not be that place.

Since neither of us was that hungry to start with we didn’t try any desserts, but the #1 thing on my list for next time is vegan cookie dough bonbons!  All you have to tell me is “unbaked vegan cookie dough” and I’m there, but then they add “…covered in chocolate” and I’m sold for sure.  :D

I’m a little conflicted about The Other Side.  Our food was delicious but slightly overpriced, and the service wasn’t the best, though certainly not the worst.  And while I’m super-excited that an omni restaurant offers so many vegan options (some raw, even!) AND a beer/wine list (what a potentially great hangout spot!), I don’t feel like either of the dishes we chose could really compare to similar ones offered by the all-veg restaurants in the area (The Red Lentil in Watertown, for example, has sandwiches that blow these out of the [dirty] water).

I really did enjoy my meal though.  So, I think I’m going to refrain from passing too much judgement on “the OTHERSIDE” until I’ve gotten a chance to sample some more of their offerings at a later date.  You’ve got yourself another chance, restaurant of pretentiously-lettered name!  Wow me with your vegan brunch items!  :)

the OTHERSIDE cafe is located 407 Newbury Street, Boston.  http://www.theothersidecafe.com/

The Red Lentil in Watertown: Full of surprises

Now that my boyfriend is living just an hour south of my house by car (as opposed to six hours southwest by plane), I’ll be going to the BC area a lot more often!  On my last such visit, I brought my mom along to see the bf’s new place, and she graciously offered to buy us lunch while she was there.  We picked The Red Lentil, an unbearably cute little spot in Watertown, MA.  Mom and I had been there once before, as a stop on the way to IKEA in Stoughton.  We thoroughly enjoyed it last time so it was an easy choice to make again.

Before I get into the food, I should say that this is one of those (many) quirky New England addresses for which you can’t rely on your GPS.  It COULD lead you about a mile or two astray if you use GPS or even Google Maps — I say “could” because there are two 600 Mount Auburn Streets in Watertown, and if your GPS is wired like mine it will pick the wrong one.  The way to fix this is to make sure it’s going to zip code 02472.  Or, just call them when you’re close and they’ll help you out.

With that out of the way…

We arrived around 1 p.m. and the place was still packed from the lunch rush.  Fortunately there was one table left in the corner that would accommodate us, and we were seated immediately.  The two parties after us, though, had to wait until tables cleared out, so we got there just at the right time!

I wish I had thought of an inconspicuous way to take a picture of the restaurant interior, since it’s really got a great ambiance for such a small place.  It’s well lit and welcoming; upscale-feeling without being intimidating.  The walls are painted a non-threatening bright green.  Very inviting.

We were handed our menus promptly after sitting down, but before we’d even had a chance to look at them, a server emerged from the kitchen and plopped a trio of INCREDIBLE-LOOKING SAMOSAS right on our table!  He told us they were on the house and then whooshed back into the kitchen.  I must stress that no one had any idea I was a food blogger, and in fact I hadn’t even taken my camera out of my bag yet so they couldn’t even have guessed.  They were just feeling generous that day I think!

FREE samosas from Red Lentil! With two dipping sauces.

Like I said I hadn’t even had time yet to whip out my camera, and by the time I had, my mom and the bf had already eaten over half their share!  These things were delicious — creamy lentils, peas, and potatoes with just the right spices, served piping hot with two (cold) dipping sauces.  The green one was overwhelmingly cilantro-based, and the brown one I couldn’t entirely tell — definitely spicy with some kind of fruit, maybe tamarind?  I preferred my samosa sans sauce, personally, but I would’ve enjoyed the sauce on something else I think.  Maybe as salad dressings.

Sadly I have no idea how to pick up these babies for yourself, since they’re not on the Red Lentil menu.  I’m hoping they were testing them out on us as a potential addition.  If you ever do get the chance to try them, though, you should!

The Red Lentil is all-vegetarian (yay!), but the menu claims that all of its entrees (for lunch, anyway) can be made vegan upon request.  Still, all three of us (one vegan, one vegetarian, and one mom-who-doesn’t-eat-meat-but-doesn’t-mind-beef-stock-soup) ordered menu items that were already vegan to start with.  Hooray!

My mom special-ordered the Tuscan Portabella Sandwich as a wrap (it usually comes burger-style):

Tuscan Portabella: Grilled portabella, roasted red pepper, caramelized onion, greens and pesto aioli. With a side salad.

I have to say, there were a lot of tomatoes in this wrap for something that didn’t even mention them in the description, so beware: if you’re allergic to tomatoes  or don’t want them for whatever reason, you’ll want to mention it to your waiter before ordering this dish.  That said, Mom let me try some of this and it was awesome!  I’m glad she got it as a wrap, since it was definitely hearty and the bread might have made it a bit too much so.  The aioli made everything super-creamy (and too oily for me, I admit) and the portabellas were chewy but not tough.

With sandwich orders at Red Lentil you get a choice of side salad, sweet potato fries, or tortilla chips.  Mom ordered a side salad, thinking the fries would probably be too greasy (and not getting chips is a no-brainer when we go out, since they’ll be just about the same anywhere).  The salad was pretty good.  In fact, I enjoyed it more than my Caesar (more on that in a minute).  However, when the boyf’s Reuben came out, I definitely wished we had gotten more fries!

Tempeh Reuben: Thinly sliced, grilled tempeh, grilled onion, tomato, vegan Russian dressing and organic sauerkraut on whole wheat bread. With sweet potato fries.

As you can see, the fries are sliced big and thick, steak fry-style as opposed to the thin ones I was expecting.  Definitely baked, too, since they were practically greaseless.  Needless to say, this sweet potato-fiend was envious!

Cross-section of the Reuben -- notice the fries are already almost gone...

First: that discolored grayish spot in the middle of the sandwich is light distortion from my camera that I couldn’t figure out how to photoshop out of there.  It isn’t mold!

OK.  This is a HUGE sandwich.  I don’t know about your definition of “thinly-sliced tempeh” but what is in that sandwich looks like thick slices to me.  I only got a few bites of this one but here’s what stood out in my mind.

  1. Softer than it looks!  I was thinking something, at least the bread, would crunch.  I was (pleasantly) surprised when it didn’t.
  2. Really, really tasty bread.
  3. Really, really tasty fillings, but…
  4. The tempeh was sadly a little charred.  If you like charred, cool.  If you’re like me and don’t… well, it was distracting.  I seriously think it could be a contender for QuarryGirl’s Vegan Reuben Wars if it hadn’t been so burned-tasting.  Or maybe I just have overly-sensitive taste buds.

Finally, I ordered what turned out to be the most boring, least worth-it dish of the afternoon:

Vegan Caesar: Our homemade croutons covered in ali-oli and a delicious vegan Caesar dressing makes this Red Lentil favorite. Tossed with organic greens, shredded carrot, cucumber, sprouts and olives. Ordered with dressing on the side.

BLAH.  This was just not good.  For $9 I expected better.  Or at the very least, bigger.  I know I ordered my dressing on the side, so it looks barer than usual, maybe, but let’s be honest here, this is a Large Pile of Lettuce.  Mostly iceberg.  You are seeing all of the “extras” in the photo…there are no additional olives or croutons or sprouts or anything hiding underneath the pile of green.  They might have made up for the boringness with a fantastic dressing, but it was just so-so (and you can see, it came in a thimble).  I’ve had much, much better vegan Caesars in my day, and it pains me to say it but I’ve made better Caesar dressings than that in my own kitchen…sorry Red Lentil!  Finally..WHERE ARE THE CROUTONS!?  There were MAYBE ten teeny little 1/2 inch-cubes in this entire salad.  They are supposed to “make” the salad, according to the description, but I could barely taste them.  I am a huge fan of vegan Caesar salads in general, and vegan Caesar croutons specifically, so this made me very sad!

Our waiter came by to ask if we were interested in anything else, but by this time we were all too stuffed to even look at a dessert menu, so we declined.  But the good souls at Red Lentil surprised us once again!  Before the check arrived, one of these was placed down in front of each of us:

Rice pudding. Mmm!

A little tiny bowl (probably about 1/4 cup) of rice pudding!  This plus the samosas more than made up for the money I felt I lost on my salad.  The pudding was sweet, really sweet, and the sweetness combined with whatever spices they used created a taste that I can only say reminded me very much of Froot Loops.  I’m not sure what flavor it was, exactly, that caused me to draw that comparison…but for sure, Froot Loops.  With a few tiny pieces of cashew thrown in that I wasn’t expecting.  This was ALSO not listed on the menu, so if you go, your likelihood of getting rice pudding may vary…

So!  Caesar notwithstanding, I can confidently recommend Red Lentil as a terrific place to eat lunch if you find yourself slightly west of Boston.  It is quality food without being too terribly expensive (for a metro area).  I personally can’t wait to get back there and try the rest of the menu!  They also have an expanded menu for dinner and a brunch menu on Sunday.

The Red Lentil is located at 600 Mount Auburn Street in Watertown, MA. http://www.theredlentil.com/

Grasshopper

First things first: I’m BACK!  I had a wonderful time in L.A., my class was awesome, and I was invited to come back later in the year for the second installment of the course!  And, naturally, I had all manner of delicious vegan food.  Compared to where I live (compared to most places, actually), LA is vegan paradise. Oh man.  I miss it already.

Of course, a big negative to my extended absence from the Northeast was that this blog got slightly abandoned!  Fortunately I can make it up to you today with a pretty amazing restaurant discovery in Allston, Mass.  I spent the morning helping my boyfriend get settled for his first week of grad school at BC, and by 12:30 or so we decided it was time to check out the local restaurant choices.  We didn’t have to go far (thank God, since it was 97 degrees today!).  After just about a half-mile walk down the street we spotted a bright green awning with “ALL VEGAN” on it in white letters.  Now that’s what I like to see!

Grasshopper is one of those seemingly ubiquitous “Asian” restaurants, where you can’t really tell which “Asian” it’s supposed to be, but you can generally count on steamed rice and stir-fried veggies.  I can tell you, however, that Grasshopper went above and beyond most of its competition on a few key things (these may not do it for you, but they were enough for me):

  • Complimentary pot of tea before you even order anything!  This definitely will score you points with me!
  • $6.25 lunch special that came with a cup of your choice of soup: hot and sour, miso, or veggie delight
  • Super-friendly, smiley, helpful waitstaff.
  • Look at the menu!  Cheap appetizers and a pretty impressive selection of entrees.

I ended up ordering the hot and sour soup for starters.

Hot and sour soup. Included with lunch special.

Do not let its simplicity deceive you; this soup was INSANELY delicious.  Just the right combination of thick texture, spicy flavor and tofu:veggie ratio.  Get this one!

My boyfriend got some kind of sweet basil stir-fry thing that I didn’t get to take a picture of.  He’s still warming up to the whole food-blog idea :P.  I got a picture (and a taste) of his miso soup, though!

This was really just average — your basic bland tofu chunks in bland miso broth.  (I LOVE miso soup when it’s done right, just to clarify!) Also appearing to the right in that picture is the really cute cup they gave us to pour the tea in.  The cup to the left is full of ginger dipping sauce for the “chicken” dumpling that came with his entree.

For my entree I chose the stir-fried veggies with “vegi-beef” and brown rice (which I can’t find on that online menu so it must just be a lunch special thing).

tasty stir-fry from grasshopper! with brown rice. what you can't see is that the stir-fry continues UNDER the brown rice...there's at least three more pieces of vegi-beef, plus some broccoli and squash under there.

This was really good!  The sauce was a little oilier than I would’ve liked (I didn’t expect any oil at all, but I should’ve known better), but it was tasty — reminded me almost of a stroganoff-type sauce, thick and flavorful.  I don’t know why they gave me three different utensils to eat the same dish with, but that’s ok…good to be prepared?  It came with a fork, spoon, and chopsticks; I found it especially ironic when I ended up borrowing my bf’s knife to cut the huge veggies, bringing my total utensil count up to four…

The veggies were your standard mushroom-squash-carrot-broccoli-peapod-bamboo mix.  Tasty but nothing special.  I was really impressed with the vegi-beef though.  It reminded me of a brand of vegan jerky I used to eat all the time: Stonewall’s Jerquee.  That’s a good thing, since what I especially liked about that jerky was how chewy and filling it was.  In this case, the beef absorbed the sauce well without getting soggy.  (In fact, none of this dish was soggy — my boyfriend even remarked on how crisp the carrots were, despite being cooked.)  It’s a good thing I liked the “meat,” too, since they were quite generous with it!  I definitely felt like I got my protein (for all of you non-vegans keeping tabs on my protein status) and I couldn’t even finish the whole thing in one sitting.  All in all, certainly the best meal I’ve had since coming back from LA.  I’m VERY glad it’s so close to where my boyfriend will be staying, since it means many repeat trips there for me!

I do have two complaints – one smaller than the other.  First, I was mildly irritated that I had to pay to “upgrade” to brown rice here, when at many comparable restaurants brown rice is standard or at least a free substitute.  But as it was only 50 cents and they gave me a ton of it, I can let it slide.  The big complaint I have had nothing to do with the food — it was the bathroom!  The lights hardly worked, it was dingy and all-around gross-looking, there was stuff all over the floor, and there was no soap left in the dispenser.  I always wonder about the state of the kitchen when I see an unkempt restaurant bathroom, you know?

Bottom line on Grasshopper: Go there.  Order the lunch special (with the hot and sour soup!).  Just try to remember to go to the bathroom BEFORE you leave home.

Grasshopper is located at 1 North Beacon St in Allston, MA.  http://grasshoppervegan.com/index.html