Tag Archives: boston

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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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/

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/