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Vegan food in Boston

Posted Dec 02 2008 12:00am
Last week I went to Boston for a few days to visit some family members that live in the area. While I have been to Boston twice before, this was the first time visiting as a vegan. In a place famous for its clam chowder and lobster rolls, I was surprised to find that the city of Boston is quite vegan-friendly. It took a bit of online research prior to getting there, but I was able to eat some really great vegan food in some unexpected places. Since I did so much eating on this trip, I think it will be best if I organize it into a list of the main places I went.  I apologize in advance for the quality of some of the pictures as the lighting was not always optimal in the restaurants.

The OtherSide Cafe:

The day my flight arrived, the weather was rainy and cold, and all I wanted was to sit somewhere warm and get something good to eat. Luckily, the OtherSide Cafe was a short walk from our hotel. The OtherSide Cafe is not entirely vegan, but it has quite a few vegan offerings on the menu, including nachos, sandwiches, and a variety of desserts.

We ordered a simple vegan BLT and a buffalo tempeh sandwich to share, along with a nice dark beer.  While both sandwiches were tasty, I really preferred the BLT, which was made with tempeh bacon and topped with vegenaise.  The french bread it was served on was a bit dry, so I think the multi-grain bread would have been a better choice.

I also ended up eating here for a late night snack after the Celtics game.  This place stays open until 2 in the morning on the weekends, which makes it a great hangout spot to get a bite to eat and a couple drinks after a night out. This time we shared the Vegan Diner plate, which consisted of tofu scramble, home fries, veggie bacon or sausage, and toast.  While the tofu scramble was very tasty, the home fries were slightly under seasoned for my tastes.  I was also a bit disappointed to see that I was served dry toast with my meal, as they did not have Earth Balance, or another butter substitute.  I did try a bite of their chocolate mint cake, and it was quite good.

Espresso Royale:
Espresso Royale is a little cafe on Newbury street that serves bagels and vegan cream cheese. The cafe had a variety of cream cheese flavors, including sun-dried tomato, garlic herb, and veggie. Since we ate here almost every morning I got to try each flavor, but my favorite by far was the veggie. It tasted better than dairy veggie cream cheese, with not even the slightest tofu after-taste.

I also tried three different bagel varieties: sesame, everything, and jalapeno.  It was a real treat to enjoy a toasted bagel with a hearty slathering of non-dairy cream cheese. Paired with a soy latte, it made for a great quick and cheap breakfast.  Unfortunately, I didn’t get any pictures of this place, as the bagels made it into my mouth before I could even think to get my camera out.

Grasshopper is an all vegan Chinese restaurant in Allston, which uses mock-meats in place of chicken, beef, seafood, and pork found at traditional Chinese restaurants.  Since the menu was so large, it was very hard to narrow down my choice.

There were four of us and we decided to each pick out an entree and then share everything on the table, family style. I finally decided to go with one of the specials called the No Name, which is battered “chicken” served with vegetables, and coated in a sweet and sour sauce.

When the food came I was already a bit full from my large bowl of hot and sour soup and a cup of delicious green tea.  We then realized that we had ordered way too much food!  The portions were huge and could easily be shared between two or three people.

The dish I chose, the No Name, was absolutely delicious, and it became the favorite of the table. The other dishes were very good as well, and were a bit healthier than the battered chicken. Some of the other entrees included a tofu and seitan hot pot with pineapple and lemon grass (91 on menu), and the crispy taro nest filled with different mock-meats and vegetables in a clear sauce (number 93.) Both of these dishes were very flavorful and different from anything I had tried before in a Chinese restaurant.

We also ordered the spicy curried seitan and vegetables, which is number 62 on the menu. While the vegetables were delicious and fresh, this was my least favorite dish on the table. I found that the sauce was mildly flavored and I expected something a bit spicier in this curry dish.

Between the four of us, we hardly made a dent in the food on the table, and we took most of it home for later.  We were too full to try their cheesecake, but I’m sure it was just as good as everything else.  If you are looking for a place that is economical, filling, and all vegan, Grasshopper is the place for you.

Fiore Bakery:
Although this bakery is not entirely vegan, they had a surprisingly large selection of vegan treats and baked goods.   I visited Fiore’s twice during my trip, and both times there was a large variety of cookies, cupcakes, and brownies.  I just could not resist trying a bunch of different things from behind the bakery case.

Pictured above are two soy-nog cupcakes, a rum-raisin cupcake, a chocolate-mint brownie, a piece of coffee cake, and a cashew-spinach pie. Everything that I tasted was delicious, but my favorite was definitely the rum-raisin cupcake, which was perfectly flavored without being overly sweet.


Even if you are not in the mood for sweets, Fiore’s has a good selection of vegan sandwiches and other savory items.  I tried the Vegan Lunch Box, which comes with either cashew-cheese pizza, spinach pie, or a scone, and is accompanied by hummus, pita chips, falafel, and a small green salad.

Each lunch box also came with a generously sized chocolate chip cookie, and the price was only $6.95 for the whole thing. I didn’t get to try any of the sandwiches, but they looked very good and were moderately priced as well. Fiore’s is a great place to get unique vegan sweets, coffee, or even a healthy lunch without breaking the bank.

My Thai Vegan Cafe:
I decided to save the best for last, and My Thai Vegan Cafe was definitely the best place I ate during my stay in Boston.   Luckily, the menu at My Thai was exclusively vegan, so I didn’t have to worry about ordering things without oyster sauce, chicken broth, or eggs as I usually have to do at Thai restaurants.

The only problem was choosing what to eat with a menu so large because I really wanted to try everything!  I finally decided to start with a bowl of hot and sour soup, and order the sweet and sour “chicken” as my entree.  The soup was probably the best bowl of hot and sour I have ever eaten, but it was REALLY spicy, so consider yourself warned.

When the entrees arrived at the table, we were all very impressed.  My “chicken” had an amazingly realistic texture that could probably fool any non-vegetarian, and the sweet and sour flavor was perfect.

We also ordered the pad thai and the pineapple fried rice, both of which contained veggie shrimp, which I had never tried before.  I was not expecting to like the “shrimp”, but it tasted really good incorporated into both of these dishes. Everything we ordered was cooked to perfection, and veggies were very fresh and crisp.

My only complaint about the restaurant is that they brought out each dish one at a time, with a few minutes spaced in between each one, rather than waiting to bring all the food out together. I don’t like when one person at the table gets served first and has to feel embarrassed for wanting to start eating without everyone else. However, my disappointment faded fast once everything was on the table, and I got to enjoy some wonderful Thai food.

We ate at My Thai on a Saturday, but during the weekdays they have great lunch specials for under eight bucks that include an entree of choice, soup, a spring roll or dumplings, and a cup of jasmine tea. It is definitely worth making a special trip to My Thai Vegan Cafe if you are ever in the Boston area.

Overall, I can say that I had some really great vegan food in Boston.  We ate in restaurants for almost every meal, but we also ate a few snacks here and there from local grocery stores.  It can be stressful to worry about eating healthy while traveling, but my trip to Boston proved to be a stress-free and satisfying experience.  I can’t wait to go back!

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