Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Vegan Food in the Neighborhood

While most who visit Boston travel to the North End for authentic Italian cuisine, I take visiting family and friends to healthy vegan places.  I'm sure they don't mind missing out on lasagna and canolis to partake in veggie wraps and smoothies.  It's an acquired taste.  Two new veg restaurants recently opened in the Greater Boston area, and in the past week I have recruited friends to try both.  Here's what I thought:

Walnut Grille
Newton, MA
I went to the Walnut Grille for lunch on a very hot day.  Unfortunately, the air conditioner was broken, and thought I was going to melt off my sparkly vinyl chair.  The menu had a wide selection, including smoothies and desserts, which always earn bonus points in my book.  I ordered the falafel wrap with sweet potato fries (obviously) and my friend had the quinoa and black bean burger with a salad and side of broccoli.  I haven't talked about this before, but I'm kind of obsessed with sweet potato fries.  I order them everywhere I go, and I'm definitely a snob when it comes to assessing the quality of said fries.  I also eat a lot of veggie wraps and falafel, since it's frequently the only thing veg-friendly item on the menu at traditional restaurants.  That being said, it was a delicious lunch.  The fries were amazing and the wrap was filled with greens, cucumbers, and tomatoes, and did not have too much tahini, which is another thing I'm picky about.  I ate half the meal and had an awesome lunch the next day, as well.  The owner offered us free ice cream since it was sweltering in the place, but we opted out and made a beeline for the car, where we proceeded to blast the AC.  I have since heard that the AC has been fixed, so I would definitely recommend this place - good food, friendly staff, and ample parking. 

Root - Inspired Food and Juicery
Allston, MA
I have been super excited because this place is within walking distance from my apartment, and a few doors down from Fomu ice cream (at the former location of Peace o' Pie).  I went for dinner on a weeknight, and arrived just before a big crowd hit.  When I walked up to the front counter, the girl working seemed kind of aloof and unfriendly.  She didn't greet me or even ask to take my order.  I guess I was expecting some more enthusiasm, since the place has only been open for a week.  I ordered the LA Wrap with herb fries, and so did my friend.  We seated ourselves near the AC, since again, it was a very hot day, and this place wasn't too cool, either.  On a side note, I appreciate environmental consciousness, but when it's 93 degrees out, I don't enjoy sweating through my meal.  Once we had our meals I noticed that a different person was working at the counter, and that she was actually smiling.  While we were eating, the place began to fill up with a mixed crowd of young professionals and tattooed hipsters, all of whom seemed to be enjoying their different varieties of juice in mason jars, salads, and sandwiches.  Overall, the meal was tasty, and I'm glad to have a vegan restaurant so close by, but in the future I will probably choose the take-out option.

All in all, the food was good at both places, and it's wonderful to have a few more veg-friendly establishments in the neighborhood.  Also, I need to order something besides a wrap and fries the next time I eat out. 

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