I’ve been rather bad at keeping up-to-date lately – my most recent visits to The Otherside Café were during the second week of February! It’s one of my favourite haunts in Boston, being a loud, serious beer bar with lots of substantial vegan options on the menu.
The Vegan BLT at The Otherside Café
My first visit was a lunchtime trip, and I didn’t feel up to the B-4 (a black bean burrito the size of a small planet), so I decided to try a vegan version of something I’ve never had – a BLT. It filled the gap nicely.
The second visit, I tried the Nature Boy – a selection of vegan, raw food items served with dehydrated beetroot and carrots. I did this because I wanted something reasonably light. Oops. I never managed to finish it, because I was full. It was an interesting meal, thought the salads were nearer to dips. The “chips” weren’t quite dehydrated enough for my taste, and sliced a little too thickly. I’ve had similar dehydrated vegetables over at Grezzo which were much nicer than these. Admittedly they were probably more expensive, too.
Still, I’ll be back in the Boston area in July, and hope to get to The Otherside on a weekend to try their vegan breakfast burrito.
The Otherside Café, 407 Newbury Street Boston, MA 02115-1801. Tel: (617) 536-8437. [Map]
I go to Boston fairly regularly, usually every February for Boskone. The hotel is, well, completely useless for vegans, so I have to go out to eat. Then I go and review the places on The Happy Cow. An old favourite is My Thai Vegan Café in Chinatown, formerly Buddha’s Delight, and I regularly visit Grasshopper in Allston and Veggie Planet in Cambridge. All of these places are mostly reliable, and I tend to get pretty much what I was expecting. I’ll probably be adding The Other Side to this list – it’s a loud, rock bar with loads of good beer and solid bar food that includes a lot of vegan and vegan-able options, including vegan cake. For those of you familiar with Edinburgh, it’s as if Liz from The Auld Hoose had gone to MIT instead of Edinburgh University and had still ended up setting up a pub, rather than becoming a physicist.
I tried one place I’d never been to before: Grezzo. It’s a vegan raw foods restaurant in the mostly Italian North End of Boston, and is a rare example of somewhere a vegan and a coeliac can eat out together. The owner has published a cookbook, except the first half consists of material “evangelising” the raw foods lifestyle – not very successfully, given the many photographs of dangerously underweight and sick-looking people used to illustrate it. But the food tastes fantastic, and I’d have bought a copy of the book with just the recipes. Even then, it would have been a little heavy to take back in checked baggage. But the counter-productive promotional stuff just put me off, and made the book far too heavy to carry home. I did buy a spiral slicer—a gadget I’ve been after for a while—and will review it as soon as I’ve been able to stock up on fresh veg.
Another discovery was Boloco (annoying Flash site), which, according to Wikipedia, has been around since 1996 without me noticing it. It does burrito-style wraps, and has a “build-your-own” option which gives an almost infinite variety for the vegan. They have two sorts of beans (black and pinto), brown rice and wholemeal tortillas available, along with a vast range of vegetables, fruit and different salsas. Grilled tofu is one of the standard “meats”. The burritos are big and reasonably priced, though guacamole is extra 😦
Oh yes, and Taza Stoneground Chocolate (more annoying Flash), available in various coffee shops, is fantastic.