I think Grasshopper. And my friend Maria.
The first is the all vegetarian Asian restaurant in Allston, MA that is always mentioned when you hear "vegan" and "Boston" in the same sentence. I had heard about it as the place to go for vegan food in Beantown before I was even positive about what vegans could eat in restaurants. Personally, I had a soft spot for Buddha's Delight in Chinatown, (it's now My Thai vegan cafe) that seriously moved from upstairs to downstairs to upstairs again - I swear - while I lived there.
The Vegan Strip in Allston, MA
Grasshopper & TJ's
Timeline: I lived in Boston from 2000-2004, first went vegan in 2002, and didn't try Grasshopper at first. Before then, I was a Buddha's girl. It was simply affordable and close to campus. An ex-boyfriend, the ex-vegan, was wild about Grasshopper and I started going in early 2003. I wouldn't order the famed No Name on every visit, but I'd sure pick the chewy gluten off his plate. It was also hard to resist the chicken fingers, the slightly sweet, thick doughnut-like battered treats with a center of firm tofu served with duck sauce. I would typically opt for #46, the rice noodles with tofu and lemongrass. Nothing out of this world, but I just loved 'em.
Oh, and their hot and sour soup was the best I've ever had, and yet to have. Portland's Bay Leaf is up there, but Grasshopper has the first-and-best award in my head and stomach.
Recent: I had the pleasure of stopping by Grasshopper twice on my visit to my old college stomping grounds, and actually tried a new dish! I went once with my friend Shaun, of In a Pickle and a Jam, and her boyfriend, Brian, and again with awesome members of the Post Punk Kitchen, including my dear friend Allicia, the Broke Ass Vegan, and Gory, of the ol' Vegan Road Trip. Both evenings were the tops! The PPK night included amusing shenanigans at the nearby divey Silhouette Lounge, which I can't decide if I'm proud or embarrassed to admit that I hadn't been to before.
Ultimately, I went for the No Name. Behold:
The New Dish:
Crispy Angel hair, Veggies & Gluten. Good stuff.
The classic Grasshopper accompanient. You either love or hate the dressing.
This photo does not do it justice, but I must include it. Maria, one of my best friends in the world, made me a scrumptious dinner after a long day of flying. She's the person who taught me to cook tofu back in college I will never stop giving her that credit.
Fried tofu, Spicy Broccoli and Rice
I did do other things besides eat in Boston!
Maria and I strolled all over the city, particularly Back Bay and Central Square.
This was our neighborhood in college, that was amazing....
We made a point to stop by Wheeler's for ice cream. To think if I was living on Mission Hill once more, vegan ice cream would be on my T line!
Small Pumpkin Ice Cream
Let me say that I want to try it again, because the experience and ice cream didn't live up to expectations, but there is such potential! That's all.
I went to another one of my old favorites from my summer living, interning and (miserably) working in Davis Square, Diesel Cafe, but couldn't find a seat to relax in the expanded coffeeshop, so I took my soy accelerator to the square itself. Not to be downer, because I'm not, but I found the espresso harsh, even with the flavors and foam. Oh, Portland, what'd you do to me?
I spent the summer of 2003 moaning and groaning, working a second job at JP Lick's, the ice cream parlor. The plus side was the free sorbet (oh, the sangra sorbet ruled) and the location.
This soy latte was great.
From Flatback Coffee in Dorchester, MA by the Ashmont Station.
After a walk across the Mass Ave bridge into Cambridge on my last full day, we stopped by the Middle East. I lived in a gross, cheap apartment between Central and Kendall Squares before I moved to Portland in order to save money. Ah, memories. Please note that cats do scare cockroaches! Except the ones in your fridge.
Beans & Rice lunch plate
Afternoon beer & fries. Sam Adams Seasonal Ale. Again, Portland - you and your fabulous microbrews spoil me.
Obligatory photo op:
Actually, one of our closest college friends worked here, and again, it was around the corner from our dorm, so it's more a homage to her and our Emerson days, but just as dorky.