Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Forbidden City Bistro

Forbidden City Bistro
335 Main Street
Middletown, CT 06457

To be honest, we had planned to have dinner at It's Only Natural on this visit to Connecticut but discovered that on Sunday they are only open for brunch.  My poor planning resulted in us seeking out an alternate plan.  Middletown has a surprising number of vegan options, so this afforded us an opportunity to try something new.

We wandered down Main Street, checking out menus posted outside numerous restaurants, and at last settled on Forbidden City Bistro.  They have a completely separate vegetarian/vegan selection.  Most items are vegan.  Vegetarian ones are marked as such.  We were blown away by the variety of appetizers and entrees available.

The food was delicious.  We sampled Edamame Dumplings flavored with truffle oil and served in a delicious broth.  In addition, we tried Shanghai Wontons that came with a wonderful peanut lemongrass sauce.  Everyone enjoyed them.

For dinner, we had Five Elements Quinoa, Longevity Noodles and the Layered Tofu Cake.  The quinoa was flavorful and the goji berries worked quite nicely in a savory dish.  I ordered the noodles and the mung bean threads were pleasantly spiced.  The tofu cake was made of pan fried yuba.  If you aren't a fan, it can be a bit off-putting.  I enjoyed it; my girlfriend did not.  However, she loved the bok choy and the peanut and sesame sauced noodles that came with it.  We'll definitely be planning another visit soon.  Note: You can see pictures of most dishes on their website.  Had I known this, we wouldn't have been surprised with yuba when ordering something that was labeled tofu cake on the menu. 

Also, don't forget It's Only Natural has a great whole foods market down the street. They are open even if the restaurant is not.  If you need any hard-to-find vegan or bulk foods, it is worth a stop.   Parking here is easy.  There is plenty of on street metered spaces.  A town lot is also available behind the stores.

Shanghai Wontons

Longevity Noodles

Layered Tofu Cake

Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Grange

The Grange
166 Broadway
Providence, RI 02903

The Grange opened a few months ago in an up and coming Providence neighborhood.  Julian's is down the street as well as another great stop, Seven Stars Bakery.

The restaurant is located at the corner of Dean Street and Broadway.  There's plenty of on street parking as well as a shared lot in the back with the Kitchen store (ignore all the scary signs).

Step inside and you'll find an urban oasis.  The waiting area has hanging swings, plants, and a small library.  Many of the furnishings are reclaimed.  At night candles light the walls in muffin tins.  One of the waiters mentioned that the floor is from an old bowling alley.  A string of antique telephone pole insulators glows above the bar.  In the evenings, the lights are low and the atmosphere is cozy.  During the day, the windows let in lots of light. 

The menu focuses on local foods, so it changes often.  All entrees are vegetarian and many can be made vegan.  Late night or at lunch time, you'll find the incredibly creative carrot dog!  My favorite standby is the chicken fried oyster mushroom po'boy on a pretzel roll.  For breakfast, the pretzel bread french toast with maple "butter" is mighty tasty.  There are also very impressive vegan desserts.  We love the coconut creme brulee.

Don't forget to visit the tiny bakery/cafe called Chicory that is attached.  They brew Stumptown coffee from Oregon and have many vegan baked goods including donuts (beignets).

 Carrot dog with Gochujang BBQ, kimchee, daikon, and chili aioli

Chicken fried oyster mushroom po'boy 

 Grilled spiced tofu with pistou and olive tapenade

 Apple galette

Coconut creme brulee (vanilla with a coconut milk base)

Chocolate dessert trio: (brownie, mousse and mocha chicory ice cream)

Monday, June 3, 2013

FoMu Vegan Ice Cream and Cafe

FoMu Ice Cream and Cafe
481 Cambridge St.
Allston, MA 02134

FoMu, you gotta love the name!  When I first heard Boston would have a vegan ice cream shop, I was ecstatic.  Allston is a bit of a drive for us, but it was well worth it!  The Allston location is right near Grasshopper, so you may need to hunt for on street parking if you aren't taking the bus or hoofin' it.

The store has funky art, shiny steel furniture, and a ginormous chalkboard detailing all the ice cream flavors.  Expect to see 15-20 options, including a few soft serve varieties.  They generally use a coconut base, but a couple of flavors are nut based.  If you can't decide what to get, you are welcome to sample.

My current standby is usually the salted caramel.  However, I've recently been digging the saffron rosewater.  There are also limited edition flavors that come and go.  A couple of our faves included: coffee and donuts as well as caramel samoa (caramel ice cream with coconut and chocolate covered shortbread).

I'm not much of a sundae person, but FoMu also has a ton of toppings including vegan marshmallow, gummy bears, mochi, sprinkles, and sauces.

Not in the mood for ice cream?  They also have smoothies, coffee, and tea.  Plus they carry a myriad of vegan baked goods and local chocolate from Taza.

A second FoMu location just opened in Jamaica Plain.  The JP location is a little smaller.  We didn't see soft serve there and they don't make the ice cream cakes at this location yet either.  That doesn't stop us from visiting though.

Above is carrot cake and salted caramel.
The topping is a local Taza Chocolate company mix of nuts, cacao nibs, and stone ground chocolate.

This is saffron rosewater with baker's dozen (a mix of random baked goods). 

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Food @AS220

Food@ AS220
103-105 Empire St
Providence, RI 02903

Food is the reincarnation of Taqueria Pacifica.  I'm pretty much in love with their philosophy of cooking from scratch and working with local farmers and vendors.

The setting is funky and the crowd is a random mix.  AS220 is the non-profit community arts and performance space in the area, so that makes sense. 

When you get there, pick up a menu and order at the counter.  Once you pay, they'll give you a playing card that serves as your number to pick up your food.   You have to love that they say, "We are an equal opportunity eatery.  Please alert us of any food allergies or aversions and we will administer appropriate alchemy to accommodate you."

Just about everything on the menu has a vegan option.  I've been there four times now and have enjoyed almost every dish.  I'm not a huge fan of the vegan Spicy Portuguese open faced sandwich though.  On the other hand the Herb Roasted Chicken Seitan with lentils and veggies is awesome.  I also highly recommend the vegan Cauliflower Empanada and the Crispy Chickpeas side dish.
 Cauliflower Empanada

Crunchy Chickpeas

There's plenty of on street parking available in Providence!

*Note about AS220: This performance space is unique. They have artists in residence and various shows throughout the week. There is almost always graphic art or photography in the gallery. Nights you find poetry readings, musicians, and film presentations. Thursday the Poetry Slam takes place and the show is a must see. Saturday afternoon in the cold months, AS200 hosts a winter farmer's market.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Peace o' Pie

Closed in 2013
Peace o' Pie
487 Cambridge St
Allston, MA 02134
617 787 9884

Sunday, I headed into Boston to visit the SOWA (South End Open Market). Since I was already in the city, I decided to try one of the new vegan restaurants.

Peace o' Pie opened up in the old skeleton of TJ Scallywaggles, near Grasshopper in Allston. They did a great job cleaning up the store front. Seriously, it no longer looks like it was designed by elementary school kids. The counter is redone with with sustainable bamboo and the kitchen area is spotless. There are handful of nice tables and chairs for customers who stay to dine in.

The menu is definitely more upscale and gourmet than the old digs. They use Follow Your Heart cheese, though it can be upgraded to Daiya for a small fee. In addition, both Dandies vegan marshmallows and Daiya cheese is available for sale.

I checked out the menu and opted for "The EP" which is: Smoked tempeh, sundried tomatoes, sauteed spinach, and garlic. Based on what I'd heard from other folks, I also ordered a side of breadsticks. For my first visit, I chose to stick with FYH. Next time, I'll give Daiya a try. While waiting for my pizza, I got a feel for the atmosphere.

The new owners are really great folks. They checked in with any of the tables, cleared plates, and delivered orders to folks who were waiting. The vibe was a lot different than the self service attitude of TJ's.

When my pizza was done, I grabbed it to go and headed home. The car smelled wonderful and I ended up sampling one of the breadsticks on my way back. They were full of garlic and "buttery" flavor and the texture was just great. At home, I gave the pizza try. The crust is a far cry from the cardboard base that their predecessor used. The topping mix they came up with was wonderful and the sauce was just right. All in all, I was very impressed and can't wait to visit again the future.

They have daily specials on the board, so check those out. On the counter, they had some mighty fine looking desserts. One of the customers was gushing about how great the cinnamon peanut butter roll was. I'll have to snag one, next time.

Plenty of free on street parking available.

Below is a pic of my pizza. It doesn't really do the pie justice!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Prana Raw

Prana Raw Cafe
292 Centre St
Newton, MA
617 527 7726

Prana is the newest raw restaurant to the Boston scene. I've enjoyed Organic Garden in Beverly, but the food is definitely a little on the "granola" side. Grezzo is amazing, but it is very high end. Prana falls right in the middle. This includes price as well as food.

The restaurant is very bright and cheery. There is a children's club house/seating area and a children's menu. Since the family that owns the restaurant has 3 young children, they definitely know how to cater to a more picky palate.

The staff was extremely friendly even though we showed up shortly before closing. We were never rushed at all. I had the burger with kale chips. It was very good! On the way out, I ordered the chocolate torte to go. When I dug into it later, I found a very creamy chocolatey pie.

Prana is great and I'm looking forward to when they are open in the evening too. For now, you can only stop in for breakfast or lunch!

Lots of on street parking is available. The closest public lot is on Pearl St.


134 Ives St
Providence, RI 02906
401 861 2977

We stumbled upon Malachi's after we stopped for dinner at United BBQ next door. This is a cool coffee bar with lots of vegan options. They serve organic fair trade coffee and offer either soy or hemp milk for those looking to avoid dairy.

The night we stopped in, there was a sign outside advertising vegan brownies and cookies. The brownies were very good. The menu listed vegan lentil soup, Tofurky sandwiches, hummus, Tofutti cream cheese, Earth Balance, and even soynut butter. They also have smoothies!

The owner was super nice and told me all about the vegan offerings and chatted with us for quite awhile before we headed out to the movies. As we left, he told us to stop by and tell him about the film on our next visit!