Restaurant Review: The Pulse Cafe- Somerville, MA

Over the long weekend the Hubz and I made a quick overnight trip to the Boston area for a little getaway and to visit a few stores in search of items for our new apartment.  The first night we were there we decided to try The Pulse Cafe; a vegan restaurant in Somerville that was rumored to be good.

The cafe is a small cafeteria like place with table service, we were greeted and seated immediately as there was no one else there.  After looking over the menu we decided to ask our waitress which two items she recommended and based on her recommendation we went with the BBQ Seitan with slaw and cornbread and the Veg Burger with a mixed green salad.

At this point we are seeing the food and thinking wow this looks pretty good….however our eyes were deceived.  The seitan was like eating a sponge, the texture and consistency was awful and I couldn’t finish my half it was that bad. The bbq sauce on the seitan was like sweetened tomato paste, the cornbread was dry, and the slaw was AMAZING. The slaw was the highlight of both dishes which is pretty disappointing considering it is just a side.

As for the burger it was was bland even with the chipotle mayo which you couldn’t even taste.  The burger was mushy and with the bun and tomato there was a real lack of great texture, it needed something crunchy and more seasoning.  The greens were boring and under a few leaves we found a piece of tomato and red pepper.  There was dressing on the salad leaving it very bland as well; just a little lemon juice, salt and pepper would have made the salad 100x better.

The food was disappointing, the prices were expensive ($13 for a veggie burger? come on) and to top it all of the seating was horrible.  The dining area has two levels that are separated by a railing; we were seated on the lower level.  A group of 3 people came in and were seated on the upper level right next to us so the only thing separating us was the thin railing.  The group then proceeded to look down on us and watch as we ate which made both of us extremely uncomfortable.  To top it all off we were the only people in the cafe so there was no need to seat someone so close to us.

Overall I would not recommend or visit this cafe again. I found that there was as lot of hype on the internet over this place due to the pure fact that it was vegan. All though it is vegan the food and prices were not worth the visit, especially with a number of great vegan friendly restaurants nearby. To top off the whole experience both the Hubz and I left hungry since we were unable to finish our food.

Ratings:

  • Value: 0/5
  • Food: 2/5
  • Vegan Friendly: 5/5
  • Atmosphere: 1/5

Anniversary Weekend, Portland ME: Part 3

We had a pretty quiet night on Saturday, after our relaxing soak and dinner at Whole Foods we went back to our room where we enjoyed a few yummy vegan chocolates from Whole Foods. We split a Health Crunch and A Chocolate Salted Caramel Cup both of which were delicious.

We headed home on Sunday morning but not before stopping in at Whole Foods for an iced coffee and bagel with cream cheese.

After we ate our breakfast we spent a good 45 minutes roaming the aisles of the store picking up a number of goodies such as donut peaches, kale, apricots and coconut milk yogurt. Luckily I brought our cooler bag which I filled with ice from the hotel so that we could get some refrigerated items to bring home with us. Once we finally got on the road we decided to stop in York, ME at Stonewall Kitchen so that we could try all the hot sauce, jam and mustards that they have there, who doesn’t love free samples? The place was insanely busy and there were tons of rude people who kept pushing and shoving so the hubz and I made this a quick trip and got out of there before we were trampled.

From there we headed to Kittery ME to visit the outlets. We also picked up lunch for the road which we ate in Kittery after our disappointing trip to the outlets there. When did the Kittery outlets become so horrible?

After Kittery we decided to take the “scenic” way home and headed on Route 4 to Concord and to our delight we spotted Redhook Ale Brewery and decided to stop in and take a tour. When we arrived we had about an hour to wait before the next tour was to occur and since we were in no rush we decided to wait and get a sampler of their beer to try. We also had some chips and salsa because I only finished half my salad and I knew without a little food in my belly all that beer was going to have quiet the effect on me.

I finished all of the IPA and ESB but only took a few sips of the Slim Chance doesn’t exist it’s now the Blonde, the seasonal and the limited release (oatmeal stout).  I also snacked on some chips but tried not to eat too many.

Finally the hour passed and it was time for our tour, which we almost didn’t stay for.  We are glad we stayed though because for only $1 each we had a very informative tour and received a Redhook tasting glass as well as 4+ samples. It is one of the best tour deals I’ve ever seen.

We finished our trip in Concord NH where we stopped at Boloco to get something to eat for dinner.  I was excited to see that Boloco has bowls instead of wraps now (I know my husband said it’s been like that for awhile), anyways I was pumped and decided to get a Goloco Bowl.  Goloco is basically putting whatever you want in a bowl or wrap; for mine I had brown rice, organic tofu, fajita veggies, cucumber, corn salsa, tomatoes, scallions, balsamic and black bean hummus.  The hubby got a wrap and we shared an unsweetened ice tea.

We had the best time in Portland – great city and I can’t wait to go back again.

Anniversary Weekend In Portland ME: Part 2

After our “wild” night out on the town in Portland we decided that we needed to get some veggies in our systems,  so we went to Whole Foods. This would start our day of eating entirely from Whole Foods. As soon as I saw the 2 different kale salads, I was in heaven.

I quickly devoured this entire bowl of goodies which consisted of 2 types of kale salad, vegan chicken salad, tuscan pasta salad, snow peas and a little bean salad. There was also a piece of sweet potato that I didn’t like, so after a nibble it went into hubby’s bowl.

The Hubby and I also shared a Vita CoCo Coconut Water.

Once we filled our bellies it was time to head out to do something active and since I had heard great things about the various trails around Portland we decided to try one out.  We chose the Fore River Sanctuary Trail which lead us to f Jewell Falls, Portland ‘s only natural waterfall.

After our  2.5 mile walk we were hot and in need of some iced coffee and a shot of wheat grass from……WHOLE FOODS- this would be trip 2 of the day.  While we were there we decided that we would head to Freeport to do a little outlet shopping and visit L.L. Bean so we picked up some lunch for our trip. For our lunch we each had a donut peach and shared vegan chicken salad, a multigrain roll and a salad of kale, red cabbage, pasta salad and a few other treats

Freeport was fun and we really enjoyed L.L. Bean which was filled with every camping item that we could ever want …and never need.  Neil also enjoyed a nap in one of the tents.

After his nap at L.L. Bean it was time to head back to the hotel for a real nap in our bed before we headed out for the evening. This evening was a little, well more like a lot more low key than our first night in Portland.  We made last minute reservations at Soakology a wonderful foot sanctuary and teahouse.  I unfortunately couldn’t take any photos during our soak which was the most relaxing thing that either of us had done in a long time.  I did a peppermint soak and the hubz did a Maine Woods which had spruce in it and he was in heaven.

While you sit in huge comfy chairs with your feel in giant bowls of warm water the soakologist provides you with a warm neck wrap.  We sipped on some tea and relaxed while having our water warmed up ever 15 minutes for about an hour.  We had the most relaxing time and after that we headed out for a walk and then dinner at ….take a guess…

Whole Foods!

I know what you are probably thinking, aren’t there any good vegan friendly restaurants in Portland? Yes, there are a number of great vegan friendly restaurants in Portland however for our trip we had one pricey night out and decided to keep things less expensive and enjoyed the convenience of Whole Foods. If you are looking for some good vegan options that aren’t Whole Foods I suggest: Green Elephant (vegetarian, but mostly vegan), Mesa Verde (Mexican, with some vegan options), Silly’s (pubish food, tons of vegan options), Wild Burrito (vegan-friendly), Bintliff’s American Cafe (vegan-friendly w/vegan brunch options), Aurora Provisions (vegan-friendly with local tempeh and tofu and vegan desserts); there are also a number of vegan-friendly Indian and Thai restaurants in the area as well.

Vegan in Boston

Hi Everyone! So as many of you know my husband and I have run off to Boston, my old home for a brief time, for some R&R and of course yummy eat s and drinks.  I was recently asked about vegan options in Boston and I have put together a list of places that my husband and I love as well as some other options we have yet to try but I hear are good:

I hope this list is helpful! People say Boston isn’t vegan friendly but it so is! There are tons of options here are some:

  • Bagel Rising www.bagelrising.com
    • Has the best bagels with tofu spread ever! These are my husband and I’s favorite thing to get when we go to Boston.  These are usually located within Espresso Royale’s.  Our favorite location is on Newbury St.
  • Grasshopper            *Vegan*
  • 1 North Beacon Street, Allston, MA 02134 http://grasshoppervegan.com/
    • I have had mixed experiences at Grasshopper, but have come to learn that the only dishes you should get here are ones that are deep fried.  The No-Name is most people’s stand-by and it is delicious.
  • Spike’s Junkyard Dogs www.spikesjunkyarddogs.com
    • This place sells a yummy veggie dog. These are so good and you can get so many different combinations. So for something quick, easy, yummy and cheap this is a good choice.
  • Chilli Duck 829 Boylston Street, Boston, MA www.chilliduck.com
    • This Thai place has a vegetarian menu that is all vegan and the food is good!
  • The Elephant Walk             www.elephantwalk.com
    • I haven’t visited this place yet but I hear that has amazing food and the vegan options are labeled on the menu. (There are a Boston, Cambridge and Waltham locations. Oh and reservations recommended).
  • The Other Side Café           407 Newbury Street
    • This was always my college standby when I was going to school in Boston.  The atmosphere is really fun and the food is delicious.  There are tons of vegan options as well as raw vegan options.  The tea selection is amazing and so good as well. If there is one really great place to visit I would suggest here.
  • My Thai Vegan Cafe 3 Beach Street, 2nd Floor formally Buddha’s
    • This place is cheap and delicious.  It has great vegan thai food. (There is also a Brookline location.)
  • Pho Pasteur II             682 Washington Street
    • This place is just below My Thai Vegan Cafe and has great Vietnamese food. They have a great vegetarian menu that has vegan friendly options. The food is cheap, yummy and you get a ton of it.
  • Addis Red Sea     544 Tremont Street www.addisredsea.com
    • This place is AMAZING! My husband and i absolutely love it and the food is delicious.  The place is Ethiopian and is served very traditional and is so good it is a must try if you like Ethiopian food or are interested in trying something new. Also all the vegetarian items are vegan. (I don’t care for their Cambridge location.)
  • Le’s   36 JFK Street-  Located at Harvard Square in Cambridge- I believe there is an Allston location as well
    • Le’s serves delicious and affordable Vietnamese food in a casual setting.  There are plenty of vegetarian dishes to chose from, many of them are vegan.
  • The Middle East Restaurant & Nightclub 472 Massachusetts Avenue www.mideastclub.com
    • this place has great Middle Eastern foods.  You could also try ZuZu which is part of The Middle East group and is next door- it’s a little fancier and I hear has great food
  • Lizzy’s Ice Cream Parlor  29 Church Street www.lizzysicecream.com
    • This place is located near Harvard Square in Cambridge and it has yummy vegan ice cream and sorbet options
  • Veggie Planet   47 Palmer Street Cambridge www.veggieplanet.net
    • I haven’t tried this place yet but people love it.  The vegan options are listed on the menu.
  • Also Faniuel Hall has a big food court with a ton of options that vegans can eat from sushi to indian to thai.  There is also a great Mexican place at Quincy Market that I can’t remember the name of but it’s on the left side of Quincy Market and has great food.
  • There are also tons of options at the Prudential Center food court.
  • If you are going with Omni’s Legal Seafood has one vegan dish.
  • There is also PF Changs and CPK which has some vegan options.
  • For quick items there is Bolocco and Qudoba that both have vegan options.
  • Other Vegan Options:
  • TJ Scallywaggles      487 Cambridge Street- www.scallywaggles.com Vegan pizza and subs
  • 28 Degrees One Appleton Street Boston, MA 02116 www.28degrees-boston.com
    • Vegan Options:
      • -Radicchio Salad (adaptable)
      • -Fried Polenta
      • -Tomato, Basil Pizza (adaptable)
      • -Sauteed Spinach
      • -Grilled Bread, Olive Tapenade, Bean Puree
  • This is a great site that has a number of other options that might interest you: http://www.veganboston.com/
  • If you are outside the city at all Prana in Newton has amazing raw vegan food and The Watertown Diner has a yummy vegan breakfast.
  • Also incase you were wondering Rock Bottom has a veggie burger but it’s not vegan and none of the beer is.
  • Also b. Good used to have a vegan veggie burger but it is not vegan anymore.