Root: Allston Vegan Café

Last spring a much-loved vegan pizzeria, Peace O’Pie, closed in Allston. Its loyal fan based found itself deprived of yet another place to find local vegan food. The open space did not go to waste, however, when Root opened in July 2013 as a café and juicery with an entirely vegan-friendly menu. It’s under the same ownership as vegan ice cream café, FoMu, and is just two shops down.

I finally visited yesterday during its brunch hours (Sat. & Sun. 9:30am-2:30pm) and though I fully intended getting breakfasty things, I just could not resist trying the Root burger. It’s listed on the menu as a “house made black bean and quinoa burger with Boston lettuce, tomato, crispy onions, and garlic aioli.” I chose a side of herbed fries, which were good, but not anything to rave about. The burger was both delicious and unique. I’m full and I still want another.

Vegan Black Bean Burger Root Café Allston

My friend Jaimee decided to get the Po’ Boy, a sandwich with crispy cauliflower, spicy house rémoulade (French tartar-like sauce), sweet pickles, lettuce, and tomato on an Iggy’s bun. Jaimee said, “If all vegan food was like this, I’d give it a try.” She even likes Root’s version of the Louisiana classic better than the original.

Root Po'Boy Sandwich Vegan Allston

I’d say the food, being local and vegan, was reasonably priced with full meals ranging from $7-9. The café was crowded when Jaimee and I got there so we were lucky to get to barstool seats facing the street. It took about 20 minutes for our food to come out after we ordered, but the wait was definitely worth it. Considering neither of us are vegan and were still drooling at nearly everything on the menu, Root is a great café for anyone to go to. Jaimee and I already started a list of things we have to come back to try, like the donuts and hushpuppies.

Does anyone have an alternative experience at Root? What other items from the menu would you recommend?


Veggie Shoes

My dad once told me if there’s anything worth spending money on it’s shoes. That didn’t really mean much when I lived in Florida and wore the same pair of sandals every day, but now that I’ve trudged through the snow 3 winters in a row I think I’ve caught on. It’s worth it to fork over a little more for quality.

That being said, it’s harder to find shoes that align with your ethical values than you might think. With food you can go to a store, check out the ingredients, and cook a meal in your home without buying speciality tools. Not all of us can (or should) make shoes from scratch.

Happily, there are a few brands who understand the demand for cruelty-free footwear.

Novacas: Novacas, named for it’s play on “no cow” in spanish, sells most of it’s shoes through vendors around the U.S. It doesn’t have an online store, but you can check out its stocklist to find other online stores that carry them.

MooShoes: An online shoe store that’s animal-friendly, easy to browse, and has a great return policy if your shoes don’t fit.

Aldo – you have to double-check to make sure the shoes you want are vegan, but this brand surprisingly offers  a lot of non-leather shoes.

Sudo Shoes: This exclusively vegan shoe store has a location in Porter Square in Cambridge (a huge win for Bostonians!). My friend, Miles, got his Vegetarian Shoes boots there and he absolutely loves them

Vegetarian Shoes: Has pretty much any type of shoe you could want. (Below: Miles’ artsy instagram of his Vegetarian Shoes boots)


Munch Mondays: FoMu

The word “FoMu” sparks a warm fuzzy feeling in the pit of my stomach. Why? Because it’s the goddess of dairy-free, all natural ice cream. Gone are the days of awkwardly asking “is this flavor vegan?”; You can literally stuff your face with Salted Caramel,  Cherry Amaretto,  Pumpkin Spice, and other flavors til your heart’s content! I recently had a mix of Pistachio & Cookies n’ Cream… delicious. FoMu also offers various smoothies, frappes, and baked goods — all vegan. Check out its menu if you don’t believe me.

FoMu’s base location is in Allston, but it just opened another in Jamaica Plain, home of all that is magical. The atmosphere is open and welcoming, showcasing work from local artists on the walls. (Did I mention the products are local too?) The staff is very friendly and polite. On my last visit I realized that one of the baristas is also in my Sociology of the Mind class so perhaps I’ll kindle a budding friendship over our love of local, cruelty-free sweets. So far the only fault I’ve discovered is the lack of a larger seating area. There are a good many high stools, but only 2-3 tables. How am I supposed to soak in the glory of my ice cream if I’m forced to walk the streets of deep Allston?

For those who don’t have much time to spare for adventures into Allston or JP, pints of FoMu ice cream are available in a variety of flavors. Stock up — you’ll never know when you need an emergency ice cream binge.