In the words of Sonny and Cher, “the beet goes on,” and I’m taking you to one of my favorite local spots, with a beet dish you can’t miss.
This restaurant prides itself in an all-organic, whole foods menu. Every dish is vegetarian, and can be made gluten-free, nut-free, grain-free, vegan – you name it.
Life Alive is located in a number of cities across Massachusetts, including Salem, Lowell and Cambridge. Right off Central Square, the Cambridge spot at 765 Massachusetts Ave., is a vibrant, fun environment with a menu grounded in Eastern flavors.
Recommended Dishes: I’m ranting about The Lover, because this dish is full of roasted beets, shiitake mushrooms, kale, broccoli, and carrots. What ties the dish together is a delicious Ginger Nama Shoyu Sauce – a raw, organic, unpasteurized soy sauce. The ginger adds a crisp, spicy warmth to the bowl. The Emperor, sans cheese, is another Life Alive go-to, and The Green Goddess is a patron favorite when avocado is organic and in season.
The Not-So-Good Bite: At Life Alive, you order at the register, grab a number, and try to outrun the enormous line backing up to the door for a table. The food comes out quick, and you may or may not have a seat to eat it at. The good news is that the table turnover is quick, and there is a decent amount of seating to accommodate the crowd.
The Good Bite: As was the case with The Elephant Walk, the menu at Life Alive requires a glossary of terms and definitions. Flax oil, nama shoyu, nutritional yeast, hijiki…each dish is likely to contain at least one unfamiliar item. The staff at Life Alive, however, can explain to you in detail these mystery items, including their nutritional benefits. This makes a meal at Life Alive a wholesome, educational experience, and it takes the stress out of ordering.
The Best Bite: What always wins me over at Life Alive is the freedom patrons get with their food. For example, The Lover is served over brown rice – but I prefer to hold the brown rice and add a full portion of tofu. All the sides can be substitutions, and this makes the options really extensive. No matter what alterations you may choose, or not choose to make, you can be certain that you’ll leave Life Alive feeling good about the food you’ve consumed. It’s a whole new approach to guilt-free (although holding the rice, or cheese when applicable, is another way to do that, too!).
It’s so hard to know what you’re biting in today’s world – everything is processed and ambiguous. A meal at Life Alive is a refreshing retreat from all those additives and preservatives, and whether or not beets are involved, you’ll leave with that earthy goodness all the same.
I hope you’ll grab a beet, and get in touch with your crunchy roots this week. Until next time, I’m off to find another little bite (or a big mouthful!).