Ed. note: This article originally appeared on Boston24.com, which no longer exists. I'll migrate the slideshow here soon, but for now, here's the text and one photo:
Allston's Union Square, already home to a vegan Asian restaurant called Grasshopper, welcomed a new vegan restaurant this month: Peace o' Pie, a pizzeria. Since October is Vegetarian Awareness Month, I decided to put my meat-eating ways aside for an evening and give vegan pizza a try. I brought along my friend Julia, a pescetarian, to get an opinion from someone more used to eating meat substitutes.
Despite the fact that we accidentally arrived a few minutes before opening, excitedly grabbed menus, and sat down, the staff was very friendly and let us stay. We scoured the menu for awhile, eventually settling on a medium pizza with an organic whole wheat crust, half topped with pineapple and half topped with vegan apple sage sausage, which is made from seitan. Peace o' Pie's standard crust is made from unbleached wheat flour, but the whole wheat substitute is available for medium pies. On Thursdays, a gluten-free substitute is also available. The standard cheese is Vegan Gourmet. In addition to pizza, we ordered cheesy breadsticks made with Daiya, a soy-free cheese made with tapioca flour. Daiya can also be ordered on the pizzas instead of Vegan Gourmet.
Peace o' Pie's pastel walls and shiny silver tables reminded us of a diner, although the service was at a much more relaxed pace than that of a diner. We waited nearly a half hour for our pizza, somewhat understandable since it was being made from scratch, but hopefully the pace will pick up a bit when it becomes busier. At 5:30 on a Tuesday night, it was already getting fairly full.
At last, our breadsticks arrived: hot, soft, garlicky, and wonderful. The Daiya was melted across the top. "You can barely tell it's not cheese," said Julia between bites. I was tempted to forget about the pizza and order more breadsticks. Soon after, we got our pizza. Visually, it looked just like non-vegan pizza. The cheese and sausage gave nothing away about their non-dairy, non-meat origins. The soft whole wheat crust was satisfying and neither too thick nor too thin. We both started with the sausage half of the pizza, the ultimate test. The texture was slightly different than meat sausage - a little bit more even and processed, missing those tiny globules of fat that make meat sausage so meaty. The flavor was very close, although rather mild. Julia found the sausage to be excellent compared to other meat substitutes that she has tried. The Vegan Gourmet cheese looked just like dairy cheese, and the taste was fairly similar at first, but as I moved on to my second and third slices, my stomach realized it was being tricked and the cheese became less satisfying. The sauce was tasty throughout, though. "It's a sauce made with a lot of love," remarked Julia. We both agreed that the pizza could use a little bit more seasoning. The ingredients all tasted fresh and healthy, but they lacked a kick. Also absent: grease. If you're used to pizza dripping with grease, Peace o' Pie's pizza might be unsettling at first, but your arteries will probably thank you.
Although as a non-vegan, I prefer the taste of dairy cheese and meat on my pizza, I would definitely return to Peace o' Pie just for those breadsticks. For those that don't eat dairy and meat, Julia found this pizza to be a good substitute for the "real" thing.
Peace o' Pie also offers salads, calzones, and delicious-looking home-made vegan desserts (that we were unfortunately too full to try.) And in addition to using 100% vegan ingredients, most of which are organic, Peace o' Pie makes an effort to recycle or compost as much as possible. They also used eco-friendly materials when remodeling the space, including a sustainably-produced bamboo counterfront and a countertop made from recycled office paper.
Visit Peace o' Pie's website, become a fan on Facebook, and follow on Twitter.