Step off the sidewalk in Central Square in Cambridge, and enter into an earthy paradise where the workers are friendly and love their jobs, the sauces are all made in-house, the fruits and vegetables are fresh and packed with nutrients, the grains are perfectly cooked, and the smoothies are creamy enough to substitute as meals themselves. Life Alive is an organic restaurant where all the menu items are vegetarian and most are vegan. THIS ISN’T RABBIT FOOD! If I told my friends that I was taking them to a vegetarian restaurant, the majority of them would begin picturing what they call “rabbit food,” meaning bland, textureless, boring dishes that could only fill up a tiny rabbit-sized stomach. The food at Life Alive is the exact opposite of this. I promise you: Live Alive does not sacrifice flavor.
With my parents in town and the feeling of fighting away a cold, I knew I wanted to take them somewhere different than what they can find at home, but healthy enough to give my immune system the boost it needed. Because it was unseasonably warm last night, we sat outside, but Life Alive also has seating on the main floor and in the basement. The main floor is bright and screams nature, while the basement has a very chill atmosphere; I’ve been told they have live music down there from time-to-time.
How it works: after deciding on what you want, go up an order from the cashier. They will give you a number to put on your table (if you’re dining in) and they’ll bring it to your table when it’s ready. You can also get your food to go, which a LOT of people were doing last night.
So what about the food? My “usual” is copied from my friend who first introduced me to Life Alive: The Rebel. The Rebel (besides having a killer name) is packed with protein-rich quinoa (one of the few plant-based complete protein sources), short grain brown rice (I LOVE the texture of short grain brown rice, it’s chewier than long-grain in a VERY good way), bright orange steamed carrots, dark-leafy greens that embody “healthfulness”, broccoli, hijiki, beats, and tofu. This warm bowl of deliciousness is then tossed in sweet, very low fat Sesame Ginger and Ginger Nama Shoyu sauces. I usually have a hard time finishing my plate, but I have never not finished this meal. Yes, it’s big. But it leaves you feeling full and healthy, rather than full and weighed down.
My parents got the Adventurer and added avocado to it. My dad, a lover of salt, even commented that his meal had so much flavor that he wasn't tempted to add salt to it. Trust me this is an accomplishment. Both parents also mentioned how satisfying their meals were – neither missed not having meat.
I’ve also tried their Chai Alive “Smoothie.” I put smoothie in quotes because it was more like a milkshake (or a frappe for you New Englanders) than a smoothie. Four simple ingredients: Chai, banana, vegan ice cream, and almond milk. It tastes like a perfectly made chai latte on a creamy high. My friend got the Elvis Alive with peanut butter, cocoa, banana, ice cream, and rice milk. Needless to say he was in taste heaven for hours after.
Omnivore, vegetarian, or vegan. Doesn’t matter which you are. Just go here.
Click for Life Alive's website
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