Life Alive: Urban Oasis and Organic Café
Dinner date at Life Alive!
Last week I stumbled upon a restaurant SO UNBELIEVABLY AMAZING that I went back the next day to order the same exact meal all over again. I couldn’t stop thinking about how delicious it was!
The restaurant is called Life Alive, and it’s official…
I’ve definitely discovered my latest addiction.
Now, the funny thing is, this is actually the first REAL vegan/vegetarian restaurant I have ever gone to. Crazy, right?? It’s especially crazy when you consider there are A TON of veggie-lovin’ restaurants around me (just one of the many perks of living near Cambridge), but I honestly haven’t had the chance to test many of them out ever since moving to the area a little over a year ago.
Call me crazy, but I just can’t seem to convince my omnivore friends or omnivore boyfriend to muster up the courage to eat vegetables for dinner! But honestly, I suppose I don’t really blame them for hesitating. If not done right, vegetarian and vegan dishes can easily come up short on flavor and presentation. Life Alive happens to be one of those veggie- friendly restaurants that WILL NOT disappoint in either of these areas. In fact, I’m certain it CAN and WILL blow anyone’s taste buds out of the water…meat-lovers and veggie-lovers alike! Still need some extra convincing? It’s just as easy on the wallet as it is on the stomach .
Life Alive’s Mission:
To Feed the Vitality of the World…one meal at a time.
Photo credit: www.lifealive.com
“We are here to renew your energy and connection to life by soulfully serving you the most fantastic, vibrant, organic, therapeutic, whole food you could ever imagine in an inspiring environment that honors local artisans, the community, and our global ecology.”– Life Alive
Life Alive strikes a unique balance between whole, “good-for-you” dishes and effortless, fast-food convenience. This idea is what strikes me as most important– the notion that in this crazy busy world…it IS POSSIBLE to make healthy choices and to fill up our bodies with nourishing food! The ordering system actually works much like that at Panera Bread– meaning customers wait in line and order from the many menus displayed behind the counter. Once you place your order, you choose to sit either upstairs or downstairs (on some nights there is even live music playing downstairs) and you are given a number to display on your table. The wait staff then brings your meal right to your seat. The system is incredibly easy, however, picking what to eat is almost impossible! Everything just looks TOO DARN GOOD.
This is how Life Alive breaks down their menu:
- Warm Meals: Different variations of veggies, greens, seeds, nuts, tofu, and sprouted legumes served over short-grain brown rice, quinoa, or a mixture of the two.
- Cool Meals/Salads: Homemade hummus served atop mixed greens and variations of veggies, nuts, and fruit.
- Warm and Cheesy Wraps: Variations of veggies, cheese, protein, and dark greens nestled in warm-tortilla wraps–these can be made with or without cheese and eggs depending upon your dietary preference. They also carry Daiya vegan cheese option.
- Soups: Check to see what the soup of the day is
- Sides: Garlic, carrots, celery, cucumber, peppitas, raisins, sunsprouts, sesame sticks, dried pineapple, dried cranberries, goji berries, apple slices, flax oil, hijiki, greens, broccoli, corn, dates, banana, beets, avocado, shredded cheddar, sun-dried tomato, tamari almonds, raw cashews, hard-boiled egg, brown rice, tofu, sprouted legumes, shiitake mushrooms, quinoa, Daiya vegan cheese, lemon-garlic chickpea hummus, red lentil hummus, winter squash hummus-seasonal.
- Simple Snacks: Fun items like granola, peanut-butter and jelly wraps, celery and peanut butter (etc…).
- Juices: Fresh pressed juices with ingredients like carrot, apple, cucumber, ginger, beet, kale, celery, lemon, wheatgrass, spirulina, honey, cayenne, garlic, apple cider vinegar, aloe, and maple syrup.
- Smoothies: Life Alive offers an extensive variety of these thick, frozen, fruity, and creamy drinks which make for a great snack, dessert, or lighter meal (the organic chia-amond milk used is made in-house every day).
- Simple Beverages: Organic teas, detoxifying lattes, hot chocolate, and wheatgrass shots.
Looks pretty YUM, huh?
part of all is that you can CUSTOMIZE
your meal any way you’d like. You can even order any of the salads and bowls as a wrap, a “demi” (half-portion) or as is (in a large bowl). Now, anyone
close to me knows I am the QUEEN of customization. Case in point, I’m kind of
a waitress’ worst nightmare since I’m ever-changing the sides, sauces, dressings, and toppings on my meals. Oops! But when my college roommate and I decided to get together for a dinner date, I knew
she would appreciate this little gem (she also loves customizable meals!). Thank goodness she just moved to the city, because we ‘ve already started a list of vegetarian and vegan places to test out together
When we first walked into Life Alive, the first thing we noticed was the busy, upbeat atmosphere. It’s pretty awesome! Life Alive is more like a “hip café” rather than your typical sit-down restaurant. Plants and paintings line the walls, decorative pillows sit along wall benches, live music plays downstairs, and the decor is full of vibrant colors. Both of the times I’ve been there the line has been practically out the door (always a good sign!).
After much deliberation, I finally decided on THIS salad.
"The Explorer" Salad
Life Alive calls it “The Explorer,” and it’s a blend of high-protein red lentil hummus with sesame sticks, cucumbers, sun-dried tomatoes, sweet corn, spring greens, shredded carrots and beets served with honey wasabi vinaigrette. I also had a side of tofu added on top for some extra protein. Now, the dressing is on the side in this picture, (and I usually keep dressing on the side for healthy dipping) but it didn’t take long before I POURED this healthy dressing all over the greens. It was fantastic! (Note: I actually don’t think this dressing had any oil…but I’ll have to double-check next time I go to be 100% certain.)
My roommate ordered Life Alive’s signature dish–a warm meal called “The Goddess.”
"The Goddess" Warm Bowl
It’s a mix of carrots,broccoli, beets, kale, and tofu served over short-grain brown rice and drizzled with their famous “Ginger Nama Shoyu Sauce.” Nama Shoyu Sauce is the only raw soy sauce available in the U.S. and it’s teaming with live-enzymes and healthy organisms like lactobacillus. It also has much less sodium than your typical soy sauce. Plus, it tastes GREAT.
We also both decided to order a fresh juice called “Simply Alive” (you can see it in the cute little Ball jelly jars in the picture at the top of this post). The drink is a mix of lemon, spirulina, honey (omit if strict vegan), and pure water.
I ABSOLUTELY ADORED my salad, but the next time I go to Life Alive for dinner…I am definitely ordering “The Goddess” bowl. This warm meal was SO flavorful and yummy I kept wanting to snitch bite after bite right off of my roomie’s plate! Lucky for me, when we took half of our meals to go (the portions are huge!), she was nice enough to let me take some of her leftovers home so I could enjoy them for lunch the next day (in fact…the BOYFRIEND enjoyed them the next day too…and he couldn’t believe how amazing a VEGAN dinner could taste!).
Not only is Life Alive a tasty place to get a healthy vegan/vegetarian meal, but it’s also a restaurant you can feel good about going to. It serves only healthy and nourishing food…a far cry from many of the restaurants out there today. So next time you’re in Cambridge, Lowell, or Salem Massachusetts, (they have three locations!) be sure to check them out.
I promise you WON’T be disappointed!
765 Massachusetts Avenue
194 Middle Street
281 Essex Street