According to Denise Taylor of the Boston Globe, the "scrupulously vegan" Peace o' Pie eatery is run by vegan foodies who "refuse to skimp on taste," adding that Daiya’s "tapioca-based mozzarella lives up to all the hype. It really does stretch, brown, and satisfy in a way close to real cheese." The pizza's dairy-free cheese—along with other fresh ingredients and totally vegan ingredients—have garnered rave reviews from diners and critics alike. The intimate gourmet bistro was the first runner-up in PETA's national Best Vegan Pizza awards, and the Phoenix bestowed it with the Best Restaurant, Veggie award in 2011, predicting that "even carnivores will be impressed." Peace o' Pie has also earned six awards on CityVoter, including being named the Best Vegan restaurant in 2010 and 2011 and a top finalist in the Best Pizza-Slice and Best Pizza-Upscale categories in 2011.
In addition to using ethically minded ingredients on the menu, the vegan owners avoid honey and refined sugars, and opted to use eco-friendly materials during the building's remodel. They chose a sustainably produced bamboo counter front, a countertop of 100% recycled office paper, and ceiling tiles with 65% recycled content. The team also uses compostable, biodegradable packaging and supplies and illuminates the space with energy-saving light bulbs wherever possible.
Each item on El Pelón's menu is rammed completely full of fresh ingredients, tongue-punching spices, and authentic garnishes. Drop in for a rotundly satisfying carnitas quesadilla (slow-braised pork sandwiched between jack cheese and tortillas; $3.50) and a side of fried plantains ($3.95) before returning to your dust cloud of fighting cartoon characters, or double up on your face with tacos de la casa such as El Pelón's twin cornmeal-breaded pescado tacos ($6.50), stuffed with spice-infused cod, arbol-chile mayo, limed onions, pickled cabbage, and cucumbers. To fight the good appetite fight and look dashing whilst doing so, grab onto a mighty El Guapo ($6.50)—the house's famous signature burrito—bursting at the seams with grilled steak, Mexican rice, black beans, fried plantains, jack cheese, fire-roasted salsa, lettuce, and authentic crema. All of El Pelón's showstoppingly spiced toppers are available as sides, enabling mad-scientist diners to experiment as liberally or as conservatively as they like with the bounteous beauty of El Pelón's celebrated flavors. To make your mouth feel even more Mexican without the hassle of chewing a sombrero, wash it all down with Mexican Coca Cola, made with cane sugar instead of fructose, or some Jarritos soda (both $1.75).
The intermingling aromas of ginger, coconut, lemongrass, chilies, and basil is pretty typical of most Asian eateries. But Grasshopper Restaurant isn’t like most Asian eateries. Rather than stick with one regional specialty, it borrows recipes and flavors from Chinese, Japanese, and Thai cuisines. The chefs also distinguish their menu by avoiding any meat, opting for stir-fried seitan and tofu as protein-packed alternatives. However, the Zagat-rated restaurant mostly relies on fragrant herbs, piquant seasonings, and fresh vegetables to concoct its animal-friendly, plant-hostile versions of classic dishes such as beef lo mein, barbecued pork, and steak with spicy black bean sauce.
My Thai Cafe makes a strict diet a little easier for those who don’t eat animal byproducts. The all-vegan Thai restaurant crafts meals from vegetables and realistic meat costumes, serving veggie-shrimp basil fried rice and veggie-chicken pad thai. The restaurant also hosts a selection of tofu dishes that mix the bean curd with bamboo shoots, pineapple chunks, or steamed jasmine rice. The plates aren’t the only things abundant in plants. The restaurant’s interior is decorated with a variety of potted plants bathing in the sunlight that pours in through the large windows. They rest below high, vaulted ceilings that sprout fans to keep diners cool.