Cheap eats

No sacrifice needed for the vegan pizza at Peace o’ Pie

(Aram Boghosian for The Boston Globe)
By Denise Taylor
Globe Correspondent / November 4, 2009

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As we step into the tiny storefront home of Peace o’ Pie pizzeria in Allston, we are enveloped by the aromas of cheesy, tomatoey goodness. Gorgeous, bubbly-crusted pizzas occupy diners at nearly every shiny table. Walls in avocado green frame the scene. Behind the bamboo counter, a young chef scoops tantalizing pies from the oven. In short, everything about the place looks and smells like a regular, trendy pizzeria, but the ingredient list is far from standard.

Peace o’ Pie, which opened last month, is scrupulously vegan. It uses no animal products. Nor does it use ingredients that have been processed with animal products (such as some refined sugar). But this shop is also run by food lovers who refuse to skimp on taste. “Many newer vegans don’t believe you have to compromise taste just because you don’t believe in hurting animals,’’ says co-owner Eric Prescott, who is also the founder of the Boston Vegan Association.

Thick breadsticks ($4-$6) prove Prescott’s point first. We pull the warm, yeasty sticks from the cute loaf and dip them into a sprightly homemade tomato sauce rich with oregano. Vegan cheese that melts onto the bread is surprisingly good - not as subtle or elegant as real mozzarella, but close enough for those who can’t or prefer not to eat it.

Besides breadsticks, the only starters are simple but fresh mesclun salads ($4-$7). Pizzas and calzones come with several crust options. The organic white crust is lovely, with just the right chew, crisp edges, and a bubbly center. Whole wheat crust is welcomingly mild. A celiac at a nearby table declares the gluten-free crust (served only on Thursdays) “excellent.’’

Meanwhile, organic toppings such as broccoli, leaf spinach, roasted garlic, and mushrooms pop with flavor. And the two cheese choices do the trick. Vegan Gourmet’s gooey, light, soy-based mozzarella is mild and melts well. Daiya’s new tapioca-based mozzarella lives up to all the hype. It really does stretch, brown, and satisfy in a way close to real cheese. (For now, Peace o’ Pie is also the only retail outlet for Daiya cheese in Boston; $4.99 for a half-pound.)

Less appealing are the strong-tasting mock items such as smoked tempeh for pepperoni, or an oddly spiced pesto. But desserts roundly provide fresh-baked comfort. Chocolate chip cookies ($1.59) are crisp, and, yes, somehow buttery. Cupcakes ($1.99), including carrot cake and banana-pumpkin, are dense, but still close to the originals. Happily, you can have your principles and eat them here, too.

PEACE O’ PIE, GOURMET VEGAN PIZZA 487 Cambridge St., Allston. 617-787-9884. All major credit cards accepted. Entrance accessible; no restroom.

Prices Appetizers/salads

$3.99-$6.99. Pizzas and

calzones $9-$19.99.

Desserts $1.59-$2.99.

Hours Tue-Thu 5-9 p.m.,

Fri 5-11 p.m., Sat noon-11 p.m., Sun noon-9 p.m.

Liquor None

May we suggest Cheesy breadsticks, build-your-own pizzas with portobello mushrooms, roasted garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, and olives. Broccoli and spinach calzone.

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