Written a few fewer moons ago… immediately prior to the cafe’s demise…

It is with great sadness that I write this post. Alas, after just over a year in business, The Pulse Cafe will be closing. As of November 20th, there will be no more chilli cheeze fries, Somerville Cheese Steak sandwiches or Tempeh Reubens finding their way into my wee kitchen: whether it be to console me after a strenuous day at work or to sustain me as I brave a cold night on my way to the pub.

The owner provides a short explanation on their Facebook PageI was the investor in Pulse and the plan for me was to be the “silent partner” and not have any management responsibilities, and only a minimal amount of time required. As often happens in business and life, things suddenly changed last year on July 5th, and I had to drop everything else and help in the restaurant full time, if the restaurant was to stay open. At the time we started the restaurant, there were even fewer vegan options in the area and we felt there is a huge need for a vegan restaurant to open. Now there are four new vegan/vegetarian options (True Bistro, Live Alive, Veggie Galaxy, and Clover), so I am grateful for all the other restaurateurs and their teams that serve us wonderful food! 

And so, with the impending close date, my sister and I shared our final feast from the Pulse Cafe last night: a combination of the tempeh reuben, TLT and nachos. Unfortunately, I was too busy chowing down to take a photo but suffice it to say, it was delicious. Downright spiritual, really.

Although it is with regret that I report their closing, I do know that life will go on, as it always does. I’ve thought about the alternatives I have and there really are lots once you take a moment to think about it.

First and foremost: recipes! Vegan with a Vengeance has a fantastic tempeh recipe which can substitute the tempeh lettuce tomato I used to love. But also: other local establishments. The Burren actually has surprisingly spectacular fries which will probably be my first substitute for Pulse’s fries.

Side note: I know what you’re thinking, “Fries are fries! How can you tell the difference?” But truly, after living in Scotland, I can tell you (emphatically!) that not all fries are created equal. There’s so much a chef can mess up in the process, whether it be overcooking them, undercooking them, adding too much seasoning (or God forbid, salt!), slicing them too thinly… the list goes on. Pulse had the equation right. Just right.

Vegan French Fries

Vegan French Fries (or is it Freedom Fries now?)

And while I’m certainly pleased to be off to a reasonably strong start in finding alternatives to Pulse, as is so often the case, more research will need to be done before I’m fully satisfied with the solution. What for example will replace that sinful Somerville Cheese Steak? Or the sweet potato quesadilla? Alas, I digress. This is a tribute: a parting of ways, bittersweet as it may be.

Dear Pulse, I am sincerely grateful for the short time we shared. Oh how I will miss you… In the words of Mr. Tennyson, “Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.”

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