It's just before noon on Sunday at Whole Heart Provisions in Allston, and there's a table of women in the corner who are deep in discussion. Their food arrives, and they get silent, taking bites before passing on their plates. There's classic hip-hop playing, giving the already sunny and bright space an even happier feel. From time to time, you can see a head bob along to the music or even a little bit of singing along.
The phone rings every couple of minutes, and people trickle in and out, picking up their to-go orders. One man comes in, and without looking at the menu, he orders his usual and then snags a seat up front by the windows. Another group walks in and examines the menu thoroughly for several minutes. After much debate, they arrive on their decision, like a well-thought-out game plan. They place their order and then sit up front.
The regular daily menu is available in addition to a special Sunday-only brunch menu, including vegetarian takes on classic staples like huevos rancheros (made with scrambled tofu instead of eggs) and a reuben (made with beets instead of corned beef). Thick, fluffy pancakes arrive at the table; they have an addicting exterior crunch and are drizzled with a spiced pumpkin apple butter and topped with a pumpkin seed crumble. There's also a Berry Palmer, one of the many kombuchas and other specialty drinks available.
While it's been a steady stream of people in and out, suddenly, there's a line out the door. A group of six snag a long table and order a little of everything. They pass things back and forth, getting a taste of it all. "Is the porridge mushroomy?" asks one woman to her dining companion. "It is, but it's so yummy." She nods and adds, "The food here is so creative; it's like nothing I've had before."
Seared avocado tacos arrive at the table, bright from the orange miso and topped with crispy lentils, and there's also a falafel dog, which has achieved a bit of a cult following. Two miniature hot dog-shaped falafel are nestled into a bun alongside tomato slices, pickles, and drizzles of a spicy tahini mustard.
The crowd is lively and polite, and the music level hangs just above the sound of it all. A duo that was sitting at a four-top gets up and moves to the window seats, leaving a space for a larger group to sit. When one table leaves, it is quickly washed off, and a new group claims it as their own. A duo can't decide what to get, and the woman behind them suggests her favorites. The couple places their order and searches for a table; another couple notes this and offers their table. The whole place feels like a party — a very polite party where everyone is happily eating vegetables and listening to music before getting back to the cold that awaits outside.