the loving hut / mira mesa – san diego, ca
I also thought about calling this post, “I tried Vegan food… and it wasn’t that bad and I might eat it again!” but that seemed way too wordy to me.
Anyway, yes. There’s a vegan restaurant in Mira Mesa called “The Loving Hut” which is an international chain of vegan restaurants. I was insanely curious about a vegan restaurant and since I knew I would never get Jake to try it out with me (he always gives me a funny look if I suggest making dinner sans meat), I tried out the Loving Hut one afternoon for lunch.
I had the impression this would be a walk-up and place your order at the counter kind of place for some reason, but in fact I was seated and given a menu upon my arrival. I had looked at the menu online only to discover it was different in the restaurant which was mildly annoying. As of this posting, the menu for the Mira Mesa location is no longer available at all. Oh well.
For my first item, I decided to try the “Jumbo Drumsticks” ($4.25).
These “drumsticks” are made to look like chicken drumsticks with the magic of some kind of spring roll wrapper. The inside of the “drumstick” is filled with King mushrooms, snow white mushroom, tofu, soy ham, and Enoki. It’s a little tough to eat since you have to get through the wrapper and once you do, everything just kind of falls out. But my insane love of mushrooms made me like these, even if I wasn’t crazy about the ginger sauce that was served with it. The outside has a panko-like crumb on it and it’s lightly fried (I think) for a nice outer crunch.
I didn’t stray too far from the tree with my lunch choice – I got the BLT Sandwich ($7.50) with sweet potato fries for my lunch fix. There was a variety of menu options to choose from here but I wanted to go a little “safe” with my meal since I had no idea what vegan bacon would taste like.
The sandwich comes with the vegan bacon, lettuce, tomato, avocado and pickles on toasted wheat bread with a house sauce. The pickles were the first to go since I can’t stand them and otherwise I ate the sandwich as-is. I’m happy to report it was tasty – I got a hint of a smoky flavor to represent the bacon I was missing but otherwise the ingredients were quite good and I really dug the house sauce. It wasn’t enough to make me swear off real bacon forever though.
I felt, in the name of blogging science, I had to eat some of the vegan bacon by itself. I cleansed my palate and then took a little bite to taste the vegan bacon on it’s own. It has a very smoky flavor and kind of weird consistency to it. On its own I didn’t like it very much – it had a weird aftertaste – but in my sandwich it was just fine. I’m sure it’s not meant to be eaten on its own unless you like fake-meat taste. Eat the vegan BLT sandwich, just don’t eat the vegan bacon alone.
I was about ready to head back to work at this point and I had really hard time getting my waitress to come over and give me some service. There weren’t a lot of people in the restaurant either at this point so out of frustration I went up to the counter to ask for my check. And then I spotted desserts! Curse you. I ended up getting this German Chocolate Cupcake ($4.00) to go since it was pushing it for my lunch break time limit. I took it back to my office and nibbled on it all afternoon. It was quite tasty – moist and chocolatey with a good amount of coconut (maybe a little too much for my tastes) but quite good overall. I don’t know if it was $4 good but for a vegan cupcake it was good. I’d be happier with a non-vegan/cheaper version though.
All in all I found the Loving Hut to be an allright experience. The service was lacking but the food, for the most part, wasn’t too bad. I didn’t think it was outstanding though, either. It’s not going to convert me to a vegan or vegetarian only lifestyle, but it’s nice to see that there are dining out options for anyone who is following those lifestyles. I hope it counts to hear from a non-vegan that this place was pretty decent!
The Loving Hut
9928 Mira Mesa Boulevard
San Diego, CA 92131