October 18, 2012

San Diego part 3 — Loving Hut

It's surprising how much lots of sunshine, fresh air and walking on beaches can tire you out. Not that I'm complaining — we thoroughly enjoyed our third day in beautiful San Diego, but by evening we were pretty tired out, and ambivalent about whether we wanted dinner or not. But my husband was really eager to try the local Loving Hutpart of the restaurant chain founded by The Supreme Master Ching Hai, so we headed out to University Heights for a late supper. If you're not familiar with Loving Hut, you can read my review of the Seattle restaurant here. We generally refer to the restaurant as "the cult," and sometimes I can't remember the real name, but we like Loving Hut, and family members have eaten in Loving Huts all over the world. Although part of a worldwide chain, each restaurant is individually owned, and the owners control the menu. All the food is vegan, but you never know exactly what you'll find at the different locations.


We were both feeling a little overfed and our stomachs were a bit wonky so we were looking mainly for soup. Specifically, my husband was craving pho. We started with fresh spring rolls, pictured at the top of the post, and we each ordered a medium-size bowl of soup. The spring rolls were tasty but we actually didn't finish them — very unusual for us. Ken loved his pho (fresh rice noodles, soy slices, soy ham and white fungus flower served with basil, bean sprouts, cilantro and onion), and ate the whole thing.


I ordered Noble soup, (fresh asparagus, carrots, king mushroom, bean curd, enoki, cilantro), and it was exactly what I wanted. There was a odd, squeaky-crunchy -not-in-a-good-way, item in the soup that I couldn't identify that the waitress said was enoki, but I could see the enoki mushrooms in the broth and this didn't look like any enoki I've ever seen. Could it have been the bottom part of the enoki cluster that usually gets cut off? Other than that, the soup was perfect. We were both very happy with our dinners and left the restaurant feeling a lot better than when we had entered. We would happily return to Loving Hut in San Diego.



Sunday was our last morning in San Diego before catching a flight back to Seattle. We didn't have much time because when you fly somewhere with my husband you get to the airport VERY early, but we wanted to go for a walk near the hotel and get some exercise before heading to the plane.

I really liked the look of the street we walked down, especially the tiny patios on the right filled with plants, interesting furniture and art objects, and could easily imagine living in one of the brick townhouses.  I wish I had photographed some of wonderful porch settings.

We headed to the Gaslamp District — an area filled with shopping and restaurants — and  happened upon the 4th Annual Fifth Avenue Auto Showcase. While I'm not a classic car aficionado, it was hard not to be impressed by the assortment of classic autos that had been lovingly restored by their owners.

I took a few photos of some of my favorites. The only disconcerting thing is, if some of these cars are antiques, then I must be an antique, too.


Last but not least, I finally got to see, if not actually eat at, Croce's  Restaurant and Jazz Bar, founded by Jim Croce's family after his death in a plane crash.

San Diego is a beautiful city, and I hope to visit again soon.

18 comments:

  1. I am glad you didn't get enochi all over those classic cars. Very cool. I've had seitan on a stick from when Loving Hut was at a nearby street fair. It was so good I had to get another one. There is an excellent cult restaurant near us, called Golden Lotus.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I ate all the enoki mushrooms the night before. No need to worry. Our Loving Hut has a new owner and new menu but I liked the old menu better. Our other cult restaurant is vegetarian but I hardly go there because the vegan choices are so limited.

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    2. That's too bad that the cult restaurant near you is mostly veg. they'd attract more members of they were vegan.

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  2. I like the Loving Hut in SF better than the much closer Palo Alto one. I haven't been to the one in San Diego. I always thought they had different menu items based on the customers in whatever area.

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    1. I think their ingredients come from one source, but the menu is up to the restaurant owner. Our Seattle LH changed when the a new owner took over. I haven't been to the San Francisco one — too many other choices there!

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  3. We left San Diego on Sunday too! Our trip was much more abbreviated, and a lot less healthy. It was fun to read about your trip. I'm so ready to go back.

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    1. I want to go back when the weather here really starts to get oppressive. Like today! :)

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  4. Isn't SD great? One of my besties lives there. Perfect weather all year round.

    It's funny how Loving Huts can vary form city to city. My favorite one is the one in Paris...so cheap for the quality of food you get.

    Those cares are killer, BTW.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, I loved San Diego, and the weather was one of the reasons. Imagine good weather all year!

      You usually expect chains to be consistent, but Loving Huts are individually owned and managed so they can vary quite a bit. I don't like our local LH as much since it changed owners.

      There were dozens of cars, and we only got to see a few of them before we had to leave, but they were gorgeous.

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  5. All the food looks super delicious...in spite of the squeaky- crunchy mystery thing in your soup...sorry, no ideas there...sounds like a question for someone like Zoa.

    That's so cool you saw the Croce restaurant; they should have your portrait of him hanging inside!

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    1. Have you heard anything from Zoa? I've been thinking about her.

      Maybe they could have a copy — I'm keeping the original. :) I once gave a copy of an portrait I did of Leon Russel to one of his "bodyguards" at a bar concert. That man was scary, and he acted like I was handing him a bomb instead of a drawing. Don't know if Leon ever received it, but I hope so.

      Have you been to our LH since it changed hands? My first impression wasn't good, but we'll probably go back and try again.

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    2. I haven't been to the Loving Hut, and this is when: when I looked at their website, the food just didn't look/sound very good, especially compared to what I've seen others post about from their local LHs'. I didn't want to make the effort to go all the way over there. That was a few ago though, and I didn't know they had changed hands. With any luck, maybe the food will now be on par with the yummy fare you enjoyed in San Diego.

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  6. Both bowls of soup look very tasty. Too bad about the mystery squeaky-crunchy thing in your soup. That sounds pretty icky.

    I love classic cars! Some day I am going to buy me an old junker and fix it up myself. All I need is to learn a thing or two about fixing cars. Easy! :D

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    1. It was very comforting soup. Ken had white fungus flowers in his soup but my squeaky things were definitely more weird.

      What year car are you aiming for? How hard can it be, right?

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  7. I knew that Loving Hut was all over the world, but I didn't realize that the menu changes from place to place. That makes it more interesting! Crunchy-not-in-a-good-way mushrooms aside, I'm glad you enjoyed it.

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    1. I think they get all their ingredients from the same place so in that way they are similar, but yeah, the food can be very different — sometimes really good and sometimes not so much.

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  8. I've never heard of Croce's, but loved the man's songs.

    The nearest Loving Hut to me is a bit of a schlep, but they- oddly- have an awesome falafel sandwich.

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    1. I'll believe just about anything about Loving Hut. I looked at the menu of our local LH and in addition to typical Asian fare, they also have a vegan ham and cheese sandwich that comes with French fries and ketchup.

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