Loving Hut in Upland

Loving Huts are everywhere – and I mean EVERYWHERE!  The diligent disciples of the Supreme Master Ching Hai have opened these all-vegan restaurants all over the world.  Whatever may be the reason for their openings, I am glad they did.  Sometimes it is just hard trying to find vegan food – Loving Hut makes it easier.

I was in the Upland area and decided to support the local Loving Hut.  Just so you don’t think I am a total glutton (although I really am), I will tell you that I did eat some of this for lunch at the restaurant and some I took to work for dinner.  The Joyful Sate ($4.75) is marinated TVP (textured vegetable protein) grilled with a special traditional homemade sauce.  I wasn’t a huge fan of this.  The TVP was too chewy and the sauce was too soy-saucey for me.

Loving Hut Skewers

Joyful Sate

The Peking BBQ ($4.99) was more my style.  This dish is BBQ marinated seitan with a homemade sauce.  It was savory with a hint of sweetness and not as chewy as the first appetizer.

Loving Hut Peking BBQ

Peking BBQ

And I got one entree to nibble on – their Lemongrass Country ($7.75).  It’s deep fried soy protein chunks sauteed with lemon grass.  OK, so I said deep fried, but it actually wasn’t that greasy.  The lemongrass flavor was awesome – not overpowering.  The side salad came with a delicious sweet tropical fruit dressing.

Loving Hut Lemongrass Chicken

Lemongrass Country

They had some pre-packaged servings of dessert, too. The Blueberry Pie ($3.25) wasn’t the greatest berry pie I’ve had, but something I’d certainly recommend trying if you wanted a dessert here.

Loving Hut Blueberry Pie

Blueberry Pie

The Peanut Butter Dream Pie ($3.25) was my favorite of the two (you can’t go wrong with peanut butter!).  It was like a thicker, chewier cheesecake… but in a good way.  Very creamy and very peanut buttery.

Loving Hut Peanut Butter Pie

Peanut Butter Pie

There are so many more menu items I would like to try.  It is a very fake meat heavy place and if you can’t eat soy, don’t come here.  A few non fake meat dishes use tofu, but there is not much without soy.

The Upland location is at:

903 West Foothill Boulevard
Upland, CA 91786
909-982-3882

Tuesday – Saturday: 11 am – 9 pm
Sunday: 4 pm – 9 pm
Monday: Closed

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Thai Vegan in Santa Monica

Thai Vegan calls itself a “kiosk on main st.,” and I would certainly have to agree.  Don’t let this tiny food operation fool you, though, because it boosts a large menu.  I spend a lot of time in Santa Monica, so when I heard about this new vegan place, I had to try it.  I liked the look of the menu, because it focuses on tofu as the protein and not the fake meats ubiquitous to thai vegan places in LA.

The Tofu Satay ($5) was delicious.  Five hearty chunks of marinated tofu with a wonderful peanut sauce.  It also comes with a small portion of cucumber salad.  Since I’m not a huge fan of cucumbers, I didn’t eat this.   But I will definitely be back to eat the tofu and sauce!

Tofu Satay

My vegan guy started off with some Dumplings ($5).  I think he really likes these little guys, because he’s been back on his own to get them a few times.  You can see from the picture they are nicely browned on one side.  It gives them a nice, crisp texture (or so my vegan guy tells me).

Dumplings

My entree was the Pad Thai ($7).  I love the price point and how easy it now is to get pad thai without specifying “no egg, no meat, no fish sauce, yadda yadda yadda” in Santa Monica, but here is where the “but” comes in.  I didn’t really like the flavor.  It was decent – and I would certainly order it again if I was in the area and needed a quick pad thai fix – but it sure wasn’t as good as Bulan or even the other vegan Thai joints.

Pad Thai

My vegan guy went for the Chowmein ($7).  Again – he didn’t really like it that much and preferred the appetizer.  I had a bite and agreed.  I’d like to try some of their other items, but if they don’t live up to my flavor desires, I think I’ll stick with the tofu satay.

Chow Mein

 

Here is the little window you need to order from.  There are only a few seats, so be prepared to picnic elsewhere or bring your food home.

Thai Vegan

2400 Main St.
Santa Monica, CA
310-581-4255

Monday – Sunday 11 am – 10 pm

Oasis Vegetarian Cafe in Riverside

Oasis Vegetarian Cafe is (in fact) an oasis.  This all vegetarian (and very vegan-friendly) restaurant is set in the middle of meat land.  It’s attached to a Seventh-Day Adventist grocery store and has seating inside.  You order at the window at the front of the store and they will bring your food to you if you are dining inside.  The menu is a mix between burgers/wraps and Mexican Food – my kind of place.  I definitely went a little crazy on the Mexican side of the menu when I came here with my mom awhile back.  I think the people at Oasis thought we were crazy by the amount of food we ordered.  I don’t think any two people have ever order this much (but we did take most of it home).

The Taquitos ($4.99) are served with veggie chicken, potato, lettuce, tomato, and guacamole.  Fried, tasty goodness.  And look at all the guacamole they give you!

Oasis Taquitos

Taquitos

I think my favorite item from our feast was the Pupusa ($4.69).  I’ve never had this before (probably because no other place I’ve been to has made it vegan).  I didn’t know what it was, but it was described as corn masa filled with beans and cheese served with sauerkraut and tomato sauce.  It’s like a giant stuffed tortilla.  Delicioso.

Oasis Pupusa

Pupusa

I’ve also never had meat Carnitas, but I got to try Oasis’ version of it ($3.49).  It was corn tortillas, fried steak, chopped tomatoes, cilantro, onions and tomato sauce.  I liked it, but I liked the other dishes better.  It was sort of hard to eat, and the steak wasn’t my favorite of the fake meats.

Oasis Carnitas

Carnitas

An Oasis Vegan Burrito ($5.69) was also ordered.  It was simply  rice, black beans, pico de gallo, guacamole, and vegan cream, but was another one of my favorites.  I love bean burritos!  And this one had extra awesomeness to it (vegan cream?  yum!!).

Oasis Burrito

Burrito

My next photo doesn’t look that great, but, believe me, this Tamale ($4.15) was good.  Made with corn masa, steak, tomato sauce, olives, and bell peppers.  Even though this dish was filled with gross bell peppers, the steak tasted a lot better covered in corn masa.

Oasis Tamale

Tamale

I didn’t realize how much steak we ordered until I wrote up this post.  We got one non-Mexican entree: a Steak Wrap ($5.79).  It’s made with steak, hummus, spinach, and pico de gallo.  It’s a fresh lunch option, but since vegan Mexican food is so hard to find, I’d probably order one of the other entrees instead.

Oasis Pepper Steak Wrap

Pepper Steak Wrap

My mom decided to wash this all down with a Soy Milkshake ($3.99) which turned out to be just fruit blended with soymilk.  Not what I call a milkshake, but hey, whatever floats your boat.  My mom thought it was good.

Oasis Fruit Shake

Fruit Shake

11550 Pierce St.
Riverside, CA 92505
951-688-5423

Monday-Thursday: 8am – 7pm
Friday: 8am – 4pm
Saturday: closed
Sunday: 9am – 5:30pm

Happy New Year!

I’m finally back!  Thanks to everyone who have waited with bated breath for my return. I plan on a lot of new things for the coming year, so come back often to check them out.  Tomorrow I’ll have my first review of 2013 (and it’ll be so tantalizing, it’ll make you break your New Year’s Resolutions!).