North Park/University Heights - San Diego, CA
Let me start by saying that Jyoti Bihanga has been my absolute favoritest of the favorite spots for a hearty, comfort-food meal since moving to Sandy Eggo five years ago. It has become a tradition for my pre-race, carb-loading dinners:feasting on the Infinite Blue (veggies, tofu, brown rice with tamari dressing) or PLB (Peace, Light, & Bliss) Burger; the iced Nirvana Tea never fails to quench my thirst. They’re known for an entirely vegetarian/vegan menu, but Loving Hut may be the newest discovery for meatless choices, choices, choices!
Back to Loving Hut, evidently an international chain; one would not necessarily expect such a contemporary culinary treasure to be hiding out in a strip mall on El Cajon Boulevard, adjacent to a Laundromat, Subway, and Domino’s Pizza. However, Jenna had recommended this for many a moon, so we decided to check it out after experiencing the entertaining, frequently shirtless, teen-angst-fest flick, Eclipse. Yum, yum, yum! The food, not the flick.
We started with the Summer Rolls, which lived up to their moniker - both light, crisp, and cheery. Well, maybe not the latter of the three. It’s no secret that I love surprises, and frequently ask servers to pick between choices for me; allowing them to use their (hopefully) thorough knowledge of the establishment’s ‘best’ so my selections aren’t always a gastronomic shot in the dark. We couldn’t help but be humored by the response our server gave when I asked for him to assist with the decision between the Yum Yum Wontons Soup or Lemon Grass Soy-Chicken for an entree and Mango Tango or Peaceful Pink smoothie. “Um, it depends what you like. They’re two different things. One is mango, one is cranberry.” I asked which was better, and he looked extremely puzzled. “Like I said, one is mango and one is cranberry. They’re just different.” When I probed a bit further for input on the entree, “One is soup and one has rice.” Again, I asked which was better; which he would recommend for my first Loving Hut meal. “They are different. Do you want soup or rice?” Loved it, Loving Hut.
I decided I liked mangos and also rice. So, that’s what I got - and both were soooo delicious. Sam had the Delight Broccoli (sautéed veggies and tofu on brown rice) with the Compassion Orange libation. (Us:”Why is it called the ‘Compassion Orange?” — Server: “Um, it is compassionate, I guess. No meat?”)
We’ll head back, maybe not for the oddly feathery, soy chicken (where did the feathery/hairy bits come from?) but definitely to try something else or enjoy one of the other delights one of us shared. I am dying to taste the vegan carrot cake!! Loving, loving, loving the Loving Hut!