So it’s been a while, but I come bearing goodies. Some of them are even edible goodies.
First, for the non-edible, but particularly exciting. First…have you seen this year’s Commonwealth Short Story Prize shortlist? Check it out…see anyone familiar?
(Pause for celebrations and jumping up and down.)
Now, regarding foody matters. While I’ve been off getting shortlisted and stuff, I have, of course, taken breaks to get up to mischief in the kitchen. One of the things I’ve been loving is my take on a delicious Veggie Butter from Montreal’s Au Vivre, which I’ll be posting about shortly. I’ve also been experimenting with a pumpkin seed pesto, in a few different ways.
Today is, however, Brag Day. I headed from my new suburban location into The City, where I enjoyed acupuncture, a massage, and transit service that runs more frequently than twice an hour. I also treated myself to goodies from The Loving Hut.
The Loving Hut Express is a bright and tasty little spot offering delicious and all-vegan naughtiness. I’ve been lusting after their treats, which include yam fries, onion rings, and an impressive lineup of burgers and sandwiches, for some time, as a treat.
I first encountered The Loving Hut–a chain of, for want of a better word, vegan fast food restaurants–in a write-up in VegNews, back when I thought it was cool to shell out $7 for an increasingly slender magazine. (Sorry, VegNews, but it had to be said.)
The write-up touched both on the popularity of the food and what the article suggested was a cultishness to the chain, founded by Ching Hai, a Taiwanese businesswoman and spiritual leader, also known as “Supreme Master.” A cult offering vegan food, you say? Of course, I checked out the new outlet that had just opened in Vancouver.
There were some spiritual books in the restaurant, I think. They didn’t bother me, since I wasn’t made to read them while I ate (though I was welcome to if I had wanted). Of greater interest to me were tasty cookies, and dishes involving yam fries and miscellaneous tasty sandwiches.
Imagine my sorrow when the restaurant, along with five or six others, burned down a few months later. Frowny face. I was happy to see the food cart open up some time later. A while back, I ventured down to get me some onion rings (hey, I told you it wasn’t health food…judge if you must). This time, I went for something more substantial.
Their menu of gourmet sandwiches, from a veganized “Bacon Cheeseburger” to a pineapple and teriyaki Sunshine Burger, filled me with delight. Vancouver is very good, and getting even better, for vegan eating. Still, it’s not often I eat at a place where I can order literally anything, hassle-free and question-free. Having long, drawn-out conversations about ingredients is not my favourite pastime. In my post-acupuncture happy haze, the ease of ordering only added to my general bliss.
I went for the Crispy Chick’n Burger, a Gardein Patty lovingly battered and deep fried (mmhmm) and snuggled into a bun. The online menu says it comes with guacamole, chipotle mayo, jalapeno relish, tomato, red onion, and lettuce. I’m not sure I detected any guacamole, but everything else was tasty on there. I picked out the red onions, but I’ve always had a thing against raw onions.
Verdict? A hearty yum yum. I would have liked it if the burger bun had been whole grain (like on the pretty picture on The Loving Hut’s website), but it was tasty nonetheless. The chipotle mayo and relish gave the burger a nice zing, and the patty was tasty and crisp. At $8, I was satisfied but not stuffed. It wasn’t cheap, but then, little in Vancouver is. If I were going there with my fella, he would definitely need a side of fries or a salad to fill him up, though.
I’m not a huge burger fan, and actually almost never eat bread any more, but Loving Hut’s Crispy Chick’n Burger definitely hit the spot. If I were eating there often, I’d go for some of their healthier options, which include yummy-looking grilled options. As an occasional treat I had to take an hour and fifteen minute’s worth of transit to get to, though, I enjoyed my choice. Next time I’ll ask about the guacamole, and request a whole grain bun. But I’ll definitely be back.