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Jan 17, 2010 10:32 AM

Loving Hut in Ladera Ranch

Any comments about this new vegetarian restaurant? My wife and I tried it one night and didn't find many people in it. Very well lit, clean, somewhat sterile in a strip mall. Food was tasty, including vegetarian wont ton and Viet rolls. Didn't have decaf coffee but the lemonade with crushed rose petals was interesting. I'll be interested in seeing if it lasts and if it starts to develop a following.

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  1. It's a chain, there is one in Alhambra and Orange.

    Believe it started somewhere up north like San Francisco.

    1. I have been to the one in Alhambra and had the Aulac Special Salad which was delicious.

        1. re: will47

          My friend was telling me about this place (I haven't been), she said the ambiance was different, kind of cultish. That explains it!

          1. re: groover808

            Yeah, I really don't like the constant streaming of that Supreme Master t.v. in every one of these friggin places. Also, I don't like the parroting of the vegan line, even though I AM a vegan and I probably should appreciate the fact that nobody is trying to shove dead cow down my gullet.

            However, I really do like the carrot cake and the chocolate fudge cake here. They're so good. Only this location has a decent baker. All the other Loving Huts have terrible baked goods.

            I've also had actual food here, and I really like the wonton noodle soup with "char siu" in it. I also like the "lavar fillet". That was really damn good. But the carrot cake and the chocolate fudge cake are my favorites. Make sure you ask when they baked it because like most vegan places, they're not very good about tossing old stuff. They just keep it because I gues they think it's still safe because there are no eggs/milk. It's probably safe, but it still gets stale, as I discovered when I bit into a 4 day old carrot cake slice.

            1. re: choctastic

              I heard that the group swore off dairy, but I am still a little skeptical that some of the fake meat products don't contain dairy.

              1. re: will47

                Well, you can do an independent lab test, but I'm pretty sure none of their fake meats have dairy. If the fake meats are going to be contaminated with animal products, usually it's egg not dairy.

                1. re: choctastic

                  Unless you have read the ingredients on the products they're using, I don't know how you can be "pretty sure". That said, I'm not Quarrygirl, and I have no interest in subjecting anyone to lab tests (nor, it must be said, do I have any big interest in eating at Loving Hut).

                  In my experience, with Buddhist food products made in Asia, dairy products (generally whey or casein) are a lot more common than egg products. While it's true that Chinese people don't traditionally eat much dairy (for obvious reasons), Buddhist vegetarianism (and Buddhist vegetarians make up the main market for these products) usually doesn't explicitly prohibit dairy. Eggs, on the other hand, are often prohibited for complete vegetarians (who usually also avoid pungent foods like onions, garlic, jiucai, cilantro, etc.). If you read the ingredients at any vegetarian supply store or Chinese market, you'll see that eggs (usually egg whites) are there occasionally, but whey and casein are much more common. These are generally found in the more moist / realistic textured fake meat products. I have found a lot of times that restaurant staff aren't even aware of what certain food ingredients are, or just aren't concerned because it's "only a little". Presumably a growing chain like Loving Hut is more aware of these issues than other restaurants, but I am personally still skeptical.

                  Keep in mind, I'm not talking about "contamination", but rather products that either explicitly contain dairy and are labeled as such, or products that contain it intentionally, but are mislabeled. In some cases, the English text and Chinese text may not match.

                  That's not even bringing up the general issue of overly-processed food, or the issue of accidental or intentional addition of completely non-vegetarian food, see:

                  1. re: will47

                    That's true about the mistranslations. It's also true that most restaurant staff don't care because it's "only a little".

                    I do have an interest in making sure that there are no eggs or milk in their products, so when I get the chance, I plan on taking some samples to a lab.

        2. So is it good!? Milk no milk , vegan or not vegan is great and all but is it GOOD?
          I would love for a casual place, not overpriced, non chain with knock your socks off good food to be in Ladera! I'm afraid it will never exist. :(

          1 Reply
          1. re: jroxybabe19

            I will say that their carrot cake is so good, I almost cried. I like how they cram lots of stuff in it: walnuts, pineapple, carrot shreds. It's not like the Babycakes carrot cupcake which just has shreds of carrot in it, though the Babycakes version does have a nice cakey texture when it's fresh. Just make sure to ask the Loving Hut employees when the cake was made because like Mother's Market--which also now carries vegan cake slices--they put the cake slices in plastic boxes and leave them in the refrigerated case for days on end.

            FYI, Loving Hut is a chain, but it's just not a very well known one, at least not in the U.S. My comments on the food in this thread only reflect my impressions of the Ladera Ranch location. The food at every location is different because this is a franchise with different people owning the various locations.

          2. Went there with my wife for lunch this time and had the cha cha shrimp, awfully good for non-shrimp shrimp (I'm allergic to regular shrimp). We had the chix appetizer, also good for texture and taste. She ordered the curry which was more like a soup and they exchanged it for a veg stir fry which she polished off. Their short grain brown rice was good. I had a flan, which was OK. Yes, we'll go back; I really liked that shrimp.