Sunday, March 20, 2011

Tampa's Loving Hut: The Food. Mmmmm....

These pictures didn't come out as well as I would've hoped. If you invite your friends to read and I get a bunch more hits, I'll monetize and buy a camera that does what I want it to. You can't blame a fellow for hoping that this thing will pay for itself, can you? For now, this starving blogger will work with what he has, and do a darn good job of it too, even if I do say so myself!

We had the place to ourselves to start with, which gave us time to reflect a bit. I really hope that they get more people at other times. I wonder whether Tampa was a good place to open a branch, and this part of it especially. Tampa's nice, but seems more like a business city. Nearby St. Pete is more hip, and it already has several successful vegan places, including a recently-opened taco stand in an old bus. That's a place we'll have to visit and capture in pictures soon.

We did have quotes from various religions running on a screen nearby to keep us busy.

Fortunately, we were stirred out of our musings on the barrenness of the place by the arrival of our food. I had chosen the Noble Philly Sub, since meat substitutes are a nice break from the usual trendy raw stuff or the reliance on exotic cuisines. The smoothie is a Jade Garden. Kale gives it its color. Mmmmmboy. That's all I can say. The sandwich had a very satisfying blend of flavors and textures. It was hard not to wolf it down, with apologies to my canine fellow creatures for the stereotype.

Here's Kat's Energy Wrap. I generally rely on her to get full before her plate is empty, though I try not to hang over her food like a vulture. The dish looked good, and it was too. Hummus was the star of the show, being grainy and spiced so that it seemed like ground beef. Another successful adaptation from native tastes. Again, the variety of textures stood out, which is important with all-vegetable cooking, since the thick, fatty consitency of flesh, dairy, and eggs is absent. And the flavors stayed interesting from first bite to last. Very good! Kat enjoyed it too.

Kat's Icy Rose Cappuccino took a little longer to arrive. Here it is, half a wrap later. Judging by the sip I had, it was worth the wait though.

Being a gentleman, or trying to be one anyhow, I waited to drink my smoothie, though I did sneak an early sip. I know, green sloppy liquid isn't to everyone's taste, but I actually enjoy stuff like wheat grass shots. There's something about the vegan diet that's brought out the aspect of nutrition in satisfaction for me. When I settle for fries, I feel full but hungry at the same time. So this was a great way to top off my meal.

Oh, of course I should give you a look at the top of Kat's drink. I don't know if this is a signature touch for our branch alone, but it is shown in the video of it I'll be posting soon, so it could be.

Here's the logo on the corner of the plates, and the free book about Supreme Master Ching Hai that was set out near the door. I love souvenirs! I'll be posting more about her and her religion very soon.

We had rice pudding for dessert, but it was kinda soupy and not very photogenic, though still tasty. Kat says she has nothing to add, so I guess that's that.

I'm now a supporter of this place. The combination of good vegan food and the the novel religious TV programs make eating at Loving Hut a unique experience, and one I'll be more than willing to repeat in the near future!

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