November 06, 2011

Loving Hut Sacramento

Sacramento is fortunate to have its fair share of vegetarian and vegan restaurants and a few of these are all-vegan. The vegan community proudly acknowledges them as key elements in the local culture.

Taste the colors at Loving Hut Sacramento

Taste the colors

Loving Hut on Stockton Boulevard (formerly Au Lac Veggie) has been an insider favorite for several years. They have a dedicated local following by local vegans and “normal” people in the know. This rather small scale family run operation it is at the top of the list for local vegans who wish to meet for a casual lunch, but here you may also see a couple of Buddhist monks, a family with children or busy medical professionals on their lunch break. Simple accoutrements and inexpensive prices belie the quality of the food.

The food is unsurpassed in its value. For $4.95 a mid-day diner can order a lunch special that includes soup, rice, crispy roll and one of ten select entrees. Even the regular lunch and dinner entrees are inexpensive, especially when compared to the quality and quantity of food received.

This IS, without a doubt, a place you want to take your omnivorous friends and co-workers and is perfect for those transitioning to a plant-based diet. The “fake” meats are uncannily real enough to not only satisfy, but fool, self-declared carnivores. I have introduced several non-vegans to vegan food here. None have been disappointed even though everything on the menu is entirely plant based. Everyone eats there for the good food (no “vegan” adjective needed). I took my non-vegan family here a few years ago. My son who was nine years old, and not vegetarian at the time, ordered what he thought was “beef”. He was almost done before I told him that there was no meat in his dinner. He did not believe me.

Grilled Delight at Loving Hut Sacramento

Grilled Delight

Having previously run a restaurant in Los Angeles, Manh and Thuy Nguyen opened Au Lac Veggie in September of 2007. On December 25, 2011 they held their grand opening as part of the fast –growing Loving Hut chain of restaurants. Regular patrons are pleased that Loving Hut restaurants still retain the charm and character of the family run operation and original menu. Long-time patrons will often still to refer to Loving Hut in Sacramento  as “Au Lac” with some reverence. Manh is the head chef and Thuy will likely take your order.

Au Lac Special

Au Lac Special

This eatery is not large but the dining area is very clean and bright in color and light. Everything I have sampled on the menu impressive and tasty. The food is colorful with fresh vegetables and savory meat analogs presented beautifully together. Appetizers, several soups and a variety of noodles and rice dishes are distinctly Asian in origin or inspiration. Diners can expect that the protein source will be well balanced with colorful fruits and vegetables. Entrees can be enjoyed with a side white or brown rice, steamed noodle or assorted steamed vegetables. They also offer a full range of beverages and sodas as well as soy milk and Thai Iced Tea.

And for dessert,  the “cheesecake” is a must-try.

Loving Hut Sacramento is at 3500 Stockton Boulevard. Open for Lunch and Dinner.