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Thursday, March 11, 2010

RESTAURANT & BAR GUIDE

WHOLE FOODIES

The Daily Aztec

19

VEGANS

Whole Foods’ healthy dining

Loving Hut serves peace

Courtesy of Whole Foods

Courtesy of Whole Foods

Not a typical organic foods market, Whole Foods in Hillcrest gets hands-on with self-serve organic dining.

Sarah Grieco

managing editor

Living an organic lifestyle in Southern California isn’t difficult. Because of the temperate climate, there is easy access to fresh produce most of the year. Organic foodies flock to San Diego because there are many places to eat delicious, healthy food. One of these places is Whole Foods Market. Whole Foods in Hillcrest is open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily and offers those who are health conscious and globally minded a place to not only grocery shop, but dine. The earthy vibe and friendl y atmosphere provide a peaceful place to eat, whatever time of day it may be. At many Whole Foods branches, there is an abundance of options for every meal.

Breakfast

Before heading to work or class, Whole Foods has breakfast selections to suit every need. Its coffee bar carries some of the best coffee beans from around the world and nearly all of its products are fair trade. Customers can enjoy anything from a cup of the house blend to a latte — made with organic milk, of course. Start the day right and pick up a freshly made pastry to complement any choice of beverage. The juice bar also offers smoothies and acai bowls that are healthier than most chain restaurants. The best menu items to indulge in are the plethora of fresh-squeezed juices. They tend to be a bit pricey but are delightful nonetheless.

Lunch

Because the Hillcrest location is close to many businesses, Whole Foods is busiest during the lunch

rush, typically between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. The reason it’s so popular is because there are a variety of lunch choices for everyone, whether craving vegetarian options or dining carnivorously. Salad lovers can chow down at the delicious salad bar. Those who want some carbohydrates can choose from the many tasty paninis at the sandwich bar or even create a custom sandwich. The pizza, fired in a brick oven, is sure to make a lasting impression. A standard piece of pizza tastes fuller and richer than expected, because all the ingredients are fresh-made daily. If there isn’t time to stick around, grab a meal to go. Whole Foods has an entire wall filled with homemade favorites, including wraps and soups. The soup only needs a few seconds in the microwave and it’s ready to eat.

Dinner

When the day is winding down, Whole Foods has the perfect relaxing atmosphere for dinner. Try the Asian Express counter for some delicious lemongrass chicken and rice, or sample a handmade sushi roll. The burrito and taco bar is also a fun way to spice up the night. The friendly staff will make any kind of burrito, and they also offer suggestions of their favorite combinations. For students dining on a budget, Whole Foods offers a Wednesday deal — a pound of food from any of the food bars for $6. Fill up a box and split it with a friend for some healthy, cheap eats.

Whole Foods Market 711 University Ave. San Diego, 92103 619-294-2800 www.wholefoodsmarket.com

Bryan Koci / Staff Photographer

Serving 100 percent vegan dishes, Loving Hut is on a mission to adopt others to the veggie lifestyle.

Nicole Callas features editor

Veganism is not just about cutting dairy and meat products from a diet. To many vegans, eating a plant-based diet means embracing a vision, a way of life and a solution to a sustainable earth. Serving 100 percent vegan food, Loving Hut has a mission similar to that of many die-hard vegan eaters: save the planet. With its modern, clean atmosphere, cozy seating arrangement and predominantly white interior, customers feel as though they have walked into a welcoming and pure spa, and are ready to be served a healthy bite to eat. But don’t be thrown off by the word “vegan.” Many of the plantbased dishes are filling, with options such as the hearty “Loving Hut Burger” made from soy “beef,” “Lemon Grass Chicken” made from soy “chicken” and a variety of other dishes that taste meaty and are a good source of protein as well. Also available is a variety of Asian-inspired vegetable, tofu and pasta dishes that can be followed by a tasty vegan dessert or a sweet, refreshing fruit drink. While many may think such specialty dishes would be expensive, a ma jority of the meals are in the $6 to $7 range. But it’s not because the quality of

the food is any lower; it’s all about the philosophy. “Loving Hut families reall y believe that the vegan diet is the best for the environment, health, and a noble way of living,” its Web site states. “Therefore, we want to make our delicious vegan food available to as many people as possible.” With locations all around the world, Loving Hut has different owners and decorative styles in each restaurant, but they all have one, communal concept of peace and harmony between all beings. To spread veganism, Loving Hut broadcasts Supreme Master TV in the restaurant, a station that aims to help the world move toward a more ethical way of living by promoting the vegan lifestyle. Making healthy eating easier, Loving Hut shows that veganism can be so much more than a food preference — it’s a way of life.

Loving Hut 1905 El Ca jon Blvd. San Diego, 92104 619-683-9490 http://www.lovinghut.us/ sandiego


03_11_10 Whole foods