Costa Rica

Costa Rica

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Restaurant Review: Loving Heart

            Another restaurant review?  Yes!  Because everyone loves new places to eat and pictures of food seem to lure people to read blog entries.  I know how to market to my audience.  But an important part of all of these restaurant reviews is the fact that a lot of these places are relatively inexpensive.  For these cafés or restaurants that we go to, we are just as full leaving after a meal as we would be leaving a typical omnivore restaurant (Olive Garden, Red Robin, etc., etc.,).  It’s good info to know since everybody and their mother seems to ask vegans, “Oh, I’d go vegan but it’s sooooo expensive to do!”  These are typically the people who also eat out 4-5 times a week because they don’t feel like making meals at home.  So, do you love to eat out but have only $20 left to last you until tomorrow?  Go to one of these places for a filling meal and you’ll go to bed with a happy stomach.  This entry featuring Loving Heart is no different.
            My wife and I went to Loving Heart last week to celebrate her graduating a 2-year college program.  Out of all the places we could’ve gone, Loving Heart was at the top of her list.  I’m super glad it was, too.

            Once we made it past the endless expressway traffic and the side streets that were no better, it was a matter of locating the actual building the restaurant was in.  If you blink, you’re going to miss it, but maybe that has more to do with me being blind than not seeing the sign. Hm.  The restaurant is a hop, skip, and a jump away from Lake Michigan and it’s just a few blocks away from Urban Vegan.  Go to Loving Heart in the afternoon, walk around the lakefront, and then hit up Urban Vegan for dinner!
            Anyway.  The interior is pleasant, warm, and inviting.  Once you directly go inside, there is a wall on the right that has a bunch of famous vegans and facts about going vegan.  Directly next to the posters is the counter and across from the counter, against the left wall, are a few tables.  There is a small divider after the tables that somewhat separates another dining area.  After scanning the menu we placed our order and waited for the woman behind the counter to call us for our food.  At 5pm, it wasn’t that busy so we were able to order and eat pretty quickly.
            It was nearly impossible to decide what to eat because everything sounded so good!  I hate it when that happens.  And like most of our trips out, we pretty much starved ourselves so we could gorge on the food there.  We ordered two appetizers, two drinks, and three main meals all for about $40.  If you’re going alone, it’ll probably be about $20 – less if you don’t order a drink.  How sweet is that!

            I ordered a banana mango smoothie, which is both gluten and nut free and quite good.  My wife had a hot cinnamon and ginger tea latte.  For you fellow coffee drinkers, they do have both hot and iced coffee drinks available.  The iced coffee comes with soymilk.
Look at that amazingness!

            The first appetizer we ordered was a rice roll (it comes with two rolls for the order).  I really enjoyed this one and it’s a roll version to a salad version that’s available.  It comes with a ginger pesto sauce, avocadoes, spinach, their house special soy-beef slices (very good!), seaweed, onions, red bell peppers, and cilantro.  I don’t know how Asian restaurants do it but I’ve always had the best ‘beef’ and ‘chicken’ options at these restaurants than anywhere else.  I really liked this and I’m not even a huge pesto fan.  This can be gluten free if needed.

            The second appetizer we ordered was an order of pot stickers that were steamed.  They were stuffed with zucchini, cabbage, carrot, tofu, sweet potato noodles, onion, and mushroom.  The order is nut free for those of you who need to know.  They were also very good.

            My first main meal I ordered was the order of BiBim Noodles.  It’s basically a salad mix on top of noodles but it is so good because the sauce is a blend of spicy, tangy, and sweet.  Fantastic!  It comes with avocadoes, their house special soy-beef slices, carrots, zucchinis, carrots, lettuce, red bell peppers, and wheat noodles.  It’s nut free and there is also a gluten free option available.  Good god was this so good!  Check it out if you go.  The combination of salad with noodles and their sauce was perfect.
There really is truth in advertising!
            The second main meal, which I shared with my wife, was their Heaven Wrap.  This, too, was very good!  It comes with raw red bell pepper hummus, spinach, their house special soy-beef slices, red bell peppers, tomatoes, cilantro, parsley, and onions.  The hummus contains cashews incase that’s a concern.  This was really good and if you want something a bit lighter than a noodle dish, then get this.

            They have a bunch of desserts available, from which my wife was going to order something, but the two options my wife wanted were out.  Bummer.  I couldn’t bring myself to eat anything else.  I didn’t want to explode.
            Part of the fun of going to these vegan or vegetarian places is getting to talk to the people who work there (or who happen to own the place).  Outside of the big, major vegetarian/vegan restaurants (i.e. – The Chicago Diner), when you express how you really enjoyed the food or show your excitement over their establishment, they seem to truly love what you have to say.  You can see the joy right on their faces and what’s a better way to bring people together than to share in food?  And since there aren’t a ton of vegans out there, any feedback and patronage is probably quite appreciated.
            As a funny side-note, since my wife and I tend to order so much whenever we go out, a lot of servers seem shocked at the amount of food we order.  When we were at the Loving Heart, our server was almost going to walk away after we ordered two appetizers and two meals but stopped short when we placed an order for a third main meal.  I wonder if she doubted our ability to scarf all of that food down?  Either way, it was all fantastic and I highly suggest you spend your money there.
            Until next time, keep calm and vegan on!

Loving Heart is located at 838 W. Montrose Avenue, Chicago, IL, 60613
Their phone number is 773-561-5399