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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

To the Land of Flying Pigs

And so I return!  It has been an incredibly busy summer, and I have definitely fallen out of blogging because of it.  With one sprint triathlon and half marathon under my belt, I'm readying myself for my October 2nd Twin Cities Marathon!  I'm probably not as well prepared as I should be, but, hell, I'm going to give it a shot all the same!  My goal is to just finish!  Well, this has kept me pretty busy, among other things like traveling almost every other weekend, venturing to the Saturday Farmer's Market on the square whenever I get the chance, and spending quality time with friends and family.  As summer is winding itself down, I'll be making a more concerted effort to keep up with blogging.  AND, it just so happens that Fall is my absolute favorite time of year for vegetables.  Sweet corn, heirloom tomatoes, bell peppers, and my favorite: Squash!!  Mmmm, nothing like roasted butternut squash to warm you up on a cool Fall day.

In the spirit of my recent travels, I will be doing a special blogging series to boast of all my favorite dishes in the various cities I've visited this summer.  My most recent destination spot was my hometown of Cincinnati, OH.  Every time we go back to visit we end up at the same spots that are favorites of my family: Big Boy, Graeters, Buskins and Sky Line Chili.  Since my sister and I went vegan, my family has been extremely supportive.  They try to accomodate for my dietary needs and even step out of their comfort zone by trying new vegan food with me.  This trip was no exception.  While they did get to Buskins and Sky Line, our first stop happened to be The Loving Hut.  Ever since I heard about this restaurant in VegNews, I've been wanting to check it out.  The cult aspect intrigued me.  Let's just say it did not disappoint!  The food just happened to be delicious!  It was very reasonably priced and left me full and satisfied.  I had the raw pizza, which was on a sun dried tomato focaccia.  I had never had anything like this before, and I was pleasantly surprised by it's texture and how flavorful it was.  I wrapped it up with an almond cupcake topped with chocolate buttercream frosting.  Yum!  They also happened to have Grateful Grahams for sale at this location, so I grabbed up a bag.  Grateful Grahams are made locally in Cincinnati, and were recently feature in VegNews.  This cookies are delicious and perfect for s'mores, topped with turbanado sugar and cinnamon!  You can buy them here on veganessentials in chocolate or original flavors.  The website is:  Okay, so back to Loving Hut itself.  While they have great food, this place in undoubtedly creepy as hell!  The people were just a  There were also several large flat screen TVs showing Supreme Master Ching Hai talking on various topics with subtitles in 20+ languages flashing up on the screen.  I think it's great that she's done such a good job in creating a successful chain of vegan restaurants, but personally I think she gives veganism a bad name.  It makes us look like a bunch of lunatics!  I just hope that people understand that that is merely her cult of followers and not the vegan community.  You can be the judge, of course, but my family and I all agreed that it was just creepy.  
Another restaurant worth mentioning in Cincinnati is Melt.  I was very pleased with this place.  We had the chance to go there for their Sunday Brunch and it was one of the best vegan brunches I've had (second only to Chicago Diner).  I had the biscuits and gravy, and an maple almond muffin.  Both were delicious!  The biscuits were a good size and nice and fluffy, smother in a savory herb gravy and vegan sausage, with a side of perfectly ripened fruit.  While the place itself is a little loud, difficult to find seating and located in an up and coming hip neighborhood, I'd say it was damn well worth the trip!  It reminded me of Wicker Park in Chicago.  

So if you happen to be in Cincinnati, do not miss out on this restaurants!  

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