On a recent trip to Arizona, I checked out the Happy Cow app to help me find some local vegan restaurants and was stoked to see a place called Lovin’ Spoonfuls. After reading a few reviews I decided to head over and check it out.
The location is simple, but nice, nestled into a strip mall off Campbell Avenue. Parking was simple, and I found a spot right in front. They have a nice covered outdoor seating area and on this cool evening, I decided to eat out front.
Once inside, there is a really nice seating area with a dessert case, small retail section, and some information on animal rights and activism.
After reading the reviews, I had already decided to try the Cashew Loaf, so I ordered it. I was also interested in trying the fried ravioli with marinara.
The fried ravioli arrived first, and looked pretty good. However the breading was really tough and the marinara was almost ice cold, which really detracted from the appetizer. I only ate one of the raviolis, hoping this was not a sign of the meal to come.
Soon the cashew loaf arrived and the plate, while warm, seemed pretty bare and uninviting. My first fork slice into the loaf, and it broke apart into dry, flaky chunks. The gravy was really tasty, but was the only saving grace for this cashew loaf. As the gravy soon disappeared, the loaf itself was too dry and tough to eat on it’s own.
Overall, while I appreciate the warm staff, clean facility, and good intentions of the animal rights information I just could not fall in love with the food. In all honesty, it was some of the worst vegan food I have ever had. And I am pretty tolerant.
Either I am just spoiled being in Portland, or the Tucson vegan scene has some growing up to do. This is the very type of vegan food that in my opinion turns off a lot of prospective vegans. And I know that seems harsh. But if Lovin’ Spoonfuls just brought the menu and food quality up a notch (i.e. no cold marinara), they would be nailing it.
Regardless, I decided to give them another chance. Maybe it was just an off day. So I decided to come back the next day and try out the breakfast.
I followed the staff’s recommendation and chose the french toast (which is my personal fav breakfast, anyway). It was a HUGE improvement over the previous day. I opted for the stripped down version, without all the fruit and nuts that were originally offered to me.
The french toast was warm, and cooked perfectly. The syrup and strawberries served with it were also good.
This meal made me feel better about the food quality at Lovin’ Spoonfuls. But it also made me a little mad. If they can nail breakfast like this, what happened with my dinner the night before? Why not do the same thing?
Either way, I am glad I stopped into Lovin’ Spoonfuls. I would rather have marginal quality vegan food in a city like Tucson, than none at all. I just really hope they work a little harder on stepping up their vegan game and making improvements in the food quality.