09 November 2010

Happy Veggie restaurant in Redondo Beach makes for happy customers

Pad Thai is my comfort food. And nobody makes better Pad Thai than Happy Veggie in Redondo Beach, California. The approximately four year old family-owned and operated vegan Asian foods cafe not only satisfies my comfort food craving, but also many of my daily nutritional needs since the fish sauce-free noodles are supplemented with peanuts, bean sprouts, cabbage, and other locally-sourced vegetables.

In fact, the majority of appetizers, salads, soups, sides, specialties, and entrees are on the healthy side, as they emphasize fresh produce, from root vegetables to leafy greens. And, unlike many Chinese or Thai restaurants, the dishes are entirely devoid of monosodium glutamate, better known as MSG -- the additive intended for flavor, but associated with a variety of health risks from nausea to numbness.

Happy Veggie also specializes in meat substitutes such as tofu and simulated fish, chicken, and beef, though if you prefer to avoid soy there are still plenty of options where veggies are the star of the plate. Servers also easily accommodate requests to leave out or swap the soy protein for a vegetable.

My favorite choices include the Pho, a traditional Vietnamese soup just right for cold days; Curry Chicken, a perfect yellow coconut curry with taro and yucca; Broccoli Beef, bell peppers in a spicy-sweet black bean sauce; and of course the Pad Thai. But even better is the dessert. The Berry Cheese Cake melts in your mouth, and the Flan -- the only vegan flan I have found so far -- exceeds the original on which it was based. Its texture and sweetness are the perfect end to a perfect meal.

No matter what my mood is when I enter Happy Veggie, I leave a happy customer.

Visit the website for location and hours.

Jaya Bhumitra Facebook
Jaya has eight years of experience in public affairs and communications, and degrees in business and psychology. She is a Volunteer Outreach Coordinator with Compassion Over Killing in L.A. and an avid runner.

Photo credit: Happy Veggie