Happy Veggie screams freshness, from the smiling tomato on its sign to the paintings of green foliage that surround the restaurant's casual dining room. The chefs here specialize in Asian cuisine, just without certain ingredients. No meat, poultry, fish, eggs, or MSG finds its way into the Happy Veggie kitchen. Instead, the chefs use tofu and soy meats to put vegetarian spins on classic dishes, including what LA Weekly dubs a "pretty damn good animal-less pho."
Local vegetables are indispensable to this menu. Chefs use market-fresh produce to make salads, stir-fries, and curry-vegetable masala. They finish meals with coconut cheesecake or veggie flan, which they make with soy whipped cream and maple syrup that's as pure as the day it was wrung from a tree like a sponge.
Tip for first-time diners: don't come on Tuesdays, when the restaurant is closed.
Tonya Beaudet was perplexed when a strange sign appeared on the door of her favorite restaurant in 1980. Before long, she deduced that ?Here today, gone to Maui? meant that its surf-crazy owner had traded California?s waves for those of Hawaii. Filled with visions of organic feasts, she scrambled to buy the shop, otherwise known as The Spot Natural Food Restaurant. House-made vegetarian fare has ruled the menu for more than 30 years, transforming Tonya into a meat-free eater and converting unabashed carnivores into legume lovers. Saut?ed mushrooms and onions crown the restaurant?s veggie burger, whose blend of beans, seeds, and soy cheese the Travel Channel deemed ?jam-packed with flavor.? Brown rice and whole-wheat tortillas lend wholesome goodness to hearty burritos, savory garden omelets brim with seasonal produce, and organic ales and purified water refresh palates between bites, preventing diners from plunging into the nearby ocean. To accommodate a wide range of dietary needs, the kitchen can prepare meals without wheat, dairy, or sugar. Tonya and crew?s cookbook helps diners recreate their favorite dishes at home, using healthy ingredients such as garden-grown veggies and raw agave.
Qdoba's burrito baristas handcraft a catering menu of Mexican-inspired cuisine, customizable with a panoply of fresh ingredients for a taco, nacho, or burrito bar. Qdoba's culinary crafters craft succulent fillings for burritos, tacos, nachos, and quesadillas, including protein-packing choices, such as slow-roasted pulled pork, adobo-marinated grilled steak or chicken, and spiced shredded or ground beef, with vegetarian options also available. Taste the gooey flavor accents of the signature queso sauce, a three-cheese blend with roasted poblanos, tomatoes, and jalapeños, the pinto or black beans simmered in cumin and onion, or the creamy, hand-smashed guacamole that's ideal for filling up Queen Elizabeth's diamond-studded guacamole chalice. Tortilla chips with salsa bar and desserts complete each catered event, and customers can opt for burrito-boxed lunches and any add-ons.
At Sura Korean BBQ & Tofu, meat and tofu put aside their differences in the name of cooperating to create savory Korean feasts. Bulgogi—sliced beef marinated in 12 flavorful ingredients—stars in many dishes, from japche rice-paper wraps to custom-made bibimbap served in a hot stone pot. Instead of sculpting faux turkeys from vatfuls of guacamole, vegans can build feasts from meat-free dishes such as tofu soup and sushi-like kimchi kimbap. The restaurant's popular korean tacos encourage meats and greens to hang out together, housing combinations of bulgogi, pork, chicken, veggies, or tofu. Outdoor seating invites patrons to dine amid verdant plants, whereas comfy indoor booths honor nature with sunny lights and bamboo wall coverings.
Salad Farm serves up artisan-style salads, paninis, baked potatoes, and quesadillas all with one goal in mind?making fast and healthy food. At locations across California, chefs make more than 40 dishes swiftly and from-scratch, crafting each to order. And because the team specializes in food that makes its eaters feel great, they've listed the nutritional information for every dish on their website. This helps patrons pick the veggie-laden spuds, cranberry salads, and steak quesadillas that meet their dietary goals.
The chefs at Annapurna meld a variety of authentic herbs and spices with veggie-laden entrees to craft a menu of savory Indian eats. The cheese dosa Annapurna special stuffs its pillowed crepe with a hearty blend of marinated mozzarella cheese, tomato, and cilantro ($8.95), dueling the succulent flavors of the Hyderabadi baingan ka bharta curry—fresh eggplant from the clay oven with an armful of chopped onions, diced tomatoes, and a special spice blend ($9.95). Batter-fried pieces of cauliflower bask in a garlic sauce with tomato accents in the gobi manchurian ($10.95), finishing off appetites with orders of the garlic naan ($3) or two vegetable samosas that barely manage to contain a potato-and-mixed-vegetable mélange within its crispy crusts ($4.50). A cultural immersion from "hello" to "holla back," Annapurna keeps guests cozy with a dining room TV broadcasting a range of Bollywood movies and sports.