Happy Family in Loma Linda

I’m seriously in love with Chinese food (or at least what we call Chinese food here in the states).  I already told you about my delicious meal at Happy Family in Monterey Park, and now I tell you about my other delicious meal at another Happy Family. I mentioned before that these two restaurants share the same name, but are not the same company.  They might have been at some point, but I am not sure about the details.

My “happy family” went here for Father’s day and feasted on lots of menu items.

First, as always, we got the Hot and Sour Soup ($6.95 – medium).  This is my all time favorite soup and they do it very well.  Never overly spicy, but oh so flavorful.

Happy Family Hot and Sour Soup

Hot and Sour Soup

Another dish we always order is the Sizzling Plate ($10.95), because this is my dad’s favorite dish.  We get it without the “beef,” since we don’t like it as much as the tofu and “chicken.”

Happy Family Sizzling Plate

Sizzling Plate

My sisters like the Cashew Nuts Wheat Gluten Chicken ($8.50) the most.  I also like this dish, only I’m not a fan of the plethora of water chestnuts.

Happy Family Cashew Nuts Wheat Gluten Chicken

Cashew Nuts Wheat Gluten Chicken

My mom and I love the Crispy Shiitake Mushroom with Bean Sprout ($9.95).  These tiny strips of fried shiitake mushrooms are tossed with a wonderful sweet sauce (or as my dad calls it – “red sugar”).  Whatever, dad, I’m an advocate of balancing out the savory with the sweet.

Happy Family Shiitake Mushrooms with Bean Sprouts

Shiitake Mushrooms with Bean Sprouts

My one sister loves soft tofu dishes, so she tried the Szechwan Style Tofu ($7.25).  This dish is slightly spicy, but not too bad.  It’s a great dish if you happen to like soft tofu.

Happy Family Szechwan Style Tofu

Szechwan Style Tofu

And the overall favorite is the Crispy Oyster Mushroom ($9.95).  I got a similar dish at the Happy Family in Monterey Park, but I definitely like this version better.  I think this one has more flavor.  It doesn’t even need a sauce – it’s that good.

Happy Family Crispy Oyster Mushrooms

Crispy Oyster Mushrooms

I am so happy they opened near my hometown.  Now my family has a place to eat that satisfies everyone.  If you aren’t in the Inland Empire, they also have locations in Costa Mesa and Rowland Heights.  Seriously – check them out.

Happy Family – Loma Linda
2150 So. Waterman Avenue
San Bernardino, CA 92408

Monday – Friday 11am – 3pm and 5pm – 9pm
Saturday and Sunday 11am – 9pm

Vegan Sweets at Muffin Top Bakery

Once again, the Inland Empire is coming up in the vegan world.  There is now a bakery that has two locations in the I.E.  Muffin Top Bakery‘s original location is in Riverside and they have recently opened their second location in beautiful downtown Redlands.  I had been buying their breads at Clarks Nutritional Center in Loma Linda (where they also sell a few select pastries), but was excited to have their full bakery menu at hand in Redlands.  I haven’t been to the Riverside location, but I would think the offerings at both locations would be very similar.

Muffin Top Bakery

Muffin Top Bakery

Muffin Top Bakery Display Case 1

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Vegan at Mu Thai Restaurant in Redlands

Sometimes the Inland Empire is not so fun for vegans finding food, but there are exceptions.  Redlands is a small town located next to an even smaller town that is predominately inhabited by Seventh Day Adventists.  For those unfamiliar with this religion, most followers eat a vegetarian diet.  This makes eating there and in Redlands more friendly to veg*ns.

One very nice restaurant in Redlands is a thai place that has many vegetarian options.  Thai food is generally easy to get prepared vegan, but the ambiance and knowledge of the staff at Mu is so great, it keeps me coming back.

On a dinner outing with some old friends, I decided on the Panang Curry ($12) – peanut sauce, bell peppers, coconut milk, and tofu.  It came with a side of rice, which was great, because it was a way to deliver that amazing peanut sauce to my mouth!  Order this, and you won’t be sorry.  I’m also a huge fan of their Pad Thai and their vegan coconut milk based tofu and vegetable soup.  See all their menu items here.

Mu Panang Curry

Panang Curry

Mu is located at:
309 W State St
Redlands, CA 92373

Monday – Friday: 11am – 2:30pm and 5pm – 10pm
Saturday: 5pm – 10pm
Sunday:  5pm – 9pm

Valentine’s Special at Native Foods

I heard about the Native Foods Valentine’s Special and had to get it.  Luckily, a new location had just opened at Fashion Island in Newport Beach, which is a lot closer to me than the locations in Costa Mesa or Tustin.

The Valentine’s Special included vegetable lasagna layered with tofu ricotta, roasted portobellos, greens, and a fresh marinara and topped with Native cashew parmesan.  It was served with a Caesar salad and garlic bread.  I loved the garlic bread – it was the best part.  The Caesar salad was also good.  The lasagna, on the other hand, was slightly lacking on the flavor.  I found that the large pieces of portobello mushrooms and kale took over and I had wished there were more cheese and spices.

Native Foods Valentine's Special

Valentine’s Special – Lasagna, Garlic Bread, and Caesar Salad – $9.95

The tiramisu wasn’t how I remembered tiramisu.  Prepared with espresso soaked vanilla cake with vegan mascarpone and shaved chocolate.   The vanilla cake was what I remembered angel food cake to be – kind of spongey and light on flavor.  The espresso made the edges of the cake soggy – not good.  The mascarpone reminded me of marshmallow fluff – thick and sticky.  It was smooth, but the texture threw me off.  Not creamy how I remember the real stuff to be.  The whole thing was just ok.  It was a lightly sweet dessert for those who like that sort of thing.

Native Foods Tiramisu

Tiramisu – $2.95

All in all, I’m not sure if I’d order this again if it appeared on the regular menu.  I am still very excited about the new Fashion Island location.  There are a few new items that I am wanting to try and will definitely be back to order these.

Native Foods has been opening new locations all over the place.  Check out their website to see if one is near you.

Vegan Cookies at Robeks

I had heard a few years ago that Robeks juice was offering vegan cookies.  Since I never go there and there aren’t many locations near me, I never checked it out.  I finally came across a Robeks and decided to try these vegan cookies.  They are made by Lenny & Larry’s and claim to be a healthier cookie.  You can see the nutrition information at their website.  These cookies are quite big and very filling- a great steal at only two bucks.

I went with the Peanut Butter and the Chocolate Chip.  Also available were Lemon Poppyseed and Oatmeal Raisin.  I thought the peanut butter had an off flavor – maybe it was the peanut butter they used?  The chocolate chip was much better.  I didn’t taste any off flavor in this one.  They both were very soft, so be careful if you are packing these guys away – they break apart easily.

Robeks Cookies

Cookies at Robeks 

Cheezy Pizza in Colton

I love that Daiya has made it so easy for pizza places to add vegan pizzas to their menus.  Cheezy Pizza in Colton has done this and more.  They are not a totally vegan establishment, but their vegan menu is huge!  In addition to vegan pizza, they have vegan appetizers, salads, calzones, and even desserts.  I recently went and got some food to feast on with my family out in the Inland Empire.

First up was the garlic cheese bread and the potato wedges.  The garlic cheese bread was a nice thick and soft piece of bread covered in Daiya cheese.  It came with a small container of marinara sauce.  The bread was delicious, but I wanted more marinara for dunking.  The potato wedges were also delicious.  They were perfectly seasoned and not too greasy.  They came with a side of ketchup.

Cheezy Pizza Garlic Cheese Bread

Garlic Cheese Bread – $4.60

Cheezy Pizza Potato Wedges

Potato Wedges – $3.68

In addition to the two appetizers, I ordered two different kinds of pasta.  Their pasta menu lets you choose a shape of pasta, pasta sauce, and up to four toppings.  I ordered Fettucini Alfredo with vegan chicken and mushrooms.  Their alfredo sauce is one of the best vegan alfredo sauces I’ve ever had. It’s super thick and creamy – I wish they jarred and sold this.  The second pasta dish I ordered was the Penne Pesto with sun dried tomatoes, black olives, and mushrooms.  At first I thought it looked dry – that the pasta baked too much in the oven – but it definitely wasn’t.  The pesto had just the right amount of spices and oil.  The topping of Daiya was also a great way to add more of a cheesy flavor to the pesto.  I’d order this one again.

Cheezy Pizza Fettuccini Alfredo

Fettuccini Alfredo with Vegan Chicken and Mushrooms – $7.99

Cheezy Pizza Penne Pesto

Penne Pesto with Sun Dried Tomatoes, Mushrooms, and Black Olives – $7.99

The two pizzas I ordered were the BBQ Chicken Pizza and the Margherita Pizza.  The BBQ Chicken pizza reminded me of my favorite California Pizza Kitchen pizza back when I was an omnivore.  The BBQ sauce was the best part –  nice and sweet with a little bit of tang.  The Margherita pizza was simple, but not lacking any flavor.  The fresh tomatoes and tons of basil made this pizza so refreshing.  The crust at Cheesy Pizza is a one-size-fits all – not too thick and not too thin.

Cheezy Pizza  BBQ Chicken Pizza

BBQ Chicken Pizza – $16.56

Cheezy Pizza Margherita Pizza

Margherita Pizza – $13.80

In keeping with the “two of each” theme, I picked up two vegan cheesecakes for dessert.  These are pre-packaged cheesecakes made by a third party.  The two flavors I got were Caramel Apple and Peanut Butter.  Neither of these cheesecakes were very good.  They both tasted kind of dry- especially the crumbly crust.  The best part of these was the dollop of frosting on the peanut butter cheesecake.  This was the only really creamy part of it all.

Cheezy Pizza Caramel Apple Cheesecake

Caramel Apple Cheesecake – $4.75

Cheezy Pizza Peanut Butter Cheesecake

Peanut Butter Cheesecake – $4.75

They also recently started bottling their ranch dressing.  I hope it makes it to the stores.  It is just like the “real” thing!  So thick – not runny like other vegan ranches I’ve had.  I dumped this stuff like crack onto my pizzas.  It’s worth the drive to Colton alone.

Cheezy Pizza Ranch

Creamy Ranch from Cheezy Pizza – $6.50

The biggest downer of Cheezy Pizza is that I only found out about it after I moved away from the area.  Everything Cheezy Pizza makes is fantastic.  A note about their vegan sauces:  apparently they prepare these on Mondays.  I came on Monday and got the last bit of vegan alfredo.  If you are making a special trip on a Monday, I’d recommend calling ahead to make sure they have the vegan sauce that you want.

Cheezy Pizza

Cheezy Pizza

Cheezy Pizza is in a random area (in my opinion).  The neighborhood is mostly residential and a block away from an elementary school.  It has easy parking and is not too far from the freeway.  There is seating inside for about 20 people.

Cheezy Pizza is located at:
299 West Olive Street
Colton, CA 92324
(909) 370 -2644

Sun-Thurs: 11AM – 9PM
Fri-Sat: 11AM – 10PM