Looking for a vegan or vegetarian restaurant nearby? Have you heard of the Happy Cow website? They also have a handy app so that you can find any vegan or vegetarian restaurant near you. It also makes traveling so much easier, as you plan your dining. For your upcoming trips, you can “Create a Trip” and search for vegan/vegetarian restaurants near your destination and add the places that interest you to your trip list. We’re so excited for our upcoming trip to Las Vegas! I added a few places that we might check out. For those moments at home when we are struggling with what to cook and decide, “Let’s just eat out tonight..” We can pick somewhere new that we haven’t tried before, or look at our favorites and decide.

I really love it for those long drives to Los Angeles when I take Marissa to her auditions. We have discovered a few wonderful vegan restaurants using the Happy Cow app. One of our favorites is this Thai restaurant called Vegan Glory at 8393 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90048. Phone: (323 )653-4900. They have a delicious vegan orange “chicken.” (Marissa brought in her own Starbucks drink. Sorry!)

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We love female business owners, and Brittany Reenan has created a cool salon vibe on the East Side of Costa Mesa.  Brittany is the salon boss, stylist, and creative colorist leading her talented team.

Woman Crush Wednesday Brittany Reenan of Salty Blonde Cut Co

She has been cutting and styling hair for 15 years.  She started when a friend invited her to share a retail space.  Brittany started with 3 chairs, then continued to expand.  She eventually took over this space and filled the place with many more chairs by bringing in other cool and hip stylist and colorist.  She kept the shared commercial concept alive by inviting pop up boutiques that rotate in.

Woman Crush Wednesday Brittany Reenan of Salty Blonde Cut Co

I found The Salty Blonde Cut Company last year and have been very happy with my cuts.  Brittany keeps her cuts are fresh and current.  She is friendly and takes her time to make sure that you are happy with the services.  

My reasons why I love this salon:

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As a Thai gal, I doctor up every dish I eat with some kind of sauce, chili, or condiment.  For my everyday cooking, I keep it simple and quick.  Here are my favorite condiments that I use frequently.

Top 3 Thai Condiments for Everyday Cooking and Eating

Golden Mountain or Maggi Sauce

This is kind of the Thai version of soy sauce or seasoning sauce.  Both are pretty easy to find in any Asian market and in most traditional markets.  Costco actually carries giant bottles of Maggi Sauce!  It is used to flavor many stir fries and egg dishes.  Splash a few drops into a stir fry or fried rice for extra flavor.  Try marinating some pork or chicken in this sauce before throwing it into a stir fry!  My son’s favorite omelette is what he calls, his Thai omelette.  Whisk up some eggs and drop several splashes of Golden Mountain or Maggi sauce into your eggs.  Beat well.  In a frying pan, heat up 3-4 tablespoons of oil (canola, vegetable, or avocado) until hot.  Carefully pour egg mixture into hot pan.  Wait for it to start setting, don’t stir.  Then while lifting an edge of the eggs up with a flat spatula, gently tip the pan in that direction, allowing the runny parts to glide into that spot; repeat on other side. This allows for your omelette to rise and add some layers so that it is not so flat. When the bottom is nice and golden, flip your omelette.  Allow to cook until golden brown.  Note:  a Thai omelette is not cooked the way you would cook a French omelette.  Here, you would use a higher flame and you want the omelette to turn golden brown.  Serve it as is or over rice.  I also like mine with Sriracha hot chili sauce all over it!  And of course that leads me to my next favorite….

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It’s been over a year since our family has lasted dined at Din Tai Fung at South Coast Plaza. Since we all decided to go vegetarian last summer, we have narrowed down our eating out options to our favorite vegan and vegetarian restaurants. We used to enjoy the soup dumplings at Din Tai Fung. Those soup dumplings are all the rage. You can watch the dumplings being made fresh by their staff though a viewing window. It looks like a clean room with laboratory technicians in their white coats making the dumplings. We used to get so excited when the servers were heading towards our table circular bamboo trays in hand, with the steam rising out. Those little morsels were our favorite… until we gave up meat. Needless to say, we haven’t eaten there since. Until…. we had show to attend recently at the Segerstrom Performing Arts Center across the street. Whenever we were in that area, Din Tai Fung was our stop. Hmmm. “What if we had dinner at Din Tai Fung before the show?” We hoped that there would be vegetarian options there, and we were so happy that Din Tai Fung did not disappoint!

Vegetarian Options at Din Tai Fung South Coast Plaza #MeatlessMonday

We started with the Fried Vegetarian Noodles – tasty!

Vegetarian Options at Din Tai Fung South Coast Plaza #MeatlessMonday

Vegetarian Dumplings – If you know the scrumptiously soft texture of Din Tai Fung’s fresh-made soup dumplings, then you will find the Vegetarian Dumplings to be just as satisfying! 

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Thai Kitchen brand curry paste is our go-to curry paste for an quick and easy Thai curry dish.  The only curry paste that is readily available at your local grocery store (I buy mine at Ralph’s) and that is also vegan.  I buy many other brands from the Asian markets as well, but most of them are not vegan.  An added bonus if you are cooking for kids whose palettes are still sensitive to spiciness (my kids are in training), is that these curry pastes are significantly milder than any other brands that I use.  Now I know that there are simmer sauces that are also good for a quick meal, but I prefer to be able to control how much paste I use.  And I would just start with a tablespoon for a milder curry and add more if you prefer.  I also like to fry my paste in a little oil before slowly adding my coconut milk.  I believe this brings out the aroma and flavor of all the spices.  A couple of tablespoons of curry paste and a can or two of coconut milk and you’ve got yourself an easy and delicious base for a Thai curry dish, adding pretty much any combination of tofu, meats, and veggies that you like.  Look out for some upcoming recipes for Easy (Almost Instant!) Thai Curries.

Looking for a a quick and easy Thai recipe to add into your everyday, weeknight rotation?  Let us know!