It was a happy day in my house when my teenage daughter stepped back from a year of vegetarianism to add poultry back in her life. My husband and I were supportive (her older sister, not so much, but she was gone to college), and it was good for us to be mostly vegetarian. But we are diehard omnivores, and we welcome the culinary diversity at dinnertime.
That said, in the last year or so I’ve developed a real fondness for good vegetarian and vegan restaurants, and in certain neighborhoods in L.A. (like Silver Lake and Echo Park), there are so many fine ones to choose from. This has not been the case in Pasadena, which is why there’s such a buzz about the unfortunately named My Vegan. The new spot doesn’t look like much, just another strip-mall café on Arroyo Parkway, but the place is a real find, even if you’re not a vegetarian. Prices are low, flavors are robust, the menu really has something for everyone, and delivery is free in a three-mile radius. If it only had beer and wine….
The extensive menu has a Thai focus, but you’ll also find dishes with roots in Vietnam (pho), China (chow mein), Mexico (guacamole) and America (burgers and fries). I have a long way to go to sample a significant part of the menu, because it lists 128 items, but I can tell you that the vegan fries are perfectly crisp and delicious, and I loved the Thai-style spicy (not that spicy) basil noodles with onions, peppers, mushrooms and your choice of protein (the soy “pepper steak” is actually quite tasty, if you forget about it pretending to be steak). Also worth trying in this fall season are the pumpkin fried rice and one of the house specials, P.E.T., a stir-fry of pumpkin, eggplant and tofu with basil and chile. And, of course, the roster of Thai classics, from papaya salad to yellow curry to rad na noodles.
633 S. Arroyo Pkwy., Pasadena, 626.578.9017, my-vegan.com. Vegan/Asian. L & D daily. No booze. MC, V. Free delivery. $