• oh happy days: an unexpected vegan oasis

    March 28th, 2011quarrygirlLA restaurants, oh happy days

    friends and readers, i’ve found a vegan paradise in altadena and it’s very aptly named oh happy days. the tiny hole in the wall establishment acts as both a vegetarian market and an entirely vegan cafe, and offers up incredible food at unbeatable prices, not to mention friendly service. it’s a bit of a hippie hang out and the fare is super healthy (no fake cheese here!), so it may not be everybody’s cuppa tea…all i know is, it’s now one of my favorite restaurants and i can’t wait to go back.

    the "yummie yam"

    i was first alerted to oh happy days on twitter of all places (if you have any vegan tips, @reply me!) when i saw a tweet that called it “the best vegan restaurant in LA” and mentioned that they had soul food for $6 per plate. we wasted no time and headed over on saturday for lunch and were absolutely blown away by the awesomeness. the super small market is easy to miss if you don’t know what you’re looking for—we almost walked right by it!

    there are a few tables inside, though, and a tiny kitchen serving up an all vegan menu that will rock your socks. the menu is a bit complicated, because the specials are always changing. they basically have a set menu on top with options that rely on the rotating menu on the bottom. (the entree, soup of the day, and salad are always different.) we took pix of both, so you can see how it works. here is menu #1:

    oh happy days menu #1 (click to enlagre!)

    and menu #2:

    oh happy days menu #2 (click to enlarge)

    we had a hell of a time deciding what to order—everything sounded so good. the husband went with the “summertime salad supreme”:

    salad supreme: our tossed salad enriched with stir fried tofu, raw nuts, and seeds. $5.50

    i tried a few bites of this baby, and it was ridiculous. like all the food in this post, the picture really doesn’t do it justice. loads of chunky tofu, fresh vegetables like broccoli, carrots and beets…plus crispy nuts and rich dressing. we also split an order of the soup of the day (chili seasoned pinto beans), which was served over rice and unbelievably tasty.

    soup of the day! chili seasoned pinto beans served over brown rice. $2.50

    for my entree, i went with the “yummie yam,” which definitely lived up to its name. this thing was served open-faced with loads of greens and a hearty helping of spicy pinto beans.

    baked yummie yam: opened to a world of greens and served with the soup of the day. $5.50

    for less than 6 bucks, this was an absolute steal and kept me full for hours and hours. my only complaint is that oh happy days doesn’t carry any hot sauce. next time, i will be sure to sneak in a bottle. oh well, they had cayenne which almost did the trick.

    inside, oh happy days keeps it super simple. it’s basically a little grocery store with a counter to order food at and a few communal tables. we were lucky enough to snag our own private table in the corner. otherwise, we’d have been eating with these folks:

    the dude working the counter were super nice, and the chef was on hand to answer any questions abut the food (like, are there bell peppers in the chili?).

    on top of the delicious hot food, we noticed that oh happy days has a fridge full of vegan desserts and sandwiches. i didn’t get to sample any this time, but i definitely will in the future.

    my only regret about oh happy days is that i could only try 3 things on the menu. the dishes that other customers were eating looked so appetizing—i’m already planning another trip so i can try the corn bean loaf and tofu/tempeh stir fry.

    altadena is just down the road from pasadena, so next time you’re in that area be sure to give oh happy days a try. it’s damn good, inexpensive, healthy, and vegan. i think you’ll love it.

    oh happy days
    2283 Lake Avenue
    Altadena, CA 91001-2414
    (626) 797-0383
    Open Weekdays 11am-6:30pm; Sat 11am-6pm

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22 responses to “oh happy days: an unexpected vegan oasis” RSS icon

  • My GOODNESS, those plates look delicious! And the GREENS! OH! And so many of the choices appear to be gluten-free! Wish they would open a cafe in Hollywood!

  • James Bilgihan

    Not to nitpick but can we stop using Mecca to describe places we would like to visit. If you take the analogy we would be required to make the pilgrimage once per lifetime. I would like to eat at a vegan restaurant more than once.

    Plus using Mecca to describe an eatery is disrespectful to Islam.


    (agnostic/Reform Jewish)

  • Oh, and those PRICES! So very REASONABLE!

  • Seriously? Get a life.

  • changed it, just for you james. xo

  • Wow, it’s almost worth booking a flight from NYC just to eat there! Looks SO good.

  • James Bilgihan

    Thanks…I’ll let everyone know when I get my life… 😉

  • looks and sounds delicious!

  • Gauri Radha गौरी राधा

    I’m a Pasadena person, and both times I walked by this place it was closed, I will try going back again. (A commenter on another post on this blog mentioned OHD a while back I think.)

  • Ahhh, I’m so glad Oh Happy Days is finally getting some blogger love! This place has been a well-kept secret for years in Altadena I try to go to lunch here at least once a week, and I love bringing coworkers, just to see how them react to the crunchy hippy vibe (most love the place and go back on their own).

    One thing to remember is that the place is owned and operated by John, a friendly older gentlemen who does pretty much everything. Have patience and don’t be in a rush. (Oh, and if you show up before 11 a.m., chances are the food won’t be ready yet.) Just be patient, chat with other customers, and think about the awesome healthy food you are going to eat.

    And don’t worry about the family-style seating arrangement — Altadena people are friendly and usually won’t bite, unless you’re a Republican. (Kidding!!)

  • looks amazing! Ill have to check this place out.. I’ve found that a lot of the times the *best* vegan food is found at the “hole in the wall” or secret little veggie places!!

  • Great review!

    Thanks for coming to Altadena, Oh Happy Days is a great place to eat and shop… The hippy vibe in Altadena is why I love living here… Everyone should try Oh Happy Days and enjoy the mountains in the background! 😉

  • Gosh, I just keep coming back again and again to look at QG’s photos of those LUSCIOUS-looking bean dishes! Truly a feast for the eyes!

  • OHD is one of my favorite places. It reminds me of some of the little country stores back in the Ozarks. There are always some characters hanging around. Conversations start here as organically as the food is grown. Everything about the place is just down home, relaxed and friendly. it doesn’t even feel like a business. Feels like a place where some friends are makin food and providing things you need in exchange for a little money and some friendly conversation. The very first time I came into OHD I spent an hour chatting with a kid who had just started working there, he told me about his life and I told him about Burning Man (it was early august and he dreamed of going) and then as they were closing up I was invited (insistingly invited) to come into the back where some amazing spicy concoction was being whipped up for a future menu. I was a very happy taste tester.

    I always stop in when the timing’s right before/after bike rides up in the San Gabriels or foothills but I need to get over there even more often. OHD really makes you wish the rest of the world operated like they do.

  • Combination market/cafes are interesting places to eat in. Kinda weird having shelves of items right behind you that people might be browsing while you eat.

  • These kind of hippy spots are cool. They remind me of the area in northern California where I grew up.

    I saw that same tweet from FYF Fest. FYF FTW!

  • LOVE this place. John is the BEST person anyone could possibly meet!

    This establishment is where I learned health and flavor ALL AT THE SAME TIME!:)

    Best place for HEALTHY VEGAN FOOD! His tofu and mojos dish is the BOMB! Just like the Lima Bean soup! I know, probably doesn’t sound appetizing BUT it will teach you to appreciate this bean!

  • No, it DOES sound appetizing! My partner and I both LOVE Lima Bean Soup! We used to get it at The Spot sometimes when we lived in Hermosa Beach.

  • So glad you covered this place!!

    It is great and super healthy (and friendly). I did have something there once with a little vegan cheese on it (it was a lasagna)…

    I love the emphasis on using whole foods; soy & wheat & processed meat are good for people transitioning, but committed vegans should use them as treats and eat like they do at Oh Happy Days most of the time… just sayin.

  • Gauri Radha गौरी राधा

    Still need to stop by here, I’m so close by!

  • I went here recently and love the food! It’s different and very “hippie,” but it’s way affordable and filling. I’ve tried the meatless loaf and the summer salad. Yum!

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