Category Archives: Local Flavor-P-Dish

Local Flavor- Happy Chang’s Review by P-Dish


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Happy Chang’s Review By P-Dish

We were the first ones there. Pulling into a non-descript, neglected strip mall, I did not have high hopes for Happy Chang, the Thai restaurant my mother had been raving about to me..Since she appreciates my affinity for Thai cuisine, and knowing that I had yet to find one I loved in North county, I was a willing yet cautious participant.

Stepping in, we were greeted by Randy the owner (aka Mr. Miyagi, I’ll explain later), and Daniel our server. My reticent mood quickly changed. They were welcoming and attentive and seemed happy to have us..I looked around the restaurant and couldn’t help but be pleasantly surprised. The restaurant was very cute and extremely clean. Such an interesting contrast from the outside! I could sense that there was thought and devotion by the owners Randy and Supawdee (Sue) Permpoon for Happy Chang.

After being seated, Daniel brought us a bowl of mushroom soup. It was wonderful and had the perfect balance of flavors that Thai food is known for; salty, sweet, sour, and spicy. I decided to order the Panang Curry, with seafood and my mom ordered Pad Thai with pork. I’ll start by saying the the servings are copious, especially for lunch. Both entrees were beautifully prepared. I was impressed by the freshness of the seafood which included shrimp, calamari, and mussels. The Panang Curry itself was so good that I could imagine myself drinking it from a cup. However, for all of you heat freaks like me, I ordered mine spicy level 8 which seemed mild to me. Daniel said that next time I could order my spice level beyond 10 if I wanted to. In fact, he has customers come in wanting to basically be in tears and he is happy to oblige. My mom enjoyed her Pad Thai even though she was only able to finish a third of it.

Randy came out and started telling us about his restaurant and his life. He arrived in the U.S. with little money and unable to speak English. His wife Sue is the chef and he sings her praises. He said that they opened Happy Chang in 2004, and although they have wanted to change locations (neglected strip mall), his loyal customers won’t let him leave. He also said that his son has no real interest in the restaurant and would rather be an engineer but Randy seems perfectly content with this. His nickname Mr. Miyagi comes from his interest in hiring college age kids and molding them into better human beings. I watched him interacting with two employees, and I could see that he lives up to his nickname.

I left Happy Chang knowing that I had found my favorite Thai restaurant in North County and happy that my mother had introduced me to this diamond in the rough.

Happy Chang’s
1450 West Mission Rd.
San Marcos, Ca 92069




Local Flavor By: P-Dish (A new guest post from SEH local food fanatic)

Chino Farms RSF


Local Flavor

By:  P-Dish (A new guest post from SEH Local food fanatic)

If you’re like me, food is an integral part of life. Food inspires, nurtures, and brings people together. What has shaped my love and passion for cooking spans my lifetime. Maybe like you, some of the best memories center around amazing meals cooked for me and dare I say, by me..Lately, I’ve had the good fortune to be invited to numerous BBQ parties which always stirs up a little insecurity. See, I was not raised with a grill master nor did I marry one! So, I leave the grilling to the experts and try to complement their cooking with dishes that celebrate summer and round out a great meal.

Summer food=simplicity. Let the food speak for itself. If you’ve ever had a ripe, home grown tomato, you know what I mean…and since I can’t manage to grow tomatoes because of the creatures that get there before me…I head to Chino’s Farm in Rancho Santa Fe. They truly have what California’s bounty has to offer..and the staff are really friendly too!

So here is a tried and true recipe that I always look forward to making this time of year, because of it’s simplicity and flavor:

Tomato Basil Pasta Salad

  • 3 large vine ripened tomatoes(diced)
  • 1 bunch fresh much as you want but 1 cup is about right (chopped)
  • 3 cloves finely chopped garlic
  • Proscuitto (6 slices chopped, sorry I wing the measurements) I buy this at Costco or Trader Joe’s because it’s good quality and affordable.
  • 1/3 cup Olive oil
  • Parmesan to taste..good quality makes all the difference
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Crushed Red Pepper (if desired)
  • 1 lb Penne pasta

In a large heat proof bowl, add diced tomatoes, garlic, 1/2 the basil, 1/4 cup olive oil (or more), salt, pepper, red pepper. Stir gently and let sit while you cook pasta.
To the bowl, add the cooked pasta, toss in the proscuitto and rest of basil, and parmesan.

** This Dish is perfect for the vegetarians in the group.  Minus the proscuitto and you have 2 dishes in 1.

Serve pronto