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Happy Belly

Healthy food packed with flavor

The Ham Basil and Brie sandwich on toasted sourdough bread. Photo credit: Dutch Randall

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ANNOUNCER: As Dutch and Jackie zipped down Tacoma's Market Street, the "Be Happy" sign lured them into the vegan focused (but meat-eater friendly) restaurant and juice bar, Happy Belly.

JACKIE: It's hard not to smile when traveling down Market Street and spying the bright and bubbly "Be Happy" slogan quietly cheering you on. That alone makes me want to park my car and peer inside. Happy Belly has a reputation for compelling, fresh juice concoctions and entrées that put the "heal" in healthy. Think fresh, bright and flavorful. The menu changes often, based on seasonal ingredients and the creative flair of the staffs' use of them.

DUTCH: After the holidays my body welcomed some long, lost healthy food in my belly! With a wide selection of smoothies, I wasn't quite ready for any of the several kale options, but the Tropical Trimmer of mango, banana, orange and pineapple was a healthy option I could embrace. Another selection I was excited about was the Coco Loco. A foundation of cold coffee is mixed with coconut, banana, dark chocolate and vanilla yogurt.

JACKIE: The vegan red pepper and kale soup is on the list of things I hanker for. This soup is my go-to sipper when I'm feeling under the weather and will put anyone's meemaw's penicillin to shame. It's spicy, soothing and packs a flavor bomb.

DUTCH: I was happy to see more than vegan options on the menu and jumped all over the Ham Basil and Brie sandwich on toasted sourdough bread. The ham is sliced thick with plenty piled on along with plenty of garlic and herb flavor to go with it. The sandwiches come with a choice of sides, and the spinach apple salad with a bleu cheese vinaigrette added just the right sweet and savory to the plate.

JACKIE: Chef and owner, Jenn Johnson, is well versed in the language of food and manages to pay special attention to texture and color. This equates to vibrant and well-balanced bites for omnivores and carnivores alike. The rice bowls are another favorite of mine -- loads of flavor and protein options like tofu, chicken and salmon.

DUTCH: What I liked best about Happy Belly was that, though it is a health-driven menu, there were also a great deal of flavorful options for everyone. Heck, the smoothies alone are worth a walk through the door.

JACKIE: Oh, and don't forget Taco Tuesday and the fresh squeezed juices. Get one of those to go. Your body will thank you.

HAPPY BELLY, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday-Friday; 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday; closed Sunday, 1122 Market St., Tacoma, 253.365.6706.

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