Veggie Girl: Thai Basil

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Sometimes I really crave a good plate of sesame tofu. Crunchy, golden tofu that's burning hot on the outside and so soft inside that it melts in your mouth. Crisp, steamed veggies; brown rice; sticky, sweet delicious sauce. Yum!

The craving hit a couple of days ago when I was just sitting at work, minding my own business. Luckily, there's a Thai Basil at 540 East Alameda, near our office (and with four locations throughout the city, and another one on the way, there's probably one close to your office, too). Thai Basil offers free delivery for orders over $10, so if you team up with a friend or two, you can take advantage of the lunch deals that include a vegetarian egg roll and fried rice (they'll happily substitute brown rice).The portions are generous, too; I usually have enough left over for a second meal.

While Thai Basil's sesame tofu hits all the right notes and includes an impressive array of vegetables -- zucchini, broccoli, asparagus, red peppers, bamboo shoots, water chestnuts, carrots -- their sauce is a little too sweet for my taste. (My favorite sesame tofu is served at Moongate Asian Grill, where the tofu is always perfectly cooked.) But in a pinch, I'll certainly take the sesame tofu at Thai Basil. And when I'm not hell-bent on getting crispy tofu, Thai Basil also has a wonderful Thai basil vegetables dish that's overflowing with stir-fried veggies and tofu in a spicy basil sauce. The comforting, vegetarian hot-and-sour soup is also a stand-out.

Visit www.thaibasil.us for more information. -- Aubrey Shoe

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