Latinx chefs are making history. Has vegan food ever been this good? - Front Page Live

Latinx chefs are making history. Has vegan food ever been this good?




Viva Vegeria Vegan Tex-Mex Chef Gabriela Estrada.

Instagram / Viva Vegeria Vegan Tex-Mex

Latinx chefs serve delicious vegan food at eateries around the country, creating a stir on the American food scene with dishes based on traditional Central and South American flavors. And while they change American taste profiles, they are also changing the world through their food. One plate at a time, diners discover that sustainable food can be a delight.

These local eateries continue to serve their signature dishes even though the coronavirus pandemic limits dining options. Get your dialing fingers ready to order takeout from one near you!

The Earthy Kitchen: Orlando, Florida

Delicious vegan entree at The Earthy Kitchen.

TheEarthyKitchen.com

The Earthy Kitchen, an all-vegan Puerto Rican restaurant, continues to offer take-out, delivery through local options, and event catering.  Owner Javier Muniz designs a menu of seasonal favorites that are not just plant based but feature locally sourced ingredients. Home-cooked dishes include Alcapuria, Beefless Steak, Quesitos, and Tripleta.

The Plantisserie: Miami, Florida

Miami vegan delicatessen The Plantisserie.

Instagram / ThePlantisserie

Chef and co-owner of The Plantisserie, Maria Laura Alemann creates menus for deli service, catering, and wholesale to the Miami area. Originally from Buenos Aires, Argentina, Alemann moved from her study of hospitality into creating delicious vegan food that can be enjoyed fresh or purchased frozen to enjoy at your leisure.

Calaveritas: Atlanta, Georgia

Birria served from the all-vegan Mexican food truck Calaveritas.

Instagram / Calaveritas

Mayra Peralta’s food truck, Calaveritas, offers all-vegan, authentic Mexican cuisine at locations in the Atlanta area. Mayra bases her meals on the traditional Mexican recipes she grew up eating at her grandmother’s house. The menu is loaded with creative takes like Mushroom Carnitas, Jackfruit Birria (above), and Soyrizo Tacos.

Calaveritas posts their location on Instagram, and regularly sets up shop at the Atlanta Food Truck Park. This was the first food truck park in Atlanta; when other parks popped up in the area, they upped the ante by becoming the first Vegan/Vegetarian Food Truck Park in the US.

The Cocinita Miami: Miami, Florida

Various dishes from The Cocinita Miami vegan/vegetarian restaurant.

Facebook / The Cocinita Miami

What was once The Cocinita Miami food truck has graduated to a brick and mortar restaurant in Miami. Chef Gian Luca Mitrano creates delicious, beautiful vegan versions of Venezuelan and Colombian cuisine. The restaurant became a hot-spot even for non-vegans and now offers delivery through services like GrubHub and UberEats. Order up a burrito, some Portobello, or “Cowly” tacos. They also draw diners with their burgers, like the Cocinita or Mr. Mitrano Burger, named for the dish’s creator.

Chicana Vegana: Fullerton, California

Chicana Vegana owner Jasmine Hernandez.

Instagram / ChicanaVegana

Orange County native Jasmine Hernandez thinks chefs are just scratching the surface of what is possible with vegan food, and she is all-in to advance the evolution. She started Chicana Vegana as a pop-up, then moved to a food truck, and most recently opened a brick and mortar location in downtown Fullerton, CA.

Hernandez’s experience with portable food is obviously paying off, as her business grows despite limitations on indoor dining during the pandemic. This young chef makes delicious vegan versions of traditional Mexican favorites like carne asada, al pastor, carnitas, and shrimp for street tacos, burritos, and loaded nachos.

Miami Nice: Portland, Oregon

An entre at Valerie Espinoza's Miami Nice restaurant in Portland Oregon.

Miami Nice / miaminicepdx.com

Chef Valerie Espinoza is vegan and missed genuine Cuban cuisine when she moved from her home town of Miami to Portland, OR. She developed her recipes at home for friends who encouraged her to go into the field professionally. Espinoza had just started her Miami Nice as a pop-up restaurant, serving “Plant Based Food So Good You’ll Swear It’s Bad.” For months she frequented farmers’ markets and festivals until the coronavirus pandemic hit.

Then, as many restaurants were shuttering, Espinoza took the plunge and opened the Miami Nice restaurant. Benefitting from a connection to other women business owners and using every method at her disposal — like taking orders by text — she continues to offer a variety of dishes like empanadas, Cubano sandwiches, burgers, and even a vegan “El Jefe” Pan Con Bistek.

“I’m either incredibly smart or extremely stupid,” Espinoza told Eater PDX. “We’re going to find out really soon.”

Outdoor dining and orders to pick up are temporarily closed during the wildfires, but will resume “once the smoke clears.” Once diners can move back indoors, Espinoza is looking forward to creating a Miami feel in her restaurant to go with her delicious vegan food.

Viva Vegeria: San Antonio, Texas

Viva Vegeria Vegan Tex-Mex.

Instagram / Viva Vegeria Vegan Tex-Mex

San Antonio’s only 100% vegan and gluten-free restaurant, Viva Vegeria has been serving delicious vegan Tex-Mex for nearly ten years. Founded by chef Fred Garza-Guzman, terrific examples of Latino culinary tradition are now served up by chef Gabriela Estrada. Chow down on Tex-mex favorites like flautas, “Chicken” Mole Enchilada, and Tacos al Carbon or al Pastor.

Viva Vegeria is currently open Friday – Sunday for curbside pickup, and has delivery options, but chef Estrada is looking forward to opening the dining rooms back up once it is safe to gather indoors again.

Mama’s International Tamales: Los Angeles, California

Street tacos from Mama's International Tamales.

Instagram / Mama’s International Tamales

Claudia Lopez brings her unique touch to a menu of mostly vegan Salvadoran and Guatemalan dishes. Her restaurant, Mama’s International Tamales, is currently open for takeout during weekend hours. They also participate in Farmers Markets and popups — when it is safe — during the pandemic to make sure the eatery survives.

Using vegan “meats,” cheeses, and sauces, dishes like stetted tacos, tamales, and empanadas are custom-tailored to diners’ tastes.

Bar Bombón: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

A vegan taco plate at Bar Bombón.

BarBombón.com

The stylish, local Bar Bombón has a menu that is “all is veg-based and love-based.” Specializing in delicious vegan Puerto Rican cuisine, they are rolling with the pandemic punches to offer curbside pickup, including bottled versions of their signature drinks. On weekends, the street is closed so Bar Bombón opens an “extended dining room” outside where the cars aren’t.

Recipes are based on the culinary traditions of Old San Juan, right down to the homemade tortillas.

Charly’s Vegan Tacos: Wynwood, Miami, Florida

Charly Garcia bites into a giant vegan taco at Charly's Vegan Tacos.

Instagram / CharlysVeganTacos

Whether cooking at his shop, Charly’s Vegan Tacos, in Wynwood, Miami, Florida, or his other shop in Quintana Roo, Tulum, Mexico, Chef Charly Garcia creates Mexican-inspired dishes “designed for meat lovers, made for vegans.” Garcia makes everything from thick tortillas to traditional toppings and sauces in-house.

Charly’s Vegan Tacos lively Instagram account even keeps track of how much water and forest land has been saved, and the CO2 kept out of the atmosphere, as his customers enjoy Charly’s delicious vegan creations.

Yum. His nachos are a big hit on his Instagram, because obviously. But of course, tacos are the main attraction, like his carne asada tacos: grilled seitan steak roasted in garlic, with creamy avocado salsa, onion, and cilantro.

Alchemy Organica: Los Angeles, California

Denise Vallejo creates a vegan dish for Alchemy Organica.

Instagram / AlchemyOrganica

Chef Denise Vallejo goes beyond just delicious vegan Mexican food to concentrate on indigenous ingredients and plant based proteins that are closer to pre-colonial diets. Vallejo’s dishes are as beautiful as they are delicious, including creations like her Zodiac Special, which reflects a sign of the zodiac, her Black Magick Tamalli, and her Oaxaca-style cashew-based melting cheese.

Vallejo has dialed back her pop-up schedule during the pandemic, but it doesn’t sound like anything could make her quit.

Coco Verde Latino Vegan Kitchen: Boston, Massachusetts

Cecilia Flores And Ivannoe Rodriguez Sierra of Coco Verde Latino Vegan Kitchen.

CocoVerdeVegan.com

Married co-chefs Cecilia Flores and Ivannoe Rodriguez Sierra started their Coco Verde Vegan Latina Kitchen to create vegan versions of the bold flavors they both love from the Dominican Republic. The birth of their daughter made the new parents take a hard look at the rates of diabetes and high blood pressure in Black and Latino communities. The couple’s answer was to open Coco Verde so they could share their, “Passion for food, health, and social justice by bringing delicious and healthy food to everyone.”

This Afro-Latina catering business serves delicious vegan food in the Boston area and features dishes like chimichurri mushroom sliders and vegan ropa vieja. Flores also lectures at Tufts University and is a “30 Under 30 Honoree” of El Mundo Boston.

Nuno’s Tacos & Vegmex Grill: Dallas, Texas

Delicious vegan Nuno’s Tacos & Vegmex Grill.

Instagram / Nuno’s Tacos & Vegmex Grill

This all-vegan go-to spot for Tex-Mex cuisine was founded by its namesake, Aurelio “Nuno” Arias Jr. Nuno’s Tacos & Vegmex Grill has been a leader in vegan comfort food game for years, and ranks Top-Rated on Happy Cow. They feature a huge variety of delicious vegan takes on Tex-Mex faves like enchiladas, tacos, torts, and even Bistec Ranchero. Nuno’s is keeping it lively during the coronavirus pandemic with specials to celebrate everything from Mexican Independence Day to Rocky IV’s Russian boxer “el Drago.”

Flacos: Berkeley, California

A dish at Antonio Magana's vegan Mexican restaurant, Flacos.

Facebook / Flacos

Rising to the top of the list of Mexican restaurants in the San Francisco Bay Area is a tall order, with so much competition already in the mix. But demanding chef and owner Antonio Magana brings his old family recipes to the table with a delicious vegan twist, and as a result, Flacos has thrived in Berkeley, CA for nearly twenty years. With plenty of gluten-free options, Flacos has something for everyone, including originals like Banana Leaf Tamales.

Luna Verde Vegan Mexican Restaurant: Bradley Beach, New Jersey

A dish at Luna Verde Vegan Mexican restaurant.

VeganLunaVerde.com

The Hidalgo family opened this vegan and gluten-free restaurant to share their love for delicious vegan Mexican cuisine. This local favorite is open for take-out and doing their own delivery during the pandemic, offering generous dishes packed to enjoy at home.

Todo Verde: Los Angeles, California

Jocelyn Ramirez and the women of Todo Verde.

TodoVerde.org

Chef Jocelyn Ramirez of Todo Verde started her culinary journey by creating a healthier diet for her father during his second bout with cancer. As she saw how few healthy food options were available where she lived, she started selling smoothies at farmers’ markets, then moved on to pop-up and catering businesses. Now she relies on her Ecuadorian and Mexican roots to cook up delicious vegan dishes for Todo Verde, her plant-based business in East LA.

Todo Verde’s all women team is currently focussed on catering, cooking demonstrations, and the occasional pop-up. If you can’t make it to Los Angeles to try her jackfruit al pastor take a class on cooking papas con chorizo, Ramirez has published a cookbook called La Vida Verde: Plant-based Cooking with Mexican Flare.

Taqueria La Venganza: Los Angeles, California

"Chicken" wings from The Vegan Taqueria

Instagram / The Vegan Taqueria

Chef Raul Medina commits himself not only to delicious vegan food but accessibility. Medina has promised that his plant-based tacos will always cost $3, which is lucky for Angelinos since his Taqueria La Venganza was named best tacos at the 2018 Taco Madness in Los Angeles — and this was against tacos made with traditional meat and animal products. Plenty of people can’t tell that Medina’s tacos are actually vegan.

Taqueria La Venganza (Vengeance) is named in honor of Medina’s father, who died of diabetes. “Ever since then I basically just call it a vengeance on diabetes on heart disease,” Medina told ABC news. Currently prepping orders for takeout only, Medina can’t wait to get back to creating pop-up dining events and regular hours at his restaurant.

With chefs like these creating amazing vegan dishes, it is becoming easier and easier to protect the environment with a plant-based diet!

And now a message from our sponsor.  This is a great country with great food, and the many communities of Latinx are waking up, wearing their culture with pride!  Make sure you are voting this year, to get proper representation in government.  And please make sure you vote for candidates who are fighting for our climate!  Here’s an awesome campaign we love: pinky promise.

Are you hungry yet?

Disclaimer: This sponsored article was produced and distributed in partnership with Latino Victory Project, in support of the Vote Like a Madre campaign.

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