Culture

Here’s Your Guide To Eating Vegan Latin Food In Miami

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Last year, Miami made PETA’s “Top 10 Vegan-Friendly Cities” list for the first time ever, and for good reason. For all the stereotypes around white vegans, once again, people of color are often ignored for their contributions to the animal rights movement. Next time you’re in Miami, trust that these beans have no lard and these croquetas are jamón-free.

Without further ado, here are all the vegan Latinos making moves and gifting us vegan food in Miami.

Sacred Space

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Chef Horacio Rivadero and Pastry Chef Veronica Manolizi come together to give us vegan and gluten-free tostadas, papaya confit, curry arepas, and fennel ceviche. All this on a patio lined with guava trees.

Charly’s Vegan Tacos

CREDIT: @charlysvegantacos / Instagram

Chef Charly was working as an executive chef in Mexico City when he learned how animal agriculture is decimating the earth. He decided to open his own 100 percent vegan taquería in Tulum and Miami and business is booming.

Vegan Cuban Cuisine

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Currently, VCC is only available via delivery, but you’ll find their vegan flan, sandwiches, and croquetas at some vegan establishments. Pro tip: Aguacate Wellness is known to carry their croquetas.

Choices Organic Café

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Choices Organic Café gives us traditional Mexican and Latin flavors without compromising on organic, non-GMO quality. Enjoy soyrizo quesadillas, or build your own burrito or bowl, where plantains and guacamole count as a ‘veggie’ option. That’s right. The guac is NOT extra.

Edukos

CREDIT: @edukosmiami / Instagram

Nestled in Little Havana, Edukos gives us twists on Venezuelan classics. It’s not entirely vegan, but offers impossible meat pasticho del valle, plantain hummus with mushroom soffit stuffed grape leaves and incredible flavors.

Bunnie Cakes

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Mariana Cortez founded Bunnie Cakes Studio after she couldn’t find a birthday cake for her dairy-allergic son. The studio will decorate fabulous vegan cakes for you, teach you to decorate your own cupcakes or cake, and hosts workshops, ranging from Frida Kahlo decorations to Pumpkin Spice Tres Leches.

Home Sweet Earth

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Bakery Chef Sabrina Carranza is giving Miami all the vegan postres we need. From the frosting-coated cinnamon rolls to Cuban guava pastelitos, your Latinx sweet tooth is covered.

The Spanglish Vegan

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This institution has only cropped up in the last few weeks and already the reviewers are raving. The Spanglish Vegan is giving us all our classic favorites, like mofongo and yucca, with vegan carne asada and shredded jackfruit.

Plant Theory Botanical Cafe

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Serving you all vegan meals, including brunch, at the Whitelaw Hotel, Plant Theory is not a tapas place. Enjoy hearty meals, including a guava BBQ jackfruit burgers,

Vegan and Juice

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Their Instagram game is weak, but that’s because its vegan Dominican flavors are strong. You can get El Plato del Día for just $9 and pick four of whatever is remade for the day, from malanga pastelon, platanos maduras and empanadas. It’s probably the most affordable, authentic vegan place in Miami but don’t expect organic labels or compostable to go containers. Pack your own.

GLAM Vegan

CREDIT: @glam.vegan_ / Instagram

Enjoy jackfruit tacos, watermelon ceviche and tres leches cake at GLAM vegan. It’s not a classic Latin restaurant, but about a third of its menu are made up of vegan twists on Latin classics.

Love Life Cafe

CREDIT: @lovelife_cafe / Instagram

While not entirely vegan, everything here is plant-based and rico. Try the sancocho soup, any of their arepas, or this pictured picadillo bowl made from Beyond meat. Tengo hombre.

Happy Vegan Bakers

CREDIT: @happyveganbakers / Instagram

This Colombian owned bakery is a hole in the wall, and also boasts as the first all vegan pastelito establishment in Miami. Come through for papa rellenos, croquetas, and even tamales.

My Roots Juice Bar

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Yes, this is a juice bar, but it’s serving Miamians what we need: Cayenne Mango smoothies, frijoles bowls and so many empanadas. Choose from “Supreme,” “Tropical,” Spinach and Mushroom varieties of gluten-free, vegan empanadas.

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Taco Chido

CREDIT: @tacochidotaqueria / Instagram

It’s hard to find authentic Mexican food in South Florida, but when you do, you go often. This taquería has only been open a couple weeks and is creating buzz for it’s vegan longaniza, soyrizo and mushroom tacos. Take your carnivorous friends y disfruten.

St. Roch Market

CREDIT: @st.rochmarket / Instagram

In the heart of Miami’s Design District is this food hall with a wide variety of cuisines. Check out Chef Chloe’s vegan tacos and avocado coconut soft serve!

READ: Latino Food Is Getting The Vegan Makeover Thanks To These 11 Southern California Restaurants

Los Angeles Is Home To Some Of The Greatest Pupusas And Here’s Where You Can Find Them

Culture

Los Angeles Is Home To Some Of The Greatest Pupusas And Here’s Where You Can Find Them

At least once a month (the first of every month to be exact), Angelinos wonder why they’re paying $2,000 for a studio or sharing rooms with friends at the age of 28, and we will tell you why. La comida. The food in Los Angeles is abundant in Latinidad, and Salvadoreñas are only second to nearby México in repping Latin America in Los Angeles. 

Sure, you could move to  Denver and make a living wage, but you would be missing out on all these pupusas. Without further ado, here’s your guide to eating pupusas in Los Angeles, as told by the Latino people of Yelp.

1. La Pupusa Urban Eatery

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“Good Salvi food with a twist,” Carlos M. shared on Yelp. With 4.5 stars and over 200 Yelp reviews, La Pupusa’s Urban Eatery is most famous for their Pupusa Mexicana which is topped with steak and served with pico de gallo, guacamole, sour cream, and cotija cheese.  

2. Sarita’s Pupuseria

Credit: saritas_pupuseria / Instagram

Jose Raul’s love for exclamation points is nothing in comparison to his love for Sarita’s: “This is one of those hidden gems! This place is awesome! Being in the central market, you can always find small places that pack a big punch! This is Sarita’s Pupuseria!” For him, it was the revuelta that “takes the win! It was super savory I can’t even explain!”

3. Drive Thru Pupusas

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With over one hundred five star reviews, these pupusas are as authentic as it gets this far from El Salvador. You should be warned, Drive Thru Pupusas is a food truck, not a drive-thru eatery. 

Pro tip from Maryem C., “Very nice people and super delicious pupusas. You can even call to place an order and not wait the dinner rush.”

4. Atlacatl Restaurant

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This East Hollywood joint is one of those “nice hole in the wall” types of places, according to its reviewers. Everyone also says that it doesn’t look like a restaurant from the outside. It looks like a home, and when you walk in, it feels like home, too. Be warned, their pupusas are as delicious as they are humongous.

5. Cafe La Praviana

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While they’re not as good as his mom’s pupusas, Orlando M. says, “This place has the best pupusas in the neighborhood, hands down! Well.. they are second place after the ones my mom makes lol.”

6. Los Molcajetes

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A Salvadoreña took to Yelp with favor for Los Molcajetes, saying “their pupusas taste great; comparable to the ones you can eat in El Salvador. They especially remind me of a popular pupuseria in Santa Tecla.” Heads up though, with authenticity comes to a leisurely meal. Don’t expect a quick meal.

7. La Numero Uno

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This Hollywood spot is home to a delicious purple corn pupusa, and a Mexican-Salvadoran fusion. Enjoy both burritos and yucca alike!

8. Mi Bandera Pupusería

Credit: mibanderapupuseria / Instagram

South Central is also home to authentic Salvadoreña food that is easy to pick up and take home, as well. Tiana D. gave us all an inside scoop saying, “the pupusas a so good, not greasy at all, good size, and are full inside. All good for the price. They give you enough curtido and salsa too. They mark the containers so you can know what pupusas are inside.”

9. Gloría’s Cafe

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Before you even think anything of this Venice locale, listen up to Alicia: “I don’t normally like blended menus that feature more than one type of cuisine. Gloria’s does this (El Salvador and Mexican) but they’re both done well and authentically, so it’s chill.The most recent time I came here, I had the 7 Seas Soup. YOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!! Sooooo freakin good.” There you have it.

10. The Pupusa Stand

Credit: Luis D. / Yelp

Listen. This Van Nuys food truck is doing it right and Carolina E. is here with the pep talk: “These pupusas are the best I’ve tasted outside of El Salvador. The wait can be a little long, depending on what time you get there. The location is in a church parking lot; they set up a grill and hand make the pupusas to order. They do not skimp on the fillings. There are a few chairs but they’re usually taken up by regulars or large families, it’s cash only but you can place your order before finding an atm if you forget. The ladies are extremely friendly and helpful. The freshness and deliciousness are worth the wait.”

11. Es Con Sabor West

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Located in Palms, Jennifer O. gave it to us straight, “Food: this is the best place to buy pupusas on the west side PERIODT. They run about $3 a pop and are always fresh, bubbling over with cheese and goodness. My go to is pork and cheese which is fire, beans and cheese are a close second. The curtido is on point too.”

12. Jaragua

Credit: aveganandher / Instagram

Jerome W.’s solution to feeling overwhelmed with all the pupusa choices is to “order them ALL and chow down. They’re all good.” Plus, the meal you see above is all vegan!

13. Pupusas

Credit: Mayra F. / Yelp

We’re keeping names simple here in Northridge. You can get a pupusa grande for just $2. Do not expect social media or anything other than knowing they’re on the corner of Reseda Blvd and Rayen street, and that you’ll just have to go and try it for yourself.

14. Las Casitas Grill

Credit: Sofia A. / Yelp

Leticia C. is a regular at Las Casitas and here’s how we know: “I love this spot and all I ever get is that Papusas and rice! It’s so good ! On Mondays and tuesdays, they have a special for 99 cents and I’m in there like swimwear they are quick and fresh every time ! I’m sure I’ll make my way around the menu eventually but those have me coming back every time ! Very authentic and delicious as hell !”

15. Pupusería La Favorita

Credit: Nana M. / Yelp

This South Gate adjacent pupusería really is a fan favorite. Nana M. says the “pupusas are big and delicious. I didn’t know I live near a pretty good Salvadorean restaurant. I give it 5 stars for the good price.” That’s right, each pupusa is $1.50. 

Take that, landlords.

READ: These 5 Restaurants Prove Latinos Have Left Their Mark On Washington D.C.

Here’s Why Activists And Parents Are Upset About A New Weight Loss App For Children

Culture

Here’s Why Activists And Parents Are Upset About A New Weight Loss App For Children

This week, WW, the ridiculously rebranded name for weight loss company Weight Watchers, proved that despite its new designation, the global brand is offering more of the same problematic trash to the world — this time, directed at children in particular.

On Tuesday, WW launched Kurbo, a nutrition and weight loss app for kids between the ages of 8 and 17 years old.

Not surprisingly health experts are furious about the danger it could pose to the physical and mental health of our young people.

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“You NEED to Shut. This. Down,” Whitney Fisch, a social worker, school counselor and mom of three, wrote Wednesday on Facebook. “All bodies, especially growing + developing bodies, deserve respect + the ability to grow into whatever shape they’re meant to grow to be.”

The company describes the app, which is free, as a “scientifically-proven behavior change program designed to help kids and teens age 8-17 reach a healthier weight” that was acquired from Stanford University’s Pediatric Weight Control Program. It uses a traffic light system to instruct youth on foods that they should eat and those that they should avoid. Kids are urged to eat plenty of “green light” foods, including fruits and vegetables, to be “mindful” of their portions of “yellow light” foods, like lean protein, whole grains and dairy, and to lessen their intake of “red light” foods, such as sugary drinks and “treats.” The app also encourages users to track their daily physical activity and deep breathing.

With a paid, subscription-based plan, children can also receive through the app one-on-one sessions with coaches that are supposed to be experts in nutrition, exercise, and mental health. However, the Huffington Post reports that these coaches do not need to have any credentials in health or nutrition fields; though they do go through a minimum of six to eight hours of initial training.

Eating disorder treatment experts are concerned about the impact an app like Kurbo could have on a young person’s mental health, self-esteem and eating habits.

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“While the intention of the app is to promote health and wellness, there is the risk that it could do more harm than good,” Kathryn Argento, a registered dietician with The Renfrew Center, a national network of eating disorder treatment centers for women and girls, told the Huffington Post. “Targeting kids as young as 8 years old to focus on … their bodies can lead to an intense preoccupation with food, size, shape and weight.”

Aside from the damaging impact apps like this one can have on a children’s relationship with their bodies and food, public health organizations and pediatricians also doubt the efficacy of children’s weight loss programs altogether.

“The evidence suggests that these types of tools may be helpful adjuncts to weight management, but there are few studies in pediatrics to confirm that they lead to a ‘meaningful change in their weight trajectories,’” Dr. Ihuoma Eneli, director of the Center for Healthy Weight and Nutrition at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, told the news outlet.

As part of WW’s rebranding, the company and app have chosen to start focusing on overall health and wellness in addition to weight loss.

According to Gary Foster, chief scientific officer at WW, Kurbo “isn’t a weight loss app.”

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“This is an app that teaches in a game-ified, fun, engaging way what are the basics of a healthy eating pattern,” he told the Huffington Post.

But parents still worry the app could be spreading an all-too-familiar message that they are unworthy as they are and must change their physical appearance to be accepted. While young people already receive these memos from a diet-obsessed mass media, parents fear that unrealistic beauty ideals are now being pushed on impressionable children in the name of health and wellness.

In response to these apprehensions, Foster said: “I think there could be some misperception that somehow we’re saying, ‘All kids should lose weight, you’re not OK as you are.’ What we’re saying to kids who are trying to achieve a healthier weight — kids and families — is that this is a reasonable, sensible way to do it.”

But despite this alleged kid-friendly wellness mission, Kurbo’s website sends another message.

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Its landing page shows young people’s “success stories,” and they’re celebrating weight loss, not how often they meditate or how many ounces of water they drink daily.

“There’s no way that these kids don’t realize that the app is supposed to help them lose weight,” Ginny Jones, an eating disorder recovery activist, said. “No matter how hard it tries to market itself as a wellness company, WW is about weight loss. Kids are way smarter than we think they are, and every ‘big kid’ who [has been] put on a weight loss program knew exactly what their parents were trying to do.”

Read: She Shared Stories Of Being Fat-Shamed At The Doctor And Fear Of Wearing A Two-Piece Then, Jessica Torres Accidentally Built One Of The Biggest Body Positive Communities

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