Culture

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

It’s hard to imagine that just less than a decade ago, it was a mission to find vegan options in neighborhoods such as Highland Park or Santa Ana. The lack of restaurants forced these innovative chefs to start creating homestyle Latino dishes with some vegan-friendly flair. Now those same neighborhoods and so many others throughout southern California catering to this cuizine and they are as Instagram friendly as they are delicious. Here are 11 spots you must visit in southern California.

1. Xochitl Vegan

This vendor is not a wallflower when it comes to using hibiscus to add flavor and color to burritos, tacos and nachos. Now we want to add some purple power to our nachos. Yum. Hibiscus is truly the unsung hero of Latino cuisine, both vegan and non-vegan.

2. Un Solo Sol

This Boyle Heights restaurant is taking pupusas up a level. They make spinach pupusa, mushroom pupusa and zucchini pupusas. For some extra protein, pinto beans take over for the cheese in a traditional pupusa. Genius.

3. Blue Window LA

If you’re looking for a plant-based breakfast while jetting out of LAX, this Highland Park-based eatery has got your back (and your stomach.) Blue Window LA’s soyrizo breakfast burrito is made with caramelized onions, breakfast potatoes, corn salsa, spinach, peppers and of course, soyrizo.

4. Señoreata

Cuban and Brazilian chef Evanice Holz makes Cuban comfort food that is delicioso. From Cuban sandwiches made with jackfruit asado to meat pies made with plant-based picadillo, you’re sure to find your favorite Cuban treat with plant-friendly ingredients.

5. Alchemy Organica

Scroll through celebrity chef Denise Vallejo’s Alchemy Organica Instagram feed and you will never see Mexican cuisine the same again—all the traditional dishes are reimagined with plant-based ingredients, like this ceviche made out of coco. Other dishes include family recipes handed down to Chef Denise, such as Mexicali-style ‘asada’ tacos and a traditional Mayan pumpkin seed dip called Sikil Pak.

6. Vegan by Victoria’s

If you’re looking to have pan dulce without all the artificial sugar but still want some sweetness, head on down to Santa Ana to visit Victoria’s Bakery. Baker Earvin Lopez is mixing up donchas, manteconchas, beloved spinkles cookies and more in a way PETA would be proud of.

7. Just Vegana

Quick: Can you spot the difference between your abuela’s tamales and these vegan ones by Just Vegana? Neither can we! This chef also makes mouthwatering pozole and tacos. Now your family has some non-meat tamale options when winter rolls in.

8. Vegatinos

Clever name, clever culinary skills. This pair of vegan Latinos are turning jackfruit into birria, tortas and tamales. Sign us up for that next pop up.

9. Cena Vegan

If you can’t make it out to one of Cena Vegan’s pop-up events, then head on out to one of their partner stores and buy yourself a bag of their plant-based meats such as carne asada or al pastor.

10. Mi Riconcito Azteca

This Pasadena restaurant that serves both Mexican food and antojitos from Central America has a plant-based option if you’re craving a huarache. Corn, calabacita and salsa verde come together on this mouth-watering plate.

11. Plant Food for People

Chef Genise started Plant Food for People in 2011 when she didn’t have any vegan options in her hometown of Highland Park. Now she is running a thriving food establishment serving up tortas, tacos and nachos to hungry Southern Californians.


READ: Here Are 11 Vegan Versions Of Staple Latino Foods That Will Make You Consider Going Vegan

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Chicago’s Mi Tocaya Is Offering Up Free Mexican Homemeals For Undocumented Community

Culture

Chicago’s Mi Tocaya Is Offering Up Free Mexican Homemeals For Undocumented Community

mitocaya / Instagram

Undocumented communities are being left out of Covid relief plans. Chef Diana Dávila of Mi Tocaya in Chicago is working to help undocumented restaurant worker in the time of Covid. Abuse of undocumented workers is rampant in certain industries and Chef Dávila hopes to offer some kind of help.

Mi Tocaya is a Mexican restaurant in Chicago’s Logan Square that wants to help the community.

Covid-19 has devastated the hospitality industry with restaurants being hit exceptionally hard. Restaurants have been forced to close their doors for good as the virus dragged on with no decent relief plan from the federal government. As several countries financially support citizens to avoid economic disaster, the U.S. government has given citizens $1,800 total to cover 10 months of isolating and business closures.

Namely, Mi Tocaya is working to help the undocumented community.

Mi Tocaya, a family-run restaurant, is teaming up with Chicago’s Top Chefs and local non-profits Dishroulette Kitchen and Logan Square Neighborhood Association. The goal is to highlight the issues facing the undocumented community during the pandemic.

The initiative called Todos Ponen, is all about uplifting members of our community in a time of severe need. The restaurant is creating healthy Mexican family meals for those in need.

”We asked ourselves; How can we keep our doors open, provide a true service to the community, maintain and create jobs, and keep the supply chain intact by supporting local farmers and vendors. This is the answer,” Chef Dávila said in a statement. “I confidently believe The TODOS PONEN Logan Square Project addresses all of the above and can very well be easily implemented in any community. Our goal is to bring awareness to the lack of resources available to the undocumented workforce- the backbone of our industry.”

The initiative starts in February.

Mi Tocaya is offering 1000 free meals for local farmers and undocumented restaurant workers. The meals are available for pickup Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 2800 W Logan Blvd, Chicago, IL 60647. to make this happen, Mi Tocaya also needs your help.

The restaurant has teamed up with two nonprofits to make sure that they can scale their operation to fulfill their commitment. They are also asking for donations to make sure they can do what they can to help undocumented restaurant workers.

According to Eater LA, 8 million restaurant workers have been laid off since the pandemic started. Some restaurants have had to lay off up to 91 percent of their staff because of Covid, about 10 percent of those are undocumented. In the cities, that number is as high as 40 percent of the laid-off restaurant staff are undocumented.

“People don’t want to talk about the undocumented workforce, but they’re part of our daily routine in most restaurants,” Jackson Flores, who manages the operations of Mi Tocaya, said in a statement. “They are in the toughest position in the whole economy because they’re an invisible part of it. Restaurant worker advocacy groups have added the creation of relief funds to their agendas, but there have yet to be long-term changes in protections for undocumented workers. Without access to unemployment benefits and other government resources, this group is especially vulnerable.”

READ: Hands-Free Cholula Dispensers Have Become a Thing In Restaurants Because of COVID-19

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California Sets Vaccination Plan For Agricultural Workers During Next Phase

Things That Matter

California Sets Vaccination Plan For Agricultural Workers During Next Phase

Brent Stirton / Getty Images

The world is racing to vaccinate everyone to put a stop to the relentless Covid-19 pandemic. In the U.S., states and counties are rolling out their own plans based on suggestions from health experts. California, home to the largest population of farmworkers, is making them a priority.

California has laid out their vaccination plan and farmworkers are being prioritized.

California is facing a relentless Covid-19 surge of infections, deaths, and hospitalizations. According to The New York Times, California has the second-highest level of infections per capita in the U.S. More than 30,000 people have died of Covid in California and the vaccination effort has been severely lagging.

California’s vaccination plan has been criticized for its very slow roll out.

According to the California Department of Public Health, more than 816,000 doses of the virus have been given to residents. There have been more than 2 million vaccine doses shipped to California. Currently, California, the most populated state in the country, is still in Phase 1A. Phase 1A is for healthcare workers and long-term care residents. The Vaccinate All 58 campaign claims that there are 3 million people in California in Phase 1A. Almost 40 million people live in California.

Activists have been calling on Governor Gavin Newsom to make sure that farmworkers are prioritized.

California is home to the largest concentration of farmworkers in the U.S. The Center for Farmworker Families claims that 500,000 to 800,000 farmworkers, or about 1/3 to 1/2 of the farmworker populations, live in California. Seventy-five percent of farmworkers in California are undocumented.

As the rest of the state was able to shelter in place, farmworkers did not stop working. They provided a necessary lifeline to the nation in keeping the food supply running. Farmworkers are more likely to contract Covid because of their living conditions. Studies show that the low wages that farmworkers are paid means that many live in crowded conditions.

READ: As The U.S. Rolls Out The COVID-19 Vaccine, What’s The Future Of Vaccine Access In Latin America?

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