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Healthy lifestyle blog featuring plant-based recipes, healthy eating tips, restaurant reviews from around the world, and more.

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Miami Vegan Fare with a Latin Flair

Carolina Sanchez

Choices Cafe in Miami, FL

Perhaps thought of eating out on a gluten-free diet is stressful, or maybe you're really passionate about eating organic foods. Maybe you are also vegan and find it is difficult to combine all three things. At Choices Cafe in Miami, FL you don't have to compromise your health, the environment, or your wallet; you can have it all. It is 100% plant based vegan, 95% organic, and of course, there are plenty of choices.

We parked on the street in front of this freestanding location in Upper East Side in Miami. It's definitely not the Upper East Side you might think of in Manhattan, but nonetheless it is a very eclectic neighborhood. Speaking of New York, I had a chance to catch up with one of the owners, Lori Zito, who recently moved to Miami from New York too. She was formerly a Physical Therapist. Her business partners, Alex Cuevas and Jorge Cuevas- also brothers- come from teaching and software backgrounds. Choices is completely mission-based; Alex, Jorge, and Lori started Choices Cafe from a shared passion for health and animal welfare, and this is their vehicle to share their message with the public.

Interior of Choices Cafe in Miami, FL

The inside of the restaurant is simple, bright, and clean. There is no wait staff, and instead you order at the counter. So, feel free to take a seat wherever you'd like and contemplate over the menu. When you're ready, go up to the cashier to place your order. There are options galore, so we definitely asked for some recommendations. I ended up going with the Mental Lentil, which we were told is the best for first timers.

Mental Lentil Wrap at Choices Cafe Miami, FL

The Mental Lentil ($16) is soy free, gluten-free, and nut free and I chose it on a warm and toasty gluten-free brown rice wrap, but you can also get it on a whole grain wrap, a collard wrap, served on a bed of organic mixed greens, or on a bed of quinoa. Tucked neatly inside is a lentil patty with black beans, quinoa, pico de gallo, sautéed onions, tapioca cheese, avocado, and tahini sauce. I opted for the tahini sauce on the side, and the wrap was scrumptious without it. The wrap was bursting with latin flavors from the black beans and sweet plantains, and the lentil meat was so hearty and tasty. Sweet plantains, or "platanos maduros," have always been one of my favorite foods since I was a kid, so this was a homerun for me! There are many different flavors but they all melded together perfectly. It came with a nice side salad and I'm pretty sure I almost licked my plate clean.

Carrot Cake at Choices Cafe Miami, FL

I was curious about their gluten-free desserts, so I went up to the glass case on the right at the front of the restaurant, and low and behold, there was a whole, un-cut carrot cake in a beautiful glass dish right in front of me, calling my name. Carrot cake has always been one of my favorite desserts, and I am always up for trying a vegan and gluten-free one. It was everything I expected, did not fall short of my expectations at all. The cake was dark and filled with plump raisins, crunchy walnuts, cinnamon,  and topped with a thin layer of coconut frosting.  It crumbled to perfection and was worth the $8 for the very generous slice.

They have an additional location near the airport, and they used to have a location in Brickell that was bought out by developers, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed that they will return to that area very soon!

Choices is the perfect place for meat eaters and vegans to come together. I challenge any meat eater to try it out and I am confident they will find something they like.

Choices was born from incredible passion and dedication to a plant based lifestyle, and it was so inspirational to eat there and know that this place had succeeded in Miami, where I never thought vegan food would be a big deal.

Stay true to who you are and you will find your passion in life.

★★★★

Choices Cafe, 646 NE 79th St., Miami, FL 33138

786-803-8352

http://mychoicescafe.com/

ATMOSPHERE

 A bright, minimalistic dining room with plenty of color and sleek fixtures, like the hanging ceiling lamps and counters.

SERVICE

Order at counter, no wait staff. Staff is friendly and helpful.

SOUND LEVEL

 Moderate but upbeat. Think Phillip Phillips in the background.

RECOMMENDED

 Mental Lentil, Carrot Cake, Smoothies

DRINKS

 They serve a variety of fresh juices, fruit smoothies, dessert smoothies, coffee, tea, and organic wines and beers

PRICES

 Soups and sides $3.50-$8; main courses, $10-$16, desserts $2.75-$8

OPEN

M-F 8:00am-9:00pm, Saturday 9:00am-9:00pm, Sunday 9:00am-8:00pm

RESERVATIONS

 Not necessary.

FORMS OF PAYMENT

: All major credit cards and cash.