PlanTita’s Kitchen serves vegan Mexican dishes with out sacrificing basic flavors • the Hello-lo

For some individuals who flip to a plant-based weight loss plan, discovering substitutes for his or her cultures’ conventional meat-heavy dishes will be robust. Not too long ago opened vegan Mexican restaurant PlanTita’s Kitchen hopes to provide plant-based eaters that consolation of dwelling.

The restaurant serves dishes like pozole verde made with jackfruit and aguachile made with hearts of palm as a substitute of shrimp or white fish. Lots of the recipes have been handed down from the mother and grandma of proprietor Aileen Castañeda after which refined by cooks Manuel Bañuelos and Jesus Ruiz. Quickly, the restaurant will supply veganized variations of conventional birria, handmade sopas, tamales, and way more.

An Enmolada plate, heart, Queso-Loaded Fries with Drunken Beans, left, and Elote Fried “Ribbs” at PlanTita’s Kitchen in Lengthy Seaside, Thursday, Oct. 26, 2023. Photograph by Thomas R. Cordova.
Queso-loaded fries with home queso, chipotle veganaise, braised soyrizo, drunken beans and yellow chile aioli at PlanTita’s Kitchen in Lengthy Seaside, Thursday, Oct. 26, 2023. Photograph by Thomas R. Cordova.

Castañeda was born and raised in Lengthy Seaside, so opening up her restaurant on the Westside was a no brainer.

“It’s my metropolis,” Castañeda stated. “I normally must drive fairly far to get an excellent meal or an genuine dish. I needed to deliver it someplace near us.”

Castañeda’s journey to turning into vegan began with a yearslong battle with an consuming dysfunction. At 21 years previous, she started going to remedy and began her therapeutic course of. A part of that was a weight loss plan change.

“I needed to do one thing extraordinarily drastic to simply apologize to my physique for all that hurt that I did to myself,” Castañeda stated.

The day after she made the choice to go vegan, her mom made birria to have a good time her father’s birthday. Castañeda was bummed she wouldn’t have the ability to eat it, however it additionally gave her an concept. She would use her mother’s sauce and as a substitute of cooking meat in it, she made the dish vegan for the primary time utilizing tofu.

“Ever since, I used to be like, oh my God, I’m going to start out veganizing each single dish that we now have,” Castañeda stated.

However the highway to truly opening her new restaurant hasn’t been utterly clean crusing. At solely 28 and as a lady of coloration, Castañeda says she’s typically been dismissed or not taken severely.

Chef Jesus Ruiz cuts a pineapple as he works within the kitchen at PlanTita’s Kitchen in Lengthy Seaside, Thursday, Oct. 26, 2023. Photograph by Thomas R. Cordova.
Elote Fried “Ribbs” garnished with home chili seasoning and drizzled with creamy chipotle veganaise at PlanTita’s Kitchen in Lengthy Seaside, Thursday, Oct. 26, 2023. Photograph by Thomas R. Cordova.

“I’m by no means gonna overlook, there was this architect that I wanted for a full plumbing plan. … He stated, ‘Who’s gonna finance this? Is it your dad?’” Castañeda stated. “It’s been a few occasions that I really feel discriminated in opposition to simply because I’m a lady and I’m so younger.”

Regardless of her younger age, Castañeda has had no monetary backing to open the restaurant. It’s really her second enterprise. She additionally owns an insurance coverage company together with her sister. She’s been eager to open up a restaurant since 2020, however with the COVID-19 pandemic, she determined to postpone till now.

“I feel I at all times knew I used to be going to achieve success it doesn’t matter what I did, that’s the explanation why I by no means gave up,” she stated.

Castañeda’s willpower comes from a want to put in writing her personal story as a substitute of being influenced by anybody else’s, and thus far, she says, she’s been overjoyed with the reception from the neighborhood within the brief week she’s been open.

The restaurant will quickly supply Mexican brunch and Castañeda is within the means of acquiring an alcohol license in addition to increasing the menu choices.

PlanTita’s Kitchen is at 1950 W. Willow Road.

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