Choices Organic Cafe, located in Coconut Grove, Florida, is now part of the vShops. The vShops houses five different vegan restaurants in a food hall. The offerings include vegan pizza, barbecue, baked goods, smoothies, and ice cream in addition to the Choices menu.
When I entered Choices, founder and owner Alex Cuevas offered a friendly greeting. Alex has been vegan for more than 30 years and has poured his heart and energy into the cafe since he started it in 2011. I enjoyed chatting with him and thanked him for promoting plant-based food in such an impactful way. The South Florida animal advocacy community has long frequented and praised the restaurant for its success appealing to every eater.
When Alex learned I’m an ethical vegan, he smiled and gave me an enthusiastic high-five. I’m used to that reaction. People who don’t eat animals and align their actions with their values share a special bond. I recently met a rep for Dr. Smood Organic Cafe who was marketing their new vegan section at Whole Foods and she hugged me when she found out I’m vegan.
I was impressed with a Choices server/chef named D’Angelo as I observed him taking pride in his work. I wanted to test his mettle while he was busy so I stood at the counter to ask him a question and he immediately offered help. He took the time to discuss ingredients with me and seemed passionate about answering my question. I’m always on the lookout for the street sweeper.
I ordered the Mental Lentil. The receipt comes with a full list of the ingredients in the food you order–a nice touch! The Mental Lentil contains a bowlful of greens, quinoa, black beans, lentil meat, plantains, sautéed onion, cashew cheese, guacamole, and a zigzag of tahini dressing. It’s a delicious, filling, and perfect. I’ll be hard pressed not to order it again when I return.
The acoustics at Choices could be better and the ambiance could be cozier but those minor shortcomings are overshadowed by fantastic food with a purpose, a thoughtful play area for children with books and messages of kindness, and a compassionate owner using his talent to save the lives of farm animals, people, and the planet.
The fare at Choices is a hit but Alex’s mission to introduce the masses to the joy of plant-based food makes it taste even better. His desire is to affect change has undoubtedly shown thousands of first-time vegan restaurant customers that the lifestyle is the right style–and they have choices. If you’re in the Miami area, I highly recommend eating here. You may even get a high-five.