Miami Nice: even Crockett and Tubbs would be impressed!
Valerie Espinoza grew up in Cuban-rich Miami to a family of rich cultural heritage of Brazilian, Lebanese and Irish. As a self-described foodie, Espinoza would eat out then try to recreate the recipes at home.
"On every street you could find a Cuban cafeteria. I would wake up and grab a cafe con leche and some croquettes or empanada. And if I was running late coworkers would have brought in a box of pastelitos or a little Cuban lady would stop by selling empanadas," Espinoza said.
She moved to the West Coast and realized how spoiled she was with Miami's food scene. Espinoza worked as a food sales rep where she learned the importance of quality, local ingredients and detail. She chose to live a vegan lifestyle and when she couldn't find her favorite foods she started creating her own: Miami Nice was born.
"I basically treat all my plant-based proteins the exact same way I used to treat animal protein. My jackfruit is marinated for 48 hours in the exact Magic mojo I used to make my Lechon Noche Buena, Christmas Eve pig. My soy picadillo is slowly simmered in the same sofritas I used to make my meat peccadillo," Espinoza explains. "There's no reason vegan food can't be completely satisfying and make you do the happy food dance! Good food transcends all labels; it can be savory and sweet, crunchy and flakey, packed with flavor and loaded with plenty of plant power protein," she said.
Today, Espinoza sells her creations at Beaverton Farmers Market. Try the OG and Sweet Thang empanadas or the Croquettes and Papis.
Beaverton Farmers Market
Southwest Hall Boulevard, between Third and Fifth Streets, Beaverton