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Arepa Love Life Cafe
Photograph: Sebastian Fernandez

Food Envy: Plant power arepa at Love Life Cafe

We’ve been eating a lot of food at Time Out Market Miami, and now we’re dishing on some of our favorite plates

Virginia Gil

Welcome to Food Envy, where we’ll highlight different dishes from Time Out Market Miami that we think you’re going to love—partly because we do. This week, we’re treating ourselves to a healthy plant power arepa from Love Life Cafe.

We like to joke that Love Life Cafe transforms carnivores into vegans. The cheery cafe, with an outpost at Time Out Market Miami, transcends all diets and convictions—and it’s even made us rethink one of our favorite Latin dishes, the arepa. We haven’t given up on meat altogether, but we have ditched all other versions of the Venezuelan dish.

Arepas are corn grilled cakes you can get stuffed with all kinds of meat and veggies, from shredded beef and cheese to chicken and avocado. They’re like the very delicious love child of a sandwich and a taco with an exterior that’s at once crispy and doughy. We didn’t think you could improve upon something so perfect, but that all changed when we tried Love Life’s version.

The vegan restaurant makes a funky-looking, plant-powered arepa that’s healthy and packed with flavor. The corn cake itself is green, infused with chlorophyll for extra vitamins and antioxidants. It’s a sneaky way to add more nutrients to a meal and you can’t even taste the difference. Genius, really. As for the filling, it’s a hearty mix of black bean sofrito and avocado with a drizzle of plant-based cilantro aioli.

The plant power arepa is served with a kale side salad that pairs well with chunks of beans and avocado that will inevitably land back on your plate if you try to eat the arepa like a sandwich. Holding it and trying to keep it all intact and together is a losing battle so if stuff spilling out drives you nuts, fork-and-knife it. Any way you decide to eat it, we’re sure it won’t be the last time you do.

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