Raaga Cart, A Vegetarian Street Food Alternative

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Paula Niño
Jennifer Garcia-Mathews (left) and Frances Llop-Noy (right)
In terms of street food, Art Basel was like the second coming of the Fall for the Arts Festival. Everywhere I turned there were food trucks and carts, some new, some old.

One of my discoveries was Raaga Cart at the Miami Independent Thinkers Fair. Owners Jennifer Garcia-Mathews and Frances Llop-Noy decided to start the cart last summer when they grew tired of the lack of meatless street food options at Wynwood's second Saturday art walks.

Llop-Noy and Garcia-Mathews teach yoga and have been vegetarians for three years. But more than just serving vegetarian fare, they want to serve food that is good for the body and the environment. The girls are working on planting their own edible garden to supply the cart.

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Paula Niño
Raaga Cart's gandules

Llop-Noy, a hospitality and restaurant management graduate from Florida International University, leads the cooking. I loved the gandules en escabeche ($5) -- pickled pigeon peas -- a dish from the pair's native Puerto Rico. Served with chips, it was the perfect thing to snack on while I looked around the fair, and it was healthy to boot. The veggie burger ($5), which was topped with mango-cilantro chutney and greens, was also quite good even for this skeptical meat eater.

Surely the cart is a welcome addition for those seeking meatless street eats but even meat eaters might enjoy Raaga's dishes. Since Llop-Noy and Garcia-Mathews have full-time jobs, the cart isn't out all the time, but check its Facebook page for updates on its whereabouts.

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Paula Niño
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