SpecialTea Lounge: Try the Vegan ¡Ay Chihuahua! Wrap
SpecialTea Lounge is out of the way. So far out of the way, in fact, that I'm rarely able to make the trek to this cozy little FIU-adjacent lunch spot. My loss. It's well worth the haul (even in traffic) to grab a bite of their outstanding homemade eats.
Photo by Hannah Sentenac
Take their ¡Ay Chihuahua! wrap, for example. An overstuffed flour tortilla jam-packed with tofu (or TVP -- textured vegetable protein), fresh guacamole, zesty bean and corn salsa, ripe tomatoes and a spicy chipotle vinaigrette, then charred to perfection, complete with grill marks -- it's a hearty, satisfying lunch that'll make you swear off Chipotle for good.
See also: Miami's Top Five Vegetarian Sandwiches
Their menu has plenty of other vegan options, too, from the olive you salad with tofu, olive tapenade, sliced black olives, tomatoes and a side of balsamic vinaigrette to the coco-curry with tofu, spicy masala curry, organic greens, tomatoes and a side of sweet coconut lassi dipping sauce.
Tofu can be subbed out in any other dish, as can TVP (although it's difficult to get, co-owner Marilyn says, so they don't always have tons of it on hand). Ask though. It's yummy stuff. Plus, they have roughly 60 varieties of tea showcased on an awesome magnetic tea board, so you can sniff around to find your loose leaf soulmate.
The owners, Chris and Marilyn, are insanely accommodating and some of the friendliest folks you'll ever meet. To add to their appeal, they're environmentally-conscious (I was stoked that my doggie bag wasn't styrofoam) and use local/organic ingredients as much as possible.
Expect to spend your lunch hour alongside lots of co-eds throwing out pop culture references you may or may not understand. Ahhhh, youth.
Follow Hannah on Twitter @hannahalexs.