Starting up and running a restaurant can kill you.  It's so stressful that on occasion, you worry your organs might just let go and fall out of your butt.  Sometimes you need a shoulder to cry on, or a friend that will listen to you vent.  Caro Lafaurie (owner of Equelecua Cuban Café--the worlds FIRST AND ONLY Cuban Vegan Restaurant), filled this role for me as we chatted in her restaurant the other afternoon.  Her warm and caring demeanor made me instantly feel at home in her space, which was decorated with Cuban knickknacks and traditional island colors.

She made me feel OK about having a disorganized life/car, worrying myself sick over the tiniest things, and not having everything "figured out."  She was in my shoes just a couple of years ago, and her attitude about running a restaurant helped me realize that there's really nothing you can do other than to just go with the flow.  In fact, a big reason behind her running this restaurant is because her former business partner turned out to be a not-so-great fit.  Instead of whining about it, she put on an apron and started cooking!  And we are glad she did.

If you haven't been to Equelecua Cuban Cafe (in Inglewood), do yourself a favor and go check it out!  She captures authentic Cuban flavors without any animal products, and her feisty passion behind the concept brings a unique personality to the restaurant that only someone like Caro could bring to the table.  She seems to care deeply for the whole idea, as well as for everyone who steps foot in her restaurant.  Her recipes are adaptions of her mother and grandmother's traditional Cuban recipes, and her family can still often be found in the restaurant's kitchen working alongside Caro.

Caro stopped eating animals when she was 13, and despite her Cuban family's concerns, she did not die of malnutrition (similar to my story when I went vegan in college).  

Vegano...A lo Cubano!