MCALLEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — Hispanic Heritage Month is a celebration of culture, and Maria Cruz Mexican Plant-Based Cuisine in McAllen is embracing culture through cuisine, with a twist.
The owner of the restaurant, Ingrid Monserrat, said her Tabasco, Mexico roots inspired her type of cooking to open the restaurant.
“Maria Cruz is my grandma, and the name was the inspiration for the restaurant because the foods that we’re making here are all inspired by her cooking,” said Monserrat.
Monserrat explained that her goal is to provide traditional Mexican food using only plant-based ingredients and does it through family recipes.
“She passed down her recipes to my mom, and then my mom passed down the recipes to me, so we’re all giving them a little twist here and there, but the complete twist was me of course because I’m “veganizing” all the recipes. Of course, coming from Mexico, animal protein is very pronounced.”
Her restaurant offers a wide range of Mexican dishes and drinks such as horchata.
“We do anything from your traditional Mexican plates such as every single taco that you can imagine all the way to mole, enchiladas. It’s a very broad menu that we’re offering here and I think that’s what makes Maria Cruz so much more different than other vegan places.”
The restaurant also has a bar that offers wine and beer.
Monserrat said she wants to help expand the palette of people in the Rio Grande Valley.
“It’s challenging to bring them in, but once they’re here and they try the food, they can’t believe that they’re actually eating plant-based foods. I can guarantee you the tastes are almost exactly the same as what you would consume if you were consuming animal protein,” she said.
Monserrat shared that aside from bringing new options to the RGV, she also wants to set an example.
“I created what I have from nothing, from scratch and I want to be an inspiration to everybody, but mainly Latina women to show them that you can accomplish anything you want, here in America,” said Monserrat.
She said she is grateful for the support from her husband, family, vegan community, and the entire Rio Grande Valley.
“I think my grandma would be very very proud of me if she was still alive and she could see her name come all the way to the United States.”Ingrid Monserrat, Owner – Maria Cruz Mexican Plant Based Cuisine