Los Loosers restaurant and delivery service is a product of its owner’s passion for vegan food (and cycling), offering animal-free versions of some classic dishes
Sun 5 Feb 2017 12.30 GMTLast modified on Sat 18 Aug 2018 06.19 BST
Mariana Blanco in her restaurant Los Loosers. The double-O represents bicycle wheels.
Some you win … Mariana Blanco in her restaurant Los Loosers. Photograph: © Clare Wiley
One of Mexico City’s most popular street snacks is tacos de cabeza – corn tortillas stuffed with beef carved from the animal’s skull. This is a city of meat lovers, and may seem an unlikely spot for vegan restaurant Los Loosers.
The food is cooked from scratch each morning, then either served at this tiny restaurant in the Roma Norte neighbourhood or delivered by a team of cyclists. Mushroom tacos with habanero salsa, vegan chilaquiles with blue corn tortillas and black bean dip, and vegan burgers are regulars.
Los Loosers, Mexico City
Photograph: PR Company Handout
The welcoming space is decorated with fairy lights and lamps repurposed from bike handlebars, and has just one large wooden table. Non-alcoholic aguas frescas (homemade fruit/grain drinks), tea and Oaxacan coffee are available. The daily special costs less than £4, pudding £1.50. There’s no website (as yet) – customers check the Los Loosers Instagram page, then order via direct message on Twitter or Facebook. The cyclists will deliver anywhere, even to parks and hotels. They once journeyed six hours out of sprawling Mexico City to deliver an order, using specially designed backpacks that protect the food from the city’s potholed streets.
Los loosers pozole, Mexico City, Mexico
Los Loosers’ take on pozole, a traditional Mexican stew. Photograph: Clare Wiley
Los Loosers is the brainchild of Mariana Blanco, who quit her job as a journalist in 2011 with no savings or business plan, just a passion for bicycles and vegan food. The name was inspired by a friend who once teased her for having to be different, cycling everywhere and insisting on animal-free grub. He called her a loser. The double-O represents bike wheels.
The name was inspired by a friend who teased her for cycling and insisting on animal-free grub. He called her a loser
Mexico City has a small but growing vegan community, says Blanco. Around 60% of their orders go to locals. And while the delivery-by-bike outfit is surely a welcome addition in one of the world’s most polluted cities, Blanco admits the environment wasn’t her first priority.
Specialities include pozole, a popular stew usually made with pork. Blanco’s take uses five types of wild Mexican mushroom in a rich broth, decorated with edible flowers. “Mexican ramen” marries Japanese mushrooms and poblano chillies, while the Los Loosers burger is made from huitlacoche, a black fungus that grows on corn and is considered a delicacy.