Alibi V.27 No.24 • June 14-20, 2018 

Food Interview

Pura Vida Comida Rolls Into ABQ

Erin and Tito Valdez open new vegan food truck

Erin and Tito Valdez
Erin and Tito Valdez (and their baby-to-be) in front of their eye-catching food truck
photo by Tito Valdez

Endlessly scrolling through Instagram can occasionally yield some benefits. That was how I found out about Pura Vida Comida, a new vegan/vegetarian food truck in Albuquerque operated by the husband-and-wife duo Tito and Erin Valdez. Since I’m all about exploring more environmentally sustainable eating practices these days, I wanted to check out what they were cookin’ up. They had their soft opening event at Bow & Arrow Brewing on May 30, where they were serving up a small selection of salads and other plant-based dishes. While they were still working out some kinks in their process, I was delighted with the Pura Vida Bowl I ordered and the curry cream on top of it.

I recently caught up with Erin and Tito to ask them about the Pura Vida Comida truck and what we can expect from them in the future.

What made you want to start a food truck?

Erin: It's always been a dream of mine to share my yummy, healthy food with people. I came very close to opening one in Portland, Ore., after catering for a bit, but the market was way over saturated.

Tito: I’ve been vegan or vegetarian for 15 out of the last 20 years and am constantly looking for good places to eat. I saw a void that needed to be filled here locally. After I went to the Albuquerque food truck festival in April, and failed to find any food there I could eat, we decided that this area really needed a vegan food truck.

What were you both doing before?

Erin: I was teaching yoga and have been designing and selling clothing on the West Coast, at festivals and in yoga studios for the past 10 years. My brand, LoveBombLifeStyle.com, is actually available at a couple places locally: High Desert Yoga and Sweet Sol Skin Boutique.

Tito: I've been a DJ, artist and influencer for the past 20+ years or so. Playing a variety of styles in various clubs, festivals and locales around the globe.

Why vegan/vegetarian?

Tito: I can't ever find the food I want to eat in most places, so I decided to make food I like for people like me.

Erin: I've always mostly prepared vegetarian meals and snacks at home and have studied nutrition for the past 10 years. I enjoy promoting a healthy lifestyle and absolutely love getting creative in the kitchen.

What kinds of stuff will you be cooking up at Pura Vida Comida?

Tito: We have our base menu of yummy spinach/pecan/mango and kale/beet/avocado salads, the Pura Vida Bowl with our special Raw Vida sauce, as well as a raw noodle curry made up of spiralized zucchini and raw veggies with the Raw Vida sauce. We will also be introducing daily and weekly specials such as a tempeh Reuben, pineapple soycurl burritos, Not-General Tso’s "Chicken," ramen, BBQ pulled "pork," a summer pesto pasta salad as well as a variety of hot and chilled soups.

Erin: And some raw, gluten-free and vegan sweet treats!

When/where can we expect to see your truck serving grub next?

Tito: We will be at Bow & Arrow Brewing Company every Wednesday through June. Hopefully the ABQ Hemp Fiesta and some other local events. Look for us around Ace Barber shop in the coming weeks as well as a few pop-ups here and there throughout town until we get on board with a few more breweries.

Erin: Give us a follow @puravida.comida on Instagram for our updated weekly schedule and specials.

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