Do-Good Eats at Green Gables Café
by jess swanson
Ana Rabel (right) and her daughter Laura Warriner.
In the case of Green Gables Café, one might say the organic apple does not fall far from the tree. The eatery opened in October 2007 as a venture between Ana Rabel and her eldest daughter, Laura Warriner, then a recent college graduate. Their goal was to bring Coral Gables an ethical food trifecta: sustainable practices, delicious fare, and fair pricing. In just two years, the Rabels outgrew their original site and moved to the current, more spacious location a few blocks east on Alhambra Circle. (Ana’s second daughter, Cristina, joined soon after to become Green Gables’ vegan chef.)
Striving to leave the smallest carbon footprint, Rabel implements eco-friendly practices, from compostable corn take-away containers to opting for glass pitchers and wooden baskets instead of plastic bottles and Styrofoam tableware. Even the cleaning products are edible. They also procure ingredients from farms as close to home as possible. Fruits and vegetables come from Homestead growers, and what can’t be found in the county—eggplant, zucchini, and turkey—is sourced from nearby Global
Organics, a chemical-free distributor in Sarasota (although some organic produce might be sourced from farms as far away as Georgia because of limited availability).
Fittingly decked with fresh herbs and other live plants that change seasonally—fresh lavender recently adorned each table—the café offers weekday breakfast and lunch. Over the years, a few dishes have really stood out, such as the black bean burger, a handmade veggie patty mixed with black beans, oats, and Brazil nuts served with romaine lettuce, tomato, and garlic aioli on a multigrain bun with sweet-potato fries on the side. And the Rabels work some of Ana’s Cuban childhood into the menu as well with turkey “vaca frita,” made with roasted turkey breast, pulled and sautéed with lemon juice, onions, and cilantro, and served with brown basmati rice, black beans, and greens. And for those clean-eating junkies jonesing for healthy fare during the evening and weekend, Rabel hints about expanding after her youngest daughter, Ana Victoria, graduates from high school this June. “Let me send her away to college first,” Rabel jokes, “and then we’ll see.” 327 Alhambra Cir., Coral Gables, 305-445-7015
photography by zura lagarde