Luis and Natalia
Luis and Natalia De La Vega
Where do you live?
How long have you lived in the area?
Luis – I was born and raised in Miami.
Natalia – I’ve been in the Gables for 14 years, since we started dating.
How did you meet?
Luis – My band was playing an event during Art Basel. We were walking around meeting people and we bumped into each other and started talking. One of Natalia’s friends invited me to stick around and hang out, so she could give me a ride home.
Natalia – Well that’s the elegant story. Luis picked me up at the Revolver party at Soho lounge.
Please share about what you do for a livelihood or what keeps you busy during the week?
Luis – I run a language company. We offer translations and language services. I get to work with smart, hardworking people who speak lots of languages and come from all over the world. We bring a lot of people together to help the world communicate better.
And, when it’s windy, I am out on the water kiting. I’ll sneak out late afternoon, especially now that the sun goes down later. The rest of the time, I’m rolling around and getting dirty with our kids.
Natalia – I’m mostly home with the boys. We have a 2.5-year-old and an almost 3-month-old baby. I do a lot of cooking – mostly vegan food. For a while, I was cooking for friends and clients who picked up from my house. We had a weekly menu called Buenavibra Kitchen. Then we had the baby, so I am on maternity leave, but I am still cooking a lot for us.
I also teach Yoga and lead a monthly women’s circle for mothers.
The mother’s circle is a free monthly event in partnership with Miami Childhood Nature Project. They are a non-profit that advocates children spending more time in nature. We started the circle for mothers in the community and its has grown into a monthly event. It was born out of Hurricane Irma. Some of the moms felt like they wanted to get together and talk about everything that happened during the storm. We continued to do it, and it has become something beautiful. It’s a place for moms to get together and decompress. The main event at the circle is a meditation. I’ll teach some breathing techniques and visualizations and mantras – different things for people to take home and use when they need to check out from being moms. This month’s event will be held at the Magnolia Birth House on Saturday at 7pm.
How often do you come to the market?
Do you have a market ritual? If so, please describe.
Natalia – Ritual, that’s for Luis.
Luis – We have two markets we go to a lot – Gables and Pinecrest. Gables is two blocks from our house. I’ll take the stroller with our oldest son and a bunch of bags. The first stop is to get a smoothie from you guys and a papaya. I had one of your papayas today and it was just exquisite. Then, we will continue to the Rare Fruit Council, and then to the guy with squash blossom flowers. We have been eating them every weekend for a couple months. I get a croissant from Belmont then I get an ‘Ode to Hippy’ bread from JC, and then Mr. Green gives me some French Sorrel and tomatoes. As he says ‘tomatoes that taste like tomatoes’. By the time we are leaving, I’m hanging the bags off the stroller. People will see that carriage and bags and part like the Red Sea for us so that we can get home. When I unload, I need to do it carefully so that the stroller doesn’t tip over.
We usually go to one market or the other, sometimes both.
Natalia – When they get home, I am usually stressed out because there is so much produce that it doesn’t fit in the house. And somehow by Thursday, every week, it’s all gone.
What’s your favorite thing to buy at LNB Grovestand and why?
Natalia – I crave the smoothie – like seriously crave. I get the Sapodelicious. We need to add the turmeric to our weekly routine for the health benefits.
Luis – I love the papayas and the Choquette avocados when in season. I can image you lost the avocados in the storm.
What’s your favorite thing to buy at other stands at the market?
At the Pinecrest Market we like the orange and grapefruit juice, the burrata mozzarella and pickles from Flap, the orchid and almond soaps from Fatima and Laura’s vegetables. Her son lives in Georgia and she has been bringing down bags of fresh pecans – only days from the tree.
A favorite activity I enjoy with my kids?
Luis – Going to the beach. I love eyeballing the weather – and it can be very predictable once you get to know it. I am always watching the wind – and watching the swells. We don’t get them a lot, but when they sneak in, they are precious. And, I am also watching the tide. When you know the low tide on Key Biscayne – you can get a window of about an hour and half before and after with massive sandbars. The kids love it. They can go in inches of water. There are pelicans and seagulls everywhere and we can go wild for a while. It’s even better with a full moon.
The best deal at the market is:
Luis – Where else can you get real produce. I always feel like I get out of the market with a great deal.
Natalia – It depends on how you define deal.
I wish the market had:
We don’t really drink dairy milk. We make our own almond milk at home and have been talking about doing something at the market but not sure of getting into the production business.
Favorite market story:
Natalia – Oh my. Maybe not our favorite story – but a couple weeks ago after getting smoothies at the Gables market we sat down at one of the tables in the center. The wind was strong – Luis was out kiting and I went to the market with the two kids. A gust came and blew the umbrella at our table over. The whole table and umbrella flew and knocked into the newborn’s head. It was huge scene. The fire chief came over to make sure we were ok and see if we wanted to go to the hospital. My oldest son was freaking out. And then this lady comes out of nowhere, and puts her hands on my shoulders and says – ‘lets pray for this family, to protect these children…’ She does this whole healing thing in the middle of the market and I started breathing deeply and calming down. And then she was gone. I never saw her face or knew who she was.
Most-frequented local restaurants and what dish to order:
Bangkok City – everything is good. Especially the fried rice and the peanut sauce. The peanut salad is incredible.
Origins on the Key is also great. They have a bunch of different cuisines – Thai, Malaysian, Japanese – but it’s not fusion. They have different dishes from each style. The Malaysian roti is really good.
El Toro Taco – we get everything, it’s all well made, and you can’t go wrong.
Las Carnitas – the mole is real. You would never pull over and think to eat there. It is a little window with seating on 8th street. You need to be taken there.
For special occasions, I go to:
Xixón – they have great Spanish food.
What’s the area’s best-kept secret?
10,000 Islands is cool! If you drive west on 8th street, eventually you’ll get there. You can also go south – through Everglades City and rent a canoe. There’s a cool path that you can take and pop out where the mangroves open into the Gulf. You can camp out on the beach. This is the time of the year to do it.
A worthy splurge:
A night at The Standard.
Luis – It’s really cozy, they have a vibe and a great smell.
Natalia – It’s acceptable to hang out in a robe the whole weekend. Since it’s a spa, you just need the robe they give you and a bathing suit. They have amazing massages and the restaurant is a wonderful place to eat. You can go into the hamam and just relax. You are in Miami Beach, but it has a different vibe.
With kids, the Frost Science Museum. There’s tons of activities and it’s a great place to support if you live in the city. You can spend an entire day there.
The most romantic spot around:
Luis – I can’t give an exact location, but I’ll put you in the right zone. If you’re driving on South Bayshore and going towards Key Biscayne – there’s a tiny easement between two buildings that are not really touching. If you venture in, you will find a sea wall between the properties where you can look out onto the bay. It’s a wonderful place to bring a bottle of wine, some food and nobody knows you’re there.
Do you participate in any community or philanthropic events that you would like to share?
The Lotus House – it’s a women’s shelter here in Miami – one step at a time, they have built an oasis for women who have been through a lot. Their facility in Overtown is special; I don’t think there’s anything else like it. Before Christmas this year, we took all our employees over and helped them move in and get set up. It is an important part of our community.
Do you own your own business or offer a service? Would you share a pitch about yourself or company with the community?
Luis – Our company is called Pro Translating based out of Coral Gables. It was founded in 1973. My family came from Cuba in the early 60’s. My dad was teaching languages, he spoke nine languages fluently. And, my mom spoke four. Together they started a language company. Now we represent some of the biggest brands in the world.
We provide language services and technology to facilitate written and verbal communication. We work with companies that are going global reach their markets in a localized format. We also work with individuals who need to translate documents like birth certificates or diplomas.
Now, I am running the company as CEO and my dad is Chairman of the Board.
Is there a question that you would like to ask the LNBs?
I see it’s a family affair and see what you bring to the market, I imagine it comes from a wonderful place. How did you get introduced into farm life? Did you decide to get into the business together or was it something your parents started?
A+W It is a family affair. Adena’s parents, Marc and Kiki, started the farms in 1979. They moved down to Miami from Chicago to become farmers. The groves have grown, from the location Adena and her siblings grew up on, to 11 properties throughout Homestead and the Redland.
The market is a celebration of the work we do during the week.
Is there a question that you would like to ask the community?
It would be nice to know what would incentivize people to shop more at the market and support local growers and produce.
If you would like readers to be able to contact you, how should they get in touch?
Natalia – Instagram: @buenavibra.kitchen or via email firstname.lastname@example.org
Luis – I’ll give you a couple depending on which side you want.
For business: You can find me through www.protranslating.com or Lrdelavega@protranslating.com
For play: Go to North Crandon on a windy weekend – I guarantee that I’ll be there.
For fun: Look up where Chicken Liquor is playing!
Ah, tell us about your band!
Luis – Our band is called Chicken Liquor. It is a three-piece band – bass, drums and guitar. We have been playing for a long time. It’s loud, fun, rock n roll, in your face – good tunes. It is energizing all original music. I play the bass.
A+W: Thank you! That was fun.