Locally-crafted juice and deli defies time, expectations

By Sienna Hennessy

Malinalli Superfoods offers ancient foods and cultural celebration through a modern medium, a juice bar and deli restaurant that more people in East Los Angeles need to visit.

Malinalli’s menu is curated around nutrient-packed, plant-based foods that are comforting and delicious. 

The restaurant also serves as a cultural center with a library for waiting customers, locally crafted art for sale and Aztec and Mayan symbols throughout the space.

Co-founder Mahtlacti “Zero” Malinalli said his focus at the restaurant is the smoothies because he wants to empower people at the molecular level.

“Once you feed your body at the cellular level… you can be as efficient as you can be,” he said.

The restaurant offers two superfood powders, the Warrior Within and Pachamama, in its fruity smoothies. 

The Warrior Within has spirulina, maca, cacao, chia seed and hemp seed. The Pachama has the same ingredients, but switches out the spirulina with amaranth. 

Zero said many of the superfoods Mallinali uses were grown on chinampas; floating agricultural rafts in Tenochtitlan now known as Mexico City.

The restaurant also offers healthy, vegan agua frescas and tortas. 

The Mayan Horchata is absolutely delicious. It doesn’t taste like a traditional horchata, but it satisfies that same craving for a lightly spiced, smooth drink.

Malinalli uses amaranth in place of rice, agave in place of honey and adds cacao for extra nutrition.

The amaranth adds a lovely toasty note to the drink.

Zero said his partner crafted the drink to get the benefits of cacao to post-partum patrons. His addition was changing the original almond milk base to amaranth and adding a superfood powder.

The deli aspect of the restaurant is the tortas, such as their classic Quetzal Torta and seasonal Karne Asnada Torta.

The Quetzal has a soft bolillo bun, vegan turkey and bologna, spring mix and the works of every torta.

The Karne Asnada Torta has a toasted bolillo bun with vegan carne asada made by a community-based food business Sin Karma.

The Karne Asnada is textured vegetable protein with great chew and flavor that should satisfy those craving a hearty torta. 

Anyone can stop by Malinalli for superfoods and superb grub on the corner of South Duncan Avenue and Whittier Boulevard. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *