Cara Araneta of Coffee x Hello

Having purchased a one-way ticket to Central America (with her 16 year old shih tzu in tow), Cara is a true traveler at heart who encourages us to stay curious.

Both a creative spirit and a cultural anthropologist, Cara helps some of the biggest brands in the lifestyle and travel spaces tell their stories. She herself is a traveler at heart, having left the corporate world with a one-way ticket to Central America (with her 16 yr old shih tzu, ChaCha in tow), on a mission to explore a career more alined with her purpose in design-driven storytelling. Inspired by culture and the world around her, Cara is passionate about making meaningful work that people want to find, become a part of and, ultimately, connect with.

You have such a fascinating background - tell us a little about what inspired your career.

I loved playing dress up and as a child that taught me about the power of beauty and expression. As a result, I got into fashion design and it all went from there.

What would you say is your life philosophy?

Nurture your curiosity. I believe it’s important to explore your gut feelings, hunches, and what if’s. They come to you for a reason, and sometimes, you don’t need to know the outcome of things that are worth exploring.

"Nurture your curiosity. I believe it’s important to explore your gut feelings, hunches, and what if’s."

We know you're a food connoisseur of sorts - what was your last memorable dining experience?

Noma for my best friend’s birthday. A one of a kind occasion and we all flew in from all over, sitting at the Chef’s table. It was one of those nights when the energy is so infectious, you stay way longer than the check was paid, and end up at some dingy bar until late hours of the night.

Sounds incredible. What about somewhere that you could eat at every day?

Mulino Pujol, the avocado tacos are everything.

What's on your restaurant bucket list?

I can’t help but think of Osteria Francescana. I am always intrigued with food experiences that blend tradition and innovation... and sometimes, they look like the most beautiful piece of art.

When would you say you became a foodie?

When I moved to New York in 2001, I really had no choice but to embrace the creative food culture that was all around me.

Love that. What’s next for you?

My trip to Brazil ended up getting extended throughout quarantine, but I leave for Mexico City for the summer until the European borders open and will spend the rest of the year there.

We know you know Southern California well - what do you think of the food scene in LA? How is it different from NY?

I like LA, the food feels cleaner. NYC is more like the people there--bold and flavorful, maybe saltier than most places.

What are your favorite places that you have traveled to, and where do you want to go next?

I love Mexico. Growing up in San Diego, I’ve always had a special connection to the vibrance and diversity of the culture. I love Tokyo, nothing is familiar and it feels like landing on the moon. Milan during Salon week. And of course, Paris.

What is your favorite hotel/resort to stay in?

I love La Pause in Marrakesh.

You clearly love to explore and have new experiences. What kinds of new experiences have you had in 2020?

Social distancing with my partner throughout quarantine in a remote beach town in Bahia (Brazil), has certainly been a new experience: huge lessons on my own relationship and personal growth (I've written a bit more about it here).

Thanks so much, Cara! Your tacos in Mexico City list is going on our 2021 bucket list, for sure.

July 22, 2020

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