Casa de Luz
Vegetarian and Vegan Spots in Austin
Reviewed by Fran Moody, Fri., March 9, 2001
Casa de Luz1701 Toomey Road, 476-2535
Daily, 11:30am-2pm; 6-8pm
Meals are $9 (includes beverage, tax, and tip) except for Saturday and Sunday midday brunches, which are $11
If it's healthy, vegan home cooking you yearn for (or your health and welfare demand), Casa de Luz is for you. Its dining room and meals bear out the philosophy of the center: simplicity and mindfulness. Gardens of herbs and flowers line the brick walkway leading to Casa. Not only do you find macrobiotic and vegan diners here, you are just as likely to find a federal judge enjoying the relaxing atmosphere or a state representative holding an informal staff meeting over lunch. It is an oasis in the middle of a busy city.
Casa's informal way of serving makes the place seem homey. The fresh flowers on every table, the cloth napkins, and the "clear your own table" directive evokes the feel of Mom's dining room.
Upon payment for your meal, you are given a wooden token and directed to the counter to pick up your napkin, flatware, and soup bowl. Soup and crudités sit on the buffet table alongside sea salt and condiments such as tekka and gomasio for self-service. Beverages sit on the adjoining bar. Again, you serve yourself. Filtered water, hot kukicha (twig tea), and cool hibiscus teas are included in the price of your meal. Four kinds of bottled water and a non-alcoholic beer are available for purchase.
The foods are organic, when available, in season, vegan, and all natural. A diverse staff of cooks and helpers prepare their favorite foods for diners. Every meal includes soup, a whole grain, beans or legumes, some kind of steamed greens, a cooked vegetable, a garden salad, and a pickle. Often wonderful, dense whole-grain breads or a sea vegetable are also served. Most meals offer a creamy tahini- or miso-based sauce made with nuts or seeds and seasonings for ladling on your greens or grains. If you have a sweet tooth and desire a dessert, you will find outrageously tasty and healthy desserts -- cookies, flan, pies, and biscotti, for $1.50-$3.
Wednesday lunch is Mexican fare. Thursday night is Guatemalan Night. (Often there are homemade corn tortillas, muy deliciosa!) Saturday night meals are usually Italian, Indian, or Middle Eastern. Pizza is served the first Saturday of the month and sushi is on the menu once or twice a month.
For delicious, nutritious meals that tomorrow's health-conscious Moms may cook, try Casa de Luz. See if the good food and pleasant atmosphere doesn't refresh your mind and body and strengthen your resolve to eat better.