“When diet is wrong, medicine is of no use.
When diet is correct, medicine is of no need.”
These words, an old Ayurvedic Proverb, grace the entrance of Casa De Luz after you enter. Shortly thereafter, you are graced with a unique dining experience: a communal macrobiotic breadbreaking (without the bread). As my engineer bride says, non-judgmentally, “They believe in The Woo,” the magical properties of the natural and supernatural world. Woo or not, this is definitely a place to get a delicious, healthy, and cleansing meal. All meals are plant-based, organic, and gluten-free.
For a newbie, Casa de Luz can be confusing, so here’s how it goes:
- Order and pay at the entry counter. For $13 for lunch or dinner, you get a bowl of soup, a salad, a plate, and tea. Healthy desserts are $3 extra. The items for your meal are fixed: You get what they have prepared for that meal for that day, nothing more and nothing less. You can check out their Daily Menu for what to expect.
- Claim a seat. There are limited two-toppers and some four-toppers, but most of the seating is long-table or round-table communal. Don’t be shy.
- Go to the kitchen counter and scoop some soup and tong some salad.
- Go to the drink counter (also next to the kitchen) and get some hot or cold tea or vortex-activated WooWater.
- Enjoy your soup and salad.
- A server will bring you your main plate. If it’s busy, you may get forgotten. No worries: head up to the kitchen counter to intercept a plate (on a recent visit, the bride got a plate and I didn’t, so off to intercept I went).
- If you ordered dessert, head to the dessert counter and pick one out.
- Bus your table to the dishwashing station near the entrance, being sure to use the proper receptacle for refuse (unlike most other restaurants in Austin where “compost can” is another way to say “trash can” (mostly due to ignorant patrons), the Luz is serious about composting).
- Drive-thru Whataburger on the way home. I’m (half) joking here: You get a lot of food for $13 at Casa de Luz. However, those of us reliant on grease and processed grains (you know who you are) may feel like their meal is missing something.
Casa de Luz, started by Eduardo Longoria and Maryann Rose (RIP), is more than 25 years old and is run as a nonprofit business focused on food and community. The Luz has limited parking (I count two handicapped spots) but lots of paid street parking as well as paid city lots across the street.
The food here is beautiful, delicious, and varied. For our recent two meals, each main plate held five different dishes, and they were all tasty (although my stomach said ‘What the hell is this?” in response to the collard greens). This is a good place to get a healthy meal, eat before seeing a show at the Zach, and tap into the crunchy side of Austin. Or maybe stop in after driving thru Whataburger!
web&where: interwebs; 1701 toomey road, daily menu
what’s the deal? colorful macrobiotic healthchow; cafeteria-style
overall: *** (food***; drink**; atmosphere**; service**; instagrammability***)
does it scramble? Possibly-maybe.
– meh [think twice]
* OK [it’ll get the job done]
** good [solid neighborhood joint]
*** damn good [we’ll definitely be back]
**** yippity-yikes that was amazeballs [fantastic; one of the best]
***** holy sh!t [transcendental; best of the best]
Approximately 15 minutes after eating at Casa de Luz!