The fresh taste of Casa de Luz is an illuminating experience.
The fresh start a new year brings often inspires changes to improve health and better nurture mind, body and spirit. It’s as if the annual change turns on an inner light that illuminates just how fragile and beautiful life can be. And sometimes a little light is all it takes.
Located in the heart of North Park, Casa de Luz, or “House of Light,” is an exceptional place that follows the tradition of macrobiotics, a dietary regimen. While this San Diego location opened in 2011, Casa de Luz got its start in Austin, Texas, as far back as 1991. And the background of its program goes back even further.
“Our community center at Casa de Luz has a history that dates back to the ancient Far East, and then through Hippocrates as a way to universal health and longevity, which encompasses the largest possible view of not only diet, but also all the dimensions of human life, natural order, cosmic evolution and our interaction with all things,” said Eduardo Longoria, the center’s steward. “Community building is our objective, not only with people, but a whole connection with nature and the universe.”
More similar to a church than a restaurant, Casa de Luz offers patrons a dose of healing organic, vegan and gluten-free meals through a conscious and meaningful dining experience. Guests are encouraged to dine more than once, and even take some cooking classes to experience the true benefits of eating in a holistic and sustainable manner.
“We are not simply about a diet, though that is the first step and usual introduction to this way of life for many people,” Longoria explained. “We embrace behavior, thought, breathing, exercise, relationships, customs, cultures, ideas and consequences, as well as an individual and collective way of life found throughout the world.”
On a mission to educate, the cooks at Casa de Luz source, prepare from scratch, and serve only the very best locally grown, organic, whole-food and plant-based meals designed to heal and optimize wellness. There is never a trace of chemical fertilizers, pesticides or preservatives. From the local organic farmer who delivers its food, to the staff members, chefs, teachers and guests, every one is part of a family who learns from one another and shares in the excitement of each opportunity to support optimal health and wellbeing. “We are the low-cost, common-sense answer to the humanity health care crisis,” Longoria said. “I believe the closer people get to the earth, starting with the microorganisms in the soil to the water and minerals, the happier they will be.”
Having great relationships with local organic farmers, Longoria says that the more perishable the produce, the more it needs to be grown close to home. “Grains and legumes can come from further away because they can last a long time,” he explained. “Our location in Austin gets much of its produce from California, since Texas cannot supply them with enough organics. We are fortunate to have such a remarkable growing climate, soil, and most importantly, great farmers.”
Simple can be delicious, and with more than enough community seating on the lower level, guests will feel a sense of kinship while getting a dose of what Longoria calls “high vibrational healing foods.” The menu changes daily with fun cuisine themes during the week that include Italian on Mondays, Asian on Tuesdays, raw foods on Wednesdays, Latin on Thursdays, Chef’s Choice on Fridays and Saturdays, and South American on Sundays.
Favorable choices for breakfast include brown rice cakes with strawberry-tahini sauce, Anasazi beans with hominy, or a tasty veggie sauté with sweet potato, zucchini and parsnips. For lunch, opt for the miso soup or the organic mixed greens with beets, radishes and carrots topped with walnut balsamic dressing. For dinner, the zucchini fettuccine is an excellent choice, coated with a creamy cashew Alfredo sauce and roasted garlic lentils. Or try the veggie tacos served with bok choy, red onion, sweet potato, zucchini and crimini mushrooms in a pepita cilantro green sauce. Desserts range from muffins, cookies and truffles, to pudding, raw mint bars, apple crisp and even a silky berry cheesecake made with nut cream. Beverage choices include exotic teas, a refreshing juice bar, beer and sake, organic wines, and a rotating selection of smoothies including flavors of Leafy Green, Chocolate Ginger and Pumpkin Harvest Pecan.
“Delicious is a point of view crafted by your habits,” Longoria said. “People that make the decision to eat this way may not like it at first, but will eventually come to only want to eat this way.”
The illumination comes from the mix of flavors. “Our offerings are about the dance between the different flavors, colors and textures, and once people get what we are all about, they will appreciate the whole symphony,” Longoria said.” One could say that the violin or the French horn is their favorite instrument of the orchestra, but when the music is played, there is the splendor of wholeness.”
For more information, visit casadeluz.org.