In my research of Austin, I discovered this non-profit, educational community center called "Casa De Luz" that offers yoga and health classes. On-site there is an all-organic cafe that serves vegan and gluten-free cuisine. We thought it would be interesting to check it out for lunch on a Sunday.
To get to the cafe, you have to walk through their gardens. It is a nice little pathway lined with trees and flowers.
At the end of the path, we entered a very busy cafe. There must have been at least 50 people in this medium-sized cafe. At the counter, they displayed their fixed menu for the day. We checked it out and decided to give it a go. So, we paid the host a flat $12 for each of us, tax included.
He explained to us how it worked -- we would seat ourselves, we could grab our own drinks, salad, and soup. Then, the entrees would be brought out to our table. Dessert would cost extra. Simple enough. We were game.
We found a couple seats at the end of a communal table. Then we grabbed our soup, salad, and drinks. The atmosphere was energetic, the cafe was dimly lit, and we felt a really nice vibe there. People of all ages were brought together in this community center to dine on fresh vegan meals.
The salad was a mixed greens salad -- very simple. The best part about it was the pumpkinseed basil dressing, which really brought life into an otherwise plain salad.
The soup was also pretty simple -- a black bean soup. Again, it was the topping - a cheesy spread made of sunflower seeds that really gave it its flavor.
For the entree, we were served quite a variety of very fresh foods. There were sauteed carrots, zucchini, cauliflower and onions with lemon-cilantro basmati rice. The mashed sweet potatoes were topped with some sort of strawberry syrup making them a bit too sweet for my palate. My favorite dish was the steamed collard greens and kale topped with the parsley almond sauce. Yum! We just loved how fresh everything tasted.
Afterwards, we took a look at what they were selling in the front of the cafe. There were some unusual things like freeze-dried tofu and some hard-to-find seaweeds. As we walked back to the car, I spotted a beautiful red-mohawked woodpecker in the trees (you may need to click the image below to enlarge it). I don't get to see birds like this often so that was a real treat.
In sum, we really liked the gardens and the fresh food and found it reasonably priced at only $12 per person. This is a great place to go for fresh, healthy vegan fare in Austin.
Casa De Luz
1701 Toomey Road
Austin, TX 78704