Friday, May 18, 2012

Mother's Day Pig Out

Pro-Flowers delivered this lovely plant,
complete with rattan basket.
For Mother's Day this year my son and his family sent me a rosebush studded with miniature pink roses. It is lovely and one of these days, I'll find a perfect place for it out in my yard. My daughter and son-in-law took me to lunch at San Diego's newest vegan and raw food restaurant. Between the two kids I received all I could possibly want: something for the eyes and something for the tummy. How blessed can one mom be?

The main floor is the restaurant; the second
floor is home to their cooking school.
I realize some of the other friends who post on this blog have written about some of the restaurants they've visited, but I've never found one worth talking about until now. Casa de Luz is in the North Park area of San Diego and my daughter thought it would be the perfect place for me to be able to eat vegan food I didn't have to cook myself. Plus, since she is going more and more plant-based herself, she was game to try it. My son-in-law, a dedicated carnivore, escorted us and I did note that he had licked his plate clean.

I loved that the cuisine was not only plant based,
but free of pesticides.
Casa de Luz isn't actually a  restaurant. It's a sort of eatery. There is no menu to speak of. There is a short buffet line where the diner can choose from two different salads, two different soups, and if you want the entree, you eat what's on the menu for either breakfast, lunch, or dinner. The choices are different every day and because I wanted to know what I'd be eating, I went online and scouted out their lunch menu.

In print, it sounded good. But who can tell from something written down what the food will look like or taste like? The Saturday cuisine was listed as "Latin." I figured that would work for me, so I looked forward to digging in to a whole batch of new recipes I could try to copy. My daughter and I both agreed we'd go back in a heartbeat. Son-in-law would most likely accompany us just because he's a good sport. But I bet he'd chowed down on a hunk of meat before hand.

My plate and the two chefs who created it.
I had the alfalfa sprouts with walnut dressing and a bowl of cabbage, yam, and corn soup that was as good as any soup I've ever eaten and I am now obsessed with figuring out how to make it myself. The lunch entree was a wrap stuffed with grilled tofu, brown rice, grilled asparagus, fresh carrots, mushrooms, daikon, peas, and sprouts. All of that was creatively rolled inside a huge collard green, topped with a mango salsa and drizzled with a delicious strawberry-beet coulis. The white beans had been cooked with oregano and the itty bitty grilled corn was topped with the best guacamole I've ever tasted.

Cheesecake has always been a favorite
dessert but went by the way when I
became vegan. How nice to be able to
indulge myself with this delicious alternate.
Truthfully, I was so full I was glad I'd worn slacks with an elastic waist. The three of us sat and visited a bit, taking advantage of being together  and it was during that time that I spied the dessert case. I just had to check it out. What an array of goodies and so hard to choose just one. We were, after all, full to the gills, but I just HAD try a vegan dessert. Daughter and I decided on a slice of the coconut-flavored cheesecake topped with a fresh strawberry sauce. The piece was large enough that all three of us got a good portion. And while the cheesecake itself was outstanding, it was the crunchy ground nut crust that drew the most raves.

The original Casa de Luz is in Austin, TX. I understand there are hopes for expanding the eatery into more places and if the offerings continue to be this good, I believe we'll see them popping up in more states. These days ever more people are choosing to eat healthy, even macrobiotically, and where there is a need, there is always someone waiting in line to fill it. I loved my time at Casa de Luz and the cost was on par with any upscale eatery. If you live in Austin or anywhere near San Diego and would like a new dining experience, give this restaurant a go. I bet you'll love the food.

For more information on the restaurant or cooking school, go to 

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