Casa de Luz is San Diego’s macrobiotic mac daddy

16 Apr

Food as medicine. Sounds like a novel idea, but it’s the basis for ayurveda, largely practiced in India; macrobiotics, eating to better the quality of your life; and indigenous diets the world over. We ingest food. We ingest medicine. We ingest toxins. Sometimes those labels overlap. It’s important to be cautious about what we consume. Enter Casa de Luz.

I mentioned Casa de Luz, a new restaurant and education center in the former Salvation Army building at 2920 University Ave., North Park, on Wine & Dine Radio two weeks ago when I filled in for food writer and compatriot Caron Golden. The daily changing organic, plant-based menu is based on macrobiotics, where prescribed portions of legumes, whole grains and vegetables are consumed for a healthfully balanced diet. Patrons choose from a selection of two soups or salads and then decide whether to be served the heartier main dish. The night I dined, I brought a friend who I met at cooking school with Deborah Madison at Rancho La Puerta’s La Cocina Que Canta. She’s a pescatarian and I’m an omnivore that delights in good vegetable-based meals. The soups and salads were fantastic, but the main course, what Chef called a pizza, was the clear winner.

The base, rather than a typical gluten-based crust, was a thick wafer composed of sprouted lentils and another grain. On top: julienned carrots, zucchini, cilantro, mushrooms, chard and other greens, in addition to a tasty hummus-like garlic spread. As you can see in the photos, a red sauce decorated one side of the plate and a green sauce the other — an homage to Italy, home of the pizza. Both sauces were delightful. The whole meal cost $15.95 each.

The expansive restaurant/education facility, owned by Wayo Longoria, is carefully EMF-balanced to mitigate the presence of electromagnetic frequency, and all ingredients are carefully selected for cleanliness. The water is said to be alkaline. Longoria’s father founded the first Casa de Luz in Austin, Texas decades ago, yet Longoria was admittedly disinterested in this type of eating as a youth. That sentiment changed when he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Looking at him, you’d never know it; he looks strong and healthy, a byproduct of a healthy diet, he says. He hopes to impart the same standard of living on the San Diego community, offering classes in cooking, Yoga and other healing arts, conducted on the second floor, so people can practice the fruits of their newfound knowledge at home.

What I want to emphasize more than anything here is that the food is delicious. It’s flavorful, filling and the meat is not missed. I imagine the slender vegans of Hollywood eat like this, care of their in-house chefs and dietitians. Since I’m not planning on rocking the red carpet anytime soon, I’ll stick to Casa.

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