If you’ve ever been interested in what raw food is all about, stop at the nearby healthy-eating kiosk in the produce section and give all your questions to Healthy Eating Specialist Dan Marek. He has the information you need and is eager to recommend dishes to try or take home. The specials on the chalkboard above your head are often the just-discovered creations of the chef behind the counter. Sit at the bar and get your Tex-Mex fix with a raw flax tostada. It’s crispy and dehydrated perfectly, topped with spicy cashew “cheese”, lettuce, avocado, cilantro and mock sour cream: demonstrative of the four pillars of the Health Starts Here program (Whole Food, Plant-Strong, Healthy Fats, Nutrient Dense). Renew Italian night with a raw squash and veggie fettuccini alfredo. Don’t tell anyone the sauce is made of cashews because they won’t believe you. There are a myriad of salad options perfect for picnics. The beet walnut salad offers a sweet and savory combination. Get a bunch of the bite-sized dehydrated tomatoes that are filled with a garlicky pesto mix as a wonderful hors d’oeuvre. Not everything at Good Greens is raw, but it’s all delish and most certainly will do your body good.
wholefoodsmarket.com/stores/lamar/healthy-eating/, 525 n. lamar blvd., 512-476-1206
Dining at Koriente is convenient, with a free park- ing lot out back and a seat-yourself philosophy. The relaxed atmosphere doesn’t leave you hanging with their complex menu, however. Ask the expert behind the counter how to make a number of their delectably fresh bowls vegan, vegetarian, gluten free, or just more personalized! Start with a summer roll; the bright col- ors and flavors will cool your palate. Pan-seared tofu adds protein to the Japchei bowl full of veggies and warm clear sweet potato noodles cooked in Koriente’s garlicky miso soup. Toss a fried egg and avocado into the Mixmix Bibimbap with red pepper paste. Don’t be afraid to try your meal spicy. The fresh vegetables combat the heat. Savor the made-from-scratch flavors that inspired the inception of Koriente!
koriente.com, 621 e. 7th st., 512-275-0852
BLACK STAR CO-OP
Come one, come all, to the Black Star Co-op, where local pub flavors mingle easily with the most conscientious communities. Not only does this joint compost its paper towels and use locally raised meats, but it provides a truly cooperative environment. Chat with these beer professionals; they will help you pair the perfect house brew with a meal that fits your lifestyle. Their vegan-burger is full of garbanzo goodness and shares its plate with the co-op’s signature chips–English-style fried potatoes with garlic, salt and pepper. Wash it down with a pint of High Esteem, their twist on pale ale. Unwind on the patio with a bottle of gluten-free beer and an order of their slightly spicy shrimp and grits after a long day. Can’t decide? Order a flight of brews and a snack plate to share; the choices of local and imported meats and cheeses as well as pickled veggies change daily and promise to satisfy.
blackstar.coop, 7020 easy wind dr., 512-452-2337
CASA de LUZ
Breathe deeply as you walk under a series of natural canopies and escape the urban landscape that surrounds you. Enter the dining room and get your fill. Enjoy organic, vegan, gluten-free meals prepared with love at large wooden tables where gather- ing with family and friends is welcomed. Take in a breakfast of short sweet rice porridge with a hint of cinnamon and sprinkled with raisins. The handmade corn tortillas are filled with red beans, chopped and seasoned veggies and greens, topped with a sunflower tahini sauce. For a small additional charge, devour a nature-inspired dessert. Choose from a variety of kantens, (a vegan version of custard that utilizes agar agar flakes) that highlight fresh fruit flavors–yum! The Casa de Luz community focuses on providing sustenance not only through healthful, natural and simple meals, but all parts of life. Head back into your day feeling nourished and balanced.
casadeluz.org, 1701 toomey Rd., 512-476-2535
When you get hungry while shopping on North Loop, come on over to the teal-colored trailer you see next to Blackbird and re- fuel. Creative weekly specials, such as the Mediterranean plate, bring new twists to the vegan and raw scene. The raw jalapeño corn chips dipped in garlicky red lentil hummus with raw falafel make up quite the lunch for health-conscious eaters. Of course, the chefs at Counter Culture provide standbys like the PacMan Caesar that can be added to any sandwich. Grab a biodegrad- able fork and bring your tray to a matching teal picnic table in the shade. There you will find a bottle of siriacha to add any necessary heat to your Philly seitan sandwich, and you can plan the rest of your afternoon in one of the funkiest areas of Austin. countercultureaustin.com, 120 east north loop