A few weeks back my friend Alejandra Carrasco asked if I could take some photos of her new office space in Austin. Being the person who loaned me her La Caja China for hosting a summer pig roast, not to mention provide me a lot of helpful tips for getting through my first roast successfully, I owed her a favor or two.

Alejandra (we call her Alex) is an M.D. that is board certified in both Family Medicine and Integrative Holistic Medicine. The combination of those specialties means Alex has a unique and refreshing take on medicine – one that I feel integrates very well with the city of Austin. Rather than make a cursory diagnosis and prescribe routine medications to address one’s symptoms, she tries to understand the how and the why behind any ailments – trying to address things on a nutrition and lifestyle perspective first.

The office for her practice (Nourish Medicine) is located in the beautiful Casa De Luz community, which has to be one of Austin’s hidden gems. I admit the first time I encountered or even heard of this place was when I came out to her office for this shoot.

Casa de Luz is an all-organic food and community center. Unlike a traditional restaurant, it offers a more communal and family dining experience. You don’t order off a menu, but simply get breakfast, lunch, dinner (and optionally some dessert). The cooks then prepare a new 100% organic, vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free meal for you everyday ($7 for breakfast, $12 for lunch / dinner). You can even sign up as one of their volunteers and help prepare the meal with the cooks – what better way to learn than hands-on at the side of a chef? They’re very sensitive to any allergies or dietary restrictions you may have, so just ask and they’ll prepare something specially for you.

I love the concept of this place and I got a seriously hearty, homemade meal when I was there – we’re talking posole, mixed green salad (with hempseed, pumpkin and sunflower seeds), and  an entree consisting of sweet grain rice with a tamari gravy, blanched greens with almond cilantro parsley sauce, and pickled red radish. So yum!

Oh, and did I forget to mention that the setting is absolutely gorgeous?

Nestled under lush vegetation and palm trees, it feels like you’re miles away from the city in a private tropical oasis. Casa de Luz has established a community focused on nourishment and well-being. With a yoga studio, a vegan dining hall, and Alex’s Nourish medicine clinic practice it really does a great job of achieving a small village feel. The few moments I was there it provided a calming, almost sacred, escape to the everyday. Definitely check out it out and meet the greet people behind all these great services.

I almost forgot, Alex also came over our place and showed us how she makes her now-famous Green Pina Colada smoothie. For that recipe be sure to check out these posts on The Kitchn…


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