Casa de Luz San Diego serves 100% organic, gluten-free, whole food vegan foods 12 hours a day seven days a week, but it is not a restaurant. Director Micaela Civetta explains, “We like to think of ourselves as a communal, educational, healing and wellness dining center.” Civetta feels the word restaurant has a negative connotation. Rather than “compromising on health to feed people what they think tastes good,” the staff at Casa de Luz focuses on macrobiotic principles of “understanding how to eat with the cycles of life” and encourages diners to make conscious choices about their health and their food.
Civetta, who is known as Mici to friends and co-workers, trained in macrobiotics at the Kushi Institute in Becket, Massachusetts. She worked as a private chef until the owners of Casa de Luz, a successful vegan restaurant in Austin, Texas, started looking for a new location. San Diego was a natural choice for such a forward-thinking educational community healing and wellness center. Civetta notes “the shift in consciousness is spreading world-wide, but the level of awareness is much higher in San Diego.” She claims this relaxed, but socially and environmentally conscious city is “a Mecca for health food, clean living and life coaching.” Casa de Luz San Diego opened in February 2011 and has seen steady growth since.
Civetta worked in many different capacities at Casa de Luz before accepting the position of Director, a title she chose herself. She likens her position to that of an orchestra conductor. “We all work together to create this beautiful music. My job is to help everyone else follow the notes.” According to Civetta, “Each person makes this place what it is.” Nourishing relationships through the communal dining experience, educational seminars and cooking classes is equally as important to Casa de Luz as feeding hungry bodies “high vibrational healing foods.”
Civetta proudly declares that Casa de Luz’s fixed price, plant-based cuisine is the “fastest slow food you can get.” Diners choose an entrée which consists of a bean dish, a grain, leafy greens, a vegetable and a pickle and then have the option to add soup, salad, beverage and dessert.
Civetta has done extensive research in homeopathy and naturopathic healing and recognizes the significance of gluten intolerance. “Although everybody’s reaction will be different, gluten causes an inflammatory response in the body,” she explains. Because gluten is available everywhere, Mici saw no reason to offer gluten-containing entrees, side dishes or desserts at Casa de Luz. Civetta asserts, “All of the food at Casa de Luz is delicious and wholesome without gluten.” That includes the magnificent dessert offerings. To date the facility is gluten-free with the exception of beer. “The likelihood of contamination with beer is minute, but even that tiny bit of risk is unacceptable to me,” Civetta insists. Phasing out all gluten-containing beverages is one of her priorities for the
Civetta is a vibrant and passionate leader. She embraces the lifestyle that Casa de Luz promotes. She remarks, “I would like the world to be a healthier place, starting with the people I love.” Mici recognized her life’s dream when she assumed the role of Director of Casa de Luz. “I wake up every morning excited to be here at Casa de Luz. I love what I’m doing.” With Civetta directing, the beautiful melody of Casa de Luz continues to provide a healing soundtrack for many seeking wellness (or just a wonderful meal).