Put a background in marketing together with a passion for healthy food, youth and a ‘can do’ attitude, and you have Marie Anita’s. Marie James looks impossibly young to be a business owner, yet she’s taken the plunge. Her gluten-free, sugar-free health café caters for a range of diners who are often overlooked on other menus: those who want or need dairy free, sugar-free, vegetarian, vegan and/or raw food.
Despite its location beside a busy road, Marie Anita’s is quiet and peaceful. It’s well placed in a building which houses a range of alternative therapy businesses. There’s parking nearby and, decked out with a vintage couch and comfortable dining chairs, it’s a pleasant, welcoming space which depends on the quality of the food and service to bring back regular diners.
Blackboards display the daily specials as well as the rustic loaves of gluten-free bread Marie has baked that morning in the back of the shop. Specialty dietary choices (such as DF, V etc.) are clearly displayed on the printed menu.
We find it easy to choose our breakfasts. We pass up on Pancakes with berry compote and organic coconut yoghurt, choosing instead Mushrooms on toast served with poached eggs and a gluten-free ham steak. Even my simple request for a boiled egg, dukkah and asparagus is met with a smile. It’s tasty and nutritious. Lunch choices include Grilled haloumi salad with organic pear, fennel, walnuts and lemon; Wild rice pilaf tossed with an exotic mushroom medley, organic spinach, parsley and spring onion; or perhaps the Smoked salmon with green pea, snow pea and avocado salad with citrus scented quinoa. Accompanying our meals is a cup of Global Organic Coffee, roasted in Burleigh, which can be served with organic cows’ milk, organic soy, almond or organic coconut milk. There’s also a choice of organic loose leaf teas available, many of them caffeine free.
Don’t be put off by the ‘-isms’! There’s something on the menu for everyone, made using the healthiest ingredients possible without unhealthy heavy sauces! Sourcing organic food where she can from local suppliers, baking bread, muffins cakes and slices daily, Marie shows us that GF food can still be attractive and taste good. The cost of organic fruit and vegetables, free range eggs, free range meats, and organic coconut yoghurt all adds up, so it’s great to see that she has kept the price down for her customers. Breakfasts are mostly under $20 and lunch under $25.
Despite her youth, it seems that Marie’s instincts to follow her passion have paid off. As the regulars to her café continue to increase, word is slowly spreading: this is honest to goodness, healthy and tasty food.
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