Good Eats

“Organic” used to be synonymous with “expensive,” but that is changing. Similarly, the days of an “organic café” being little more than a salad and juice bar for pasty-skinned vegetarians are also in the past.

Case in point: Elixir Organic Café & Lounge, 9550 S. Eastern Ave., Suite 180. Most of the items on Elixir’s organic menu are less than $10, and there is plenty of meat available. Salads, sandwiches and wraps made with chili-scented spicy beef are crowd-pleasers, while the lemongrass chicken (which is available in vegetarian form as a seitan-based chicken substitute) is also popular.

There are several vegetarian and even vegan options on the menu, too, and sandwiches come on a choice of seven different breads (including a gluten-free variety), salads are served with house-made dressings and fresh-brewed iced teas and a range of smoothies are available.

About 95 percent of ingredients used at the café are certified organic, while Applegate Farms supplies hormone-, antibiotic- and nitrate-free meats.

General manager Charissa Thai says fresh and natural products deliver more vitamins and nutrients than conventionally grown produce.

“I’ve always loved food,” says Thai, who worked in fashion, then as a cosmetologist and ran five salons in Las Vegas before opening Elixir. She says that while the hard work, long hours and considerable risk involved in opening a restaurant didn’t appeal to her, sharing her secret recipes was the hardest part.

“My recipes!” she says. “I didn’t want to give them up!”