UPDATE November 2018: Goodness Gracias has new owners.
There were times over the last few years when I thought we might have got drowned in the ‘Mexican wave’, carried away on a tidal wave of sloppy burritos, corn chips (or worse still, fries) smothered in cheesy sauce and refried beans with a dash of chilli. It was everything I hated about Mexican – the indiscriminate. Fortunately, the best taquerias managed to get some great food and a few authentic flavours happening. Obviously, some chefs having lived in Mexico was a help!
Recently, we’ve even realised that Mexican food can be healthy! With a little tweeking, it’s suitable fare for those with gluten and dairy intolerance. If you choose your ingredients carefully, you can even enjoy a perfectly balanced Mexican meal (without even delving into cheat day territory)!
Enter Goodness Gracias, a bright little ‘grab and go cocina’ finding a gap in the market for healthy Mexican food with the addition of superfoods. It’s the labour of love of ‘goodness chica’ Leila Milnes who runs the store with other family members helping out.
“We love Mexican food, but we realised that Gold Coast diners really care about their health, so we decided that there was a gap in the market catering for both by providing healthy Mexican food,” Leila tells us.
Described on their website as ‘Food for all tribes | vegan, vegetarian + conscious carnivore’, the fare is summed up in a simple menu divided into sections: Burritos, Taqueria, Salad, Grains, Shakes, as well as a Grab and Go fridge. Thankfully, vegetarian, vegan, dairy and gluten-free options are clearly marked on the menu, a practice we’d love to see more of.
There’s some of the Latin cuisine we’d expect, such as burritos and tacos, but the menu gains heaps of clout with the addition of some fabulous salad and grain bowls, such as Holy Guacamole with a ‘goodness’ leaf mix, guacamole, pickled corn, tomato, red onion, jalapeno, black beans, lime, coriander, queso fresco and crunchy tostada strips, and the Amazon Anti-Ox… and that’s where the differences become a bit clearer. The Anti-Ox features watercress and açai dressing; not exactly what you’d expect on a Mexican salad.
“There was a gap in the market for really good, healthy salads. Sure, we’re Latin-influenced with traditional fillings, but we’ve used superfoods in the sauce: Amazonian berry açai mixed and hazelnut, activated buckinis mixed with quinoa in the Buckini Body, and pepitas,” Leila says.
“All of our meat is pulled the traditional way by hand, and we don’t take any shortcuts. Actually, these salads are fully balanced meals – the best lunch you can have. Ring to order, and we’ll have it ready for you to pick up.”
“We also have our own superfood granola, and in mid-January we’ll be introducing Brekkie Burritos with spiced mushrooms, egg and ranchero salsa using Mexican chillies.” We can hear the cheer from here! Nothing like a little chilli for breakfast to speed up the metabolism!
But you can only be good for so long, as the ladies know, and there are a few treats thrown into the mix to spice things up, especially in the Shakes department (Classic or Pimped). Chocolate is Mayan, of course, so it’s there on the menu in the Cold-brewed coffee, the Vegan Mayan Shake (a dark, rich vegan chocolate sorbet with almond milk and banana) as well as in the Burrito section’s Chicken Mole, a Mexican dish we’d not seen on the coast until now.
But it’s the horchata (pronounced or-CHA-tah) which takes my eye, either bottled or made on site. With many Latin Americans being lactose intolerant, this mixture of rice milk, cinnamon and agave, reminiscent of a sweet rice pudding milkshake, provides a really refreshing drink. The Mexican answer to the Indian lassi, it perfectly complements spicy Mexican food, softening the touch of habanero and cooling the body. Horchata is a favourite drink is beach towns; a perfect fit for our Gold Coast lifestyle.
Hola to goodness! Muchas gracias!
1114 -1116 Gold Coast Highway, Palm Beach Ph: 07 5534 4941
Open: Mon – Fri 11am – 8pm; Sat – Sun 8am – 8pm
NOTE: This is an updated version of a review first published in 2015.