THE PLACE: Whole Foods Market can be an intimidating (and costly) place to shop. I must confess that I’ve even referred to the store, with all its organic, gluten-free and super-good-for-you products, as “Whole Paycheck.”
But now that I’m committed to more healthful eating, I’m challenged to find places to dine that use organic products but won’t break my piggy bank. The salad bar at Whole Foods has become a weekly stop.
THE LOOK: There’s nothing formal about it. A few tables and chairs are situated near the cashiers, and there’s a dining area near the north entrance. When the weather is nice, I try to find a coveted spot outside.
THE MEAL: There’s a variety of organic greens and vegetables to fill a bowl. I opt for Mediterranean flavors. I scoop a little hummus and baba ghanouj onto spring greens and sprinkle a few pecans, dried cranberries, peas, mixed vegetables and chicken on top. Olive oil, Braggs Liquid Aminos and a little chili pepper dressing help blend everything nicely.
My companion goes for Greek flavors and tops her greens with orzo, tzatziki, tomatoes, cucumbers and feta cheese.
We both add half pitas and bottled water. The salad bar is $7.99 per pound. Our bill is $16.35, with enough left over to buy a cookie for $1 and a brownie for $1.50.
KUDOS: The items in the salad bar are very fresh. It’s never too crowded, and folks don’t dillydally over the food. The salad bar also includes hot dishes, which aren’t on my eating plan.
QUIBBLES: No quibbles here — except when I can’t find a place to sit on a Saturday afternoon.
ALTERNATIVES: There are plenty of options less than $10 for folks who aren’t on as stringent an eating plan. Pizza slices are $2 each or two for $5. Anything from the taqueria, including two tacos for $5 or a grilled chicken burrito for $7, will work. And you can get three of the burgers and a beverage and stay within budget.
RETURN TRIP?: Absolutely. I love being able to maximize my time. I get to shop and dine.