Whole Foods Market
The loveliest and hugest salad bar and grab and go counter has to be Whole Foods downtown. And you pay for that, of course. At $6.99 a pound, it's not what anyone would call cheap, but if I worked closer by, I'd be there everyday.
Like most places, you have your choice of base layer: romaine, spinach and a mixed leaves (mache) salad. And that's where the comparison ends.
The salad bar is immaculately clean, and doted upon by an employee who is checking temperatures and just keeping everything in its place. You have a huge choice of toppings: veggies, fruit, tofu, each looking more photogenic and beautiful than the next. Things like artichokes hearts and beets are there, looking dry of oil or pickling stuff, a nice touch. Unusual things like hearts of palm, seawood, and edamame sit next to cottage cheese.
The mundane stuff is ready for its close up too: they have what must be the most gorgeous peas and broccoli. The fried tofu, studded with black sesame seeds, looks so luscious and delicious (but sadly, its not crunchy and just tastes like tofu—really, just put it at the bottom of the bowl or package so it can absorb your dressing). Even the fruit salad has an inner glow, and the strawberries actually taste like strawberries.
They also have prepared salads, like caesar, egg salad, and something that looks suspiciously like tuna salad.
And they also have a nice collection of veggie and vegan dressings, and vinegars & oil if you'd prefer to mix it up yourself.
The hot foods give you an amazing variety for a meal, including meat items and a lot of soups. Everything has an ingredient list, which is really nice for those of us who are compulsive ingredient list readers. On the day I visited, they had everything from sushi to mac-n-cheese to rice, beans and tostones, to pizza. There's a good selection of vegan and vegetarian options too.
It's not cheap. But it sure is good.
downtown salad bars, Restaurants Downtown
Posted at March 02, 2007 * add entry to del.icio.us