Whole Foods Co-op

   March 26, 2013 10:43 am

 

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The Whole Foods Cooperative at 1341 West 26th Street is a member-owned and controlled business combining an all-natural grocery store with a fantastic café. Amanda and I were joined by my friend Steve Anthony for dinner last night. We have all eaten at the café for lunch, but never for dinner. I was surprised by how crowded the seating area was. We looked over the menu at the counter and placed our orders. The food can be made with dairy or vegan products (if available) as well as gluten free; all you have to do is ask. A table opened up just after we ordered so we sat down and waited for our food.

whole-foods-coop_california-quesadillaSteve ordered the California Quesadilla. Most of the food is served in a large portion and this was no exception. A wheat tortilla was filled with spinach pesto, tomato slices, red onions, a creamy avocado spread, thinly sliced cucumbers, chopped artichokes, and topped with a Monterey and cheddar blend. The quesadilla was grilled to melted, piping hot perfection and it stayed that way until it was gone. Although a lot of the vegetables in the quesadilla are the same texture, the snap of the red onions and the crisp of the grilled tortilla kept it from being mushy. The artichokes had a briny flavor which added a nice salty layer to this quesadilla. The pesto and the avocado spread mixed well together and balanced everything out with a delicate creaminess.

whole-foods-coop_bean-wrapAmanda ordered the Rice & Bean Wrap. This wrap was refreshingly cool and filling. A tortilla was stuffed with black beans, brown rice, avocado spread, sour cream, fresh salsa, and a spring mix of greens. The beans and rice were perfectly cooked and seasoned. The avocado and sour cream gave it a fantastic velvety texture and cut the acidity of the salsa. Having a mix of greens instead of just chopped iceberg or romaine give it a fresh taste. Overall, the wrap was fantastically balanced and very flavorful.

whole-foods-coop_mexicali-pizzaI chose the Mexicali Pizza and Crowd Control Burger. The gluten free crust was recommended to me because of how crispy it gets while it’s baked. The crust was topped with black bean dip, taco sauce, grilled peppers/onions, pepper jack cheese, salsa, and a small pile of the mixed greens. I also ordered mine with vegan sour cream on the side. The bean dip served as the base sauce and “glues” everything else to the crust. The peppers and onions were caramelized beautifully and added tons of flavor. I like spicy foods so I typically add some hot sauce to help enhance the taco sauce. The cheese topping was chewy and gave the pizza just the right amount of salt. The crispy, gluten free crust was my favorite part. I’ll definitely be ordering my pizzas there with that crust from now on.

whole-foods-coop_crowd-control-burgerI am not a vegetarian and there isn’t much I enjoy more than a big, meaty burger, fresh off the grill. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the Crowd Control Burger didn’t leave me missing beef in the slightest. The huge lentil-walnut burger patty was placed on a sprouted sesame seed bun and topped with sliced tomatoes, red onions, an awesome Dijon mustard, ketchup, mayonnaise, the same Monterey and cheddar blend from the quesadilla, and a handful of the mixed greens. First, the bun was grilled perfectly so it was crispy on the outside but still pillow soft in the middle. The lentil and walnut combination in the patty was hearty and filling. The walnut flavor gave just a hint of sweetness and when paired with the acidic bite from the ketchup and Dijon, it was absolutely perfect. The fresh vegetables on top of the burger gave it great texture and crunch. I could easily eat this burger everyday.

All of the dishes came with pickle slices, blue corn chips, and fresh salsa. Thank you to everyone who gave the three of us such a great dinner. We will be back for sure. The store is open Monday – Saturday from 9 A.M. – 9 P.M. and Sunday from 9 A.M. – 7 P.M. The phone number to place an order is 814-456-0282.

Keep sending me your recommendations for local favorite vegetarian foods to akochirka@goerie.com or to the Beard Vs. Food Facebook.  Remember to come back and vote as well.

Until next time,

Andrew – Beard vs. Food

Co-Op Cafe & Bakery on Urbanspoon

 

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