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Thursday, July 21, 2011

How To Cook Like a Pro (with a little help from Whole Foods)

A while ago I was making my often opinionated views known on Encinitas getting a Whole Foods.  Maybe it was too much wine, but I was making crazy statements like "who needs it" and "I wonder if people will shop there" and even going as far as "it's not right for Encinitas".  You know what?  Chicken butt, that's what.  Well OK, that might not make sense but basically I am suggesting that maybe I was wrong.  Yes, most definitely wrong!

North County has a lot of good places to buy food stuff, but Whole Food tops them all.  The fish counter doesn't even smell like fish, even though there are whole halibuts on ice in baskets right on front.  See them, next to the Carlsbad mussels and oysters?  Whaaaa?  Shut Up!  That's right, crazy good selection.  And the fish guys seem to know what they are talking about and don't do the Henry's Market shrug/glare/confused look when you ask them to clean a fish or fillet something.  Sure, it's expensive, but it's fresh and the guys are friendly.  There's no point in buying fish that's not fresh, right? 

As for the other stuff, the fruit actually tastes like fruit, the meat counter looks like a high def TV, and there are enough free samples to keep me happy.  And wow, the prepared food buffet looks wonderful, though be careful as more than a few stated that's it's pretty easy to fill a box up with $15 worth of food without even thinking about it since it's priced by the pound.  Back to my dinner.

I bought these weird things, salmon wrapped in cedar paper and filled with veggies.  At around $6, pretty good deal. There's a good size portion of salmon in it, restaurant size, maybe 6 or 9 oz.   Let's get a closer look.

Nice!  Let's let it sit on the grill a bit, careful not to let the paper catch on fire.  Note that the cedar paper is wet.  It was done in around 10 to 15 minutes or so, though your results may vary.  You can tell when it's done by poking the fish and seeing if it flakes.  Don't overcook it!

Steaming hot when I opened the package.  The wood paper doesn't really impart a smoky flavor, it's more to protect and steam the fish and veggies.  I added some lemon rice I also bought at Whole Foods, damn it's delicious, as well as some homemade mango salsa.  I have to tell you, this was a killer meal and I basically had to do nothing but watch the grill for a few minutes.

So Whole Foods Encinitas, I forgive you for taking a rustic part of downtown and turning it into a trendy market with condo's on top.  I'll be seeing you again soon.  And those of you who have not discovered Whole Foods yet, get in there!  It's sure to become your favorite weekend stop.


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