Friday, September 09, 2011

holy cow, whole foods

The proximity of the new Whole Foods Foggy Bottom store to my commute is truly dangerous to my financial well-being. I already live above a very good Harris Teeter; to have a really awesome Whole Foods at the other end of my Metro ride is gilding the lily.

How do I know it's awesome? I just stopped in on my way home. I wasn't going to, because I was tired and figured it'd be mobbed, but the sunshine put me in a good mood and I figured I'd check it out. I didn't order any sushi or prepared foods, but the touch-screen kiosks for specializing your prepared foods or sushi (provided by Kaz Sushi Bistro*, says the sign) made me think I'm going to be getting a lot of sushi dinners here. The produce, shelves, and meats/seafood are as you'd expect, although the staff, outgoing and friendly and knowledgeable, reminds me more of the staff at my Whole Foods in Colorado Springs than anyone I ever encountered when I used to visit the P Street or Georgetown stores.

The olive bar has my all-time favorite olives** that only Whole Foods carries, and it always has cornichons, which are surprisingly hard to find with any regularity at other places in this town (Trader Joe's has them sometimes, but we all know how our favorite items tend to disappear from Trader Joe's; occasionally my downstair store has them, but one never knows; specialty stores are also weirdly hit or miss for me). Plus, I like the layout: the olives are by the cheeses are by the wine, but in a more navigable flow for me than P Street was. Honestly, they really crammed a lot into a smallish footprint, but if you remove the (inevitable, and given the location, inevitably student-heavy) crowds, it's really not claustrophobic.

The line system is a bit confusing: there are three areas to queue for three banks of checkouts, and there's an automated voice and sign announcing which checkout is ready, but you can go to any of the checkouts from any of the lines, so they have some people directing traffic. This has the potential to be very efficient, but right now it doesn't quite make sense (i.e., you don't go to the left-most bank from the left-most line). I mean, most of the world doesn't understand the right-of-way rules at a four-way stop sign; expecting them to get this right is really asking a lot of the typically crazed post-work grocery shopper. Or maybe that's just me.

*Warning: kind of terrible restaurant website ahead.
**I did not espy the Spanish cocktail mix that is truly, truly addictive. This is probably a good thing. Probably.

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