I am taking a little trip home to NC and then NYC with the parents, and the first place we went after leaving the RDU airport was the Raleigh Whole Foods. Completely different from any Whole Foods in California, it has none of the pretense or see-and-be-seen atmosphere that I have come to associate with the west coast versions. It feels more like an organic hippy commune that raises money by selling Burt’s Bees and Patchouli oil. It feels more like home. A down home North Carolina vibe that I always miss.
It was only 10 in the morning because I had decided it would be easiest to take a red-eye from LA, but with one stop in Chicago it was a misguided choice. Fatigued but caffeinated, I went straight for the breakfast buffet to lift my spirits. I knew that they would have my regional favorites: Sausage, biscuits and gravy, and collard greens. Some necessary, belly filling soul food. I also added some variety with spicy plantains, latkas, and cooked peaches. Yum! A little Gingerade Kombucha to wash it down and I felt rejuvenated (at least partially).
What I like best about Whole Foods are the name cards that include ingredients and the source, such as the breakfast sausage that was “made with pork from Thompson Farms in Dixie, GA”. Good to know! And I can almost always find interesting ingredients like lemongrass, Kaffir lime leaves, and Buddha’s Palm (http://www.foodgal.com/2010/01/fruity-looking-fruit/).
Our next stop much later was the Seafood restaurant at the Raleigh farmer’s market where we grabbed some cold boiled shrimp to take the edge off. With some hushpuppies, coleslaw, and thick sliced crescent fries it was a simple but delicious down home treat. I have missed fresh east coast seafood served with carbs in a styrofoam container. Highly recommended.