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Aug 7, 2008 06:41 PM

El Segundo Whole Foods

Visited this store location the other day to get groceries and was quite impressed by this new superstore of costly chow retail. Seemingly combining the food court/grocery store model, they had a number of in-store restaurants and a baffling array of casual dining options including a taqueria, an Asian place, a sandwich deli and an in-store meat smoker. It looked like you get get seafood items grilled and made into meals too, although I didn't fully check it out.

It's surprisingly, pleasantly uncrowded in there, at least compared to the zoo on National. But, maybe there's a reason...Has anybody eaten at this location? What did you have, and was it good?

BTW-It looks like across the parking lot, they're opening up a "Counter" burger place as well.

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  1. I ate there once. The food was OK. Got the cheese quesadillas for my son, and the fried tempura over brown rice for myself. A lot of food, but nothing special.

    Waiting anxiously for the counter to open to see what the fuzz is about...

    1. My boss eats lunch there pretty much everyday... So I've eaten there TONS...

      I don't like any of the foods that the 'stations' have, believe it or not, the gems are in the steam table...

      Their Mexican stuff is not good, but they have a great cheddar onion biscuit... YUM!! I like their chicken from the brazillian island... also they have super yummy kale. The Isreali Couscous salad and green bean salad is yummy. They have a great indian curry chicken too...

      For dessert, I LOVE their rice puddings... The brown rice is super yummy and my boss got me the Mango Jasmine one when I had my wisdom teeth out! delish too...

      We are eagerly awaiting the counter too... the wait at the SM one is just too much... And P. recently wrote a great write up on Veggie Grill (Which I need to return to try their Sweet Potato Chili Fries!)



      3 Replies
      1. re: Dommy


        They're opening a Counter in the Marina next to the California Pizza Kitchen. It's in the Pier One location.

        1. re: mar52

          Thanks mar! I had no idea! Dangerous having those milkshakes so close by...


        2. re: Dommy

          i also like many of the preprepared salads that are in the refrigerated deli counter.

        3. If you live far from the airport and need to arrive days!!! ahead of your flight time, the El Segundo Whole Foods is a nice waiting place.

          We enjoyed some bread and cheese outside one afternoon while waiting for our later afternoon flight; it was quite pleasant - and surely better than trying to pass time in the airport!

          1 Reply
          1. re: liu

            We did that one time last year before our Switzerland trip. We stocked up on some raw nuts and fruit leathers for snack during the trip.

            The hot food counters are Ok for lunch, but by dinner time they don't look too appetizing (food sat there for too long?), so that's why we opted for the station.

            This branch has a pretty good selection of Belgian beer, btw, including some of the belgian style beer glasses.

          2. Checking back in on this thread as I had opportunity to eat lunch there the other day. As you guys have said, it wasn't all that.

            I think my own poor choices didn't help. I went to the smoked-meat station, where they offer a full BBQ menu, and ordered the pulled pork. I could smell meat being smoked on the premises and looked forward to a Carolina-style sandwich with vinegar BBQ sauce and coleslaw.

            Whole foods does an excellent job of convincing us we can save the planet by paying too much for food, and that adding appropriate adjectives to our sustenance—local, organic, sustainable, etc.—somehow makes it more yummy. Sometimes they're right. Unfortunately, sometimes when you gourmet-up something, you just end up ruining it. The meat was excellent: smoky chunks of pork (pulled pork should actually be shredded, but that's a minor point). The bread was all wrong though, and it came with spinach and tomato slices (which I could have refused, and should have). The sauce was cloyingly sweet and sticky. Accompanying fries were baked, wrinkly and oddly colored, possibly from a high-falutin' potato variety my plebian palate could not appreciate.

            In short, it would be the sort of thing I'd expect if I'd ordered a pulled pork sandwich in the "sports bar" of an airport Hilton. On the plus side, portion was generous.

            Not a quick learner, I may return to check out the pasta bar and the Brazilian chicken Dommy! mentioned. Meanwhile, I can recommend the smoked-food station only for the meat itself. Oh well!

            1. Whenever I have been (3pm to late evening) it has been reasonably well-crowded, but most of the in-store restaurants are completely deserted except for 2 employees at each site washing things. Either they do huge lunch business or they are essentially space/employee loss-leaders.

              And the food doesn't look so great from the side either... which leads me to: Whole Foods has always been peddling *hideous* looking supermarket sushi. How can they try to pass it off at an even more high-end location like this? I mean very dark *dull*-brown (not deep-red) tuna for 35$/lb... and the ahi being sold from the seafood counter was about the same price and appearance. The 10$/lb ground beef... organic or not, was mostly a pretty sickly color too. WF might have some good products, but I don't like being openly treated as a sucker.

              That said I got some good heirloom tomatoes and cheeses. But most the stuff there would be also be available at a regular whole foods... just not distributed more confusingly about the giant emporium.

              2 Replies
                1. re: theonceler

                  the item for which i need whole foods the most is the valrhonna cocoa powder that they carry in their specialty foods area.
                  the only prepared foods of theirs that i like can be found in the deli counter toward the front of the store on the east side.