Bacon by the pan full. (Photo: Staff)

This week, Monica and I visited the always-reliable (and usually tasty) Whole Foods breakfast bar before work. Of course, eating from a recycled paper box full of eggs, bacon and potatoes might not be the sexiest of dates a couple could have, but this utilitarian breakfast bar has saved us from skipping breakfast on more than one occasion. 

So, yeah, I’m writing about the Whole Foods breakfast bar this week. Typically, Monica heads to work between 8 and 8:30 a.m. We cook breakfast at home most days—oatmeal, eggs, whatever meat we have, some fruit or a monkey bowl—but some mornings, the zombie state is real and we need breakfast to be acquired as easily as possible. Enter Whole Foods: a beacon of convenience and options to satisfy whatever you might be craving.

A few tips to the novice: The bar is $8.99 per pound, so it’s easy to go overboard (especially if you’re like me and go heavy on potatoes). Don’t treat it like an all-you-can-eat buffet. Secondly, you CAN eat healthily at Whole Foods, but you can also eat an entire pound of bacon if you want. As an adult, that is your choice. Just because you’re eating at an “organic, sustainably cultured” (or whatever) establishment doesn’t mean that consuming a pound of bacon and waffles is healthy. I shouldn’t have to say this.

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The Whole Foods breakfast bar. (Photo: Staff)

Atmosphere/service
The breakfast bar is always busy. I’ve eaten there at all hours of the morning, and the best time is usually right at about 8 a.m. if you want a full selection. The selection dwindles closer to 10 a.m., and the last time I tried to eat at that time my breakfast was a box of eggs with the remnants of bacon past. I didn’t hate it, but it wasn’t ideal.

As you enter Whole Foods, the breakfast bar is the last serving station in the back. You grab a container and fill it with whatever they have you find appealing. The selections can surprise you sometimes. On this occasion, they had chipotle cheese grits casserole, huevos verde and tofu scramble. You’ll always find bacon, sausage, quiche, oatmeal, grits, fruit and hashbrowns. The eggs areAbbotsford Farms cage-free eggs and an acquired taste, I’ve found. I once had a job at a local hotel breakfast buffet for about two weeks. Part of my job was to make omelets cooked to order. It was a nightmare. Everybody wanted something different, using phrases like “Make it yolky” and “Remove the white part.” So I can understand why Whole Foods just makes a big container of liquid eggs instead. Cover them up with bacon or potatoes and you won’t recognize the difference. I promise.

Did I mention coffee? And smoothies? Yeah, they have those, too.

There’s always a selection of coffee. (Photo: Staff)

The food
I met Monica at Whole Foods around 8:15 a.m. and found the store relatively empty. The bar was hot and ready for us. Monica had expressed interest in having a smoothie instead of the hot bar, so she went over there while I perused the selections.

One of the employees gave me the stink eye for taking photos, but he didn’t say anything. I pretended to send texts to somebody as if I were saying, “Hey, look at what they have today at the hot bar today, Burt.” That’s not weird behavior in 2018. I started my box with eggs and added some tomatoes (I love the tomatoes) and some breakfast potatoes. Sometimes, they have Cajun potatoes, but I’ve found that a few potato wedges with salt and pepper are perfect for the morning. The hashbrowns are good, too, if you’re into potatoes like that. Bacon is always a good choice. If you dig to the bottom, you can find slices that are cooked more. I don’t like soggy bacon. I’ve never tried the sausage patties because bacon.

A “Green Goddess” smoothie and Rxbar. (Photo: Staff)

I found Monica at the coffee station. She had ordered a “Green Goddess” smoothie. It contains spinach, kale, lemon juice, apples and cucumber. She also added a shot of ginger. The smoothie is VERY green. I took a sip and felt an electric pulse through my body. My drink of choice was a Mayfly coffee. Whole Foods coffee is sometimes hit or miss, but this dark roast was as described. I’m more of a medium/light roast kind of guy in the mornings, but I didn’t realize what I was doing until the pouring had started. 

Monica had to head off to work, but she sat down with me for a few minutes. In addition to her smoothie, she ate one of those Rxbars that are allegedly just three nuts, an apple, an egg and two blueberries (I’m making this up). I can’t stomach the things, but she loves them. They’re just too dense-tasting, if that makes sense. My eggs, tomatoes and potatoes were fine. It’s a breakfast bar. If anything, I regret not getting bacon because you should always get bacon.

Eggs, potatoes and tomatoes. (Photo: Staff)

Would we go back?
Whole Foods to me is kind of what Target is to Monica. I like browsing the different sections even if I don’t have a shopping list. There’s always a new beer, cheese or artisan soap to try. I’ve also been trying different meats from the meat department lately. I made a killer potato/sausage soup this week using some turkey sausage they had. The breakfast bar is not amazing, but you’re not going to find another breakfast bar in town. They kind of hold the monopoly on breakfast hot bars (unless you want to sneak into a downtown hotel and try your luck at the complimentary buffet). We’ll be back at Whole Foods.

The opinions expressed in this column belong solely to the author, not Nooga.com or its employees.

Updated on 1/5/17 at 12:40 p.m. to correct a factual error: Whole Foods uses Abbotsford Farms cage-free eggs on the hot bar, not “powdered eggs” as previously stated.

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