First Bite

First Bite

Good Earth Natural Foods

By Ella Lawrence

Editor’s note: First Bite is a new concept in restaurant writing. This is not a go-three-times, try-everything-on-the-menu report; rather, this is a quick snapshot of a single experience.

It’s not often that a grocery store warrants a restaurant review, but Good Earth Natural Foods in Fairfax is on a different plane than any other grocery store in the North Bay. The Good Earth, located smack-dab downtown, is the kind of place where residents stop in for morning coffee, come back for lunch and do their dinner shopping daily. The covered patio out front has seven or eight mosaic-tile tables and a raised that bar faces the sunny parking lot; a score of benches interspersed with recycling tubs line the entryway into the produce department.

Customers and staff alike are shiny, happy people; health and good looks are so bountiful in the afternoon that many of my man friends have dubbed it the “titty bar” and go there to drink smoothies and ogle on breaks from their construction jobs.

The Good Earth’s deli is the cornerstone of hippie health-food dining. The deli counter blends smoothies and fresh juices ($4-$5, depending on ingredients) to such extent that an entire menu board is taken up with their titles, and tiny cups of wheatgrass juice abound.

The deli counter also rolls a mean wrap: my favorite is the Thai roll ($5.69), which beats out a burrito any day in flavor, weight and nutritional content. The roll, a whole-wheat tortilla stuffed with brown rice, baked tofu, peanut sauce and vegetables (loads of shredded carrot, beet, cucumber, cabbage and spinach), is completely organic (as is everything in the deli) and is easily enough to feed two willowy hippies or one hungry construction worker.

The real treat comes when you turn around from the deli counter: two islands (one hot, one cold) of premade delights are available by the plateful. For $7.49 a pound, diners can ladle up such dishes as cabbage salad with toasted apples and walnuts, cucumber-mango salad, sea vegetable salad (with shredded wakame, jicama and carrot) or delicious tofu-salad nori rolls.

The hot island serves breakfast in the morning (sweet polenta, scrambled eggs or tofu, breakfast potatoes) and heavier fare in the afternoon and evening. Lasagna, steamed brown rice, three or four kinds of hot soup and roasted tempeh “sausage” with rapini are just some of the choices available; selections change daily.

Finish your meal with any of the selections of spelt- or whole-wheat-based pastries sweetened with date sugar or fresh fruit. (The chocolate croissant and the ginger scone, both $2.25, are also excellent choices). And who knows, you might just meet an attractive construction worker to share your meal with.

Good Earth Natural Foods, 1966 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., Fairfax. Open daily, 9am to 8pm. 415.454.0123.

From the September 28-October 4, 2005 issue of the North Bay Bohemian.

© 2005 Metro Publishing Inc.

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