Whole Foods Market: 230 Bay Place in Oakland
Cost: $9.78 (bacon cheeseburger, fries included)
Image Source: blogger's own
When I first stumbled upon Lake Merritt in Oakland by coincidence, I sensed an immediate bond and attraction which led me to select three different corners of the Lake before settling on Lakeside Drive. For several years, there seemed to be a lot of talk about the Wholefoods planned for development at Lake Merritt; with the idea that the area was undergoing a positive wave of urban renewal and growth.
Just recently, this Wholefoods finally opened, and the architecture and interior design reflects a unique 'markethall' concept which is now serving as a prototype for select Wholefoods Markets. Inside, the "bistro" serves up grilled food. Of course, I had to sample their burger.
Verdict: I can sense a strong sense of Oakland pride in this Wholefoods. I can sense it from the shoppers as well as the employees. There's this very special energy in this store, that I can't quite figure out. I could sense this when the staff was preparing my burger in the open kitchen. When the burger was presented before me, I just sat at the counter gazing and respectfully admiring the assemblage of this burger composition. I took the opportunity to take the photo documentation, and then sat again at the counter to strategize my plan of attack. One couple walked by and commented something like - "That's one happy camper right over there".
The bacon might have been a little too overwhelming. Personally, I'd prefer "crispy-burnt" over "rare, chewy, and cartilage-like". When I bite into bacon, I expect impact and immediate release; preferably not impact, gnarling and stretching of meat. The experience was kind of like biting into an ear or a piece of cartilage that wouldn't break under my sharpened canines. I think I ended up swallowing the majority of the bacon in my first or second bite - which left a pig-like after taste in my mouth for the rest of the burger.
Did I mention the energy and sense of Oakland pride? There's tons of things going for this burger, and I think I might opt out on the bacon next time. When you look around the store, it seems quite possible that you could customize this burger with any possible permutation imaginable. This Whole Foods by Lake Merritt in Oakland has possibly one of the best salad-bars in the Bay Area. Why not just take the burger around the store, and load up your fixings to your desire. It definitely seems quite possible and imaginable.