Monday, February 16, 2004

Ahh, lunch. The highlight of most work days (next to quittin' time, of course). Sometimes half the morning can be taken up by important discussions and negotiations about lunch, usually starting with "Did you bring your lunch today?" I brought half a lunch today--a container full of broccoli slaw with ginger vinaigrette dressing, so when Melanie and Erika asked if I wanted to go to Fresh Market with them I gladly tagged along. I wish I had grabbed the camera.

Fresh Market is exactly the kind of place I love to hate: Gorgeous, overpriced, uber-upscale, foo-foo food store scientifically designed to instill the belief that the mere act of purchasing something there is all one needs to become a better person. Fresh Market is basically a Whole Foods without the "save the planet by shopping here" message programed into the marketing mix. They do make a very tasty smoked turkey and swiss on whole wheat, and yes, it's quite fresh. But it's hard to get in and out of there with just a sandwich, because they've spent a lot of money engineering the experience to prevent that from happening. The store is wall to wall eye-candy (with a lot of real candy thrown in). The first thing you see when you walk in the front door are gobs of flowers. That achieves a swift and total deactivation of your "I'm just popping in for a sandwich" defense mechanism. Then, when you are hit with the bins full of bulk yummies, nibblies and coffees you're completely receptive to their seductions. "I haven't had sesame sticks in a long while and look, they have roasted pepper with cheese ones," or "I'm sure I would be happy if I had some freshly ground Kona blend coffee every morning. " Then there is the bakery, where crusty sourdoughs and foccacias compete for your affections with tiny works of art made from sugar, butter and food coloring. And before you can check out you must pass within sight of the wall-o-wine, which actually made me consider buying a bottle to go with my lunch before I remembered myself and my mission. Anyway, I managed to make it of there with only some spicy plantain chips and some sesame sticks (yes, the roasted pepper and cheese ones) in addition to my sandwich.

Stuff like this is why I try to make myself bring my lunch.

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