Whole Foods in Pasadena is one of my favorite spots to go for lunch. They have got a wonderful variety of food under one roof: pizza, hamburgers, sandwiches, rice bowls, sushi, two salad bars, soup, chinese, just to name a few. Their “food court” as I like to call it, is located upstairs on the second floor. Lately, though I’ve been frequenting the Seafood section located on the first floor. Here you can pick any fresh fish available and have them prepare it any way you like. I usually order it to go and will enjoy it in the comfort of my own office while doing a bit of work and that was my intent when I went into Whole Foods today.
As I rode up the elevator from the parking garage, I noticed a sign that announced the opening of their new Smokehouse Fusion Taqueria across from the Seafood section. Now that got my attention–as well as a group of other shoppers who were in line to give the Taqueria a try. The sweet hickory smoke that perfumed the air was enticing and beckoned me away from the Seafood counter.
It’s a three step process. First you choose what you’d like to have: Tacos, Torta, Burrito, Burrito Bowl, Sopes or Tostones. I opted for two tacos ($2 each). Then you pick your meat: Smoked Beef Brisket, Smoked Pork Shoulder, Carne Asada, Smoked Portobello, or a “World Fusion” offering: 5 Spice Pork Belly, Jerk Chicken or Korean Bulgogi. I opted for the Korean Bulgogi and the 5 Spice Pork Belly. And if you’re really hungry, you can order “double meat” for $3 extra.
Then you choose how you want to top it which is step three. You can go with traditional toppings (up to five) such as cheese, cilantro, grilled green onions, onions, pico de gallo, tomatoes, hot salsa, lettuce, pickled red onion, radishes, roasted pepper salsa, or sour cream OR you can choose up to five “World Fusion Basics”: Tropical Salsa, Kimchi, Coconut Crema, Sesame Ginger Slaw, Smoked Pepper Salsa or Seoul Soy Glaze.
I had both of my tacos topped the same way: grilled green onions, pico de gallo and sour cream. The 5 Spice Pork Belly had a subtle sweetness, was tender and full of flavor. The Korean Bulgogi was my favorite–its smokiness added another layer of flavor. I think I’m going to try this again with Kimchi for an added kick!
I don’t know if other Whole Foods feature a Smokehouse Fusion Taqueria but if they do, I’d encourage you to try it–it’s a heck of a lot tastier (and healthier) than Taco Bell or Del Taco.
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