I am grateful for Whole Foods, with all its quirks and idiosyncrasies.
But I never—never!—want to linger (especially if I'm in one of the New York City locations). When I'm in there, I'm a secret agent: My goal is to get in and out as fast as possible—to enter that strange alternate food universe and emerge unscathed and, hopefully, holding a reusable grocery bag of the items I came in for.
But what thwarts my mission? The traffic jam by the salad bar.
Around lunch time, the area surrounding it becomes so frenetic, you have to elbow your way to the cubed tofu. If you're not careful, you'll wipe out on a rogue Kalamata. Someone might "accidentally" step on you.
It's like Black Friday, every single day at noon.
But even though this very website has a wealth of information about how very possible it is to make happy bring-to-work lunches, some days I can't stay away from the tubs of foods in various states of preparation: For some workday lunches, I need a little help from
my friends the salad bar.
So how do I get in and out fast, making sure to take advantage of the bounty while avoiding unnecessary cost, time, sweat, and tears?
Instead of making an entire salad, I buy a few constituent ingredients; once I'm back at the office for lunch, I combine them with what I managed to bring from my apartment.
Do you have salad bar strategies? Share your tactics in the comments below.