New York, New York
September 29, 2003
PCC, which has been around for over 50 years, claims it’s the largest natural-foods co-op in the U.S. Anybody can shop here, though members ($60 for a lifetime membership) enjoy special perks such as discounts on products and classes. Like a smaller, more down-home, and less overwhelming predecessor to Whole Foods, PCC features organic produce, bulk grains, fancy prepared foods, and the like. Specialty items such as organic cotton and wool socks, natural pet foods, and books on cooking, holistic medicines, and "healing juices" all caught my eye.
For a relatively small grocery store, the beer and wine sections are impressive: you can find anything from your straighforward imports (Guinness, Bass) and American beers (Sam Adams) to esoteric Northwest microbrews like Wild Salmon Organic Pale Ale (from the Fish Brewing Company of Olympia), Scape Goat Pale Ale (from Missoula’s Big Sky Brewing Company), and Nightwatch Dark Amber Ale (from Seattle’s own Maritime Pacific Brewing Company). The wine section, although not nearly as entertaining to peruse, is divided into sections labeled New World, Old World, Southern Hemisphere, and so on. I found a decent Lan Crianza 1998 rioja for around $12 here.
Deli offerings vary, but on the day I visited, prepared foods included edamame salad, roasted yam and artichoke salad, Asian cappellini, tabouli, Thai peanut pasta salad, and at least seven different tofu dishes, including tandoori tofu, lemon-basil tofu, Southwest tofu, orange-sage tofu, and marinated tofu a la Japonaise. Other quick meals-to-go options ranged from fresh Cucina Fresca pastas and whole-roasted free-range chickens to vegetarian quiches, vegan Tofurky sandwiches made with "veganise" (just $2.83!), and PCC’s own hummus, artichoke dip, cashew spread, and artichoke/roasted pepper tapenade. For a super-quick lunch, just head to the soup bar and grab some artisanal bread made by the Essential Baking Company.
If you need party snacks or cocktail accompaniments, make a beeline for the gourmet olive bar, conveniently located right beside the cheese section. To finish off your meal, don’t miss the decadent desserts supplied by Paris Gourmet (try the strawberry-rhubarb tart, carrot cake, or truffle ganache). PCC even sells cut flowers and houseplants, should you need a hostess gift or a bouquet to adorn your table.
Even more amusing than the clever microbrewery labels or the prospect of pampering my feet with organic socks was the water machine (the likes of which I’d never before seen). This contraption spews out H2O free of chlorine, lead, fluoride, sodium, and other nasties at the bargain rate of 45 cents per gallon (BYO container). Only in Seattle!
From journal Veg-Friendly Seattle