Monday, January 3, 2011

Cotton Candy Goes to Whole Foods

Odd that. Or even blasphemous, right?

It started out when I learned I had four hours to burn in Chicago. I'd heard the new Lincoln Park Whole Foods is a sight to behold, a sensory overload experience for any health-conscious foodie, so I figured I'd go and get some badly-needed hand cream and see what was hopping there.

Welcome to Whole Foods, the Dino DeLaurentis production version, in Sensurround and Smell-O-Vision. It's easily the largest one I've ever been to, bright and shiny, spacious and airy. But it has something that other Whole Foods stores don't: eateries. Not just "grab 'n go" ones, but sit down stands offering everything from sushi to wine and cheese pairings, coffee to beer to gelato.

And blue plate specials. Hot dogs. Soda fountain service. This particular stand looked like a retro diner, so I checked it out more closely. It's themed, you see. And this is when my Roadtrip pulled up and Cotton Candy took over the store.

The diner area is themed after Chicago's legendary Riverview, complete with a mural featuring various rides, including the iconic Aladdin's Castle funhouse.

So you can wipe out an amusement park masterpiece, but its spirit will seek you out and show up in the most unlikely of places. Sometimes over forty years later, right between the gourmet olives and the Mrs. Meyers' cleaning products.

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