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Another level of food-gathering

The new Whole Foods Market is a great stop for a quick bite, and not just because of the free samples -- from chocolates to cheeses, fresh-baked sunflower loaves to black-bean hummus. Itís a different food-gathering experience altogether.

With background swing music, Utne Readers at the check-out and booth-seating at the front, itís the kind of market that we didnít know we were missing. The deli has an impressive display of takeout delicacies: saffron-yellow paella primavera ($4.59/lb.); grilled portobello mushrooms ($10.99/lb.); oriental sea bass with ginger, honey and pineapple ($14.99/lb.), and more. Plus, the smoothie counter offers an array of liquid energizers, including espresso shots (95 cents). Try "OrangeMango Madness ($3.50)," filled with chunky, organic mangoes.

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