Whole Foods Market

Best Incredible Edibles, July 2008

With its two-story layout, Pasadena’s new Whole Foods Market looks like a department store but feels like a farmers’ market. Roasted nuts fi ll glass display cases like jewelry , while walls of golden beets and leafy legumes rival those at Northern California’s organic shrine, Berkeley Bowl. As for service, you are waited on, as if by concierge, at every corner you round, whether you’re looking for organic peanut butter or Belgian beers.

Star of the store: At the cheese counter, Bert Mouron peddles the most diverse selection you’ll fi nd in Los Angeles outside of a specialty shop. Choose between Cypress Grove chèvre, an artisanal from Humboldt County; LeLingot du Quercy, a soft, golden yellow goat from southwest France; and Gjetost, a semifi rm, caramelized Norwegian that tastes like toffee. The Époisses de Bourgogne, a cow’s milk variety whose rind is soaked in brandy, is so pungent, it’s the only cheese banned from the Paris Metro. But it’s legal on the Gold Line.