I don’t like to explore Irvine too much. Besides the train station, my gym, two shopping centers and a handful of other places, Irvine gets pretty confusing. Most of the buildings look alike which makes navigating by landmarks difficult. And nothing looks older than 1980.
Irvine is a preplanned town. It’s unfortunate that the developers couldn’t forsee an efficient transportation system besides buses. I could easily imagine a light rail system between the pseudo-cities of mega building structures. Parking is almost never free unless validated or the company pays for your monthly parking pass.
Among one exception to lack of Irvine exploration is Wholesome Choice. I liken Wholesome Choice to Whole Foods market somewhat. A lot of fresh, natural foods but with an exotic flair and easy on the wallet. First and foremost, Wholesome Choice is a upscale Persian market nestled about a mile from UC Irvine on Culver Blvd., it’s always a hub of activity. One step through the door and the immediate smell is of sandak (seeded flatbread) hits your nose. But one of my main reasons for going to Wholesome Choice is their hearty Persian fare: chicken barg.
Persian food is predominately cooked on skewers. Chicken barg is not expection. Chicken pieces marinated in what tastes like lemon juice accompanies a basmati rice and roasted tomatoes. For added flavoring, ground sumac is available at the counter upon request. Sumac, when sprinkled liberally over the rice adds a tart flavoring. In Turkey and Iran, it is a common condiment. The meal, as well as any other dish available here, is plentiful and can easily feed two hungry people. Other Persian fare include ground marinated chicken formed into chunks, beef, meatballs, rice and stews. Wait time for skewered food can take a while but worth it.
The food court in the middle of the grocery store doesn’t only serve Persian food. Counters specializing in Thai, Indian, Chinese, Greek and sandwiches are also available along with a salad bar and pastry counter. The choices are endless!