The god of healthy overpriced food makes Bristol Farms, Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s look like they need a reboot. If you ask any young Los Angeles resident where all their money goes, Erewhon is most likely the answer. Erewhon is a health food grocery store founded in 1968 with gorgeous fresh produce, original pantry staples, homemade sushi, breads, tonic bar and the Holy Grail — the infamous hot bar. With five locations across the Los Angeles area, if you are in town, it’s a must.
My first reaction when I walked into Erewhon was, “Wow there are so many items, I want all of it.” It can be quite overwhelming, and sometimes I just walk through the aisles to look at the gorgeous display of chips, granola and sweets. However, if you are in there for the first time, let me direct you to the hot bar. The Erewhon hot bar has everything from orange chicken and buffalo cauliflower to raw flatbread pizzas and sweet potato taquitos.
I believe the most popular items are the Japanese, buffalo cauliflower, coconut chicken tenders and the kale, white bean and avocado salad. The Japanese sweet potatoes melt in your mouth and make you never want to order the traditional sweet potatoes ever again.
As for the buffalo cauliflower everyone raves about, I have an unpopular opinion because it is honestly not my favorite; I would rather have the kung pao cauliflower. The kung pao cauliflower is coated in an amazing Chinese sauce similar to one that you would find on orange chicken.
The coconut chicken tenders are definitely a go-to for those who enjoy chicken, they’re crispy and crunchy with a coconut layer on the outside. The kale and white bean salad is the perfect combination of flavors in a salad — I don’t think this salad is ever not on my combo plate. I am a huge fan of mild dressing and this does it, but if you enjoy a heavy thick dressing, that is not what you are getting.
One of the most convenient features of Erewhon’s hot bar is how most of the items in the hot bar are pre-packaged, which comes in handy if you are in a rush.
In addition to the sushi bar, another one of my favorite parts of Erewhon is the tonic bar. The tonic bar is where all the smoothies, acai bowls, juices and shots are made. Every single smoothie I have tried has been amazing; there is not one I wouldn’t recommend. Sometimes, if it’s that kind of day, where everything is going horribly or I want to reward myself, Erewhon’s $21 ice cream from the tonic bar is my go to. Yes, you heard me right, $21, and it’s honestly the best $21 I have ever spent. The tonic bar will turn any one of their twenty two smoothies into ice cream. If you haven’t tried this, do yourself a favor and get it now.
If the three food bars weren’t enough, Erewhon has a plethora of unique foods, including the delicious cauliflower chips, beetroot puffs and green lentil macaroni noodles. They have a large variety of fresh breads including sourdough, multigrain and even a loaf with cranberries, orange zest and pecans. In addition to their own breads, Erewhon even sells Tartine Bakeries’ heavenly fresh half and full loaves of bread.
Erewhon is very convenient for those who do not enjoy cooking and like easy weekday meals. I’m a huge fan of Erewhon’s cauliflower tortillas, which are great to store in your fridge and bust out for taco night. While Erewhon is a grocery store, they strive to be as sustainable as possible. They offer pre-packaged soups and sauces in large mason jars that you can store in your fridge at home and heat up easily.
However be conscious, because once you get to the cashier your items start to add up. I walked in the other day to pick up lunch for three people and it was $64. A great way to cheat the system is when you’re ordering from the hot bar, where the price is determined by weight, and they tend to load your combo plate up to the brim; I recommend telling the workers exactly how much of each item you want because sometimes I cannot finish the whole meal. Another helpful tip is to return all the jars you purchase. Each jar return will get you $1.50 back, I know that doesn’t seem like a lot of money, but once everything adds up you will thank me.
I could honestly go on and on about everything in Erewhon’s store because I have tried almost all of it; however, that would become extremely lengthy. I am a huge fan and although many people believe it is extremely overpriced, it is completely worth it. I would choose Erewhon over a fancy dinner any day.