If you want to map out an expansive vista of tastes, set your culinary compass for the deli at New Frontiers Natural Marketplace.
The market was on Foothill Boulevard until it moved into newer and much larger digs off Los Osos Valley Road in November 2010.
Beyond the stores retail expansion, theres also a roomier seating area for patrons who want to just enjoy a cup of coffee and freshly baked muffin or tuck into a more substantial meal.
The deli alone more than doubled in space and staff, said Kari Kuwahara, the stores deli team leader. (Prior to joining New Frontiers about a year and a half ago, she had been a Central Coast resident for about 10 years before attending the Natural Gourmet Institute in New York City.)
Now that the new New Frontiers location offers much easier parking as well, the most difficult part about going to the deli is deciding what youre going have.
One of the house-made hot soups such as ham and split pea or root vegetable bisque? Something from the prepared food bar like chicken marsala, vegetable lasagna or turkey shepherds pie? A slice of pizza margherita, or some sushi, or some rotisserie chicken? Maybe a panino, or a sandwich, or a burger? A protein shake or an organic fruit smoothie?
The choices dont stop there. Theres a salad bar with about 30 items to choose from, and you can build your own wok bowl thats cooked as you wait.
Kuwahara noted that everything in the salad bar, wok bowl and juice bar areas are organic, and a lot of that produce (much of which comes from New Frontiers own Nojoqui Farms near Buellton) crosses over into other deli items.
On any given day, the sprawling array of options in the deli case might range from chicken Florentine to chili-stuffed chicken, English pea salad to Mediterranean frittata, collard green slaw to a polenta loaf with squash and cheese.
As Kuwahara pointed out, there are also many dishes tailored to specific dietary needs from gluten-free to vegan in both the deli and on the grab-and-go shelves.
Because the San Luis Obispo New Frontiers is one of five locations (theres one in Solvang and three in Arizona: Flagstaff, Prescott and Sedona), the deli specials youll see on the stores promotional flier are companywide.
However, Kuwahara explained that we have a lot of leeway here to try new things to make some seasonal items, or jump on trends that we might see in magazines and put them on as our own in-house specials.
She added that were making almost everything from scratch, a daunting task given the number of recipes.
The kitchen is at full throttle most of the day, not only prepping and making food, but also making sure that the deli cases, grab-and-gos, and the items on the food bar and salad bar are kept freshly restocked.
By the way, if you still have room for dessert, the bakery shelves will tempt you with cookies and cakes, muffins and quick breads, and maybe even a chocolate strawberry whoopee pie and vegan mocha cupcakes. New Frontiers also offers the locally produced Leo Leo Gelato if you want a frozen sweet treat.
Were not one-hundred percent local or organic, said Kuwahara, but were always trying to shift more and more in that direction.