Side Dishes: Area groceries are making market moves
Joe Adler, an assistant manager at Healthy Living , can’t get enough of the market’s “Crème Brûlée French Toast” topped with a dollop of apple crisp. It’s just one of the offerings at the store’s weekly Sunday brunch, along with breakfast burritos, scrambled eggs and tofu.
Thanks to Adler’s efforts, the food now comes with entertainment. From 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., musicians entertain diners with bluegrass, Americana and more. The Max Power Trio  are regular visitors.
Adler attests that attendees are having a great time: The music even keeps youngsters rapt while grown-ups eat. “Now the problem that I’m running into is that it’s starting to pick up, and I’m wondering where to seat everybody,” he says.
In other HL news, Nina Lesser-Goldsmith says that the Healthy Living Learning Center — which will offer “affordable, interactive cooking classes,” as well as seminars on nutrition and wellness — should launch in mid-2009.
At City Market  in downtown Burlington, there have been changes galore. The store recently expanded its café — now both warmer and quieter — and is adding a second restroom.
Other recent initiatives include reducing the cost of membership from $25 to $15 per year, and instituting a 10 percent discount for folks who qualify for food stamps or WIC through the Food for All program.
Starting January 1, City Market’s grounds will be smoke-free for both customers and employees. Marketing and Community Relations Manager Nicole L’Huillier Fenton explains: “It has been in contrast to our mission to allow smoking on the grounds. Having a healthy quality of life is something we support.”
One delicious upgrade is the new line of “signature soups” that includes chicken noodle, minestrone, seafood gumbo and tomato basil — the four bestsellers from the hot bar.
It’s been a long haul, but Hunger Mountain Co-op  in Montpelier is done with its construction. The upgrade includes a 7000-square-foot addition, new checkout lanes, better lighting and fresh insulation.
Planning is underway for a food co-op in Winooski. An eager crew got together at The Monkey House  last Friday for an initial meeting.