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The Boulevard of Natural Foods

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Natural-food markets are handy places to shop even if kelp, mugwort and tempeh cutlets are not high priorities.

At Erewhon, in its new larger quarters on Beverly Boulevard just east of Fairfax, you can stock up on pasta sauces, spinach fettuccine, extra-virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar and fresh basil along with rarefied items such as watermelon concentrate, a health product from Japan.

What you can’t get is red meat and products made with refined sugars. Erewhon has a large macrobiotic section and an impressive assortment of produce, most of it organic. “We try to promote legitimate organic products,” says manager Ted McCaskey. That includes 95% of the store’s coffee beans.

In order to be competitive, Erewhon recently cut grocery item prices by 15% and plans to feature specials in other areas.

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Erewhon is also a place to eat. At the $4.29-a-pound salad bar you might find grilled tofu and sunflower sprouts to top your greens. At the deli you can get a tofu tarragon salad, an eggless egg salad and grilled organic vegetables. You can also get miso chicken wings or chicken fajitas with blue corn tortillas. There’s a bakery too, and outdoor seating.

* Erewhon, 7660 Beverly Blvd. , Los Angeles, (213) 937-0777. Open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturday to 8 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The old Erewhon location still houses a market. Although the floor space is limited, the new Nowhere Natural Food Market is tightly packed with products that show how international the natural foods scene has become. Curry ramen from Japan, Mount Fuji mustard flavored with tamari and wasabi , pesto sauce from Italy, instant refried beans and Mexican salsas give you the idea.

The usual health-minded supplies are on hand too--there are bulk grains, non-dairy products, organic produce, vitamins and ecologically safe household supplies.

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The market has a juice bar (try the wheatgrass shots), a bakery and a deli where you can pick up Thai fettuccine with tahini -ginger dressing, brown rice salad, polenta lasagna and more.

Mark Skowronek, the manager, is promoting a country store atmosphere with lots of service. Classes, recipe sharing and a food festival are in the works.

Opened at the end of July, the market is part of a projected “block of health” that will include the Nowhere Cafe next door and a holistic health center scheduled to open in December. For the first two months, 5% of what shoppers spend at the market will go to E.C.O. (Earth Communications Office), an entertainment and communications industry environmental group.

* Nowhere Natural Food Market, 8001 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, (213) 658-6506. Open Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday to 9 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

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