The latest Mother's Market had a soft opening this past weekend, and thank God for that: The proposed mother ship of O.C.'s O.G. hippy-dippy eco-food industry has a lot of work to do.
I visited late Sunday, jonesing for some munchies. The deli portion of the place won't be finished until its grand opening in a couple of weeks--fine, but they've had over a year to open the place; why the delays? It's twice as big as Mother's' other markets, with an over-emphasis on vitamin pills--SanTana needs more produce than remedies, and the aisle for fresh veggies and fruits is shockingly small. Prices are a bit much, but such is the burden of eating healthy in this modern world.
Here's the clincher, though: I finally decided on some chili almonds for my snack. I've grabbed a bag at Mother's Costa Mesa and Irvine locations before with no problem and overworked salivary glands, so toasty and spicy and nutsy they are. In SanTana's spot, they were horrible: bland, stale, disgusting. When milady asked for a refund, not only did it take about 10 minutes for three workers to make a decision about it (while a long line formed behind us and with no other registers open), but they also made us pay $3 more when they said we could get a replacement bag of pine nuts (no cash refunds)! North and Central County: go to Mother's only for its deli, which I'll return to try. Otherwise, get your goods at farmer's markets--cheaper, and with a much-friendlier atmosphere.
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Final point: the music? Salsa and merengue. Mother's: we're in SanTana, not pinche Miami. I'm not even asking for norteño or banda--play some Grateful Dead like the quasi-racist Corner Bakery across the parking lot does.