This past weekend, my boyfriend and I found an excuse to go to Costco. We convinced ourselves we needed more laundry detergent—but let’s be honest, we both just wanted free samples and dinner from the food court. We have a pretty standard order at said food court: a hot dog or slice of pizza, and a chocolate-and-vanilla twist fro-yo. On this trip, I noticed a change to not just my beloved fro-yo, but some of Costco’s other menu options.
First off, that fro-yo: It’s no longer available in chocolate, at least for the time being. Instead, chocolate has been replaced by açai, a purple-colored superfood berry that’s all the rage among the smoothie crowd. I observed there’s also a new açai bowl on the menu, topped with granola and fruit, for $4.99. Here’s how that addition played out in line at the food court on a Friday evening in Missoula, Montana:
Woman behind me: Wait, they got rid of the chocolate flavor?
Her husband: It’s purple now?
Her: Yeah, it’s ah-kay-ee now.
Her: And there’s an al pastor salad.
Her: But I think it’s vegetarian?
Me, to myself: What in the ever-loving hell?
Yes, Ah-kay-Ee Woman behind me is correct: There is a new al pastor salad, and it is vegetarian. AOL.com reports the al pastor “meat” is made of soy protein, and the salad is topped with black beans and “banh mi vegetables,” which appear to be shredded carrots and, inexplicably, olives. According to The Kitchn, a California location of Costco has been serving this salad for at least a year, and it appears it’s been rolled out slowly to other locations.
Ugh. I am all for eating one’s vegetables and reducing red meat consumption to help the earth, etc., etc., but I feel like there’s a quantum leap between a food court that sells chicken bakes and $1.50 hot dogs and a food court that sells açai bowls and vegan protein salads. And don’t promise al pastor when there’s none in sight? Maybe ease us in a little, Costco? A black-bean burger might help ease us into vegetarian options (although we’re not all in favor), or a Greek yogurt parfait cup could work. Anyway, I guess I’m fine with these healthier, meat-free options sneaking on to the menu, as long as you don’t dare touch my cheap hot dog-soda combo.