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Whole Foods: Grand Opening

While my hometown had a Whole Foods, it wasn’t a place we shopped very often. When I was little, I remember it being the store that always had free samples, but as I grew older and began shopping for groceries myself, I always thought of it as the expensive store that had lots of organic and unique groceries. Despite not being a huge Whole Foods fan, I was still happy when I found out one would be opening less than 5 minutes from my apartment. I figured it would be totally worth paying the slightly higher prices to be able to run over quick to get butter or eggs when I’m in the middle of making cupcakes and run out. Plus, even if it’s more expensive than typical grocery stores, it would be better than ordering take out when I am too lazy to do a big grocery trip.

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This past Wednesday, the day of the Grand Opening finally arrived and I must say even though I waited a little over a year, it was totally worth it. This store is not the Whole Foods I remember going to as a kid or teenager. I mean yes it is on the more expensive side, but it’s a foodie paradise.

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My two favorite parts of the store are the produce section and the prepared foods section which bookend the store. The produce section has just about anything you could possibly want. They have cards throughout the department describing what different things taste like and where to use them and even mark anything that’s grown locally. I definitely will be spending some time learning about all the different types of fruits and vegetables they stock and trying them out in new recipes.

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The prepared foods section starts with an olive bar which contains just about anything you could want for an anti pasta tray. After the olive bar, there are three prepared food bars. The first is a salad bar which has everything from shredded zucchini to grilled salmon. The second is all prepared salads with both vegetarian salads like beet medleys and traditional potato salad and meat options such as chicken salad and tuna salad. The third bar has a whole row of soups on one side and then barbecue, Latin, and Indian food on the other.

FullSizeRenderFullSizeRender_2They have a section with more traditional prepared foods like sushi, made to order sandwiches, pizza, and a coffee bar. No matter what store I go to, I always spend a few minutes in the bakery section to get ideas. While Whole Foods has all the typical baked goods you’d find in a high end store, the coolest thing they have is a make your own cannoli bar. You can pick your size of shell and fill it with up to two fillings and two toppings. One of these days I’ll most likely break down, because how often can you try a lemon cannoli?

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After working up an appetite while exploring the store, I decided to get a sandwich. I ended up going with the special of the day, The Capone, which was italian style pulled pork, broccolini, and sharp provolone. It was delicious and a ton of food for $8.

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After picking up some yogurt which was a surprisingly good price for Siggi’s Icelandic Yogurt,  I settled on trying some of their prepared salads. They had a ton of options in their 2 for $6 section and I ended up with the Tomato Basil Chicken Salad and Lemon Cranberry Quinoa. The Tomato Basil Chicken Salad is the best take on chicken salad I’ve ever had. It was light and packed with chicken breast and vegetables with a great tomato basil dressing. The Lemon Cranberry Quiona was also very good and a perfect mix of sweet and refreshing flavors.FullSizeRender_4

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Just when I thought I couldn’t be more impressed with Whole Foods, I picked up their upcoming events and store map pamphlet and found out they offer a ton of free demos and classes. Classes include everything from what to make for Cinco de Mayo to what to grill this summer. I will definitely be trying out as many as I can.

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I have a feeling I will be frequenting Whole Foods a lot more than I ever imagined and not just to pick up a rare ingredient or something I ran out of.

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