Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Vegan MoFo Day 11: Let's Go On A Tour!!

Why hello there chickadees! As most of you know, I make many trips to Whole Foods and both the lovely Sage of Sweet and Sage and the lovely Maud of Food Feud had suggested doing a post about Whole Foods. I don't know how my WF's compares to other ones but it suits my needs very well. I am not gonna lie, I went into stealth mode trying to snap pictures of the sections I frequent in the store most...popping off shots on my (NEW AMAZING!!) iPhone so please excuse the quality and weird angles.  This doesn't cover the store even in the slightest but I figured I'd show you some of my favorite sections.  You'll notice the one I didn't take a shot of was the produce section but I assure you it is expansive!

Here we go!

This is obviously the bulk section! Look at the selection of grains, nuts, seeds, dried fruits, beans, etc.! Those red bins in the middle are where you grind your own fresh peanut or almond butter. This is where I get my raw nuts and seeds, some grains and those amazing garlic and herb cashews :)

This shelf is a completely raw section of snacks and treats. They have more raw products scattered throughout the store and the whole shelf next to it is raw flours and nuts and things like that, but obviously I'm most excited about the treats ;)

These three shelves are devoted entirely to gluten free products. As you can see there are tons of different pastas, chips, pretzels, cereals, flours, oats, soups, etc. It makes life a lot easier in a pinch!

How could I go through the store and NOT show you the giant wall of chocolate!! Bars, cups, candies...it's all there! Noms.

Check out all that hummus! Also has guacamole and fresh salsa. Mmmm!

For all you kombucha lovers, there is over half of an entire fridge case devoted just to kombucha. The other side has things like Amazake drinks and bottled smoothie type drinks.

Here is a long shot of the prepared case. Unfortunately there was no way to get around the non-vegan options they have but I DID take a few close ups of a few of the vegan options they offered today.

Buddah's Jewels..I defintely came home with one of these...it has tofu and veggies and I think some sort of grain. I don't remember but it looked good!

Balsamic roasted tofu, sweet chili grilled tempeh and Bok Choy salad. I brought home a small container of the bok choy to taste. All new things I haven't seen there before (except the balsamic tofu). There were more options but they were scattered about.

There are three "bars" right next to the prepared case. The first one is a breakfast bar in the morning and a hot bar after breakfast. The far side is always Indian food and the front side is always BBQ/American fare. The middle bar is a cold bar with pre-made salads, pasta and rice dishes, etc. The far bar is a salad bar on one side and has more prepared options on the other side. The short sides of each bar are also always stocked with yumminess.

Unfortunately I was there at the crack of dawn and the bars weren't completely stocked but I figured I'd show you the fully stocked salad bar. There is also another whole row of toppings (nuts, seeds, beans, tofu, grains, etc.) and a section of mediterranean type treats (dolmas, falafel, hummus, babaghanoush, etc.) that were not stocked yet, but trust me, it is a beautiful salad bar stocked with bright, fresh ingredients.

OK so that is the tour for now. There is SO MUCH more to show you but those are all the pics I could get for now.  The tour was part one of the post and now I'll very briefly give my thoughts on Whole Foods. I know a lot of people say negative things about Whole Foods like they are too expensive and you should support local farmers and I agree with both of these sentiments. However, my local farmer's market is tiny. There is literally one fruit stall and one veggie stall. I support them when I can but it is difficult to get everything I need when the selection is so small. When it comes to produce, my Whole Foods has the highest quality I can find in any store and I'm willing to pay for it. When it comes to fresh ingredients that will effect and entire dish, I will pay for fresher ingredients. Those gorgeous avocados I post on here? They always come from Whole Foods. They also have the biggest selection of raw and gluten free ingredients I can find in one place. These make my life easier on days where I need to grab and go, especially on days where I'm out of the house from 12-15 hours working a wedding.

A lot of people around me say I'm a snob or I waste my money because I shop there. They can think that all they want but I'm not willing to compromise the quality of the ingredients for price. Food is fuel for me, whether I'm doing a grueling workout or working a long day.  Don't get me wrong, I will shop at a grocery store for less expensive staple items, but produce and specialty items will always come from Whole Foods. I just bought a bunch of fresh ingredients and am planning a bunch of delicious meals and I can't wait to post them for you!

So there you go! Hope that clears things up a bit :) I love going first thing in the morning because there aren't a lot of people there and I can take my time and explore and find new things. The only trade off is that it isn't always fully stocked but the longer you wander the more stocked it gets ;) Thanks for the suggestion Maud and Sage, this was a fun one to write!

Until tomorrow friends, have a lovely day!


  1. there isn't a whole foods very close to where i live, but i am always in awe of them when i do go there. i could spend hours just walking around and looking at all the products!

  2. I've never set foot in Whole Foods because there isn't one around here but I think I might make a special trip to one because my local stores don't have nearly the selection that Whole Foods is rumoured to have!

    Thanks for posting all the photos -- they look great.

  3. I'm so jealous, I may cry. What city is this in? I live overseas and we have nothing like WF's. That wall of kombucha!!! Just enjoy it. For me. OK?

  4. I love the hummus display too. Yum! I actually really like shopping at Whole Foods. None of the other grocery stores can compare to the selection, quality, and cleanliness. I completely agree that you get what you pay for and I'm willing to pay more for really amazing produce. I'm always tempted to get something from the hot food bars--even if I just ate!

    Great post. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and sneakily taking pictures. :)

  5. I live in Belgium - the nearest Whole Foods is in London. To say I'm jealous might be a slight understatement!

  6. Now I definitely need to make sure I go on a trip to Whole Foods soon! That hummus section seriously made me drool.

  7. Nice stealth action! Actually, your WF looks HUGE and way less crowded than the Union Square one I go to, and also better stocked and organized.
    I love that all the raw stuff is together. Ours is sort of scattered wherever.
    Nor do we have a breakfast bar or as big a bulk section. How lame.
    Good piece on your sentiments towards WF. Food is definitely something that more people should want top quality, in my opinion. If they ate better foods, they would know the difference. (That sounds really snobby too, but whatever)
    Thanks for the post, I feel like I'm sneaking around right there in your pocket...

  8. That is a State Of The Art Whole Foods. I'm sure they would be thrilled with your profile. My local WFs is always mobbed with a very annoying cross-section of humanity that makes it difficult for me to linger and appreciate anything.

  9. Awesome! I could never get great pics of our ready made case, as there are always a million people milling around, and very eager workers to fix you a box of something. I love knowing what stores offer in other states! Fantastic post, Sarah! :)

  10. Love all the shots...really captures the place.

    I shop at WF every week. I alternate between there and the local food co-op...if it makes me a snob, so be it; I just can't stand the atmosphere in most run-of-the-mill chains. I shop at my local farmers's mkt too, but the cool thing is that the WF here...don't know if it's the same elsewhere...stocks produce from local small farmers regularly...they're all clearly labeled, and some of them are even the same ones that I can buy from at the Farmers' market.

    Whole Foods is a-okay in my book!

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  12. OK, this is now the 4th time I'm typing up this reply and if doesn't go through I give up!

    Thank you all so much, I'm so glad you liked the post!

    Kimberly 1 - I do spend a long time wandering around and looking at everything and I still inevitably miss something...I find new awesome things all the time! I love that though.

    Kimberly 2 - I definitely recommend taking the trip! Make a fun day out of it, I'm sure there are other things around it you can do :) It'll be worth it I'm sure!

    Emily - Aww no don't be jealous! I'm sure there are a ton of things available to you that we can't get here that would make me jealous! If I ever am brave enough to try kombucha I'll definitely toast to you!

    Sage - Thanks, I'm glad you liked it and thanks for the suggestion! I had fun writing it! The hummus wall is amazing, especially paired with guacamole! It was originally in a different spot and I totally panicked when I went to look for it and it was gone but alas, they just made it that much better!

    Karena - Aww no don't be jealous! I've eaten in Brussels and the food was AMAZING! trust me, you definitely have lots of things that make me jealous too!

    Isobelle - Doooo iiiiit! definitely make the trip! I went to the one by the University District a few times and it was pretty nice...don't know which one is closest to you though?

    FF - Why thanks! And thanks for the post suggestion! I think I've been to the one in Union Square, isn't it 2 floors? The one I go to isn't that big but it is well organized and awesome. And it kind of was like I was sneaking you all around in my pocket right there with my phone that took all of those pics ;)

    Shen - Yes, I'm quite spoiled! The reason I go at 8am is because I can't deal with the people that shop there either. There aren't a lot of kids germing up the place but there are a lot of obnoxious, entitled people leaving their crap all over the place, having ridiculous phone conversations on speaker and being overall oblivious that there are other people around. It is so much more peaceful that early in the morning!

    Ingrid - Thanks!! There were workers around and a few random shoppers (like the guy that popped into the shot of the three salad bars) but I mainly had the place to myself. It was great but I was still all self conscious about taking pics! I am happy with what I got though :)

    Rose - Thanks! It's amazing what quality phone pics can get nowadays! We have lots of local products at our Whole Foods as well :) That is the only way I'd spend $8 on a container of kale chips...if they are locally made..and salt and vinegar flavored :X

  13. By kids germing up the place, are you talking about my kids who have literally put their mouths on the sample tongs on occasion? Yeah...that's us...I always turn them in, though, to the kitchen. I prefer shopping at WF because I just don't have TIME to get a few things here and there. I have to go somewhere I can get ALL of my food. I do get food at Wal-Mart and Kroger and the farmers market, but sometimes it's worth it to me to pay a little more for convenience. Your salad bar really does rock. Ours is so, so short and tiny.

  14. Ack! Sorry, I hope that wasn't offensive, I didn't mean it that way. I've seen adults do yucky germy things like sneezing all over everything and actually taking things off the salad bar, changing their mind and putting it back. Really!? Who does that?! I agree, it is far more convenient to get everything at one place, especially when it is high quality convenience! The salad bar is definitely awesome but inevitably suckers you in to buying lots of stuff you don't really need ;)

  15. Jenny!!!! You have some of those kids??? I was thinking of starting to digitally record all the little demons I see at WFs and all the germy things they do -- besides grabbing handfuls of food off the Salad Bar, they handle the produce and apparently a lot of them survive on the 'free' samples. Would that be a problem from your standpoint?