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Oct 9, 2007 11:17 AM

Whole Foods in Aventura

Anyone been lately? I was there three times last week, and the prepared foods were all over the place-no one seemed to be minding the trays. The prices also seemed higher(?), and everything I bought tasted too vinegary or sugary or both. People were also sampling like crazy, and it seemed somewhat unsanitary. I've never been a big fan of their prepared food, it always LOOKS great, but usually tastes either bland or greasy or both. Just lately, the quality seems to have slipped a bit more.

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  1. I haven't been there in a few months, but I've always had a mediocre experience at that location. The Plantation store seems to be a bit better, and the one in Coral Springs is hit-or-miss (their sammies are usually a good bet.)

    Speaking of sandwiches, I once ordered one of their veggie numbers and was inattentively watching as the counter man carved an inch-thick slice of gouda, but I didn't realize that it was going intact into my Tuscan Heartattack Panino until I took a bite.

    I love gouda as much as anyone, but I can't eat an entire wheel in one sitting... ;)

    1 Reply
    1. re: Semprini

      Funny-One of the items I ordered was a 'grilled' veggie wrap, and the veggies did not appear to be grilled. Everything had no taste-the mushrooms, eggplant, 'roasted' peppers (which were obviously from a can-maybe the whole thing was from a can?), mozzarella tasted like wet sponge. All dripping with a 'balsamic vinaigrette' that was pure vinegar.

    2. The new Whole Foods on Sunset Place is sooooo much better. I went crazy with their seafood last week.

      1 Reply
      1. re: yomyb

        Their seafood section is good. The prepared foods I've gotten there suffer from the same disease as the Aventura store's: looks good, tastes bland.

        One thing I did get, and I'm glad they carry it, is skate. Palladio was the only place in Miami that I could get it. Was bummed when they closed but I guess this WF has taken the torch and run with it.

      2. I like Fresh Market much much better than whole foods...

        12 Replies
        1. re: Lu612

          I shop at Whole Foods in Aventura, and their fish is the freshest in the area. Just made chicken from there this evening and it was fresh and good. I don't buy any of their prepared foods, GREASY,is the only way to describe them. I live in the area, and they are much better than Fresh Market for fresh meat, poultry and fish.

          1. re: Lu612

            We go to the Fresh Market in Coconut Grove only because of location... but I'm very peeved that they use partially hydrogenated oils in their prepared foods and bakery items. So we don't buy in those sections.

            We've heard they are opening a Whole Foods in Coral Gables. I'm hoping the Sunset Place location isn't the one we heard of? That's pretty far for us. :(

            Once there is a location closer, we will DEFINITELY switch over.

            1. re: LauraFL

              Whole Foods in the Gables is open and it's directly across from what I still call the Bakery Center (Red Road just E of US1). I visited last week after being told by several folks I know that it is a foodie's paradise. Nice seafood selection (several varieties of shrimp including some Key West pinks, some unusual fish like branzino); typical nice looking Whole Foods meat case; pretty nice selection of cheeses; some hard-to-find items like real caviar; tons of prepared foods. I'd say that literally almost 1/3 or more of the space is dedicated to salad bar / buffet / prepared foods case. I was somewhat disappointed in the veggies and fruit, which you would think ought to be the highlight of the place. Norman Brothers has a MUCH broader selection. Also appears to be little effort to obtain local produce.

              1. re: Frodnesor

                I believe the strategy at WF is to sell more and more prepared foods-their store in NYC at Columbus Circle has something like 10,000 SF of take-out stuff. It's funny that they tout fresh and organic, but their prepared foods taste like mush. Perhaps it takes more than 'organic' to taste good. Or perhaps they are using sub-par ingredients in their prepared foods? Also, when you wander into WF next time, notice how the produce section seems uncrowded? Really strange-while the prepared foods section is packed. Maybe they have the right strategy after all?

                1. re: Miami Danny

                  I think you've hit the nail on the head. They make the prepared food section look pretty by putting stews and such in copper pots. But they have no flavor. Everything we got the first time lacked seasoning and depth of flavor. Everything except the cupcakes (which are from a local bakery in Ft. Lauderdale). Those were extremely good (big, moist but not mushy).

                2. re: Frodnesor

                  Ugh, yes, that's Sunset Place. Confusing to me because we call that South Miami? I've never thought of that area as Coral Gables.

                  1. re: LauraFL

                    Portions of the border of Coral Gables cross over to the other side of US1 there, though I'm not really sure whether that particular spot is Gables of South Miami.

                    Edited to add - the Whole Foods does have its own self-contained parking garage which - once you get through the traffic - makes it pretty easy to get in and out of the store itself.

                3. re: Lu612

                  I used to shop at the Fresh Market in Coconut Grove and IMHO, the Whole Foods in Sunset is far superior. Many times I found expired products at FM and their baked goods do have High Fructose Corn Syrup, hydrogenated oils and about a hundred ingredients. The produce is nice but the rest is not great.

                  They are both super far from me, but if I am to go south, I'd leave my money at WF or Norman Brothers (I know they are not that close to each other to people who live in that area, but when you are traveling from SoBe, it makes little difference LOL)

                  1. re: yomyb

                    The problem with Fresh Market, is that they are not a natural grocer.

                4. I've been to the new one in South Miami 4 times now and i pretty much avoid the prepared foods. I have picked up a few prepared items. A whole roasted chicken (very good), a mini quiche (pretty good), 2 soups (1 very good and 1 bland) and a spring potato salad (very good). Mostly i stick to the seafood, meats, and produce. i also thought the seafood looked excellent. The whole fish they had on display looked very fresh and the Key West shrimp and the scallops i bought were definately fresh. The meats are great too. I love the variety of sausages they have as well as some harder to find cuts of beef and lamb.

                  I try and stick to items on sale... the prices are very high on regularly priced items.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: sprmario

                    I've been shopping at Whole Foods Aventura since it opened. I was a Unicorn shopper for years and went with the flow. Their poultry/meat/fish is top notch, especially when you've become friendly with the counter people. They are very helpful and very nice. It always amazes me when I stop in there a couple of times a week, how many people are buying all that prepared stuff. I've tried quite a few items over the years and would say it's mediocre at best. I think there are a lot of people who don't want to make their own food. They even sell plain cooked pasta in containers. What kind of people can't take 10 minutes to boil their own pasta?

                    1. re: pilches

                      Holy shit the Whole Foods locations in SF are terrible. We were very reliable shoppers when we lived in the Raleigh/Durham area and I've been so a bunch of great WFs around the country, but jesus the Aventura spot in particular is a nightmare. The produce is pretty bad, the selection is spotty at best, and the employees are completely worthless compared to many of the really passionate people you find working at WFs elsewhere. I'm staying away until we move somewhere else.

                      1. re: johnloomis

                        This is really sad to hear. I feel the same way. For instance, in at the Whole Foods in Winter Park, it is the coolest bunch of people that are completely dedicated to living healthy and helping you live healthy too.

                        1. re: herbage

                          Exactly herbage... I think a big part of it is to do with WFs mostly taking over established and beloved local green grocers who had deep ties to organic supply lines in the region, which is why many of the original WF locations have a great spirit and vibe around them that comes from the previous business and relationships. The SF ones are brand new and completely without this "soul." The only reason I go to WF these days is to get very specific things (my girl is ga ga over the mexican layer dip) and then get out ASAP. The last time I was there I watched two employees get in a screaming match in the front entrance of the store, causing customers to have to wait to enter while they fought.

                  2. My Whole Foods Coral Gables rant: They suck...for the simple reason they have omitted the bulk spice section from the store. Instead, they have the typical astronomically priced jars of spices, and a limited selection of bulk packs in ridiculously sized containers. Who needs a pint of oregano? I like to buy in bulk because it is only my wife and I at home, and spices go bad before we can use them if we have to buy a whole bottle.

                    Also, a little upset that the cashier couldn't identify our produce. She tried...rang up turnip as daikon. When I brought this to her attention, she voided it and then rang them up as radishes. God help them. It appears her code lookup book doesn't have pictures. That may be helpful.