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Whole Foods

Is it me or does everything Whole Foods prepares in-house taste terrible. Don't get me wrong, I love having Whole Foods in the neighborhood and enjoy their salad bar from time to time and some of their soups, but every time I pick up food to-go, it is either spoiled like yesterdays green gazpacho or it is just inedible like the meatloaf. Am I missing something? Can someone tell me something they make that is to die for so next time I can try it? If not, maybe there's somewhere else Uptown that I don't know about that specializes in good take out meals.

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  1. I get things there occasionally and they've mostly been good, but recently I had something that looked good and then had no taste--can't remember what. Anyway, Langenstein's is known for really good prepared foods, so you might want to try there. I love the Better Cheddar; I think it has some hidden addictive ingredient.

    1. I agree. It's artfully displayed, but has no flavor. Even the deli sandwiches are tasteless.

      1. Just steps away from Whole Foods Arabella is Chez Nous Charcuterie, which has been offering takeout meals for years and years. Find it online at http://www.gotocheznous.com/ Quality is good, and you can get large-volume catering through Chez Nous as well.

        Back on the subject of Whole Foods' prepared items, I do buy the pizza from time to time...

        7 Replies
        1. re: Hungry Celeste

          That's a great rec. I pass that place every day and never peeked inside. I will give Chez Nous a try next time. Thanks and I always forget about Langenstein's. Are any of their prepared meals better than others?

          1. re: shanefink

            I've heard that the stuffed peppers are good, but I haven't tried anything at Langenstein's myself. The next time I'm tempted to go to WF for anything but mac and cheese [I really like WF's mac and cheese], I'm just going to Langenstein's instead.

            1. re: shanefink

              I get the chicken salad and the tuna salad from Langensteins...their corn and crawfish(crab) soup is awesome..I get their red beans and a little more spice but they are very good...everything I have had there is good for the price and already prepared foods

              1. re: localfoodie

                I like the grillades and grits from Langensteins

                1. re: roro1831

                  OK, so I went and picked up the stuffed mirliton. It was tasty. I would have liked a little more merliton for the amount of stuffing, but at least it tasted good.
                  BTW, as for Whole Foods' pizza, we bought their pizza dough the other day and made our own pizzas at home. It turned out pretty good, with Whole Foods bottled pizza sauce.

                  1. re: shanefink

                    where did you find their pizza dough? is it in the freezer section or can you get it fresh at the pizza counter? i have thought about buying it there on numerous occasions, but always seem to forget.

                    1. re: latasche

                      It wasn't frozen. My wife got it, I think at the pizza counter. We got two and rolled out one very thin and one thick. The thin one came out much better on the bottom rack in the oven at 475.

          2. I've tried and tried the prepared foods at WF but I just had to give it up...not even the soups have any taste...

            1. All their food needs "doctoring" to the point where you may as well make it yourself. Cakes/desserts look better than they taste. The beef is rarely marbled and therefore neither very flavorful nor particularly tender. Even the wagyu was nothing special. I do however, like WF for specialty items,fresh flowers, cheeses, fish, clams and mussels. Ciabatta and rustic Italian bread are good.

              2 Replies
              1. re: JazzyB

                Ha--this just goes to show how subjective tastes really are: I like the flavor & texture of their lean, grass-fed beef quite a bit, but I find the whole seafood case mostly a joke. Sky-high prices, lots of flown-in merchandise, and nothing that can't be had fresher & cheaper at Hong Kong Market or a seafood-only vendor elsewhere in town. I always walk by the case and wonder who is paying $22/lb for tuna that's sold at Hong Kong market for $8.99/lb. (Sometimes $6.99/lb when Rouses's puts it on sale.)

                Hong Kong
                7605 Westbank Expy, Marrero, LA 70072

                1. re: Hungry Celeste

                  I shop the yellow (sale) tags when looking for fish in WF b/c the prices can be ridiculous. I don't trust Rouse's freshness for mussels/clams. Often the shells are opening. While they have some nice fish, their seafood people " butcher" it when cutting or removing skin. Dorignacs does a nice job. I pick up shrimp/jumbo lump from Schaeffer and Rucich. Going to Hong Kong market is a pain. I'd rather pay extra than go to the WB. My trips are usually limited to when my ingredient supply runs low.

                  Hong Kong
                  7605 Westbank Expy, Marrero, LA 70072

              2. I have had hit or miss a every grocery that has prepared food (Dorignac's, WF's, Langenstein's, Robert's, Rouse's etc) You have to pick and choose IMO, and of course taste is so individual.

                Whole Foods has very good prepared Pizza, Emerald Kale salad, guacamole, pico de gallo,miso soup, mock chicken salad to name a few. You can request a taste of an item in the prepared foods area (where the big food cases are) Before you buy, and there are usually tiny cups to taste the soups in the soup area....If not ask, they will accomodate you. Most of the desserts are served in single serve or slices so you can try it without buying a whole cake. I like their desserts. The breads are fresh as well.
                I would return an item if it was spoiled (there or where ever I purchased it)

                Langenstein's has good potato salad, waldorf salad, stuffed mirliton, eggplant, old school shrimp salad....

                1. Langenstein's definitely has INCREDIBLE prepared food! I love the crab cakes and fettuccine alfredo (so rich and probably awful for you, but delicious and worth it). Generally the Tofu dishes from Whole Foods are pretty good and the brisket is respectable.

                  1. It's not you. I've found almost all of the prepared food that I've tried to be pretty bland, with more visual appeal than flavor. I do buy the rotisserie chickens once in a while.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: nomadchowwoman

                      Believe it or not, the rotisserie chicken at Sam's Club is 10 times better.

                      1. re: shanefink

                        I completely agree about the chicken at Sam's. I also agree for the most part about the rest of the prepared foods at WF. I do enjoy some of the prepared stuff, mainly the tomato basil soup, pizza and tuna and chicken salads. However, I find that these items are not always consistently prepared.

                        1. re: latasche

                          Forgot about the chicken salad, which my husband loves. And the one time I had a slice of pizza, it was pretty good as I recall.

                    2. Heh, I was there this morning (had to go up to find some specific spices, which I actually was able to get in bulk, very cheap! But anyway, I was tempted by a few prepared food and the memory of this thread kept me on the straight and narrow... I did get some of their smoked chicken salad, I've had that before and it was tasty.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: noradeirdre

                        Like I said in my earlier post, ask for taste if you are interested in something. They will probably offer before you ask.....It's interesting how individual we all are, if I really wanted to try something, I personally wouldn't be influenced by a food forum no matter what. It can be a good general guide of course, but I don't think it would sway me.

                      2. welll...with something as subjective as taste and as varied as an entire store/department's inventory, im not sure there can truly be consensus on whether its any "good" or not. :)

                        i love their crab & squash soup. and shrimp curry soup.

                        i really enjoy the General Mao's Mock Chicken dish, or whatever its called.

                        one time i did have spoiled snow crab, and another time burned soup -- but they gladly replaced both on my next visit based on only my word.

                        ...in general i find the "production values" of WF's prepared meals to be better than say Rouse's. plus, i know its free of unhealthy fillers such as hydrogenated oil, which i know for a fact fills many of Rouse's dishes. using natural ingredients is more expensive than cheaper fillers, so one pays a bit more. i dont want to spend more, but i dont want to eat processed ingredients even more :)

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: kibbles

                          To me that's the problem w/most WF prepared food: while it's natural, cooked in better oils, mostly free of "fillers" and "processed" ingredients, etc., and thus (understandably) more expensive, it just doesn't always taste particularly good to me. But I'm no fan of the prepared food at Rouse's or Robert's, or, with a very few exceptions, even that of Langenstein's or Dorignac's.
                          But, yeah, taste is very individual.
                          Suzy Wong is right: taste before buying at WF; they're great about that--as they are about refunding your money if you're unsatisfied.

                        2. I'm a Whole Foods junkie. I mostly buy groceries, though - veggies, cheese, meat and wine - you can't get a better selection under one roof.

                          1. What about Fresh Market. Is there a FM in NOLA. I have been to WF a few times and I was satisfied but I don't go that much. I go to the FM in Jackson, MS and Memphis, TN and find them both to be outstanding.

                            3 Replies
                              1. re: Littleman

                                I wish there was a Fresh Market in NO. I shopped there in south Florida when I lived there post-Katrina for a few months. It was fantastic!

                                Does anyone have any info on Jack and Jake's Market? It's set to open in the big brick building at Earhart and Carrollton. They have a website, but I was wondering whether anyone had the inside scoop.

                                1. re: latasche

                                  Whole Foods take-out faves: all the chicken salads; turkey enchiladas; chicken picatta/cutlet; Cajun caviar (blackeye pea salad); grilled salmon; chilled fettucine salad with roasted tomatoes and pine nuts; and the sushi isn't bad for take-out.

                              2. No, your observations are correct. I suppose it depends on one's standards of acceptable food. For me, the stuff looks like garbage and tastes the same. I tried it a few years ago and have never tried it again. However, I walk buy the counter once a week while shopping and it still all looks like garbage.

                                9 Replies
                                1. re: Ray2

                                  the entire prepped food section's offerings all look like garbage? how do you mean?

                                  1. re: kibbles

                                    My opinion is not that the food looks bad, Ray2. I think some of the stuff looks pretty good, then I buy it, bring it home and it tastes terrible. I feel duped. It makes me hesitant to try anything new there.

                                    1. re: shanefink

                                      re Whole Foods....Apparently I need to repeat this, ASK for a sample of what you are interested in, and they will gladly give you a taste....If you don't like it, don't purchase it....

                                      1. re: Suzy Wong

                                        Most of the items in the prepared foods case are intended to be eaten hot...I'd think a taste of cold mashed potatoes or roasted brussel sprouts wouldn't be much of a selling point.

                                        1. re: Hungry Celeste

                                          i dunno, i can taste "goodness" in my mother's mashed potatoes even in the fridge. certainly enough to know whether its crap or not.

                                          my favorite dish from the counter ive only eaten cold -- chinese tofu chicken w/ broccoli and sauce (General Mao's Mock Chicken i think). id imagine its supposed to be hot but i love it cold. few other dishes i sample and get there, too.

                                          i just find it hard to believe the entire prep food section is all bad, and theres absolutely no way to determine this prior to getting it home. thats a lot to swallow!

                                          1. re: Hungry Celeste

                                            We all have our "opinions" and we know what those are like....Heating something doesn't drastically change the taste from food that is already cooked. It may not be exactly like the heated item but it gives a general idea.

                                            My suggestion was intended for the one or two people/posters who find Whole Foods prepared food vile, it gives them an option as opposed to having zero idea of what an item tastes like...but taste or not it appears their minds are already made up.

                                            1. re: Suzy Wong

                                              I suppose you are right, but I never think to ask them to hand me a bite's worth of meatloaf or a sliver of the baked chicken. Some things I can see asking a sample of like cous cous, but I just feel like there should be higher expectations for a company like that. I will try the Mock Chicken next time. It's not that my mind's made up, I have literally tried ten different things there and not one of them have been good. The pizza is decent, the soups are okay and the salad bar is nice (but expensive). Even the breads are subpar. Have you ever had the olive bread? There's about five kalamati olives in the whole loaf. All I'm asking is for them to step it up a notch, maybe hire some new corporate chefs. I want it to be great because it's right down the block from me.

                                              1. re: shanefink

                                                Better to ask for a bite than buying a bunch of food that arrives home and isn't wanted....I have had some of their breads but not the olive that I can remember....Not much is reasonable anymore and organic or certain foods are always going to be higher....A lot of people love Wholoe Foods, maybe a lot don't. Perhaps it's just not your taste. Not everybody likes the same restaurant. I see it on the forums all the time, What one person raves about another is repelled by. Everybody is never going to agree on all the same places, food or things....Langenstein's has good prepared foods....IMO it's a pick and choose no matter the store.

                                                1. re: shanefink

                                                  i actually think their cheese pizza is better than 95% of the pizza found in the city. tho my new favorite easy-coast style is Pizza Delicious in bywater, its the real deal.

                                                  also a fan of the butternut squash & crab soup. but i did notice about a year ago they changed the recipe a bit, has more sherry or clove or something now.