New Whole Foods, what should I buy?
A Whole Foods has just opened in my regular shopping area (Lynnwood, north Seattle suburb), and I was wondering what I should be looking for.
My current shopping habits include:
- I'm frugal, and do most of my cooking from scratch (but have nothing against good semi-prepared items)
- My regular purchases at Trader Joes are things like eggs, tortillas, 9grain bread, plain frozen vegetables, chocolate, beer, and 2buck chuck.
- I get most of my produce from Asian markets, at much for price as selection
- I shop Grocery Outlet
- I have browsed Whole Foods in past years without buying much
If you're frugal -- as I try to be -- you won't find much at WF. IMO everything is ridiculously overpriced and underwhelming, quality-wise. It's fun to browse but not to buy.
The only thing I'd buy from WF is their stock. The Wall Street kind, not the soup kind.
Stick with TJs and Costco for quality food at low prices. If you must jump on the organic bandwagon, try PCC. PCC is ridiculously overpriced as well, but at least they're local.
I buy almost everything at the Lynnwood branches of Costco (Business center), TJs, GO and 99 Ranch. You could also consider Central Market in either Shoreline or Mill Creek.
PCC (Edmonds Westgate area) is another one that I've browsed but not bought much (except a Kuri squash).
I'm familiar with Central, both locations. The best deals there are the bulk grains and beans.
I first shopped at Whole Foods years ago in San Francisco, when I was a student attending an academic conference. Take out from the deli counter was a good alternative to eating at a restaurant.
It'll be interesting to see how this new Whole Foods fits with the regional mix (which you neatly sumarized). Only thing you left off was HMart.
Yeah, I like both HMart and KSMart.
So just for fun today, based on your post, I went up to the new WF in Lynnwood today. As you might suspect, it was jammed and there was almost no parking.
They had a lot of sale specials, which almost brought some of the prices down to a reasonable level. Overall, most items were anywhere from twice to four times as much as the identical items at other markets.
Fresh food was heart-stoppingly expensive. Meats and cheeses were stratospherically priced, especially the non-organic stuff you can get at Costco. One idiosyncratic item that caught my eye: Smoked Black Cod at $33/lb, compared to $21/lb at Uwajimaya Bellevue (I was there today too).
This isn't a scientific random study or anything, but for the same packaged grocery shelf items, the Uwajimaya prices were anywhere from 33% to 50% lower. I know there's more to life (and shopping) than just getting the lowest price, but if I'm going to pay quadruple for something, it had better be four times better.
I continue to be Not A Fan.
I wonder if WF's carries the Graber olives in their east coast stores. I had them when I was in L.A. a year ago and they were delicious. We have a WF's opening up here in a few weeks. Man, I will be one happy chick if they carry them.
Paulj, we travel around the SE and often go to WF's for their prepared foods instead of going to a restaurant.
We usually pick up fruits and veggies while we're there but they are terribly expensive. They have a great selection of bulk granola. Specialty items, cheese, hard-to-find yogurts, etc.
If they carry them up there (I'm in the SF bay area), Vicolo cornmeal pizza crusts, unfilled. They really turn pizza into a different animal, especially if they're put on the grill. They keep for a long time in the fridge (way past the date on the pack); handy to have on hand for a quick meal or to whip up casual appetizers for guests.
I like their 365 house brand of :
--canned red salmon with skin and bones...8 ounce can $2.59 even cheaper than Wal Mart;
--canned white tuna in water -- 5 ounce can $1.49 with real solid white tuna, not mush; and
--frozen wild organic blueberries.--10 ounce bag is $3.99. (yes, you can get frozen blueberries at TJ's BUT not wild organic, at least not at the store by us which just opened). I eat blueberries about 4 times a week so that's why I choose organic on that particular food.
-- from the bulk bins their whole organic golden flaxseeds, I forget the price, but I grind it myself and eat it every single day.
--at the seafood counter, their fresh crabcakes IF they are on sale are just phenomenal.
I get Parmesan cheese rinds to add to homemade soup.
365 Brand mayonnaise and cereals.
Smoked salmon trimmings.
Deli meats, such as turkey sliced directly from the roast.
Baked goods such as cakes and tarts for special occasions; it's nice to know they are not loaded with transfats.