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New Whole Foods, what should I buy?

paulj Mar 16, 2012 10:19 AM

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

  1. a
    acgold7 Mar 16, 2012 11:53 AM

    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.

    2 Replies
    1. re: acgold7
      paulj Mar 16, 2012 12:18 PM

      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.

      1. re: paulj
        a
        acgold7 Mar 16, 2012 05:34 PM

        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.

    2. DuchessNukem Mar 16, 2012 12:03 PM

      Graber (green) olives (canned). ($6+/can but so worth it. Not like canned black olives.)

      Some interesting beer varieties at times, not cheap.

      Fresh-baked breads are tasty.

      1 Reply
      1. re: DuchessNukem
        lynnlato Mar 19, 2012 03:39 AM

        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.

      2. s
        sweethooch Mar 16, 2012 12:35 PM

        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.

        http://www.vicolopizza.com/nf_crust.htm

        1. v
          Val Mar 16, 2012 12:48 PM

          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.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Val
            fldhkybnva Nov 12, 2013 05:45 PM

            The canned sockeye with bones and skin is great as well as the no salt added canned tuna.

          2. b
            bitchincook Mar 16, 2012 12:58 PM

            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.

            1. j
              JillyLeigh Mar 16, 2012 02:18 PM

              I get their store brand of tofu often. It is the cheapest in my area (I don't have a Trader Joe's anywhere near me though....). That's about it...

              1. g
                gordeaux Mar 16, 2012 04:45 PM

                Browse the bulk section. We get organic oats, and brown rice. Other starches on occasion as well like quinoa.
                Bulk granola.
                Breakfast sausages at the meat counter. Sometimes they have some interesting ones like chicken/blueberry.
                Hopefully yours will have a bbq section where you can get smoked ribs / brisket.
                Their prices are pretty ridiculous, imo, but these are a few of the few things that I like to get there.

                1. poptart Mar 16, 2012 09:16 PM

                  Keep an eye on their sales flyers and coupons (both on websites). You can get some very good deals because they often have sales + coupons.
                  Bulk items are good quality and inexpensive. You can buy spices by the ounce and save $ by just getting what you need and not paying a lot for a whole bottle.
                  Their prices at my local store are very comparable with the Trader Joes across the street and in my experience their produce, meats, deli items, dairy and nuts etc are fresher and better quality than TJs.

                  1. v
                    virtualguthrie Mar 17, 2012 03:20 AM

                    I shop at Whole Foods mostly for gourmet or specialty items. They usually have a great cheese section, the fresh olive bar is nice, house-made sausages are good (and they're a pretty good value). Like another poster mentioned I think the house brand (365) is usually high quality and a good value. You have to be selective, I get my staples elsewhere (Trader Joe's) and go to Whole Foods for the high end products.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: virtualguthrie
                      letsindulge Mar 19, 2012 04:49 PM

                      The teriyaki-esque sausage with bits of pineapple is delicious. Bought 2 of them @ approx. $3.25.

                    2. IndyGirl Mar 18, 2012 11:19 AM

                      They are the only place by me that has some vegetarian stuff htat I eat regularly, like tempeh (I also have a TJ's very close to me). They also have a much wider selection of other vegetarian products, of which I can find a much narrower selection at TJs and other grocery stores. Also things like vegan mayo, etc. But I agree they can be expensive.

                      1. LNG212 Mar 18, 2012 01:18 PM

                        The one thing that we buy regularly at Whole Foods is half-n-half. We drink a lot of coffee and buy several quarts of 1/2n1/2 at a time. Their non-hormone 1/2n1/2 (but not organic) is the cheapest of any of the groceries in our area (Manhattan).

                        Other interesting things that I will get there if I'm short on time (it's only a block away) or if they are having a sale: their 365 brand of some chips like Stacy's pita chips or tortilla chips; their brand of hummus; their fresh bread.

                        The other two things we like to buy there but don't do very often are their soups (they always have a good selection) and the beers on tap (bring your own growler).

                        8 Replies
                        1. re: LNG212
                          goodhealthgourmet Mar 19, 2012 04:17 PM

                          do you know the price of the half & half off hand? i happen to love TJ's organic, but it only comes in pints - may not be convenient for you if you have to buy a bunch of them to keep up with your consumption.

                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                            LNG212 Mar 19, 2012 06:27 PM

                            The 365 1/2n1/2 is $2.39 for a quart (as I said it's non-hormone but not organic). That's even cheaper than Fairway; and cheaper than all the other generic type groceries around here (D'Ags, Gristedes, Associated, etc.). I haven't priced it at Trader Joe's since they aren't quite as convenient for me but if the price differential were substantial then I might go there.

                            ETA: it used to be $1.99 per quart last summer and then the price jumped substantially. But the price of quarts jumped everywhere else too. it was a real bummer.

                            1. re: LNG212
                              paulj Mar 19, 2012 06:37 PM

                              I saw cup containers of heavy cream for $1.69, the same ones that I get at TJs for $.99

                              1. re: paulj
                                a
                                acgold7 Mar 19, 2012 08:50 PM

                                And just for reference -- and not meaning as a slam to anybody -- at Costco Half & Half from our local supplier is $2.79 for a half gallon and about $1.75 by the quart. 40% Heavy Cream is about $6.95/half gallon for the UP and about $5.99 for the non-UP at the Costco Business Center, which works out to about 87 and 75 cents per cup, repsectively.

                                1. re: acgold7
                                  paulj Mar 19, 2012 09:44 PM

                                  I rarely need more than a cup of cream in a week or two.

                                  1. re: paulj
                                    a
                                    acgold7 Mar 19, 2012 09:54 PM

                                    Yeah, it takes me about a month to go through a half-gallon, which is about how long the UP stuff keeps. The non-UP stuff won't keep quite as long. Darigold claims 60 days shelf life for the UP, 20 days for the non-UP.

                                2. re: paulj
                                  LNG212 Mar 20, 2012 03:46 AM

                                  The next time I'm at Trader Joe's I will check the price of 1/2n1/2. Maybe it'll be worth it to make that part of my regular shopping trips. (My experience has also been that prices seem to vary widely regionally at many markets and so what we consider a "good deal" here isn't so much for another area of the country.)

                                  As for Costco, I won't shop there. They finally opened in Manhattan but refuse to offer delivery. Don't know what's up with that and I'm not going so far out of my way to go there w/0 the option of delivery home.

                                  1. re: LNG212
                                    c
                                    CrazyOne Mar 21, 2012 05:33 PM

                                    Dunno about you guys, but for me the increasing problem with heavy cream and now half and half too is that it's hard to find without carrageenan and possibly gums in it. Trader Joe's and Whole Foods at least both carry this. I can still find organic half and half (or sometimes another non-organic brand) without it at other stores, but WF and TJ have heavy cream without it anymore that I've been able to find here. If the cream has carrageenan, it defeats one of the reasons that I use to justify making homemade ice cream. :-)

                          2. s
                            shaebones Mar 19, 2012 01:54 AM

                            Organic milk in QUARTS. Can't find that size anywhere else. How come??

                            1. coney with everything Mar 19, 2012 05:28 AM

                              Raw milk Parmesan is my WF gotta-have. Also they have a nice harissa in a glass jar that I've not found elsewhere

                              They have the most extensive selection of (Sedro Woolley's own!) Muir Glen tomatoes

                              Here they carry Zingerman's bread which is awesome and WF is no more expensive than everyone else

                              Other than that, when I do make the WF trip, I cherry pick the sales and the 365 brand stuff.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: coney with everything
                                IndyGirl Mar 19, 2012 08:40 AM

                                It really annoyed me when our local WF stopped carrying Zingerman's bread. Now I have to go to Busch's (a local chain), where I really don't prefer the produce.

                              2. s
                                souvenir Mar 19, 2012 02:37 PM

                                The 365 store brand dried pastas are generally really good and an excellent value (99 cents to 2 dollar range).

                                I've found some nice wines there I haven't found elsewhere in the ~$10-15 range (usually as part of some holiday sale).

                                I look at their ads and stop by accordingly. WF for me is a periodic rather than regular stop because closer markets are pretty great (including non-chain stores, farmers markets, coops and produce stands).

                                1. paulj Mar 19, 2012 02:44 PM

                                  I stopped by there and bough $11 worth. Mostly bulk grains (farro, emmer, lentils), plus a couple of bags of frozen greens.

                                  And I sampled a snail.

                                  12 Replies
                                  1. re: paulj
                                    s
                                    sueatmo Mar 19, 2012 02:59 PM

                                    I'll have to look for the emmer at my WF. I've never seen it there.

                                    1. re: sueatmo
                                      paulj Mar 19, 2012 04:18 PM

                                      The pealed farro was from Italy, but the emmer was, I believe, from a boutique PNW farmer. In the package section they some grains from Bluebird (IIRC), a farm near Winthrop. I don't recall the one the bulk section. They also had a few beans and lentils from Washington growers - SE Washington (the Palouse) is a major lentil growing region.

                                      1. re: paulj
                                        s
                                        sueatmo Mar 21, 2012 01:05 PM

                                        And, if I may ask, how did you cook your farro and emmer?

                                        1. re: sueatmo
                                          paulj Mar 21, 2012 01:20 PM

                                          The farro, being semi-pearled just needs simmering in water, starting with a 2:1 ratio, for about 40 minutes, or until tender. Salt to taste. Maybe a bit of oil to cut the foaming.

                                          My experience with grains like this, once cooked, it can be the base for lots of dishes.

                                          The instructions for emmer (with bran) call for 8hrs soak, 3hr cook.

                                    2. re: paulj
                                      LNG212 Apr 24, 2012 10:58 AM

                                      I just wanted to chime back in on this thread since at least several people have said how good the bulk pricing is. The past week or so I have checked on the bulk grains at WF compared to my usual bulk grains shopping (Fairway). The bulk grains at WF were unbelievably higher priced! The organic farro at Fairway was $3.99/ lb and the organic farro at WF was $6.99/ lb. That is a huge difference. So just a warning to others that all of their bulk items are not necessarily well-priced. It helps to know your regular store's pricing when checking out WF.

                                      1. re: LNG212
                                        paulj Apr 24, 2012 11:32 AM

                                        I was pleased to see the pearled Italian farro at WF because I haven't seen it elsewhere. $7 seems higher than what I saw, but that was a month ago. I bought it because I was curious, but probably won't buy it again. I can get middle eastern 'peeled wheat' for less, which to my taste is nearly the same.

                                        1. re: paulj
                                          LNG212 Apr 24, 2012 12:14 PM

                                          I think the important thing is to be aware of the "going rate" for something. I was so surprised at the price differential on the farro. (And as I said elsewhere in the thread, I'm in Manhattan so that might account for the generally higher over all prices anyway.)

                                          But I am going to look for the emmer you wrote about in this thread as well. Thanks for that tip.

                                        2. re: LNG212
                                          goodhealthgourmet Apr 24, 2012 01:37 PM

                                          a couple of issues to consider:
                                          - Fairway's "bulk" goods only come as a prepackaged option so there's not much flexibility in terms of the amount you can buy, whereas many WFM locations allow you to get exactly as much as you want/need
                                          - the selection at WFM is typically far more varied than what you'll find at other markets unless you're fortunate enough to live near someplace like a Fairway, or Sprouts/Henry's.

                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                            LNG212 Apr 24, 2012 04:54 PM

                                            No. Fairway's bulk selection are indeed "serve yourself" in whatever quantity you like. Perhaps you've not seen the bulk selection? So yes, I do buy exactly the amount I want. It's the same set up as at WF.

                                            I totally agree that WF selection is probably far better than what most people have available. That said, however, I still think it's important for someone to be aware that WF *may not* have the best pricing, depending on what is available in your area (as my example shows).

                                            1. re: LNG212
                                              goodhealthgourmet May 7, 2012 08:50 AM

                                              i've never seen self-serve bulk at 125th, and they absolutely don't have it in Paramus. guess i never noticed it at the UWS location.

                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                LNG212 May 7, 2012 09:06 AM

                                                UWS has a very large bulk self serve section on the 2nd floor, near the vitamin room. If you shop that location, do check it out.

                                                1. re: LNG212
                                                  goodhealthgourmet May 7, 2012 09:26 AM

                                                  [smacks head] i completely forgot about the 2nd floor! thanks for the reminder :)

                                      2. s
                                        sueatmo Mar 19, 2012 02:59 PM

                                        I buy organic celery there practically every week. I don't think the prices for some of the everyday stuff are too bad. (I don't buy meat there.) I buy sprouted grain bread (low carb), olive oil, cottage cheese and ricotta and dried beans. The brand I usually buy is their house brand, 365. The cottage cheese is wonderful. I can get cheaper dried beans, but the 365 brand is superior. If you have a taste for cheese, WF has a lot of unpasteurized cheeses. They will be carrying locally ground coffee, but I find most of the specialty coffees out of my price range. I have tried the house brand, and I think it is priced competitively. I love their fresh greens. The mustard has been good this past winter. If you like greens, the greens you find there will be lovely. I also check out the apples, to see what varieties they carry. I also often buy a bar of dark chocolate there--many times there is one I can eat that is specially priced.

                                        I don't buy Bob's Red Mill products there, because I can get them slightly cheaper at my regular market. I don't buy cleaners there either. And I can get whole grain chips cheaper at my regular grocer, as well. And the natural nuts are dicey. Sometimes they are great; other times not fresh.

                                        Go in with an open mind, and try things out that appeal.

                                        1. s
                                          StrandedYankee Mar 21, 2012 01:20 PM

                                          The store brand, 365, are high quality and quite reasonably priced. I do 365 for a lot of my cooking staples. Also, well worth it to keep an eye on their specials...occasionally they will have one that is truly amazing.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: StrandedYankee
                                            Rilke Mar 21, 2012 07:37 PM

                                            Truly amazing... Can you elaborate? :-)

                                            1. re: Rilke
                                              s
                                              StrandedYankee Mar 21, 2012 11:17 PM

                                              Oh, I've seen them have one day specials on meats and/or seafoods that were very deeply discounted. Also, their bulk items are very high quality and very reasonably priced.

                                          2. u
                                            UTgal Mar 22, 2012 11:12 AM

                                            Ditto others on their bulk items being a great value.

                                            Also Whole Foods is the only store around here that carries rye flour. It's basically my go-to for difficult to find items (Kroger or Walmart are my only other options).

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: UTgal
                                              paulj Mar 22, 2012 01:54 PM

                                              I am fortunate in having an old-school health food store nearby that carries things like rye flour, plus barley and oat flour, as well as several types of corn (meal and flour). But Whole Foods does extend my options in the more trendy direction (e.g. emmer).

                                            2. danna Apr 23, 2012 12:42 PM

                                              Things to buy at WF :

                                              Chicken...it's no more expensive than the "natural" brands at my local megamarts, but much better. I got a Whole Foods branded whole chicken for $2.49/lb the other day...it was very good.

                                              Cheese....now, being frugal, this is going to be problematic...i do spend way too much on cheese these days, like Parrano and Cave Aged Gruyere, and Manchego and Fluer Vert and Aged Gouda. Anyway, the 365 brand Feta is lo-cal and not terribly expensive, as is the house brand goat cheese.

                                              Deli Ham...they have a nice selection of nitrite-free deli products, we particularly like the Applegate farms maple ham.

                                              Olli salumeria soppresetas - sometimes on sale for $7.99

                                              Applegate farms nitrite free Sunday bacon

                                              A brand of corn chips that comes in a brown bag and the name starts w/ an X. divine.

                                              Mine carries a number of local products like honey, rice, grits, tea (Charleston Tea Company).

                                              Olive bar, including pequillo peppers.

                                              Enjoy!

                                              8 Replies
                                              1. re: danna
                                                paulj Apr 23, 2012 01:35 PM

                                                Applegate farms stuff is not nitrite free, just no-nitrite-added. TJs sells the same stuff with their own label.

                                                1. re: paulj
                                                  danna Apr 23, 2012 02:11 PM

                                                  does TJs slice it on the spot, or is it the pre-packaged stuff?

                                                  So you're saying the pig may have consumed it's own nitrites? interesting.

                                                  1. re: danna
                                                    goodhealthgourmet Apr 23, 2012 02:52 PM

                                                    it's a misleading marketing tactic and semantic workaround. companies like Applegate don't use *chemical* nitrates to cure their meats...they use celery powder or celery juice instead, which happens to be naturally loaded with sodium nitrate. this allows them to claim on the package that they don't use nitrates, and just list celery powder in the ingredients.

                                                    oh, and TJ's only sells packaged meats, nothing sliced to order.

                                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                      danna Apr 24, 2012 05:31 AM

                                                      thanks. enlighten me more, please. Are there brand that don't use nitrites/nitrates at all? Is it impossible to make ham taste like ham without it? Do I need to be concerned about celery-derived nitrates?

                                                      btw, the prepackaged stuff is kinda slimy...HUGE difference between that and the sliced to order.

                                                      1. re: danna
                                                        paulj Apr 24, 2012 09:00 AM

                                                        There are qualities that we expect in bacon and ham that require nitrites, Certainly color, I'm not sure about flavor. And mild bit of preservation. Celery is the only source that qualifies as organic.

                                                        But a lot of the verbiage on the Applegate Farms package is required by the government. They can't claim it is cured; they have to specify the 40deg storage.

                                                        We had a long discussion of these issues in an 'uncured bacon' thread. It may be locked. Also check the website of Applegate.

                                                    2. re: danna
                                                      paulj Apr 23, 2012 03:02 PM

                                                      The bacon has celery seed or extract, which is rich in nitrites. Check fine print on the label, or the company website.

                                                  2. re: danna
                                                    Rilke Apr 23, 2012 03:12 PM

                                                    Pretty sure the corn chips you like so much are Xochitl brand ;)

                                                    1. re: Rilke
                                                      s
                                                      suburban_mom Apr 24, 2012 06:53 AM

                                                      Best chips ever!

                                                  3. p
                                                    pie22 May 7, 2012 08:32 AM

                                                    the 365 brand OJ and salsa are some of the best i have ever had.
                                                    and the salad bar is a great (albeit a bit expensive) lunch option.

                                                    1. k
                                                      Kleraudio Nov 11, 2013 09:19 AM

                                                      The 365 brand EVOO is a great bargain too. I just got a 33oz 100% Italian EVOO (365 brand) on sale for $7.99. Tasty oil and doesn't hurt the wallet.

                                                      1. s
                                                        snocat Nov 11, 2013 03:00 PM

                                                        Try 365 Brand Blue Corn Taco shells for outstanding flavor depth.

                                                        The frozen sashimi tuna is NOT to be missed. It is a perfectly cut rectangle of tuna, sealed in cryovac and available by asking for it at the fresh fish counter. It is kept in the walk-in. Thaw according to package directions. Simply sublime!

                                                        1. h
                                                          HillJ Nov 11, 2013 04:02 PM

                                                          Based on your honesty paulj, I'd recommend you keep an eye on their online circular for specific sale items. I can't think of any basic items that WFs sells that I can't find elsewhere at a better price. But, they do carry items I can't find anywhere else.

                                                          That would include certain cheeses, wines, frozen items and even health care products. But none at a bargain price. While I'm not an all-organic kinda shopper, I'd rather go to the farm or farmer's market.

                                                          If you find a bargain and a WF surprise, please share it with the rest of us.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: HillJ
                                                            paulj Nov 11, 2013 08:55 PM

                                                            Yea, I could check their flyer. Now I'm just stopping by if I happen to be in the area (e.g B&N, Petco, Lowes). I haven't bought much besides bulk grains and some 365 products.

                                                            I just saw a news item that a packaged salad recall was affecting items distributed by WF, TJ, and Walmart.

                                                          2. l
                                                            laststandchili Nov 12, 2013 01:19 PM

                                                            365 brand whole bean coffee. I like the Pleasant Morning Buzz, and the wife's grown fond of the Pacific Rim. Currently about $13 for a pound and a half or so.
                                                            When I stop in for coffee I sometimes pickup some chevre, or other cheeses if something looks good. I also really like their house brand sodas. No caffeine, and made with real sugar. A 12 pack will last me months.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: laststandchili
                                                              h
                                                              HillJ Nov 12, 2013 02:11 PM

                                                              One of the few markets around me that carries Moka Java otherwise I go to a local bean roaster.

                                                            2. fldhkybnva Nov 12, 2013 05:49 PM

                                                              Whole Foods sells a lot of grass fed dairy products that I can't find elsewhere including ricotta and buttermilk.

                                                              I love the Applegate deli meat and cheeses

                                                              Bulk food section - oatmeal, popcorn kernels, nuts

                                                              365 peanut butter - inexpensive and tasty

                                                              Cheese - wonderful cheese section with great variety and usually fairly knowledgeable cheesemongers. There's always a cheese of the month which is on sale as well as several others at reduced price.

                                                              Local items - my local Whole Foods carries products from many local farms and vendors even things like hummus, pesto, etc which have always better than larger regional or national brands. You might look to see what yours offers.

                                                              Also, just FYI they will let you try nearly anything and have a steller return policy.

                                                              1. v
                                                                Val Nov 13, 2013 04:09 PM

                                                                Anyone have a Whole Foods that has installed a BAR...for open pour wine and beer?? Just wondering...I find it quite offensive that ours in Naples has done this...visited my son in Las Vegas, NV in January and they had never heard of such a thing...LOL...our in-store specials immediately disappeared...(liquor licenses are VERY expensive, even if it's just beer and wine)...just wondering...WHO really needs to drink alcohol whilst food shopping?

                                                                8 Replies
                                                                1. re: Val
                                                                  h
                                                                  HillJ Nov 13, 2013 04:34 PM

                                                                  That would never fly in NJ. so I have nothing to worry about. Besides, WF has some of the most overpriced wines, liquor and spirits I've ever seen.

                                                                  1. re: HillJ
                                                                    v
                                                                    Val Nov 15, 2013 11:37 AM

                                                                    The more insane part about them adding the bar is that in the very same shopping (Mercato) plaza, there must be around 25 actual bars. sheesh. really sad.

                                                                    1. re: Val
                                                                      h
                                                                      HillJ Jan 2, 2014 02:31 PM

                                                                      I read that Starbucks planned a similar thing.

                                                                  2. re: Val
                                                                    Boston_Otter Jan 2, 2014 02:56 PM

                                                                    The stores that I've seen that have installed 'bars' (wine and beer tasting areas) are ones with an extensive alcohol selection and typically aren't places you'd get drunk at -- they're places to sample wines or beers, or enjoy one while eating lunch at WF. They're also stores with significant pedestrian or mass transit traffic. I don't see anything offensive about it.

                                                                    To clarify HIllJ: several Starbucks have opened that serve beer and wine, but only in the evenings, and paired with a 'small-plate' style food service. It's not a bar.

                                                                    1. re: Boston_Otter
                                                                      h
                                                                      HillJ Jan 2, 2014 03:05 PM

                                                                      Boston_0, if you could help further clarify. At WF these aren't free samples, correct. You are buying a glass of wine or the beer on tap, yes? Do they prepare food or you buy food in the prepared section? Do they limit consumption at the bar? How popular is it?

                                                                      On the Starbucks beer & wine service, what are they charging per glass and who's preparing the small plate style food? Are these locations also encouraging late night hours, is live music also offered. Do the local bars have an issue with it?

                                                                      1. re: HillJ
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                                                                        Cathy Jan 2, 2014 03:28 PM

                                                                        The two Whole Foods I have been to in San Diego have extensive beer taps (24) as well as wine selections in their in store restaurants (one, in La Jolla near Torrey Pines Golf Course is named Torrey Pints and the other, near the Del Mar Race Track is named Trifecta Tavern).

                                                                        You can purchase items in store and grab a table or have table service. There is a menu as well as daily specials (Thursdays are burger and a beer $10- it's a half pound grass fed burger on a fresh pretzel bun, includes fries and a glass of whichever beer you'd like). Excellent prepared food from the store. I've been ordering the Nosh Plate ($9) and each time it is different, with a selection of meats and cheeses and some sort of pickle and salty crunchy item. I look at it as ideas of what to buy once we go shopping.

                                                                        Also noticed they have a Brunch menu on Sunday and intend on trying that soon.

                                                                        (In the photos the 'beer' selected was a pear cider)

                                                                         
                                                                         
                                                                         
                                                                         
                                                                        1. re: HillJ
                                                                          Boston_Otter Jan 2, 2014 03:50 PM

                                                                          I'll defer to Cathy on the WF info; she has much more experience with locations that serve alcohol than I do. (I'm in Massachusetts, where you can't even buy wine in grocery stores; the WF locations I've seen with taps/wine in the restaurants are out of state).

                                                                          At the new Starbucks with beer/wine (called Starbucks Evenings), the small plate food is prepped by the baristas. I'm looking at their menu (you can google it) -- they have things like a cheese plate, truffle mac & cheese, flatbreads, bacon-wrapped dates, and chocolate fondue. Prices on wine /beer are about what you see in any restaurant ($6-$10 ish). Most locations are pretty small, so they don't have live music. And it's just a restaurant serving wine/beer, so I don't see why local bars would have an issue with it.

                                                                          1. re: Boston_Otter
                                                                            h
                                                                            HillJ Jan 2, 2014 04:06 PM

                                                                            Thanks Boston, it's really interesting.

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                                                                      foodieX2 Jan 2, 2014 03:36 PM

                                                                      Being that your frugal and make most things from scratch you might appreciate their bulk section. It has a much wider selection than my local HFS and what appears to be better turnover. When I am trying out new recipes and I am not willing to commit to bigger portions I can get just the amount I need.

                                                                      They also have a much wider selection of unique frozen fruits and veggies than my local TJs. Their 365 brand is less costly but it is still more expensive than TJs

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