Whole Foods Sneak Preview
September 19, 2008, 12:12 am
Filed under: pickles and cake, sneak preview, whole foods

I received a last minute invite to the Whole Foods sneak preview last month (I finally found the photos on my phone.) After being asked by the manager of the other Whole Foods to stop taking pictures, I was nervous to snap away but they didn’t say a word.

The Grand Opening for the new Dr. Phillips store was just a few days away and I had no idea what I was in for. After signing in, we were given a generous gift bag filled with goodies from every department. Score! The place was almost empty and they were just starting to stock the items to fill out the store. When I say store, I mean warehouse. I’ve been to many Whole Foods from SF to Boston. Up until now, we were lucky to have a smaller store in Winter Park, just north of Orlando. Once a month, I would bring a cooler and hit them up for my golden beets, mussels, some hard to find cheeses and whatnot.

This place has its own smoker, dry-aged beef section, smoked seafood section, a finishing salt and sugar bar, homemade gelato, juice bar, etc. The prepared food section alone is over half the size of the entire Winter Park store and has over 150 restaurant quality offerings. Quaint it is not. A foodie’s paradise indeed.

The first stop was the 4,000 square foot produce department. In each section, the manager would give a quick overview on what sets them apart from products to new innovations. We were shown the locally grown board which lists every item grown within a 50 mile radius. I was just there today and the number was 123. Not too bad.

Each department had some yummy samples. My favorite was the smoked chicken wings – smokey goodness.

The salt and sugar bar was a highlight too. I picked up some ginger coriander finishing salt today for a sweet potato crusted red snapper. The cheese section was insane and wisely situated between the exotic beer and the gourmet pastries. Pull up a chair.

They feature 400 hand cut cheeses (put the cheese dagger down, dude!) including this Cave-aged Emmenthaler.

They always have some samples out and will let you taste anything. Their huge coffee roaster was going that day too so the olfactory senses were in overload. It was a great behind the scenes view with a champagne toast at the end. Check out their calendar for local events and tastings.

I’ve been back several times and will post the results of my WF harvests in the next week or so. It is dangerously close to my work so if I haul ass, I can be back in about an hour. It is good to be back on track with the blog. Lots of fun stuff to share about the girls and our culinary adventures too.