I am so excited about our new Whole Foods landmark store that just opened on March 3rd. I knew it was going to be big and beautiful and full of foodie goodies, but I never expected it to be food heaven.
We got a sneak peek at the store at a fundraising event benefiting KUT (our local public radio station) last Tuesday night. The place was packed, so it was difficult to move around, much less take a good look at what the store had to offer. We were amazed with the amount of food in the store…from a seafood department reminiscent of Pike Place Fish Market in downtown Seattle, to a walk-in beer cooler/aisle, to an entire section devoted to chocolate (which is where we loitered most of the evening). The store showcases its 1800 types of wine, over a dozen types of gelatos, and dine-in eateries including a salad bar, sushi bar, seafood bar, pizza counter, and numerous take-out kiosks with soups, chilies, pastas, and so much more.
We did fill up on some samples:
- 365 Natural Italian Soda
- In-House Freshly Roasted Nuts
- Asian Micro Greens with Pea Shoots, Snow Peas, Shrimp and Sesame Vinaigrette
- Smoked Salmon Quesadillas
- Fresh Mozzarella
- Tempeh Reuben
- Four Cheese Classic Pizza
- Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries
- Toffee Bark
There were plenty of other freebies on Tuesday night, but most sample stations were crowded with hungry tasters.
Justin and I went back on Sunday night to grab a quick dessert. It was difficult to choose between freshly baked pastries from the bakery, candies from the chocolate bar, gelato, smoothies, or sweets from the grocery aisles. In the end, we chose the whoopie pie shown above and a cream-filled cupcake from Downtown Desserts, a counter specializing in 50s diner-style decadent desserts. I am embarrassed to say that this was my very first whoopie pie. I found the cake to be a bit dry and burned-tasting, and the cream was super-sweet, almost grainy with sugar. The cupcake was much better, with a moist, flavorful chocolate cake, the same cream filling as the whoopie pie, and a smooth chocolate ganache on top. I shudder to think of the calorie and fat content of the desserts, but at least we split them!
All in all, the store is wonderful–a great place to spend the afternoon. The vast quantities of food and treats are a bit overwhelming, and it will be difficult to leave the store empty-handed (which is not great for our pocketbook, especially since we are only a ten-minute walk away). I’ll be happy to return when the torrent of customers slows down a bit.
Whole Foods Landmark Store
525 N. Lamar
Austin, TX 78703
Store Hours: 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week