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Whole Foods = Whole Lot of Temptation

A few weeks ago I purchased a gift certificate for Whole Foods from Living Social. I spent $10.00 for a $20.00 gift certificate which I thought was a pretty exciting deal. And honestly, it really was a good deal. However, the trick about shopping at Whole Foods is to purchase the foods with real value which isn’t always what your tummy wants.

My only goal during this Whole Foods expedition was to spend the $20.00 and only the $20.00. If you’ve been to Whole Foods, you know that it would be miraculous if that actually happened. If you like food, and I do like food, this place can be quite intoxicating. Whole Foods is like crack to foodies.

$4.99/lb for pre-cut cauliflower. We aren’t in Walmart Dorothy.

When you first walk into Whole Foods, the first thing you’ll notice is the beautiful produce. Bright reds, greens, and vibrant yellows greet you as you walk through the doors. I swear you feel healthier just by walking through their produce department. Yes, some of this is due toΒ priming, but I have to tell you that it’s effective. Some of the produce is reasonable, but most of it’s inflated.

One of the advantages of shopping at Whole Foods is that you can find produce items that you might not be able to find in your corner grocery store. If you need a Scotch Bonnet pepper or if you want blue potatoes, this is where you’re going to find them. However, you will pay a price. Whole Foods knows their produce is special. And I think they figure if you know how to cook with these ingredients, you can afford to pay full price for them.

Another nice thing about Whole Foods is that it can be a fun family outing. How often do you get to see octopus at the grocery store? It’s almost as good as going to the aquarium but much less expensive. It’s all about the way you look at things people.

Actually, I’m glad my little ones weren’t with me for this trip because I’m sure they’d be asking whether or not octopus eat with that opening above or pro-create. And that is not a conversation I want to have at Whole Foods. However, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t curious myself.

Don’t like octopus? How about stuffed escargot? They’re a veritable bargain at .79 each. Oui!

Their meat counter is equally impressive with a wide selection of beef, pork, and chicken. They also had dry aged steaks hanging from hooks which made me really hungry just by looking at them. Honestly, this whole store makes me hungry. You know how they say not to shop on an empty stomach? That’s very sage advice for this store. Shop stuffed. Your wallet will thank you.

My biggest challenge was to make it through the cheese and olives section without stopping. Two wedges of cheese and a tablespoon of imported olives would pretty much send me over my $20.00 budget.

And I dang near needed a blindfold to get me past the gelato.Β 

Their bakery case is pretty treacherous too. Shop with a friend or you may never leave.

There are some good deals to be had at Whole Foods. The San Marzano tomatoes were a fair price. They make a wicked good pasta sauce.

And if organic is your thing, they do have a wide array of quality organic products. The olive oil above is actually a fair price too.

So, how did I spend my gift certificate? I bought some romaine lettuce, eggs, the chicken parm that you see above that was marked 50% off, the loaf of bread you see below and a bottle of chimichurri sauce that I can’t find in my gringo grocery store.

As soon as I got home tonight, we tossed the chicken in the oven for a quick re-heat while we boiled a pot of pasta for the side dish. I have to tell you, it was delicious. The chicken was coated in Panko breadcrumbs which made it extra crispy and the chicken itself was moist and flavorful. The San Francisco sourdough was pretty killer too.

I didn’t keep to my plan of only spending the $20.00. I spent $28.00 which is still pretty good for this foodie who really just wanted to pull up a chair to the cheese/olive section with a bottle of wine and eat my way from there to the gelato counter and then to the bakery for an overpriced cake pop.

And as much as I poke fun at Whole Foods, I really do enjoy shopping there. There’s so much to see and so many new foods to discover. No, I can’t shop there on a regular basis because it’s out of our budget, but for a special occasion it sure is a worthwhile place to explore.

How about you? Did you buy the Living Social Whole Foods deal? Are you a Whole Foods shopper or is it too rich for your blood?


  1. I did get this and would LOVE if it came around again! We got steaks with ours! Not something we could do everyday and figured why not!

  2. Oh, I love Whole Foods! I don’t have one close by but I stop there almost every time on my way to Wrentham Outlets, love it!!! And I always buy too much!

  3. I picked up olive oil and canned tomatoes with the $20 voucher. You can use it over mutliple times so when I blow through that huge bottle of olive oil I willuse it again.
    Last week I went in and the cashier refused to stack my whole foods Q and manu Q for Deboles pasta, she informed me the Q from their website wasn’t considered a whole foods Q. I sent a strongly worded letter to headquarters along with all my Whole Foods Q. I am awaiting their response.

  4. Gotta laugh at the “I’m a local” San Francisco Sourdough from Medford, MA – how is that possible?

  5. I heart Wholefoods and shop there every week πŸ˜‰

  6. Anonymous says:

    I hear you about Whole Foods. Way out of my league–especially since, in my neighborhood (Bellingham, MA), Market Basket is right across the street!!! However, I do stop by around Christmas to see if there are any samples (they are very generous with samples!!) and often pick up some food “stocking stuffers” for my adult children who, happily, have graduated from Kraft Mac & Cheese to become “gourmet chefs”. It’s a “treat” store and I’m envious of your $10 deal. You could have spent $10 on a pizza and, instead, you had a wonderful meal (and fun shopping in the store, too!)

    A Wegman’s just came to Northborough, MA and I’m saving all their coupon deals. Can’t wait to see what the excitement’s about!

  7. I got the voucher and spent it within days! It’s close to work, so I find myself going there when I need a few items. Of course, that day I used most of the voucher to buy lunch – the brown rice sushi was great!

  8. Whole foods in el paso Texas hahaha we r lucky to have a albertsons. Besides walmart it’s our only grocery store. Only time I see whole foods is when we go to Albuquerque 300 miles down the road. BUT when I go I luv it. Be safe zelda

  9. yes! I did buy the living social deal and went last weekend. We had a real treat – Dover Sole for dinner. Only 6.99lb! You can do well with some of their madness deals, and there are some deal threads out there with coupon match ups. Definitely not Shaws, but there are a few deals to be had on some great quality items!

  10. We don’t have a Whole Foods in my area in PA; however we do have a Wegman’s, and it can be compared to a Whole Foods. If you want something, Wegman’s has it, at a price of course. I received a gift card for $10 for Wegman’s from a house party I hosted through Vocal Point. I used it of course, and only went slightly over but it would be very easy for me to spend way out of my budget bucks in that store. I had my 14-year old daughter with me and she was in awe from the time we walked in the store to the minute we left. They have a produce section that is intoxicating as well. And they have one whole “room” that is nothing but candy, in every size, shape, and flavor imaginable. No, we didn’t really walk through this section. However, to the reader who posted about getting a Wegman’s up in MA, believe it, it’s worth a trip, when you have a few dollars to use for a splurge. Nancy (PA)

  11. Anonymous says:

    I don’t shop at Whole Foods regularly but I do like the store. They have good prices on wine and around here they have buy one get one free pizza on Tuesdays. The pizza’s are huge so I can toss the other one in the freezer because 1 feeds us. Their store brand – 356 – is usually reasonable priced. Both of my kids have gone on mini field trips – it’s walking distance from their elementary school – and the people who work their are super nice to the kids. They are very community oriented which is nice. They do fund raisers with our schools which is nice too.

    The woman from Bellingham – Wegman’s is worth a trip!


  12. I bought that deal too- haven’t used it yet. I wonder if we have that tomato sale here? I keep hearing about that brand from everybody but have never sprung for it.

    Whole foods started here in Austin, in fact I went to it (was taken) as a child when the first store was just a hole-in-the-wall hippie store. Boy how times have changed. We call it whole-paycheck now. It is a special treat to go there.

  13. Love the store… prices not so much. I can’t tempt fate, so I simply don’t shop there.

  14. I went about three weeks ago and picked up
    1- Skim Milk $2.99
    2- Earth’s Best Ravioli $3.39 ea.
    1- Yo Toddler Yogurt $2.79
    2- Happy Baby Bites $4.49 ea.
    1- Earth’s Best Mini Waffles $3.39
    1- Cheese Puffs $2
    1- Odwalla Protein Drink $2.29
    After my coupons they actually owed me $2, so I threw in the protein drink. I got plenty of healthy food for my 1 year old and found the shock of my life when I saw that milk was only $2.99 there and it is $3.59 at Walmart! yikes!

  15. Love Whole Foods!!

    By the way…that opening is the mouth of the Octopus.

  16. ooo we don’t have any cool stores like that!

  17. Thanks so much for reminding me I had this! I’m going to splurge on some good cheese, I think! My 41st bday is next Wednesday, and I deserve it, right?

  18. Lisa Reichenbach says:

    I love “We aren’t in Walmart Dorothy”
    I’m so glad you are feeling better
    I really enjoy your writing.

  19. So boring, but I spent the majority of my voucher on Seventh Generation free and clear bleach. It’s odor-less. I haven’t found it anywhere else. πŸ™

    I did get some cheese and milk, too. I also bought some jalepeno cornbread which was delicious!

    Had I not been so far from home, I would’ve loaded up at the food bar. Yummmmy! Too bad the closest Whole Foods is an hour away or I would sell off my kitchen items and just buy dinner there every night. πŸ™‚

  20. I don’t know about your local store, but mine is awful about setting out samples of yummy goodness!! Like pieces of cheese, crackers..O.M.G Have you tried the guacamole? They have it out every time I go in there {which isn’t often!} I did buy the LivingSocial certificate & used part of it. I also like that my store allows you to stack their Whole Deal coupons with manufacturers coupons.

  21. Rachael O. says:

    I have a friend who refers to Whole Foods as ‘Whole Paycheck’. πŸ™‚

  22. I have never been inside a Whole Foods…now I am afraid I would never leave if I did.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Not a Whole Foods shopper; but I love this post Melanie, lots of great lines, too funny! Crack to foodies! Not in Wal-Mart Dorothy! Octopus’ mouth! πŸ™‚ Shop stuffed. Gelato blindfold! Treacherous bakery case. Wicked good pasta sauce. Gringo grocery store. Your dinner sounds marvelous. So glad you are doing better and your writing is wonderful!

  24. Anonymous says:

    This post mad me laugh. When I lived in the Boston area, I used to nanny for a VERY well-off family outside of the city. Every week when I’d get paid, they’d give me a real nice bonus of top of my wage earned. I would hit Whole Foods one a week with that bonus and buy a nice dinner out of the ready-made case. SUCH a treat for a college student! There isn’t one close to me now where I am in CT, but I’ll venture there once in a while.

    -Jessica D, CT

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