I attended the coolest event on Monday night. It mostly involved many bites of delicious food, mingling with some of my favorite local bloggers and trying my best to get some decent photos along the way at the newest Whole Foods Market location in Denver, a few steps away from Union Station - one of my favorite spots in town!
The party started at 5pm and I met my friend Monica at just a few minutes past because we did not want to miss anything. As soon as we got checked in I could tell it was going to be a great night. There was live music, all sorts of local Colorado food companies giving out samples and the place was packed with fellow food bloggers. At one point the mayor and governor actually said a few words which I thought was fun.
The Union Station location is different than any other WFM I've been in before. The space is really modern and bright and there were various food sayings scattered throughout the aisles and sections. I loved this one:
Now as much as I love shopping at Whole Foods (more on that below), I think I might actually love eating there more. If you haven't been, the larger locations have all sorts of buffet options featuring various cuisines like Indian, Mexican, southern/comfort foods, a million soups and the BEST salad bar you will ever find.
In addition to some of their other stations, this store boasts the very first mac & cheese bar which was right up my alley. I tried the lobster mac and the roasted brussels and tomato option - both were excellent.
Moving on from the hot bar options there was also this fun Israeli counter - Tel Aviv Street Food - that was serving up innovative pita sandwiches, like the charred cauliflower one I grabbed. I wish I would have been able to get a photo of the beautiful display. There was a line, and I didn't want to be that person although it wouldn't have been out of the ordinary with this crowd.
One regret of the evening is not splitting a Birdcall chicken sandwich with some of my friends. Birdcall is a Colorado fast casual restaurant that takes pride in local ingredients of the highest quality (at an affordable price) and specializes in all sorts of fun chicken sandwiches such as my favorite, Nashville Hot. There was a slew of beers on tap and fun fountain drinks (including a cucumber basil variation). Oh and something that sets them apart: they use a fun and innovative technology for the ordering process. It's a kiosk where you enter your name and order, then you can watch your wait time on the wall. The Union Station store will be the third Birdcall in town and I will definitely come back for the sole purpose of trying this place out at some point.
It's kind of funny, while I have always loved browsing Whole Foods for fun items here and there, I was adamantly against doing my routine shopping there in the past because of the price. Things have really come full circle though because ever since buying a new house and moving to a new part of town, Whole Foods is now of course my most convenient option so I have been doing my weekly shops there.
The Amazon acquisition has helped with some of the prices but also, once I learned to be a little bit more strategic (namely, not grabbing everything interesting thing I saw and impulse buying), I have found that I don't actually spend that much more each week. Not to mention, I love the experience because their stores are clean, organized, and they usually have every item I would ever need. I also love that their staff is so knowledgeable, specifically at the meat and seafood counter when I always have questions.
Anyways, I'm working on a post that outlines some non-traditional ways to save money on groceries, so more on this later! I just wanted to throw that out there in case any of you had similar same thoughts.