I go to Whole Foods on Kingsbury Street in Chicago every week to do my grocery shopping. Why do I go up to Whole Foods every week? I go for the selection and because it’s my “shopping” trip for the week.
I hate shopping malls. They make me sleepy. Take any mall and drop me in there and I will leave yawning my head off. I get sleepy because going shopping for clothes, perfume, shoes, make up, jewelry and make up bore me. If I’m at a running store picking out new stuff that’s one thing: running clothes, running shoes, and Garmin watches are exciting to me. However, once you build up your running stock, there’s not much need to go back to the running store except for the occasional new pair of running shoes that wear out.
Food is something we need every week. Usually people will make a trip to the grocery store every week. A lot of people enjoy shopping for clothes, etc. at the mall. Whole Foods is like my trip to the mall. Food and nutrition interests me in the way that having the latest spring outfit and pumps interest women I work with.
I’m very interested in organic eating with a vegan focus. Sure the local grocery stores carry a few organic fruits and vegetables. Yes, I’m aware of a store called “Produce Depot” in Dyer, Indiana that sells organic produce. However, from where I live to Dyer, Indiana is about a 40 minute drive. From where I live to Chicago is about a 50 minute drive. I’ll take the 50 minute drive.
The Whole Foods on Kingsbury Street is, in part, about the experience. For one thing, it’s HUGE and the parking is FREE. Yeah you may have to circle a bit to find parking, but if you go at off-peak times parking is not hard to find, especially if you don’t mind parking on the roof which offers a great view of Chicago.
When you come down the escalators you are immediately greeted by an explosion of the freshest fruits and vegetables possible. So many colors, textures, and patterns tease your eyes and you can just feel the sweetness and crunchiness exploding from every fruit and vegetable in the place. It’s awesome! Most of their products fruits and vegetables have an organic and non-organic version. There are huge bunches of FRESH kale, rainbow Swiss chard, red Swiss chard, sprouts and herbs. Oh did I mention the herbs? There are huge bunches of fresh, organic herbs in their organic herb bulk bin. And no, I’m not talking about those pissy $4.00 packages of “fresh” herbs you mind at the grocery store that look dried up and halfway rotten by the time you get them…they’re pre-packaged and are ready to go, but have no flavor. Yuck! I love trying some of the “exotic fruits”. I had a strawberry papaya one week. It cost a pretty penny but it was really good! I found yams at Whole Foods. We shop at Town and Country and Remus Farms in Portage, Indiana and I’ve never seen a strawberry papaya or yams at either of those stores. I didn’t even know there was a difference between yams and sweet potatoes until a few weeks ago. The “organic” produce at Town and Country is sad. I bought some organic mushrooms there one week and they were slimy and already starting to get funky the next night I opened them. Just sad.
As you go through the store, you might bump into someone pushing a shopping cart with one hand and holding a glass of wine or beer in the other hand. This specific Whole Foods has a wine and beer bar and you can take your booze to go and drink IN THE STORE ONLY while you are shopping. Or you can hang out at the wine bar and split a non-vegan cheese plate (yes even I’ll admit wine and soy cheese probably aren’t the best combo) or you can catch the game and a pint at the beer bar! Hungry? Oh yeah, they’ve got an awesome eatery. That’s right! My favorite (because it’s the only one I’ve tried so far) is the grill. They have vegan Chicago-style dogs. How cool is that? My fiance Pete gets a regular Chicago style dog and I get a vegan dog and we’re both happy. I love having a place we can both go and eat and not have to worry about the junk and processed crap that’s in our food. I’ll bet you can’t say that about the mall food court!
Don’t feel like cooking? My running buddy goes up to Whole Foods with me to get a special treat: Soul Vegan restaurant’s mac ‘N Cheese and also their vegan lasagna. I love the lasagna. We about had a breakdown when we couldn’t find the lasagna and mac ‘N cheese because they weren’t in their usual spots. They are pre-made, single portion vegan meals. They also have a nice selection of other vegan ready-made salads, pizzas, cookies, etc. So if you are a new vegan like me, it offers you a great way to sample some vegan food that’s already made and introduce you to the not-so-scary and yummy world that is vegan!
Not a vegan? Not to worry–my fiance loves the uncured rosemary ham at the deli counter. There is a huge, mysterious cheese selection filled with cheeses from what looks like all over the world, but for all I know could be from Granny Mitchell’s farm in Switzerland County in Indiana and is labeled “Fresh from Switzerland”. And yes there really is a Switzerland County in Indiana. I think the population is around 6 or 7 people, but it really does exist!
If you’re looking for truly whole foods, then Whole Foods is an amazing place to go. I get excited about going every week. It’s my weekly thing that I look forward to. It’s fun to take friends to and also fun place to take a date…fiance or lady date!
I highly recommend Whole Foods to anyone. It’s not a hype. It’s just whole, nutritious foods and that’s a fact!