Whole Foods Market Newport Beach: A Shopping Wonderland

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Jen and I just spent an entire morning perusing the new Whole Foods Market Newport Beach wonderland (the word market just doesn’t seem to do it justice) and WHOLEY MOLY, if it weren’t for a looming preschool pick-up, both of us could have spent the whole day there!

Upon entering the store we were greeted by an inviting rainbow of colorful, perfectly ripened produce, stands and stands of it.  This might sound silly but it felt like happy food: Heirloom tomatoes, Bartlett pears, Honeycrisp apples, golden beets, turnips, endive, swiss chard, cabbage.

The care they put into their produce was subliminally saying: Eat these beautiful whole foods and you will feel happy.

It was a little bit of sensory overload because we wanted to take it all in and enjoy but we weren’t sure where to begin (in a good way).

We worked our way through the produce and noticed some bins of sprouted grain trail mixes and porridges (ooooooohhh) next we found ourselves in front with large vats of different types of olive oils to taste and bottles you can fill yourself  to take home (aaaaaahhh), and behind that were a bunch of empty little honey bear bottles begging you to choose your flavor and fill (I chose a sage flavored selection).

Then the seafood department!  Beautiful selection, amazing whole fish in front packed on ice, the prepped and ready to grill lobster tails and the oysters! Only 99 cents each- what a fun family night, to shuck and eat oysters at home!

As we strolled a little further we encountered the friendliest of helpers in the meat department.  Everyone wanted to be sure we were helped and the employees in every department asked if they could answer any questions. Here’s our new BFF Ryan the butcher…

We were quite enamored by a find in the center cooler for a quick grab: a few different types of pre-packaged dinner kits.  Each prepped complete with the meat and vegetables in an oven proof container. All you have to do is unwrap, season and throw it in a 300 degree oven for about 3 hours for a delicious dinner! And a great deal- priced about $15.99 for about 5 lbs of food (before cooking).

Ryan shared that their meat department also boasts an in-store smoker and they will smoke smaller cuts as you shop or with 24 hours notice they will smoke a larger cut to order. We tasted one of their smoked Texas burgers- loads of flavor!

Our next stop was the cheese department. We were given a sample of this goat cheese called Mitica Capricho De Cabra (he simply called it Mitica) which put the other pre-crumbled stuff to shame.  It had the distinct goat cheese flavor, but was smoother and creamier, Jen and I were dying over it! We couldn’t leave the store without a round of this- and this high quality goat cheese was just $4.65 for about 5 ounces, about the same price you pay for the mediocre stuff.

Here’s another new BFF, George from the cheese section. The employees all made us feel like celebrities! Everyone had such a passion for the products. Their enthusiam was contagious.

Just behind the cheese is the Back Bay Tavern a gastro pub featuring a cozy atmosphere, 24 beers on tap, cocktails and a nice wine selection plus a playful menu of exciting comfort foods.  This could make for a fun “Oh Babe, I didn’t have time to run to the store so I’m just going to run to the market really quick…” and meet up with a girl friend for a bite, a glass of wine and some groceries!

We were rounding out our visit and headed back to the front of the store to The Tea Hive featuring frozen tea drinks, a mixologist’s version of an iced tea and a selection of hot teas.  They even have two kinds of iced tea on tap so you can grab one while you shop and swing back around for a free refill on your way out!

As we were shopping and chatting we made plans for Jen and her family to come over for dinner.  I’ll be preparing a classic slow cooked Beef Short Ribs paired with a Celery Root Puree.  Stay tuned for a post with the photos and recipes for this delicious and easy Fall-feeling feast!  I was inspired when I spotted this gorgeous celery root…

I think the next time my girls and I have an open afternoon I’d like to just take them over to Whole Foods Newport Beach to introduce them to new food items in a fun show & tell sort of way.  Such a great opportunity to talk to them about eating a rainbow of colors and tasting exciting new healthy whole foods.

As we headed out the doors with our shopping bags, we were greeted by a shuttle attendant that offered us a free ride to our car. She helped us with our bags and we rode off into the sunset…

Incidentally, they also offer free valet if you prefer. There is nothing they haven’t thought of! PLEASE do yourself a favor and make a visit to this stellar location. It is an experience you will never forget. But trust us and block out a nice amount of time to take it all in. Once you step foot into the doors, you too, will be taken away into the Whole Foods Wonderland!

www.wholefoodsmarket.com/stores/newport

Follow Whole Foods Market Newport Beach on Facebook ~ And @WholeFoodsNB on Twitter
Click here for the weekly sales flyer

[Disclosure: We participated in a sponsored campaign by Whole Foods Market to help spread the word about this new location and were provided with a gift card to shop and share. Opinions are 100% our own!]

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Whole Foods Market Newport Beach Grand Opening

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Oh happy day! Whole Foods Market, the world’s leading natural and organic foods supermarket and first national certified organic grocer will be hosting the Grand Opening of Whole Foods Market Newport Beach in Fashion Island on Wednesday, September 19th, 2012 and you are invited to come and celebrate!

The Grand Opening celebration will take place from 9am – 10pm and include lots of fun events during the day, including a special “bread breaking ceremony” for the first 300 customers in line in the morning, who will receive a complimentary demi-baguette.  There will also be delicious food and wine tastings throughout the day, local vendor demonstrations and Happy Hour specials in the Back Bay Tavern.

This location, the fifth Whole Foods Market in Orange County, will feature the national debut of the Tea Hive fusion cafe and tea bar.  At the Tea Hive customers will be able to choose green, black or oolong tea in almost any imaginable form – frozen, sparkling, iced or steamed. The specialty drinks are made in martini shakers by the “Tea Tenders.” Try their Pomarita, a blend of pomegranate and lime with green tea or Chocolate Chai, which is a combo of black tea, spiced chai, chocolate and cinnamon. YUMMY!

At this location you will also find their casual bar/restaurant, the Back Bay Tavern. With indoor and outdoor seating for 150 and a rotating selection of 24 craft beers on tap, wine and spirits and a delicious menu featuring beef, seafood, vegetarian and vegan meals, make Back Bay Tavern your new go-to dining spot when shopping with friends at Fashion Island!

In addition to the Tea Hive and Back Bay Tavern, at this store location you will also find:

~ An extensive produce selection of locally grown fruits and veggies.

~ A high quality meat department offering meat from animals raised without antibiotics or hormones. All meats have to adhere to Whole Foods Markets stringent quality standards, including a full line of 100% grass-fed, locally-sourced beef and chicken, ready to take home and cook.

~ Their fresh seafood department has sustainably-sourced fresh filets, steaks and seasonal seafood, which are oven-ready, delivered up to six days a week.

~ Full in-store bakery offers freshly made breads from scratch, including focaccias, baguettes, muffins, and special diet selections like vegan and gluten-free treats.

~ Large selection of bulk and raw foods.

~ Free Wi-Fi and plenty of parking.

~ And much, much more!

For additional information, visit www.wholefoodsmarket.com. You can stay up-to-date on the latest and follow Whole Foods Market Newport Beach on Facebook and Twitter.

To celebrate the opening of their Newport Beach location, Whole Foods Market invites you to enter the Whole Foods Market Newport Beach Photo Contest HERE!

Show them why you love Newport Beach, whether it’s a photo of your feet in the sand, or another favorite NB spot, and you could win a private party suite for 10 people at the Newport Hyatt Jazz Concert or $100 Whole Foods Market gift cards.

Contest runs now through September 21st, 2012.  For more information click HERE.

I am soooo excited for this store to open as it is going to be the closest Whole Foods to my home!! I hope you will stop by to check it out and enjoy all of the many special features this store has to offer.

[Disclosure: This is a sponsored post for Whole Foods Market Newport Beach. One of which I am thrilled to share as I am a huge Whole Foods fan and this new location sounds a-mazing!!!]

 

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Eco-friendly Party Ideas

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Welcome to my fourth post in the SCOTT Naturals™  series celebrating Earth Month and the little changes all of us can make to live a little more green. Today’s post is on how to throw an eco-friendly party for your little one!

Have you ever thought about how much trash and waste goes into a birthday party? Why not give your next party an “Every Day is Earth Day” theme? This green theme is a ton of fun and there are so many ideas you can play off of. Here are a few to get you started…

Invitations:

Of course the most eco-friendly invitation is one that is paperless.

Create an emailed invitation for your eco-chic party on a site like Paperless Post or Echoage.

Brainstorm on invitation wording like a party that will be “Out of this World.” Or “Reuse, Recycle, Rejoice. Join us for an Earth Day Birthday Party for…”  Or, “The Best Friends are Sustainable Ones. Celebrate with us at an Earth Day theme party for…”

If you want to take the idea further and reduce the waste associated with gift wrapping, Echoage allows you to pick a favorite charity (you can opt for one focused on environmental projects) and guests can make a donation in lieu of gifts. This is the greenest giving of all! 

Decor / Supplies:

Playing on the Earth Theme, pick a color palate of browns, white, green and blue for a global-flare.

Use cloth tablecloths and SCOTT Naturals™  hybrid napkins and paper towels.

Opt for reusable plates and silverware versus paper.

If that isn’t practical, consider purchasing party supplies from Susty Party, an eco-friendly party supply company that sells items that are compostable and biodegradable.

Food / Drinks:

When going eco-friendly, think local when it comes to your food. Shop your favorite farmers’ market for fresh fruits and vegetables.

Make your own mini organic pizza crusts, and let kids top theirs with a choice of toppings (including local organic veggies and cheese.)

Serve homemade lemonade with fresh lemon slices in reusable cups.

Activities:

* Have kids first make their own pizzas so those are ready to pop in the oven when the time comes.

* Planting Station: Buy mini terracotta pots and paint them with chalkboard paint ahead of time.

Set up a table with colored chalk so kids can decorate their own pot to take home. In center of table set up soil and seeds, and help kids scoop their own soil into their pot and then plant their flower seeds of choice. Send their decorated pot home as their party favor.

* Make your own binoculars.  Let kiddos make and decorate their own set of binoculars out of SCOTT Naturals™  hybrid bath tissue rolls to take on their nature scavenger hunt.

* Nature Scavenger Hunt: Let kids explore around the backyard or take a walk around the block as they search for various items found in nature.

* Go Green Story Time: Read a favorite eco-friendly children’s book.

Dessert:

Playing off the nature theme, have the kids make their own earthy “mudpies” using homemade organic chocolate pudding and toppings with such as whipped cream, chocolate sprinkles, pretzels, gummy worms, smashed up organic chocolate cookies, etc.

Thank You’s:

Take a picture of your child with each guest and send them a sweet emailed thank you with a sentiment like “Thank you for being a sustainable friend.

As you can see, you can have a ton of fun with this green theme. And events like this can spark many teachable moments about the Earth and our care of it.

And while we are thinking green, SCOTT Naturals™ invites you to take the 4 Week Test Drive during the month of April.

Simply go to scottbrand.com and pledge to switch to SCOTT Naturals™ for four weeks and try their selection of hybrid products.

When you make the pledge, you will enter in your zip code, and the state with the most pledges can win $50,000 towards local forest and land conservation efforts to preserve America’s great outdoors. Click HERE and take the pledge!

[Disclosure: SCOTT Naturals™ is compensating me for my time and participation in this campaign. All of the above are my honest opinions, as always. I have made the switch to SCOTT Naturals™ and have taken the 4 Week Test Drive pledge! I hope you will too!]

Resources: Paperless PostEchoageSusty PartyHomemade Pizza Recipe, Homemade Lemonade Recipe, Fruit Cake Recipe on Family FunHow to Make Paper Tube Binoculars, How to Make Terracotta Pots with Chalkboard Paint, Eco-friendly Children’s BooksOrganic Chocolate Pudding Recipe,  Worms in the Mudpie Recipe

Photo credits: Forks from Susty Party, Fruit Cake from Family Fun, Terracotta Pot from Scissors and Spatulas, Worms in the Mudpie from Raspberri Cupcakes.

 

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