Where Local and Global Appetites Collide

Sneak Preview: Whole Foods Market Oracle Road, Tucson

Whole Foods Market - Oracle Road
Whole Foods Market – Oracle Road

Wow! Circle of Food is really impressed with the new and improved Whole Foods Market at Casas Adobes Plaza. Not only is it bigger (from 16,000 square feet to 32,000 square feet); it’s also brighter (love the lighting), the wide aisles, and the potential for an extraordinary shopping experience.

This newly reopened location at 7133 N. Oracle Road (at Ina) opens Wednesday August 27 at 9 a.m. The first 100 people receive a free demi baguette.

Of course, everything is premium including a dine-in restaurant with room for 45 seats indoors and 30 seats on an outside patio area. The tavern-style menu will feature local products whenever possible and vegan, vegetarian and Health Starts Here™ salad options. Diners can enjoy 24 craft beers on draft of which at least 12 dedicated to local brews. Unlike the bar/dining area at the Whole Foods Market River Road, this location is off to the side making it more roomy. It will be an inviting hangout in 20 minutes. A seat here will be a hot commodity especially after 3 pm.

More highlights of the new NW store include:

· Full in-store bakery with a team of experienced bakers, cake decorators, and team members serving up everything from in-house made cakes and cupcakes to freshly baked pastries and croissant donuts, and even a favorite classic, whoopie pie.

· Juice, coffee and smoothie bar – featuring horchata lattes, locally-flavored lemonade, agua frescas, and cold-brewed coffee growlers. (Circle of Food is a major fan of cold-brewed coffee.)

· Meat department with the highest quality meats that come from animals raised without the use of antibiotics or added hormones; a selection of in-house smoked meats.

· Hot and cold bar featuring prepared salads and rotating hot menu items featuring healthy, plant strong, oil-free options, as well as organic soups, salads and entrees. Many varieties of sushi; some you won’t find anywhere else.

· In-store kitchen that features everyday favorites such as handcrafted pizza by the slice or the whole pie, in-house chips, custom-made sandwiches, non-GMO and organic rotisserie chickens, and meals-on-the-go.

· Best variety and selection of organic foods and products available in Tucson.

Just walking around the store, we noticed about two dozen different brands of yogurt, many of which we’ve never heard of like Zen Monkey and a brand in small jars. Walking down the aisles past the noodles and sauces was a dizzying jaunt. So many choices. Foodies will rejoice!

Have you ever heard of FO-AM? Yes, you can buy a carton of foam to take home with you. I’m not sure what you do with it though.

Emphasis is placed on local products — Margy’s Kitchen Strawberry Jam, Queen Creek Olive Mill Ascolano Olives, Epicurean EVOO, Ramona Farms Chickpeas/Tepary Beans/Wheatberries/Black-Eyed Peas, Arizona Cheese Company Cheese Curds, Anthony Spices Assorted Seasoning, Mediterra Bakehouse Breads, Blue Sky Farms Produce, Sunizona Family Farms Produce, Willcox Greenhouse Produce, Four Peaks Produce.  Also try the Strawberry Hedgehog soap. I’m enjoying my slice of eucalyptus lime and my friend opted for citrus clove.

On a previous occasion, a few weeks ago Circle of Food was invited to a very special dinner by. Some of the highlights were elote style corn, roasted vegetable terrine, roasted cauliflower salad, lamb and quinoa meatballs, and smoked chicken Veracruz. Hopefully some of these foods will be available in the hot and cold bar as well as catering options. Kudos to the Arizona/metro executive chef, Nathan Hirsch.

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