The other day I had the opportunity to eat dinner at one of the most anticipated new spots in Downtown San Jose. This place, known for its food, also has a microbrewery and tap-room on site. Today, December 9th, is the official GRAND OPENING!
As part of a media tour, they served us several delicious courses of food that you can easily find within the store itself. But I'm jumping ahead.
Here's a rundown of what I saw, heard, etc..
It's been awhile since I've driven past Stockton/The Alameda area. I was driving down Stockton and completely passed up the parking lot entrance (oops) - so a quick u-turn later, I was back in business.
The place is huge and it's quite pretty from the outside. It's not a stuffy looking grocery store. Colorful and modern design elements are everywhere. They used a lot of locally manufactured, reclaimed, and recycled materials to decorate the store. I loved it!
We learned about their rating system (displayed above the counter) -- the higher the number, the better that the animal was treated. Nice to know.
Also, they have a big ole container full of bacon.
They have many different kinds to choose from, and it is nice to know that if you are curious they'll bust one open for you on the spot and give you a taste. I picked up one package of a cranberry-orange cheese. I neglected to ask what the heck do I eat with that? Or what do I prepare it with? Next time I will ask.. and someone will tell me. Because that's how it works. ;)
Custom-filled donuts made on the spot. Just for you. Maybe for your friends, if they're lucky.
Their official pizza dude (Matthew Driscoll) is on the U.S. Pizza Team. Look at him go!
Then I tasted their pizza - super yum. Did you see that fancy shmancy brick pizza oven too? Game nights are going to be filled with people buying some pizza or a hockey-themed (cute) sandwich and heading up the patio for a beer. (WHAT? Beer you say?! Keep reading...)
San Jose is home to the company's first on-site microbrewery and tap room in California called Mission Creek Brewing Company.
"Mission Creek Brewing Company is located in a two story, 5,600 square-foot 'outbuilding' separate from the main store itself. The ground floor houses coffee and fresh juice bars, along with some seating. The second floor is home to the tap room, with eight bar seats, a birds-eye view of the brewery, and access to outdoor seating for around 75. A retractable roof and outdoor heating protect guests in inclement weather."
Neato, right? Here's the view from the patio.
As part of the tour/media day, we were treated to a three-course dinner (or .. is it five when you count the starter and dessert? I clearly don't have to many "course" meals…) The spread of tasty nibbles were delicious and the decor on the tables quite nice!
I have to say, everything was delicious. Not twisting my arm to say it at all. That's one of the things I really like about Whole Foods. If I was out running errands at one of my old jobs, I might find myself near the Hamilton location. I'd run in to their prepared foods section and try not to go too crazy buying things. They have a TON of delicious things to try. So I knew going in I was going to be enjoying my meal.
And lastly, we got a little sweet goodie bag with various products they carry in the store:
Now, some people flat out won't go to Whole Foods because products are not the cheapest in the land. No, they're not. You will be paying a decent amount for some products. But, don't let that stop you from ever going there. Buy some treats, try something new that nobody else carries. Want to make a nice gift basket for someone? This is a perfect place for that. Do you work downtown and want to grab a bite to eat - like I mentioned above, their prepared foods department (bakery, pizza and sandwiches, etc) have a ton of delicious options. Treat yourself! Or maybe you run a business nearby and you need to get some food for a client coming in for a lunch meeting? Swing by there and pick up a spread. If it's not your go-to grocery store, it certainly can be a place to stop by occasionally. Don't rule it out!
I'm hungry now just thinking about all the goodies.. so I'm gonna munch on some of my lemon pistachios.. or maybe a carrot cake cupcake..
From Dec. 11-24, the store is hosting “The Great Holiday Giveaway,” offering one gift with a value up to $200, via its Facebook page and http://thegreatholidaygiveaway.com.