A week ago I reported on the soft-opening of the Wholesome Choice in Anaheim Hills. In the post I asked our readers who went for their impressions. One came through with a detailed review.
Since most of you probably missed it, I will reprint J. Hunter's detailed comment here:
I went there on Saturday afternoon and the store was packed with mostly people just 'checking things out'.
The bakery was not up and running yet, but all of the other hot food stations were.
A few observations:
The hot food is, just as Irvine, excellent. I came home with a pizza and some Chinese food and all were delicious and fresh. The pizza sauce was more of a sweet sauce, unlike any I've had, but still really good.
The produce selection is impressive, with prices on par with Henry's (although many were from their grand opening ad). Time will tell if the prices stay low.
The meat dept. was packed, 3 deep in customers. I did not wait but saw an impressive selection.
The deli had probably 2 dozen meats, a dozen cheeses (including fresh made Mexican and Middle Eastern cheeses). They also had a sushi station with a very good sushi chef trying to keep the cabinet full.
The pastry counter probably made me gain 2 pounds just by looking. The largest of their fresh food counters, it had 24 feet of showcase space for desserts from all around the world.
As far as groceries, typical of specialty stores, very expensive. But, they carry a very impressive selection of ethnic foods - I feel even more than the Irvine location.
Service in all departments was VERY slow. I am not sure if this is due to lack of training, but it was widespread in all areas of the store.
If you've been to the Irvine branch, then you can expect the same level of service here. Which is, basically, none. It starts with the big thug standing at the entrance who refuses to answer questions - only stated he's 'security' and 'ask someone else'.
We asked for a single chocolate dipped strawberry from the pastry counter and the woman refused to package it unless we bought more. Only when we walked away did she tell us to wait and finally grabbed it.
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I will try to be as sensitive as possible, and I mean no disrespect to anyone, but this is primarily a Persian market and the store vibe matches the culture - which, if you've shopped in Irvine, you will understand.
Know that going in and you'll have a great shopping experience. The design of the store is impressive in itself - especially if you used to shop at the old Albertsons. It's amazing its even the same building.
The only real bummer...I was looking forward to smelling that fantastic bread baking when I walked in, and leaving with more than an armful. Oh well, hopefully soon.
Wholesome Choice. 5755 E La Palma Ave, Anaheim, CA 92807