We dropped by North Orange County’s first Whole Foods Market to see if it had the same razzle dazzle as the one over in Tustin. You know what? It was better. With each new market launch, they continue to improve upon the Disney-esque prototype at The District. While we don’t make a habit of fulfilling our grocery list here, we will fill you in on a few of the perks to shopping at this shiny and new locale.
There’s an upstairs! – Nicknamed The Mezz, the second floor mezzanine above the pizza station is where you’ll find a community demo kitchen, open lounge seating and a designated area for food and beer/wine pairings. This week alone, Barley Forge and Golden Road are scheduled to pour beers on Thursday and Friday, respectively, between the hours of 4-7 p.m.
Beer is here. – They claim to have seven local beers on tap. According to our colleague, he counted eight! Happy hour can be enjoyed weekdays from 3-6 p.m in their bar. We may have spotted Ballast Point, Stone, Smog City, The Lost Abbey and Strand Brewing, just to name a few (their definition of ‘local’ is rather broad). Beware of sitting facing the taps before the sun sets, though. The glare from outside nearly blinded us.
You’ll find a lotta guac. – Five types, to be exact: Srirachamole (exactly what you think), bacon guac, guackalemole, hot and original. All made fresh daily, and sold in small and large size containers. Why would you even bother with a small, people?
A ramen option? – While not available at all locations, Brea will be home to a spicy tonkotsu chashu ramen, as well as a spicy albacore mazemen (a dry ramen topped with your choice of salmon, albacore or vegetables.) Actually, their prepared foods in general go the extra distance. Per community feedback, more expansive vegan options and a self-serve pizza station were specific to this store. A section filled with Le Creuset cookware will have rotating meal options, reminiscent of braises found at Lemonade.
Oh, and Whole
Paycheck Foods Irvine is currently scheduled to open its doors on March 16. Be ready for that stampede.
Whole Foods Market will officially open to the public at 9 a.m. on February 17 at 3301 Imperial Hwy in Brea.
A contributing writer for OC Weekly, Anne Marie freelances for multiple online and print publications, and guest judges for culinary competitions. A Bay Area transplant, she graduated with a degree in Hospitality Management from Cal Poly Pomona. Find her on Instagram as brekkiefan.