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Things they have at Trader Joe's but not at Whole Foods

Things they have at Trader Joe's but not at Whole Foods
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  • Things they have at Trader Joe's but not at Whole Foods

    Post #1 - March 10th, 2007, 11:08 am
    Post #1 - March 10th, 2007, 11:08 am Post #1 - March 10th, 2007, 11:08 am
    Pancetta.

    Admittedly, it comes in little chunks and kind of looks like cat food or at least Underwood Deviled Ham. But since it was being pureed anyway, that was ok.
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  • Post #2 - March 10th, 2007, 11:19 am
    Post #2 - March 10th, 2007, 11:19 am Post #2 - March 10th, 2007, 11:19 am
    Really, Mike ? All the Whole Foods I've used in places I've lived (Boston, NC, and now here in Austin) all have had pancetta. Quite regularly, if I'm not mistaken, although I do recall on one occasion them only having some kinds of peppered-pancetta.
  • Post #3 - March 10th, 2007, 11:25 am
    Post #3 - March 10th, 2007, 11:25 am Post #3 - March 10th, 2007, 11:25 am
    I asked at the deli counter at the Ashland store, no dice. They don't have jamon serrano either.
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  • Post #4 - March 10th, 2007, 12:26 pm
    Post #4 - March 10th, 2007, 12:26 pm Post #4 - March 10th, 2007, 12:26 pm
    This has, incidentally, always been my big beef with Whole Foods. You're cruising along, getting a ton of nice stuff, and then... whammo... there's suddenly a gaping hole in their stock where some critical standard is completely absent. Well, that the and attitude I typically encounter in such situations. Actual conversation with a Whole Foods Flunky circa 1990:

    ---

    Me: Hey... I see you have a ton of extra virgin olive oil here, but I'm looking for a "regular" olive oil. Do you have any?

    WFF: Well, sir, extra virgin olive oil is actually a far superior olive oil. It's the first pressing of the olives, so it has --

    Me: Yes, I know what extra virgin olive oil is, but that's not what I'm looking for. Do you carry any that isn't extra virgin?

    WFF: Well, sir, if you try the extra virgin, I think you'll find that it's a much better --

    Me: Yes, yes, I know... I use extra virgin all the time, but for what I'm doing tonight, I'd really like a lighter, later pressing. Do you carry any?

    WFF: You see, the extra virgin olive oil --

    Me: Look... do you have any olive oil that isn't extra virgin or not?

    WFF: Well, the extra virgin is --

    Me: Forget it.

    ---

    In retrospect, it's probably because many later pressings are chemically treated, but really... a simple "no, I'm sorry, we don't" would have sufficed.

    Maybe I'm being overly critical because they're supermarket-sized and have a supermarket appearance (I don't penalize smaller markets for not having some items), but I think it was just a few too many trips where I thought to myself "Oh, they'll have everything I need for tonight" only to discover that something very obvious was missing.
    Dominic Armato
    Dining Critic
    The Arizona Republic and azcentral.com
  • Post #5 - March 10th, 2007, 12:28 pm
    Post #5 - March 10th, 2007, 12:28 pm Post #5 - March 10th, 2007, 12:28 pm
    Two Buck Chuck's (in some states: Four Buck Chuck's).
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #6 - March 10th, 2007, 12:33 pm
    Post #6 - March 10th, 2007, 12:33 pm Post #6 - March 10th, 2007, 12:33 pm
    Things they have at Jewel but not, apparently, at Whole Foods: Pancetta.

    Weird.
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #7 - March 10th, 2007, 12:42 pm
    Post #7 - March 10th, 2007, 12:42 pm Post #7 - March 10th, 2007, 12:42 pm
    That olive oil conversation reminds me of when I wanted a packaged duck pate they sold; they didn't have it any more and the cheese guy tried to persuade me that another pate, chicken liver IIRC, would be just as good. Finally I came out and told him it was for my dog and she really liked the duck. (True by the way; in my defense, she was 15 and ill.) He looked like he was certain I was putting him on.

    WF really is funny. One week they had a recipe on display for fish in parchment. Good idea, I though, and asked where they were keeping theparchment. Nope, none in the store, never carry it, first time it occurred to them was when I asked.
  • Post #8 - March 10th, 2007, 9:28 pm
    Post #8 - March 10th, 2007, 9:28 pm Post #8 - March 10th, 2007, 9:28 pm
    I know this may get booted because it's not about food, but all this reminds me of the time that we needed to buy a new screen door. The owner of a window/door company came out to the house, and I explained that I wanted one that had glass on the bottom and screen on the top, because we have a dog who could put holes in a screen that he could reach. When the guy realized that he didn't have such a product to sell us that would fit our doorway (he only had full screen doors), he strenuously tried to convince me to get rid of the dog. We used to employ his company to clean our windows but that whole episode was so ridiculous that I now hire someone else instead; we subsequently found another company that provided us with just the right screen door, and we still have the dog.
    ToniG
  • Post #9 - March 10th, 2007, 10:35 pm
    Post #9 - March 10th, 2007, 10:35 pm Post #9 - March 10th, 2007, 10:35 pm
    Snap Pea Salad snack by Calbee foods and those really good peanut butter pretzel nuggets.
  • Post #10 - March 11th, 2007, 12:26 am
    Post #10 - March 11th, 2007, 12:26 am Post #10 - March 11th, 2007, 12:26 am
    whole foods doesn't have parma prosciutto either. when i asked, i was told it didn't meet their purchasing guidelines for health reasons. the same silly reason it was unavailable in the states for so many years. not sure about trader joe's.
    "In pursuit of joys untasted"
    from Giuseppe Verdi's La Traviata
  • Post #11 - March 11th, 2007, 8:12 am
    Post #11 - March 11th, 2007, 8:12 am Post #11 - March 11th, 2007, 8:12 am
    TJ's has a couple of kinds of prosciutto but I haven't looked closely to see what.

    Generally speaking, deli meats are the last thing I'd get at Whole Foods. Those all-natural no-preservative kinds they carry are flavorless to begin with and they spoil between the time you start making your sandwich and the time you eat it. And as this thread has noted, there are a bunch of things they simply don't have that you need for even semi-authentic recipes (but not if you're making fat-free soyonnaise-based tempeh-groatnut salad). They just don't believe in cured, sliced meat at Whole Foods.
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  • Post #12 - March 11th, 2007, 9:14 am
    Post #12 - March 11th, 2007, 9:14 am Post #12 - March 11th, 2007, 9:14 am
    Then again, TJ's falls into the same category on faux naturals... I mean, just what the heck is uncured corned beef, hot dogs and the like?
    What is patriotism, but the love of good things we ate in our childhood?
    -- Lin Yutang
  • Post #13 - March 12th, 2007, 8:29 am
    Post #13 - March 12th, 2007, 8:29 am Post #13 - March 12th, 2007, 8:29 am
    Mike G wrote:Pancetta.

    Admittedly, it comes in little chunks and kind of looks like cat food or at least Underwood Deviled Ham. But since it was being pureed anyway, that was ok.

    Purred pancetta...interesting. What did you use it for?
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #14 - March 12th, 2007, 8:44 am
    Post #14 - March 12th, 2007, 8:44 am Post #14 - March 12th, 2007, 8:44 am
    It's actually this chicken recipe. You puree basil, pancetta, garlic and a few other spices, add some olive oil and balsamic vinegar, stuff it under the skin, and roast with some potatoes.
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  • Post #15 - March 12th, 2007, 10:34 am
    Post #15 - March 12th, 2007, 10:34 am Post #15 - March 12th, 2007, 10:34 am
    I've purchased pancetta at the North/Sheffield WF.
  • Post #16 - March 12th, 2007, 10:58 am
    Post #16 - March 12th, 2007, 10:58 am Post #16 - March 12th, 2007, 10:58 am
    Mike G wrote:Pancetta... Admittedly, it comes in little chunks and kind of looks like cat food or at least Underwood Deviled Ham


    I've used this too around xmas. I wouldn't quite call it "deviled" but since I needed it finely diced for mini Beef Burgundy in puff pastry, it worked quite well, very rich tasting (even though I could hear my Kosher-keeping grandmothers yelling at me from the beyond)

    If I'd had more time to shop (I'd been grocery shopping for nearly four hours at that point), I'd probably pick up something more identifyable as pancetta -- I hate buying crumbled cheese, and this seemed the same sort of faux convenience.
    What is patriotism, but the love of good things we ate in our childhood?
    -- Lin Yutang
  • Post #17 - March 12th, 2007, 2:06 pm
    Post #17 - March 12th, 2007, 2:06 pm Post #17 - March 12th, 2007, 2:06 pm
    I bought the TJ pancetta for a carbonara and would not recommend using it in a pasta dish. It had a strange flavor and consistency. I tried to buy pancetta or guanciale at the Whole Foods on Ashland and Belmont a few weeks ago and was told they carry no cured meats but I know I purchased pancetta in the past at the WF on Sheffield/North. I ended up at Paulina Market for the pancetta (they don't carry guanciale).
  • Post #18 - March 12th, 2007, 6:02 pm
    Post #18 - March 12th, 2007, 6:02 pm Post #18 - March 12th, 2007, 6:02 pm
    Well, given how deeply it's buried in this dish among other, strongly flavorful ingredients, that's a level of strangeness I was willing to live with that day.
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  • Post #19 - March 14th, 2007, 8:08 am
    Post #19 - March 14th, 2007, 8:08 am Post #19 - March 14th, 2007, 8:08 am
    Trader Joe's selection of packaged dried fruit can't be beat. Try getting something as simple as raisins at Whole Foods. Also, TJ's carries a much better variety of sharp cheddar cheese, and better (cheaper) vanilla extract, which you can't get at WF's for less than $12. TJ's also has house-brand organic yogurts and grade B maple syrup. This is just off the top of my head, too.

    Several months back I tried tracking down a Chemex coffee maker, and the company itself told me Whole Foods carried it. I went there and found the Chemex filters, but not the carafe, so I asked the coffee person. She looked in the back for five minutes and returned with a Chemex carafe, then told me they don't usually have them, even though they carry the filters all the time. That's WF in a nutshell.
  • Post #20 - March 14th, 2007, 5:20 pm
    Post #20 - March 14th, 2007, 5:20 pm Post #20 - March 14th, 2007, 5:20 pm
    Vitesse98 wrote: TJ's also has house-brand organic yogurts and grade B maple syrup.


    I know I have gotten Grade B maple syrup at Whole Foods. I think it is Whole Foods brand, too.
    Leek

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  • Post #21 - March 22nd, 2007, 8:55 am
    Post #21 - March 22nd, 2007, 8:55 am Post #21 - March 22nd, 2007, 8:55 am
    I don't think WF carries stroopwafels, unless it's for a very limited time per year. TJs carries stroopwafels of two different sizes, and the larger one (the TJ brand) comes in a decorative tin!

    Also, I've heard about but not yet tried TJ's new pesto-filled gnocchi. I'm pretty sure WF doesn't carry that.
  • Post #22 - March 22nd, 2007, 9:07 am
    Post #22 - March 22nd, 2007, 9:07 am Post #22 - March 22nd, 2007, 9:07 am
    happy_stomach wrote:Also, I've heard about but not yet tried TJ's new pesto-filled gnocchi. I'm pretty sure WF doesn't carry that.

    I'm pretty sure the Whole Foods in Antonius's personal Hell has shelves and shelves of them. The vodka cream sauce for topping them is in Aisle 2.
  • Post #23 - March 22nd, 2007, 9:13 am
    Post #23 - March 22nd, 2007, 9:13 am Post #23 - March 22nd, 2007, 9:13 am
    I'm pretty sure the Whole Foods in Antonius's personal Hell has shelves and shelves of them. The vodka cream sauce for topping them is in Aisle 2.


    Thanks. Good to know. I might still try T&J's variety first--it'll be cheaper.
  • Post #24 - March 22nd, 2007, 9:20 am
    Post #24 - March 22nd, 2007, 9:20 am Post #24 - March 22nd, 2007, 9:20 am
    :lol:
  • Post #25 - August 13th, 2007, 9:10 pm
    Post #25 - August 13th, 2007, 9:10 pm Post #25 - August 13th, 2007, 9:10 pm
    I just started day 1 of training as a new Whole Foods "Team Member" (the bottom rank) today - and see some things that might interest people here.

    1) Whole Foods Market's number 1 mission statement is "To satisfy and delight our customers".

    So if you don't mind taking the time out to ask customer service if they'd consider carrying certain items - please do. Maybe we can become at least closer to your "dream store".

    Also - Whole Foods WILL possibly carry items at certain locations - so it shouldn't be a gigantic hurdle to try to get something new in the store.

    2) 30% (and by far the biggest identifiable chunk of their business) comes from "Foodies" - the people so darn concerned about health do NOT seem to be our biggest customer base.

    3) A rather important midwest Whole Foods guy showed us a ton of grocery store pictures - and rather sighed after showing a picture of a lovely cured meat shop. Said something about "Nitrates" and let it slip.

    I'm betting there's some internal idea conflict about health versus gourmet. But if customers asked - if bet the gourmet guy could win. But I think the guys at the very top of the business are health nuts - but they apparently have promoted some foodies reasonably high up the ranks.

    4) At least locally, Whole Foods is teaching it's employees to never say NO. I was thinking about that olive oil post while this guy was going on about how not to ever say no. We're really just trying to stay positive - not annoy our customers. But I guess some people don't have the sense to know when it would be better to just say no.

    As for my employment, I will be working at the new Northbrook store which opens Wednesday August 29th at 9am. It really does look like it'll be awesome - the biggest Whole Foods store in the midwest. I saw the meat department at little more than the rest (as I'll be working in it) - and we do have the dry aging, and two smokers. Seems like we'll carry chicken, turkey, beef, pork, lamb, veal, venison and bison - quite a lot. But we did away with the grill - apparently that didn't turn out that well at Cicero.

    I don't want to use my forum presence here to sell you on Whole Foods Market. But I would like to be your someone who can try to get your feedback into the store.

    I have been quiet of late on LTH, but have been around a while, but this is the first time I've been employed at a place where we shop. I don't want to abuse this forum at all - just help us get what we want out of the store.

    If you want an inside scoop on the new store - give me a little time, got a whole week of training yet - and I'll try to report. (Or how it is supposed to compare to other locations).

    Nancy
  • Post #26 - August 13th, 2007, 9:37 pm
    Post #26 - August 13th, 2007, 9:37 pm Post #26 - August 13th, 2007, 9:37 pm
    Nancy Sexton wrote:Also - Whole Foods WILL possibly carry items at certain locations - so it shouldn't be a gigantic hurdle to try to get something new in the store.

    3) A rather important midwest Whole Foods guy showed us a ton of grocery store pictures - and rather sighed after showing a picture of a lovely cured meat shop. Said something about "Nitrates" and let it slip.

    I'm betting there's some internal idea conflict about health versus gourmet. But if customers asked - if bet the gourmet guy could win. But I think the guys at the very top of the business are health nuts - but they apparently have promoted some foodies reasonably high up the ranks.


    Interesting. I questioned Mike G at the beginning of this thread on not being able to find pancetta, based on my experience of being able to find it at the Chapel Hill, NC location. Thing is, I've not seen it since then at another store, including my current home store, the flagship Austin one.

    If it's a corporate decision not to get into that business of meats, I find it strange that I was able to find it at the Chapel Hill store. Then again, it's possible that it's no longer available there now, due to this policy.

    I will say that, despite having similar experiences with staff as Dmnkly had, overall they have been pretty good about accomodating my requests, and even special ordering on occasion.

    Thanks for the insights, Nancy.
  • Post #27 - August 14th, 2007, 9:26 am
    Post #27 - August 14th, 2007, 9:26 am Post #27 - August 14th, 2007, 9:26 am
    I bought pancetta at the Halsted/Waveland store within the last 2-3 weeks. The package says "No nitrates or nitrites added--keep refrigerated".
  • Post #28 - August 14th, 2007, 9:39 am
    Post #28 - August 14th, 2007, 9:39 am Post #28 - August 14th, 2007, 9:39 am
    Nancy Sexton wrote:4) At least locally, Whole Foods is teaching it's employees to never say NO. I was thinking about that olive oil post while this guy was going on about how not to ever say no. We're really just trying to stay positive - not annoy our customers. But I guess some people don't have the sense to know when it would be better to just say no.


    This is a customer service issue, and something I've thought about for a while. I (almost) never say No to a client, but I think what the clerk in Dom's scenario was doing wrong was he was apparently not listening to the customer. Were I the clerk, I might say something like, "You know, we carry only extra virgin olive oil, but I'm sure we can special order some regular olive oil, if you like." Jeez, if the customer was clearly in the market only for regular oo, and needed it right now, I'd perhaps even direct them to another store (not a WF competitor; a small market perhaps) for the item (since I was a kid, I always admired when Kris in Miracle on 34th Street sent customers to competitors; shows that the customer really is first).

    Hammond
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #29 - August 14th, 2007, 10:58 am
    Post #29 - August 14th, 2007, 10:58 am Post #29 - August 14th, 2007, 10:58 am
    Nancy:

    Thanks for posting the opening date. I'll probably switch from the Deerfield Whole Foods to the Northbrook location when it opens (they're about equi-distant), so I'll try to say hello sometime!

    Jonah
  • Post #30 - August 15th, 2007, 11:49 am
    Post #30 - August 15th, 2007, 11:49 am Post #30 - August 15th, 2007, 11:49 am
    jazzfood wrote:whole foods doesn't have parma prosciutto either. when i asked, i was told it didn't meet their purchasing guidelines for health reasons. the same silly reason it was unavailable in the states for so many years. not sure about trader joe's.


    I have bought pre-packaged prosciutto at TJ once or twice. It's ok, but I wouldn't do that again - the freshly sliced prosciutto from a place that slices it fresh for you is much better.

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