A Preview of the Whole Foods Post Oak Store with Dinner, Beer, and a Chat

Photo by Joey McKeel
An overhead shot of the food and beer served at the dinner. Dave Ohmer, Whole Foods brewmaster, is third from left.
Next month, a new Whole Foods Market location is opening in the Galleria area that promises, for the time being, to be the biggest Whole Foods in Houston. Inside Whole Foods Post Oak will be the company's first brewery-- according to Whole Foods, the first in-store brewery of any kind in the grocery industry.

As a preview of the features available at the new location, we were able to have a media dinner with the brewmaster at the Whole Foods Market Brewing Company, Dave Ohmer. The meal was from the new location's Souvlaki Greek venue and paired with beers chosen by Ohmer. We also got to speak to Ohmer about his plans for the brewery.

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True or False? 6 Common Food Questions Answered

Photo by Matt MacGillivray
Lots of mysteries lurking at the average grocery store

There are a lot of misconceptions and myths floating around in our world today about the things we like to eat and drink. I hear a lot of strange "rules" at the grocery store where I work, and of course from people I know outside of my job. Here are a few that I think are pretty interesting.

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Whole Foods Market: Your One-Stop Shop for Pumpkins This Fall

Photos by Molly Dunn
Whole Foods Market has a plethora of carving pumpkins, along with more you can eat.
Take one trip to any grocery store around town and you'll quickly realize that pumpkin season has arrived. But, there's more types of pumpkins than just the bright orange round ones you carve into Jack-O-Lanterns and set outside on Halloween night. Pumpkins come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors; and just because one is good for cooking, doesn't mean another can be used in the same exact way.

It's always fun to take the family out to a nearby pumpkin patch to sit on gourds, snap some photos and take a few home with you to carve and possibly eat. But, if you're just looking for a quick place to buy pumpkins without it being an all-day ordeal, then stop by any Whole Foods Market in the city. This year, the specialty grocery store offers nearly 27 different pumpkin and gourd varietals -- all of the pumpkins are local and edible. To help you decide which one is right for you, we have broken down the list of available pumpkins at Whole Foods Markets in Houston into two categories: best for carving/decorating, and best for baking/cooking.

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H-E-B Issues Recall of Samuel Kane Beef Processors' Beef Products

H-E-B customers who recently bought beef at one of its stores might want to take a closer look at what they brought home.

H-E-B has announced it is following the precautionary recall called for by Sam Kane Beef Processors which said there might be foreign material in some of its ground beef and ground chuck products, according to an H-E-B press release. The processing company is just one of several that H-E-B uses.

The grocery store stressed that "no injuries or illnesses have been reported."

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Savory Spice Shop in Rice Village: An Easy Way to Test Out New Smells and Tastes

Categories: Grocery Guide

Photo by Joanna O'Leary
I respect any establishment with an entire wall devoted to curry.

It's not every day a store clerk encourages you to drop your sample on the floor once you've finished testing it.

It makes sense, though, at Rice Village's Savory Spice Shop where 99 percent of the wares are in powdered form. The store has been open since August, but had its grand opening this past weekend.

And "grand" is certainly a fitting descriptor for anything having to do with the shop, whose voluminous spices, oils, marinades, seasonings, etc. are meticulously ordered and artfully arranged in a space reminiscent of a French Victorian apothecary.

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Testing Williams-Sonoma's Make-Your-Own-Butter Kit

Categories: Grocery Guide

Photo by Joanna O'Leary
Just add cream.
Eager to tap into the metro yeoman hipster market, Williams-Sonoma now offers a line of "DIY" kits for smoking salmon, making your own nut milk, fermenting your own mead, etc., etc. These kits are, unsurprisingly, fairly expensive and the end-product, of course, highly subject to user error. You're better off going to the grocery store or just researching methods and equipment online if time and money are a priority.

However, when a kit is on sale and there's an extra 20 percent off clearance plus shipping, purchasing one becomes almost conscionable. Almost.

In the spirit of "butter makes everything butter," I bought the butter-making kit, which included:

  • a BPA-free plastic shaker container

  • 2 porcelain butter crocks

  • 2 hand-carved teak butter paddles.

  • .75 oz of Herbes de Provences (.75 oz).

  • 1 oz of French sea salt (1 oz.).

  • 1 muslin bags for storing herbs and spices

Alas, no cream, the most crucial ingredient. For that, you have to go to the store, or, if the case may be, the dairy cow resting inside the barn in your backyard.

This story continues on the next page.

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Instacart Launches in Houston Providing a Quick Grocery Delivery Service

Categories: Grocery Guide

Screenshot from Instacart.com
Make an account with Instacart to have groceries delivered to your door from H-E-B and Whole Foods in Houston.
Need to go grocery shopping but just don't have the time? Are you stuck at work and won't have enough time to purchase groceries on your way home? Is going to the grocery store difficult for you, and would you prefer to have your groceries delivered?

No matter what your situation is, a quick on-demand grocery service has arrived in Houston. Instacart launched today, August 2627, in the downtown and Inner Loop areas of the city, giving customers options to order food from H-E-B and Whole Foods. In coming weeks, Instacart will add more grocery stores for shoppers. Online shoppers will then have the chance to place items from multiple stores in their virtual shopping carts.

"At any given time, we have a group of personal shoppers on shift in Houston who are kind of waiting for customers to place their orders," Instacart Houston City Launcher Matt O'Connor says. "When the customer places their order, it goes to the personal shopper's smart phone, they go through the store and pick the items based on that shopping list, check out and take it to the customer's door."

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H-E-B on Bunker Hill and I-10: One Grocery Store to Rule Them All

Categories: Grocery Guide

I have lived in Houston a long time and it a lot of different neighborhoods around town. As a result, I have shopped at more than my fair share of grocery stores. From the Randall's that used to exist on the North Freeway as a kid to the Kroger where I worked all through high school to a Food Town on 11th that is now a bank (or Ghetto Kroger on Shepherd) where I went with my grandmother every Tuesday in the summer followed immediately by a trip to the farmer's market at Canino's on Airline. From the Fiesta on Main Street with its slow jams over the loud speakers to the one on Patton rocking the Tejano. From every Whole Foods inside the loop when I decided to go vegetarian and healthy for a few years to the Central Market on Weslayan where I used to buy pre-marinated salmon filets and fresh produce.

Food City, H-E-B, Randall's, Kroger, Food Town, Joe V's Smart Shop, Whole Foods, Central Market, Canino's and Trader Joe's...from the Galleria to downtown to the Heights to Spring to the Third Ward, I've tried everything in my immediate radius, and when a usually polite checker asks if I found everything I was looking for today, I always respond politely with, "Yes," even though that was quite often not the case.

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Spice Up Labor Day with Bravado Spice Hot Sauces

Photo by Molly Dunn
Bravado Spice has three hot sauces perfect for your Labor Day recipes.
Cruising the hot sauce aisle at Whole Foods Market, I stumbled upon the three Bravado Spice sauces: Jalapeno & Green Apple, Pineapple & Habanero, and Ghost Pepper & Blueberry, increasing in heat. With varying levels of heat and sweetness, all three hot sauces are great accompaniments to chips and grilled proteins for Labor Day.

If you have to try one of the Bravado Spice products, then take the opportunity to do so this upcoming holiday. Of course, you don't have to wait until September 1.

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5 Weirdest Supermarket Salad Dressings

Photo by Joanna O'Leary
Ranch, Thousand Island, Italian, Blue Cheese--the regular gang is all here at your neighborhood supermarket. Sometimes, however, a few weirdos sneak onto the shelves that we're not sure we're comfortable with dressing our salads. Here are five spotted recently:

5. "Mango Style" (3 Zeros)" Just "mango" sounds okay though maybe a bit too sweet. "Mango Style" sounds like a euphemism for something I don't want near my food.

4. "Chinese Chicken Salad" (Girard's). So much latent strangeness. First, the inclusion of "salad" in the title seems redundant ("Chicken Salad-flavored dressing?). Second, Girard's is proud of the fact that they've been creating salad dressings since 1939 though I'm assuming this particular flavor didn't originate that year given Americans weren't exactly sinophiles, having excluded Chinese immigrants for the past five decades.

This story continues on the next page.

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