Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Whole Foods 5x7 Update

I had the opportunity to celebrate Uno De Mayo this past Friday with a few friends at Whole Foods in University Heights. As I mentioned on Friday, 5X7 is a promotion Whole Foods runs every Friday from 5:00 - 7:00 pm, where for $5, you can get 5 food and wine (or beer) pairings that fit into a certain theme.

I honestly didn't know what to expect. I've been to plenty of wine tastings where you get one tiny ounce and move onto the next sampling station feeling unfulfilled.
As I circled the parking lot, I saw many people with wine glasses in tow (Once you pay the $5 admission for 5x7, you get to keep a really nice wine glass with the Whole Foods logo and information about the 5x7 events printed on it. If you go back to a future event and bring your glass, admission is only $4.). I figured that was a good sign. After parking as far away as possible, I trudged my way to the store and was greeted with a line of people waiting to pay $5 to get into the event. Another good sign. I paid the cashier my $5 and was presented with a punch card and a menu for the evening's pairings.

My friends arrived a few minutes later and we hit the first stop on the 5X7 tour - a table with salsa and chips and sangria. Although I expected it to be the other way around, I got a tiny sample of salsa, and nearly half a glass of 365 (Whole Food's brand) sangria. And really good sangria, at that. I'm typically not a fan of anything made with red wine, but this stuff was great - very fruity and sweet.

Next, we hit the salmon burger station. (After we passed by some salsa dancers and a live band.) I obviously skipped the burgers (another comically small sample), but my friends said they were good, mainly because of the chipotle mayo they were being served with. I did sample the Rosemount Pino Grigio served at the station. It had a nice dry, fruity flavor. It wasn't my favorite, but it wasn't horrible. And again, it was nearly half a glass sample.

After that we went to the black bean quesadilla station with Tiamo Sangiovese. Maybe it's because I'm a vegetarian and so few red wines go with non-meat dishes, but I just can't get into red wine. I had a sip and had to dump the rest. The quesadilla was really good, though, and is sold in the prepared foods section.

Then we hit the Toasted Head Viognier and jalapeno wings stand. I couldn't tell you how the wings were, but the wine was just ok. I drank the huge sample, but I can't say I'd ever buy the wine.

Out last stop was the Great Lakes Grassroots Ale and Spicy Feta salsa stand. I skipped the beer - because I don't drink beer - but I did partake in the salsa. (Which was a good thing, apparently. It seemed like people really weren't fans of the beer.) It was the best food I had all night - including the meal I made for myself once I got home. It was a mixture of feta cheese, sundried tomatoes, kalamata olives, and olive oil. It's prepared foods item that's sold in the cheese section. I liked it so much that I used one of my unused punches from the meat table to go back and get seconds. And the booze in me told me to lick my little sample cup but I refrained from doing that. I would have brought some home but they only had huge portions. Little old me can't (and shouldn't) eat all that much cheese by myself. But the next time I need an appetizer for a party, that's what I'm going to pick up.

Between my great company and the free flowing booze, I had a great time at the 5x7 event and hope to go back. The line up for the rest of this month's 5x7 events includes:

  • May 8: "Finger Foods," easy to handle, even easier to enjoy! Music by Ariel Clayton (violin).
  • May 15: "Organics: Spring," check out what spring and summer bring with organic highlights from throughout the store! Music by Randy Martin (guitar/accordion).
  • May 22: "Local: Spring," the change of seasons brings fresh new products from local farmers and producers to our shelves - check out five of the tastiest Local pairings now available! Music by Madeline Lucas (flute).
  • May 29: "All-American," a Memorial Day celebration of popular and traditional American fare! Music by Roots of American Music (acoustic).

I can guarantee that I'll be back. I normally shop at Whole Foods once a week anyway, and why not experience some new products and live entertainment in the process.

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