Food & Drink » Food & Drink Stories




Having to dodge your way through cars, soccer moms and the occasional tree-hugging organophile scooting across the parking lot as fast as his socked-and-sandaled feet will take him may not be your idea of a pleasant shopping experience. But when it comes to the shiny new Whole Foods Market on Sand Lake Road, giving a hippie or two a little bump might be in order just to accelerate your entry into the 52,000-square-foot foodie paradise.

Of course I kid — you'll likely bump into plenty in the somewhat cramped aisles in the store anyway — but the stocks of specialty cheeses, impressive counter of natural and organic meats, expansive wine section and healthy junk food galore are enough to keep gastronomes gushing. I was mesmerized by the shelves of yogurt alone, and after grabbing a few tubs of maple-flavored sheep's milk yogurt, I was off to the next degustatory distraction.

Granted, the place can get overwhelming at times, but that's part of the fun, particularly when you've made the conscious decision to have lunch or dinner here. Near the meat section, a grill station proffers a pretty good burger ($5.99; cheese costs $1 extra) — try the sun-dried tomato and blue cheese. For $7.99 a pound, diners can opt for an assortment of hot and cold items from three buffet bars serving everything from beef and barley soup and roasted vegetable lasagna to pork vindaloo, baba ghanoush and grilled seitan. Items are hit and miss, but better fare can be had at the chef's station — the rotisserie chicken is a delicious steal at $4.99 for a half-bird, and the nicely spiced bite-size potato samosas are also worth sampling. If you can't get your fix at the dessert bar, finding a specialty cake or pastry isn't difficult.

If Whole Foods ultimately matched the ubiquity of Publix supermarkets, I'm pretty sure I could live with seeing more men in socks and sandals.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Orlando Weekly works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Central Florida.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Orlando’s true free press free.