Irvine is growing by leaps and bounds. It seems like just a few years ago they opened Quail Hill and now they have built a bunch of new housing in Los Olivos, including an awesome new shopping center that includes one of my favorite store, Whole Foods.
On a recent media visit, I had a chance to tour the new store I was delighted to see some of my regular favorites as well as a few new ones!
Every time I walk into a whole Foods I am amazed and how precise they arrange their fruits and vegetables. Everything looks so bright and organized. It was certainly the case in the Irvine store as well!
Open daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., the expansive 42,638-square-foot retail destination brings a culinary wonderland for shopping, dining, and entertaining to Irvine with its mix of innovative offerings and vibrant design that reflects the community’s active, forward-thinking energy.
Some of my favorites
- Featuring a juice and smoothie bar
- fresh poke
- more than 1,000 hand-picked wines
- bar-restaurant The IRV
- Pre-made crockpot meals
The Irv Restaurant
With a seasonal menu and more than 150 indoor and outdoor seats, daily specials, 24 taps, including local crafted beer and a brunch menu, the family-friendly The IRV offers a new lunch and happy hour spot in the Los Olivos Marketplace. The seasonal menu includes an assortment of small plates, salads, flatbreads and entrees with many vegan and vegetarian options and a kid’s menu. For dessert, shoppers can indulge in locally made “boozy” gelato and Rocq Vanilla Crème Brulee. The IRV features a wide selection of wines by the glass, local brews and produce-inspired signature cocktails such as the Chupracabra, a “green” take on a Bloody Mary made with juiced kale, cucumber, celery juice, grapefruit, orange juice and mescal.
Free wi-fi and Kids Activities
Additional amenities include free Wi-Fi available to shoppers in seating areas throughout the store, an expanded kid-friendly section in the grocery department and a Kids’ Club that will host events and activities for area families with young children. Shoppers who buy a case of any product in the store receive 10 percent off.
Prepared Foods: Whole Foods Market chefs work in the in-house kitchen, creating handmade pizza, whole or by the slice (including stout-crust pizza!), made-to-order sushi, in-house chips, custom-made sandwiches, and meals-on-the-go. Includes a large rotating hot bar with 16 wells, all-organic salad bar, daily breakfast and global cuisine (BBQ, Asian, Indian and more). Catering is available for office and home entertaining needs. Charcuterie, deli meats, many made and roasted in-house using organic, local and grass-fed options, are free of added synthetic nitrates and nitrites. Locally sourced ingredients include Mary’s Chicken from Sanger, California, and salad greens from Kenter Canyon. Includes 12 feet of grab-n-go salads, sandwiches, wraps, entrees, pizzas and soups pre-packaged and ready to eat or heat and serve. Prepared foods items meet the same standards as all products sold in the store.
Coffee Bar: A beautifully designed coffee bar with an Italian-crafted espresso machine and cold brew coffee on tap offers custom espresso drinks and coffee made with organic, fair trade and Whole Trade Guarantee™ coffee beans and features local Bodhi Leaf blend on cold brew. Shoppers can choose from three rotating single-origin coffees and can select from a range of brewing methods (Hario V60 Pour Over, Chemex Pour Over, French Press).
Juice & Smoothie Bar: The smoothie and juice bar offers made-to-order smoothies with choice of toppings, juices and “boost-ups” like pressed ginger, turmeric, and wheatgrass.
Produce: Includes an extensive selection of organic fruits and vegetables from local Southern California growers such as Kenter Canyon and Orange County-based Manessero Farms; this location will offer a new line of sous vide root vegetables like kohlrabi, parsnips, and butternut squash; the department offers local organic micro-greens from Kowalke Family Sprouts; and orchids from Formosa Orchids. Seasonal culinary selections include varietal and exotic items from around the world. Plus, cut fruit, vegetables, veggie pasta noodles, salsas, and guacamole are made in-store daily.
In-Store Bakery: Offers custom in-house cake decorating and an elegantly designed cake case filled with in-house and local items such as Rocq macarons and aHāna gluten free mousse cups. Features Whole Foods Market’s Non-GMO Project-verified cookies with seven varieties and artisan, hand-kneaded, hand-shaped, scratch bread that begins with a living 20-year-old starter made with unbleached flour and without artificial preservatives or hydrogenated fats. Bread is made fresh daily by in-store bakers.
Seafood: Includes made-to-order poke and hand-sliced smoked salmon daily, sustainably sourced fresh fillets, steaks, local and seasonal seafood. Seafood is cut in-house daily and delivered six days a week. Offering fresh whole fish (cleaned at no charge), a grill-ready assortment of seafood burgers, crab cakes and marinated options, value priced, vacuum packed fish and shellfish and a variety of seafood salads and ceviches made fresh daily. Whole Foods Market has full knowledge and traceability of all fresh seafood and strives to source local options that meet the company’s strict quality standards.
Meat: Butchers can provide any cut and size of the highest quality meats from animals raised without the use of antibiotics and added hormones. All beef, chicken, and pork are step-rated, using Global Animal Partnership’s 5-Step Animal Welfare rating system, and adhere to Whole Foods Market’s stringent quality standards. The store features full lines of 100 percent grass-fed organic beef and organic chicken and a selection of meats marinated and seasoned in-house. Smokehouse offerings include meats smoked in- house daily, smoked meat sandwiches and bowls.
Whole Body: Boasts an upscale cosmetics bar and features a large “active living” selection of protein powders, supplements, and clothing. All supplements sold at Whole Foods Market are free of artificial colors, flavors, and hydrogenated oils; and products with the “Premium Body Care” seal meet the strictest standards for quality sourcing, environmental impact, results and safety.
Specialty (beer, wine, cheese): Features a handpicked wine collection of more than 1,000 wines, with eco-friendly and biodynamic wines starting at $2.49 per bottle. More than 100 bottles are less than $10. Offering a varied selection of hard-to-find, special-occasion wines and grower champagnes. The department includes a 56-foot chilled beer alley with an assortment of hyper local and local craft beers, seasonal releases, domestic favorites and unique imports. A comprehensive selection of raw, grass-fed, farmstead and artisanal cheeses can be cut to order and sampled at any time. Features Whole Foods Market wine expert’s curated wine selection for perfect meal pairings, 90 point rated and “Under $20 Daily Drinkers” wine barges.
Grocery: Customers can choose from hundreds of 365 Everyday Value™ products, locally made packaged goods, frozen meals, Whole Paws pet food products, home and cleaning products bearing the Eco-Scale label, indicating environmental impact. The frozen section includes 47 doors and two bunkers of goodies from entrees to ice cream, pizzas and more. The bulk section offers dozens of grains, flours, nuts, spices, candies available by the pound and grind your own peanut butter. Shoppers who buy a case of any product in the store receive 10 percent