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Saturday, June 13, 2009

Taste Casting at Whole Foods Mason

I recently joined the Taste Casting team here in Cincinnati. Taste Casting is a social networking group that goes into businesses and restaurants for a free trial of sorts. I finally was able to go to one of the events and was really excited! This tasting was at Whole Foods in Mason.

Paula from Whole Foods was on hand to show us a host of items from their Grab-n-Go section of prepackaged goods.

We were greeted with a menu and a nice cold bottle of water...good start. The menu was great - gave us something to take notes on and knew what we had coming.

Also - noticed something fun - they have a singles night coming up! June 18 from 5-8pm - I might have to check it out!

First up was a roasted vegetable gazpacho. I'm not a gazpacho fan - cold soup just doesn't do it for me BUT this was pretty good! It was pretty much like a salsa soup. It retails for $5.99/quart.

I did ask Zach (the kitchen guru) whether they make these items or they come pre-made. He said most things are made in the Whole Foods kitchen but they do have "recipes" provided by corporate. He also said that each store does have "chef's specials" from time to time that are unique to that store. Good info Zach!

Next up was a Black Bean & Cheese Burrito. It's served in a chili tortilla and the cheeses are cheddar and pepper jack. This was really really good!

Now - was it healthy? Hell no. But it was really really great tasting! I guess you kind of think everything from Whole Foods is healthy - well - it might be organic or the like but it's not low fat...don't forget that. Still - that is one damn good burrito!

The burrito sells for $5.99 and is made with a 12" tortilla. Zach said it weights about 1.5 pounds - so it's a big ass burrito!

Vegan Nuggets. What the f*** are vegan nuggets? And do I want to eat them?

They're shredded tofu bites basically - and then they are seasoned. We had curried, general tso's and bbq. And guess what? I liked them a lot! Now - I think they're best served HOT - these were warm but it was difficult in our setting. I would DEFINITELY buy these! My favorite was the General Tso and then the Curried. I didn't care for the BBQ.

These are $9.99/pound and prepackaged in containers or available in the deli case. They don't weigh much so a pound would be quite a lot!

Last up for the entrees was the quiche. We had a Spring Vegetable and a Brocolli and Cheddar. Again - these would be better hot. The bottom of the crust was a bit mushy as opposed to crisp but the ends were very good. I like the vegetable quiche a little better - surprisingly the cheddar was a bit overpowering and I freakin love cheese. These are $2.99/slice or $9.99 for a whole pie. They're okay - but I love my mom's and will most likely hold out for that.

Last up - dessert! We got a nice array of bite size pieces to try! I'll go clockwise from the lemon (pretty obvious which one that is - bottom left).

Lemon Curd Bar w/Linzer Crust - good and very very lemon-y. Someone who wasn't a lemon fan hated it...I liked it. It was #3 favorite for me.

Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Bar w/Linzer Crust - This was #2 for me. It was really good but thinking back I don't remember much about it. Tasted like a chocolate chip cookie bar which is good.

Blackberry Raspberry Cheesecake Bar w/Filbert Crust - Good for a cheesecake bar and I liked the fruit. This was #4 on my list.

Turtle Pecan Bar - I love pecan pie but I don't like caramel. I know - it's odd. This was my least favorite - #5. Other people loved it though.

Peanut Butter Bar w/chocolate crust - this was my favorite! #1! Chocolate and peanut butter chips on top and just loads of deliciousness!

These are $1.99/each for the bar you see here.
We were also given a free grocery bag. I've taken to these types of bags from Aldi and am always looking for another one to add to the pile. These are really nice!

Also - the Whole Foods have a calendar with cooking classes, wine tastings and other events - I'll definitely be looking at the calendar at the Rookwood one since it's closer to me.

Overall this definitely opened my eyes to just a fraction of what Whole Foods has to offer! I'm definitely stopping in to get some of the vegan nuggets! Whodathunkit?
*Note - The TasteCasting Team Members are not professional food critics. TasteCasting combines socially networked people and the social media platforms and applications they use to help establishments build awareness, announce grand openings, introduce new menu items, distribute special offers and encourage people to visit the establishment.
Cincinnati TasteCasting Team Members who got a taste were: @AudreyKeyes, @ColeImperi, @vimperi, @JesyHerron,
@debbahaupert, @jencasperson, @foodhussy. (Plus the brother-in-law and sister-in-law of @AmyInOhio.

Want to join Cincinnati’s TasteCasting team? Go here.

UPDATE 6/24/09
I have since withdrawn from the TasteCasting team. The "rules" say that you must provide a favorable review and I can't promise that. If you're not a food blog writer - it's a great group. But - for me - I just can't do it.

Best of luck to the TasteCasting team!

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