So, for the past week, I’ve been in Cupertino, California visiting my grandparents. It’s been a glad escape from the heat of the Northeast, but I was quite surprised when I first landed here that I would be needing my sweatshirt more than once! Nevertheless, the weather has been great and is perfect for wandering around the different “attractions” of Cupertino.
Granted, my idea of an “attraction” is quite different than most people’s. Hey, I’m the one who hangs out with my friends at Whole Foods when we have nothing to do. We don’t really do anything other than browse and maybe purchase one or two things, but it’s our go-to place. So, when I heard that one of the largest Whole Foods on this side of the United States was right in Cupertino, I just had to visit. Not to mention, I heard they had vegan donuts, something I haven’t tasted in so long!
When I first arrived, I was in awe of the size. I came on a Saturday so it was relatively busy. There were some booths on the outside giving out free samples along with a bouncy castle for little kids to play in. As I went in, I was greeted by this huge selection of fruits and vegetables. The reviews were right – this is a huge Whole Foods.
But I was in awe of these paper bags. One thing that really stands out in California is that they’re more “green”, or at least, more accommodating to the green lifestyle. Not only are there paper bags instead of plastic for fruit and vegetables, I saw more shoppers bring their own bags than I do back home. Not to mention, there are bicycle lanes on almost every street here, and on the trains, there’s a compartment just for bicycles. Bikes aren’t just for fun here in California!
Anyways, back to my Whole Foods Cupertino tour.
As I passed through the fruits and vegetables, there were numerous different stations. There was a bulk “make your own stir fry” section where they had cut up raw vegetables waiting to be taken home along with a dried fruits section with tons of different varieties of dried fruit.
Behind the fruits and vegetables was an in store Cafe Gratitude. It’s a vegan, high raw cafe that’s made to order, and contrary to what the picture suggests, was quite busy (I took the picture from the other side). I think if I ever visit again, I’ll definitely go try something from there.
The rest of the grocery section was quite normal – I found some great instant soups and my favorite cookies (Back to Nature!) along with a huge bulk section that spanned an aisle. In the back were the usual meat/dairy section, a tea wall, and a sample/demonstration section. Sadly, there wasn’t anyone at the sample/demonstration section when I was there, but there were employees giving out samples throughout the store.
Then over on the right side of the store was the prepared foods section. The hot foods bar smelled nice, but while they did mark which items were vegan, I was a bit disappointed that they didn’t use the green bar Vegan label that I was so used to. Same with the prepared foods section, though I’ll admit that I only quickly glanced over that area.
The prepared foods refrigerator, however, was rather disappointing. None of the sandwiches nor wraps were vegan, and the only thing I could find were some sides, like rice or potatoes. There were also some hummus packs with either falafel or dolmas, but confusing labels regarding the ingredients in the falafel stopped me from buying either. Maybe I’m spoiled because I’m used to New York City’s Bowery’s Whole Foods which always has a vegan sandwich or two (and so does the small one near my home!) but I was expecting a greater selection.
Yet I was glad to find a bunch of vegan baked goods from local vendors. They even dedicated a small section to those sellers who sell “alternative baked goods”. The Whole Foods vegan cookies themselves were rather smaller than what I usually see (though they were hidden behind a case and you needed to ask for them rather than self serve, like the rest of the baked goods, so I might not be that correct). I didn’t get any since none seemed very appealing, though I was happy to see that the prices were lower than the ones sold back home.
Yet, the best part of my trip? Vegan donuts!
Luckily, the breakfast items were all self serve! Apparently, a local Bay Area bakery supplies all of the vegan donuts daily, and my are they delicious! There’s a huge variety, too! They seem to be quite popular because I came in the early afternoon and this was what was left. It doesn’t help that they’re quite a bargain – 99 cents per donut!
They are a bit smaller than your usual Dunkin’ Donuts’ donut, being a bit bigger than the size of my palm, but it’s definitely enough to leave a smile on your face!
Sadly, these are the only vegan items that were available (or listed) when I got there, other than the bagels, of course. I read that another blogger had a vegan muffin from this Whole Foods, but I was sad to see that there weren’t any vegan muffins listed. Still, I guess I should be grateful enough that Whole Foods had given an entire level to vegan donuts!
I picked out a blueberry donut and a cinnamon sugar donut. There were some that I really wanted but were out of stock (chocolate peanut, anyone?) but I guess you’d have to come earlier if you want those, especially on a Saturday.
After walking to Target, I was so excited to eat my vegan donut that I almost forgot to take a picture of it! Sorry it’s half eaten, but it was delicious! Perfectly fluffy and not so sweet, I was amazed at how soft it was, along with the great texture and taste! Maybe I should be grateful I don’t live in Cupertino, or else I think I would be having donuts every day (and my thighs wouldn’t be happy about that)!
The cinnamon sugar donut was just as tasty! Perfect blend of cinnamon with sugar that melts in your mouth, I was surprised that there were any left in the case!
But probably the biggest surprise of my trip?
Cheezly! On sale! $3.99 a pack!
Ever since I’ve seen bloggers rave about this cheese that hails from the UK, I was interested in trying it once I heard it’s starting to distribute in the US. However, I refused to pay the high prices along with shipping costs, so I was ecstatic to find it on sale here without needing to pay shipping!
I bought two packs – Mozzarella and Smoked Cheddar – and plan to do a review in the future, so stay tuned!
Overall, Whole Foods Cupertino, is a great store, though outside the vegan donuts, isn’t on of the most vegan friendly Whole Foods I’ve been to. Still, with a vegan/high raw cafe and vegan donuts, it’s definitely worth a trip to at least check out!