I’ll credit Felicia Lee for letting me in on this little gem. A few weeks ago, I met her for a business meeting at Whole Foods, centrally located at Cambie and 8th Ave in Vancouver, and conveniently located on the Canada line. At first, I thought it was a bit unusual to meet in a grocery store’s cafe, but as soon as I arrived, I understood why.
Whole Foods on Cambie is the perfect spot for moms. It’s great to meet other moms socially or to get out of your home office for a few hours – and get a few things errands done at the same time.
For those of you not familiar with Whole Foods, they are an American high-end grocery chain. Most of the products you’ll find here are gourmet and organic. If you watch Top Chef, you’ll know that the competitors always go to Whole Foods as part of their challenges since the produce, seafood and meats, and packaged goods are top notch. Think about the health food grocery stores in your neighbourhood, combine that with a Safeway, add a few more gourmet items, and you’re on the right track.
There are two eating areas at the Cambie location. When you emerge from the parkeing garage (free for an hour and a half if you’re shopping at Whole Foods), a small cafe is within view. You can order specialty organic teas and coffees. If you are a vegan or eating a gluten-free diet, they have plenty of baked goods that you can choose from. They also have many milk options for your lattes, including soy and almond milk.
You don’t have to stay in the cafe if you don’t want to. Right beside the cafe is a little cafeteria area – and this is where the Whole Foods really shines for moms. There is plenty of room for strollers; groups of two, three or more moms and their strollers can easily converge onto this area. Smaller kids can also occupy themselves in the play area, equipped with a little table, some cute kid-sized wing back chairs and a few toys. The bathroom has change tables and also a little built-in step that pint-sized tykes can stand one when they’re cleaning up – no more trying to hold them up on your knee while they do a spotty job of washing their hands. And the bathroom has that fabulous Dyson Airblade hand dryer; I have to admit that I still get a bit giddy when I see one of those gadgets.
The cafeteria offers a phenomenal selection of healthy eating options. If you meet for breakfast, they have a hot breakfast counter where you can order pancakes and omelets until 11:00. Lunch is even better. Fill your plate up at a huge and attractive salad bar, with healthy favourites like tofu, chickpeas and tuna. You can also order a sandwich or pick up some sushi. My personal favourite are the thin crust pizzas and the spinach, mushroom and blue cheese option was a hit. But beware if you come at lunch: the place is a bit of a zoo.
If you live or work in the area, you can get anything to go. But if you’re someone who works from home and who wants a change of scenery, you can take advantage of Whole Foods’ free wireless, and a counter that has ample power stations for you to plug in that ailing laptop. Once you’re done, spend a few minutes shopping for dinner. the supplements that you keep forgetting to pick up or a fresh bouquet of flowers for a little pick-me-up.
In fact, I’ll probably close this laptop and do that right now!
Whole Foods Cambie
510 West 8th Avenue, Vancouver, BC