Whole foods’ debut Hawaii location in Kahala Mall opened relatively recently back in September 2008, replacing former tenant Star Supermarket.
I finally made it in there myself a few weeks ago to check it out for the first time, and was honestly very impressed, while also being sticker-shocked at the same time. I’ve been told the average bill at the check out will easily reach $50 for just one bag of groceries, or perhaps even double that if you’re buying 100% organic and top-shelf gourmet products, which is certainly in abundance there. it’s just about everywhere you look.
While the price point at Whole Foods certainly isn’t their most attractive attribute, their incredible selection of hard-to-find, unusual and most often health-conscious food products absolutely is. Enough at least to keep me coming back to browse for a couple hours at a time, perhaps choosing a thing here or there to take home and try out. Seriously, you could easily spend an entire day (and even perhaps night!) perusing through their aisles just reading over the labels of the mind-boggling array of goodies that fill their well-stocked shelves.
Like Costco, Whole Foods is also a great place to find those unusual snack items that you otherwise either wouldn’t have noticed, or wouldn’t be able to find at all in the “regular” supermarkets.
Not to sneeze to at the likes of locally-rooted Foodland, Times and Star Market, who are doing a great job renovating and reinventing their brand to keep up with the latest consumer trends in Hawaii’s competitive grocery retail market segment. So kudos to them. And, FYI, I am a regular at those places too.
But Whole Foods Kahala is new, and that’s always a fascinating novelty.
OK, that’s enough with the introduction about Whole Foods, let’s get down to our very first snack item to try out from there, which is this bag of Olive Tortilla Chips (it’s a cracker, too!) Made with Black, Green and Kalamata Olives, Garlic and Sea Salt. It’s made by a company named FoodShouldTasteGood™. Founder Pete Lescoe explains more about his company like this:
A Simple Idea…
I love food and have been working in grocery stores and restaurants sicne starting my first job in high school. The most important thing I learned along the way is taht food tastes best when it is made with quality ingredients and thougtful preparation. This simple idea inspired me to take wholesome, all natural ingredients and capture their great flavor by baking them INSIDE a chip to create a new kind of snack. It just felt right to call my company FoodShouldTasteGood. It’s a lot of work to live up the name, but I wouldn’t want it any other way
Founder, FoodShouldTasteGood, Inc.
There are seven flavors in their snack chip line-up, including this Olive flavor, along with Jalapeno, Chocolate (really?), Multigrain, The Works!, Buffalo and Sweet Potato. All sound (and looked) enticing to buy and try each one, but one at a time please, onegaishimasu, lest my blood pressure blow my head off. lol
Here’s how the chips look outside the bag and stylishly-plated for your viewing pleasure…
Now scroll back up and take a close look at the fine print beneath the ILLUSTRATED chip on the bag, and it says “Enlarged to show texture and detail”…. of an ILLUSTRATION! Well, fortunately now you can see exactly how the REAL chips looks like thanks to the photo provided here.
This particular Olive flavor is described as such: “A combination of real black, kalamata and green olives offers a genuine flavor which punches up a quick snack and perfect base for dips like hummus.”
They also claim these are all natural, gluten free, good source of dietary fiber, not genetically modified, kosher (orthodox union), trans fat & cholesterol free and lactose free.
Ingredient are: Stone ground corn, high oleic sunflower oil and/or safflower oil, black olives, green olives, kalamata olives, corn bran, garlic powder and sea salt.
Manufacturer’s recommended accompaniments for this include Spinach & Artichoke Dip and Hummus.
So how are they? Very crispy, with a pronounced corn tortilla flavor. You can certainly taste the olives that are mixed in little bits and pieces throughout the masa dough, but it ‘s more of just a hint instead of being the dominant flavor force. Yet the three types of olives in there provide enough of a difference to take this tortilla chip away from being purely Mexican to more of a Mexico-meets-Greece Mediterranean fusion affair. It really is a refreshingly new and interesting surprise. Enough that my eyes and palate lit up with delight upon the first few bites. What’s probably the best part about it is it’s not just some processed, high sodium artificial and natural flavored POWDER that they coat on it like say Doritos®, but actual whole pieces of olives that are mixed right in with the corn tortilla masa dough.
The only real gripe I have with this, as I do with many snack chips, is they’re a bit too salty. Even if it touted as having sea salt, there’s just a little more than it needs in my opinion. Which could further complicate what kind (or brand) of dip or toppings you choose to jazz it up further. Even plain, straight out of the bag, I could only eat about 6 chips before my mouth starting drying up, blood started boiling and causing me to quickly reach for a glass of water to dilute the effect. Perhaps your palate can tolerate salt more than I can, but I’m fairly senstive to it.
To try jazzing it up myself, since I didn’t have any hummus or spinach and artichoke dip on hand, I went with what I did have, which was dollop fresh sour cream, american parsley and Mezzeretta brand bottled roasted red bell peppers…
How was it like that? Very good. The cool, creamy, slightly tangy sour cream countered the salty tortilla chip while helping to tie the bold zestyiness of the olives and roasted red pepper together, while the American parsley provided an added dimension of herbal bite and texture.
Even better though was when I substituted that with Philidelphia Cream Cheese and chopped green onions…
Oh yeah, much better. The cream cheese is an even more effective (albeit richer) vehicle to bring out the flavors of both the olives and the roasted red bell pepper. The chopped green onions were also more effective in helping out all the flavors than the parsley.
I’m certainly game for the sweet potato flavor next.
There’s just so many other interesting and unusual items to try at Whole Foods, not sure when again I’ll try another flavor of this brand of chips. Eventually I will though.
Now if only Hawaii could get a Trader Joe’s!
What? Olive Tortilla Chips (It’s a cracker, too!) Made with Black, Green and Kalamata Olives, Garlic, Sea Salt
Who makes it? FoodsShouldTasteGood, Inc.
Where did you buy it? Whole Foods Kahala Mall
How much did it cost? $3.50/6 oz. bag
Big Shaka to: Bits of of the 3 types of olives in the corn tortilla give this chip an interesting Mexican-meets-Greek Mediterranean fusion twist. Tortilla chip is very crispy and fresh-tasting, with a rigid, sturdy thickness to it as well. Excellent with cream cheese, roasted red bell pepper and green onion topping. All natural ingredients. Kosher. Fair price considering the quality. Other flavors by manufacturer sound enticing to try. A glass of ice water. Fusion Mexican-Greek Cuisine.
No shaka to: A bit too salty for my taste. Its flavor profile tips more in favor of the corn tortilla than the olives. Not having any salsa, spinach and artichoke dip, hummus or guacamole on hand to contribute to this review.
SPAM Musubi rating: 2 plain; 3 with sour cream, roasted red pepper and parsley topping; 4 with cream cheese, roasted red pepper and green onion topping.
What? Whole Foods Kahala Mall
Big Shaka to: Incredible selection of hard-to-find, top quality, health conscious food products. Beautiful store design and merchandising displays. Comprehensive layout. Overall very comfortable, shopper-friendly ambiance. Massive deli. Nice paper grocery bags.
• No shaka to: Pricey. Parking in that part of Kahala Mall can often be a challenge. No Trader Joe’s in Hawaii.
SPAM Musubi rating: 3 (bring the prices down and I’ll give you a 4)