So New Seasons Market gave me a $50 gift card to check their Mercer Island shop out, with no rules. Perfect! Let’s see what happened.
I always feel odd reviewing a store. It’s a store: my brain goes straight to asking stereotypical marketing questions. Demographics, goals, competitive market. Not the fun stuff you want to hear about.
On the other hand, I really like going to and evaluating grocery stores. There’s a real problem in food blogging where over time you get so many free things that you don’t know current price points unless you seek them out. While that sounds fun, it also means you’re less able to evaluate how reasonable something is to actually buy. (I was seriously out of touch with dessert prices for part of grad school. This… was bad.) This is made worse by the fact that I’m in prime Instacart territory and rarely go physically into grocery stores anymore. Great for my injured shoulders, not so great for being aware of the Current State of Food Access.
So with all that in mind, I went in with a vague plan to build some kind of a sundae with stuff I found around the store. I mean, I do like making ridiculous sundaes.
First, I got distracted by the sample table, which was loaded with coffee, cookie bites, hazelnuts, and chocolate. A pretty spiffy pre-shopping snack spot, even if it did have coffee.
And then I found the candy aisle, and immediately went “DUDE. THEY HAVE QUIN.”
From this point on my plans were crushed, because I was going to get my hands on Dream Come Chew, screw everything else. (Dreams Come Chew – the hipster starburst you never knew you wanted until you start eating.)
So, new plan: find new (to me and to Seattle) local things and stuff I wanted, see what happens.
Here’s what I got:
- Tacoma Cheesecake bar
- Quin Dreams Come Chew
- Hot Lips Marionberry Soda
- Grace Harbor Farms Vanilla Milk
- Almetta Dark Chocolate Almond Mousse
- Street Treats mini ice cream sandwiches (chocolate chip + mint ice cream)
- Bluebird cookies – chocolate chip cookies
- Joe Brown’s caramel corn
- Nate Popped Sorghum – cheese
- Tillamook strawberry greek yogurt
- Ellenos pumpkin pie yogurt
- Jack’s paleo lemon cookies
(Yes, I bought one savory thing. I needed something to balance out this chaos.)
For $50, this is a pretty respectable dessert haul. (Since I don’t want to tear through my receipt, Quin, for example, was $6.49.) A good chunk of these items are hard to get in Seattle, or new to me. Like Almetta, which is super fluffy on the alternative mousse side, or Street Treats’s teeny tiny cookie sandwiches, which are adorable.
I did notice a lot of the products were Oregon based, and some hyperlocal stuff I expected to find wasn’t there. Like I kind of expected Thanh Son or Northwest Tofu (because I love me some tofu), and they had neither. I’m betting this is more about which distributors they’re working through than anything else.
Is it worth visiting? If you’re on Mercer Island, live on Mercer Island, or are going to a party on Mercer Island, absolutely. As much as QFC has some good local stuff, this is more PCC or Met Market level, and it shows.
If you live in Seattle, I don’t see it as a destination store – yet. I’d like to see more hyperlocal (or even hyper-Portland) focus. I didn’t get to try their private label items, and that’s clearly the next big thing to compare. I wish they had something as awesome as Met Market’s The Cookie to make them stand out. Maybe a hot fudge sundae bar or something ridiculous? (If you need a dessert consultant, I’m game.)
For now, I’m going to be quite content with my fancypants soda and my tiny ice cream sandwiches. Thank you New Seasons Market for letting me check your place out!
Have you visited New Seasons in Mercer Island? What did you think?
Fine print: This is totally a sponsored post. New Seasons gave me a $50 gift card, and had no control over what I wrote. The only rule was to not photograph people in the store.