Though I don't cook, I have always loved grocery shopping. Growing up, my dad went to the super market every Saturday morning and I would accompany him. When I was little, I would ride in the front of the cart and as I got older, I would stand on the back of the cart as we went aisle by aisle. I have know idea why I thought riding on the back on the cart was so cool, but I did. In those pre-teen years I used to try and sneak things into the cart without him noticing (mostly Poptarts).
Now, as an adult and with my dad thousands of miles away in Miami, I still relish those weekend shopping trips. This past weekend I went to one of Boston's newest arrivals, bfresh market in Allston. The store is right on the corner of Harvard Ave. and Commonwealth Ave.
The store could not be in a more convenient location. It's right of the T and the bus and it has its own free parking lot in the back. If the parking lot is full, finding a metered spot on Harvard Ave. is easy peasy. In that same block you'll also find Dunkin' Donuts, Unleashed by PETCO, Urban Outfitters and T.J. Maxx. Basically everything a girl needs in life.
When you walk into the store you are greeted by the most vibrant, beautiful produce section. I was fawning over this rainbow of cauliflower for a good five minutes.
I was equally enamored with these cherry tomatoes.
The produce section is full of cute and witty signs. For example, this one below says "Fruits & veggies are friends, but we eat them anyway."
We favorite sign in the entire store was over the bananas. It simply says, "Cray cray everyday!"
If buying fruits and veggies to cut and slice yourself isn't your thing, no worries. bfresh has an amazing salad bar, doing all the prep work for you.
In addition to the DIY salad section, they also offer seasonal salads like watermelon and feta.
You can top your salad with grilled veggies or add a side of pasta salad too.
If you work in the area, pop in for a pre-made sandwich, soup or salad. Couldn't be easier!
I also had my eye on these pizzas. Three delicious flavors - classic cheese, mushroom and margherita. All you have to do is pop them in the oven.
How good does the margherita look?
Around the corner from the fruits, veggies and prepared foods is the bakery. bresh makes their bread fresh every single day. You cannot deny that intoxicating smell!
I zeroed in on this tomato focaccia bread which would go great with a big salad.
The bakery also has individually packaged pastries, perfect for grabbing and tucking into your bag on the way to work.
There is an entire shelf of Sweet Sam's cupcakes, which was a brand that was new to me.
I immediately became a fan, simply because Sweet Sam piles his cupcakes high with a good inch of frosting.
In the refrigerated section of the bakery there were some head turning fruit tarts. I don't usually like fruit desserts, but this beauty could convert me!
Right by the bakery is a lovely selection of cards for every occasion. If you're picking up a cake or cookies to toast to a milestone or even just to bring as a hostess gift, you can add a card without having to make a second stop at CVS.
In the middle of the store you have meats and cheeses. I nearly fell over when I saw the amazing selection of Cabot cheese flavors. bfresh carries tomato basil, horseradish, hot habanero and garlic & herb. It felt like choosing a favorite child adding just one type of Cabot cheese to my basket, but in the end I went with the garlic & herb.
Above the cheese are shelves packed with cracker choices and Stonewall Kitchen spreads.
Just a few steps over there is an entire shelf dedicated just to hummus. White bean hummus, edamame hummus, beet hummus - the possibilities are endless.
At the back of the store there is one row of tall aisles that mimic the typical design of a super market. Though the layout is familiar, the offerings are top notch. For example, they have one entire section of olive oil.
These Barrisimo bottles would make an excellent hostess gift.
Around the next corner I reached the gluten-free aisle. There was shelf after shelf of gluten-free baking options. I was seriously impressed.
As I turned into the freezer section I laid eyes on the most incredible thing - an entire freezer case of veggie burgers! I think I have to move in here.
A few doors over I reached the ice cream, yogurt and gelato section. bresh carries Gelato Fiasco, one of the best known ice cream places in Portland, ME.
They also carry Steve's Ice Cream, a Boston favorite. Growing up I used to go to the Steve's in Newtonville. I didn't have a very refined palate in elementary school so my go-to order was vanilla soft serve with gummi bears mixed in. On the day I visited bfresh, I left with a pint of the Brooklyn Blackout Cake flavor.
Now, I have saved the best for last. bfresh has a DIY trail mix and granola wall! This is not a drill. This is very real.
When I walked up to the DIY trail mix and granola wall I swear I heard angels singing. This is everyone's dream come true! If you like trail mix, but you hate a certain kind of nut or you like it with chocolate or you don't like it with raisins, it doesn't matter! Whatever your preference, you can build it yourself.
The wall is stocked with all kinds of cool and special ingredients like crystallized ginger.
If making your own feels too intimidating, choose from one of the pre-made batches.
I was really intrigued by the salty choices - buffalo hot wing trail mix and sriracha honey trail mix.
I think I spent nearly an hour in bfresh. I was wide eyed as I walked aisle by aisle. I felt I might need one cart for everything I saw the first time I walked through and then a second cart to toss in all the items I missed on my initial lap.
If you're thinking, "This store looks awesome," well, it is and I have great news. In addition to the Allston location, a second location is opening tomorrow at 12:00pm in Brighton. The store is on Washington Street, right in between Brighton Center and Oak Square. In fact, it's in the space that used to be my old gym (Beacon Hill Athletic Club)!
In addition to two brick and mortar locations, bfresh offers grocery delivery as well. Any order placed by 10:00am is guaranteed to arrive the very same day. The best part? You don't even have to be home to accept the delivery. They will leave the containers at the door. You can place your order online or through the bfresh mobile app, available through the App Store or Google Play.
To add to the excitement, the team at bfresh is very generously offering two Pop.Bop.Shop. readers the chance to win a $25 dollar gift card to be used at either store. To enter to win, simply leave a comment below letting me know what you're most excited to try at bfresh market.
This giveaway will be open until 11:59pm ET on Sunday, August 21, 2016. The two winners will be notified on Monday, August 22, 2016.