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I tried to buy a week’s worth of groceries at Erewhon, a high-end grocery store in Los Angeles. I quickly blew through my budget, but I’d shop there again.

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The author in front of Erewhon (left), a photo of the insider of Erewhon (right)The author in front of Erewhon (left), a photo of Erewhon’s interior (right).

Samantha Delouya

  • Erewhon is an LA-based luxury organic grocery store frequented by celebrities like Miley Cyrus and Kim Kardashian. 
  • Its shelves are stocked with unexpected pricey offerings, like camel milk and sea moss gel. 
  • Armed with a limited budget, I attempted to buy my normal week’s worth of groceries at Erewhon. See what it was like. 
Ever since I made a cross-country move to Los Angeles in the fall, many friends and colleagues have asked me some variation of the same question: Have you visited Erewhon yet?Palm trees in LAA street in Santa Monica, CA.

Samantha Delouya

For the uninducted, Erewhon is not your traditional LA tourist attraction like the Hollywood sign or the Santa Monica Pier. It’s a ritzy grocery store.erewhonThe New York Times called it “the unofficial hangout for the young, beautiful, and bored.”

Tallie Spencer/Insider

Source: The New York Times

Erewhon was founded in 1966, but it has recently exploded in popularity. It reportedly even inspired the fictional grocery store “Anavrin,” which was heavily featured in season 2 of the hit show “You.”anavrin“Come for the spring lettuce mix, and stay for the perfect life that could be yours if you just spend enough and quit gluten, you f—ing a–hole,” says Joe, the show’s main character.

Netflix

Source: Insider

Armed with new private equity funding, Erewhon has expanded from just 1 location to 8 grocery stores in Los Angeles in less than a decade.Erewhon store locationsIn late 2019, Stripes, a private equity firm, took a minority stake in the store with sights on expansion.

Erewhon

Source: The New York Times

The grocery chain says it sells “exceptional organic products” and focuses on healthy foods. “We believe that nutrition is the key to a radiant lifestyle,” its website reads.Eerewhon interiorFresh vegetables on display at Erewhon.

Samantha Delouya

Erewhon has also gained the reputation of being one of the most expensive grocery stores in America, frequented by celebrities like Kim Kardashian, Miley Cyrus, and many others.Ringo Starr and his wife shopping at ErewhonRingo Starr and his wife Barbara Bach photographed shopping at Erewhon.

Photo by Bauer-Griffin/GC Images

Armed with a budget of $100, roughly what my household spends on a week’s groceries, I decided to partake in the Erewhon experience myself.Author selfie in front of ErewhonPhoto of the author standing in front of Erewhon.

Samantha Delouya

I visited Erewhon’s location in West Hollywood – right down the street from the grocery chain’s original location. At first glance, the store looked like a regular upscale grocery store, similar to Whole Foods.Interior of ErewhonErewhon is “the Whole Foods for people who think Whole Foods is a dump,” a columnist at the LA Times once wrote.

Samantha Delouya

Source: LA Times

Upon closer inspection, I saw it was no ordinary grocery retailer. Many products were offered in reusable glass jars, and the snack aisle was filled with healthy options, like raw kale and $30 trail mix.Erewhon snack aisleA snack aisle filled with various nut offerings.

Samantha Delouya

Walking through the aisles, I saw products that were unfamiliar to me, like sea moss gel, which can apparently be consumed straight from the jar or added to meals…Sea moss gel from ErewhonA jar of Erewhon’s sea moss gel retails for $39.99.

Samantha Delouya

…and dairy products I wasn’t used to seeing in traditional US grocery stores, like camel milk and raw kefir.Raw kefir and camel milk from ErewhonCamel milk is “the closest milk to human breast milk,” according to Erewhon’s in-store display.

Samantha Delouya

After much time gawking at the products and puzzling over a $26 bottle of water, I started tackling my grocery list.Erewhon waterOphora water is “nano-pure,” “restructured,” and “hyper-oxygenated.”

Samantha Delouya

For breakfast, I usually have cereal and non-dairy milk. I grabbed some oat milk and a cereal called “real corn flakes,” which only had two ingredients: organic corn grits and sea salt.Oat milk and corn flakes from ErewhonThe cereal was surprisingly tasty. I may come back to buy it again if I feel like spending a few extra bucks on breakfast.

Samantha Delouya

My dreams for a homemade organic pizza were dashed when a store employee told me they didn’t carry pizza crust or dough at the West Hollywood location, so I pivoted to tacos. One can of black beans was $5, which is significantly more than I normally spend.Black beans at EerwhonA quick search told me a can of the same Eden-branded organic black beans is nearly $3 cheaper on FreshDirect.com.

Samantha Delouya

It wasn’t just the beans that were higher-priced than what I was accustomed to: most ingredients I purchased cost more than I’d normally spend, including $12 for “paleo” tortillas and $12 for plant-based taco meat.Tortillas and plant-based meat from ErewhonI did feel healthier knowing I’d eat a dinner made from strictly organic ingredients, though it may be psychological.

Samatha Delouya

Next, I saw ricotta gnocchi pasta that caught my eye, so I picked up a box for dinner. However, I couldn’t justify the price of some of the pasta sauce offerings, so I decided to use what I had at home.Pesto and red pasta sauce from ErewhonA jar of pesto was $21. Tomato basil was $15.50.

Samantha Delouya

After grabbing some additional groceries, including bananas, peanut butter, and eggs, I realized I had run through my $100 budget before barely making a dent in my list.Erewhon grocery cartMy half-full shopping cart at Erewhon.

Samantha Delouya

I left Erewhon with a week’s worth of breakfast, but I could only snag the ingredients for two dinners before going over budget.Table with Erewhon groceriesMy entire Erewhon purchase.

Samantha Delouya

I found shopping at Erewhon to be more entertaining than the usual chore of a grocery store visit. While I don’t think I’ll attempt to buy a full week’s worth of groceries at Erewhon again, I could see myself returning to the store for the occasional special treat.Milk at Erewhon$20 “raw” milk caught my attention as I walked down the aisles at Erewhon.

Samantha Deloiua

Some may poke fun at LA’s obsessive health culture, but Erewhon seems to have a legion of loyal fans, and it’s setting its sights on expansion: the grocery chain is reportedly looking to open a new store on the East Coast.Erewhon interior“We are looking at New York City; it’s definitely on the plate,” owner Tony Antoci told the LA Times last year.

Samantha Delouya

Source: LA Times

Read the original article on Business Insider
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