I’ve never really won anything before. The last thing I won was at a conference for work – my prize? 2 plastic folders from a school I don’t work for. Sigh.
Earlier this week (Tuesday to be specific), I was mindlessly scrolling through Facebook when I came across a post from Hy-Vee Bloomington. Hy-Vee is a grocery store chain that originated in Beaconsfield, Iowa in 1930. It is now found all over the Midwest including Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, South Dakota, and even Nebraska. In 2012, I was teaching high schoolers in American Samoa, and a Hy-Vee opened in the town where I grew up and where my family still lives today. When I stepped foot in they grocery store after I got home from my island adventure, I swooned (mind you, I just left a place where fried chicken, mayonnaise, and tuna soaked in oil were staples). It was a dream come true to be in a grocery store so clean, so bright, and so full of passion. That is what Hy-Vee is – a place that truly believes in its employees, and a place where customers feel appreciated. I was hooked.
A Hy-Vee in Bloomington, IL is opening up and that is close to where I live! Jerrod and I have been following the store’s progress for months, watching it go from an empty warehouse building to a beautiful store (can you tell I’m excited?). We are so dang anxious to step foot inside.
Flash forward back to Tuesday and that post I saw:
I liked it. I never win anything, but I liked it. One of those 3,145 likes is mine. ALL MINE!
Tuesday at 4:30 rolls around. I leave work, head home, let the dog out, cook dinner with Jerrod, fiddle around. I finally hop on to Facebook around 8:00. I check my notifications:
Please believe me when I say that I SQUEALED like a little baby. DREAM COME TRUE. So much squealing. PJ was probably like “Who the heck gets this excited about a dinner at Hy-Vee?” In all reality, PJ was super excited too! I called, I squealed, I said yes to dinner for 4 and a tour of the store (that hasn’t even opened yet!). I WAS SO EXCITED.
PJ and his Hy-Vee team greeted us at the Market Grille door and PJ gave me a gorgeous vase of flowers! They smelled beautiful and were the perfect centerpiece on our table. Every single person we talked to before we even sat down at our table were extremely welcoming and always smiling. I knew it was going to be a good night!
There were two different menus and between the four of us, we could choose 1 appetizer, but we all had to choose different entrees to give the cooks practice with different meals. There were plenty to choose from and they all looked amazing.
We went with the Toasted Triple Creme Brie because who would ever say no to Brie? Brie and I go way back (meaning we go way back to last year when I was in California and binge ate it on Triscuits because oh man GAH! BRIE!) I’d never had strawberries with Brie though so I was quite excited. The crunch of the baguette, the creaminess of the Brie, and the sweet of the berry – it was delicious. I wanted five more plates.
Next up were our entrees. It took us a while to choose, but we had such a great waitress, Lauren, who gave us suggestions and made sure to check up on us to make sure we were pleased. We were definitely more than pleased, Lauren – we were ecstatic!
Haley and Matt, good friends of ours, joined us for the night. It was their first time in a Hy-Vee!
Haley went with the Chicken Parmesan & Matt went with the Pulled Pork Sandwich (he was in love with the sauce and definitely said he’d be back for that sandwich again).
Jerrod and I have both been in several Hy-Vees. One in Sycamore, IL, one in Peru, IL, and the other in Peoria, IL. We were thrilled to add another one to our list.
Jerrod went with the Top Sirloin, and I chose the Chicken Saltimbocca. We patiently waited, but our mouths were watering!
The food was amazing. Not only was it pleasing to the eye, but it tasted good. My chicken was tender and the cheese and prosciutto accompanied it in the most perfect way. And those tomatoes and spinach? Oh my. Oh, oh my. Heart eyes emoji.
Just when we thought the party was over, PJ and his kind wait staff brought us dessert. Tiramisu and a white chocolate and raspberry cake. I have only had Tiramisu once and it blew me away so much I ate two gigantic pieces. I don’t know how I forgot about it until last night. It was INCREDIBLE. Oh my gosh. I could have literally eaten 10 more pieces. The cake was good too, a bit too sweet (I know, I know. Who am I?), but after all that succulent food, the Tiramisu was the perfect way to sum up the meal.
Following dinner, PJ gave us a tour around the store. AHH the excitement for it to open! It’s going to be amazing. So many people were working, training, and anxiously preparing for this upcoming Tuesday – the opening! Everyone said hi to us as we walked through. People smiled as they stocked shelves. How often do you go in a grocery store where the employees hardly even look at you? Well this is not the case at this store. Hy-Vee Bloomington – you are one in a million and you aren’t open yet!
Thanks to Hy-Vee for allowing us to visit the Market Grille and to get a sneak peak of the store. We had a great time. See you next week and many, many times after that! And thanks again for the flowers – they are a sign that Spring is on its way!