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Groceries, etc. in Boston


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Hello,

I will be moving to Boston in a matter of weeks and would very much appreciate any input on the following matters of great import:

1) best place to purchase fresh seafood

2) best place to purchase fresh produce

3) best Asian grocery store

4) best homestyle (i.e., nothing fancy or fushion-y) Asian food

5) hoping beyond hope here, but is there anything like a local Hawaiian plate lunch place?

Thanks in advance for sharing your experiences and helping me get my bearings!

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Had a good meal from El Pelon near Fenway last night (92 Peterborough St). Mexican-ish food that was not terribly creative but well prepared. One nice thing on their menu that you don't find just anywhere is fried plantains with a roasted tomato salsa. Quite good. I know that wasn't on your list but if you are craving good Mexican food in Boston, there don't seem be a lot of options.

There was a Thai place next door to El Pelon but I don't know anything about it.

For seafood, I have heard people rave about Sea to You on Northern Ave (by the wharf) but it is not terribly convenient for you. I haven't been there yet but I still plan on getting over there this morning.

Fresh produce in your area is probably sewn up by Whole Foods (aka Bread and Circus). There is one near Symphony Hall on the other side of the Fens. It ain't cheap but I think 'cheap' and 'great selection' don't go well together here. Perhaps a farmers' market?

I'm new to Boston also and still exploring. I'll report back as I uncover things.

Stephen Bunge

St Paul, MN

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Wouldn't happen to be comin to BU, would ya? :biggrin:

If it's just a move, well then, hope to see you around Boston!

Andrew Baber

True I got more fans than the average man but not enough loot to last me

to the end of the week, I live by the beat like you live check to check

If you don't move yo' feet then I don't eat, so we like neck to neck

A-T-L, Georgia, what we do for ya?

The Gentleman Gourmand

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Sea to You was a pretty good find. They seem to be geared toward those who are making sushi at home. Several different varieties of roe (including nice lookin cod roe sacks an uni that was likely not local), seawead salad, pickled ginger, squid salad, and marinated baby octopus salad, and uni are available by the pound. They had a few different grades/varieties of tuna (including Big-Eye), yellow-tail, and salmon available in chunks or filets that you could get cut to order. Also, a number of shrink wrapped packages of sushi cuts like yellow tail, Big-Eye, bluefin tuna, and o-toro if you didn't feel like cutting/prepping it yourself from the chunked fish. Lastly they had some very fresh looking whole Boston mackarel on ice for $1.95 per pound.

I came home with chunks of tuna, hamachi, salmon, a bit of roe and a mackerel. Made a few nori rolls last night with the tuna and hamachi. I had them gut the mackerel and have posted to the boards (here) for cooking assistance.

I thought that Sea to You was a nice operation if you are looking for sushi fixins. Decent prices (sushi quality tuna loin was $12ish per pound). Now that I know what it is like, if I need a lot of options I will likely head somewhere else (J Hook's?). It was clean inside, noone was overly customer-service oriented but I think that comes with the territory when they only sell to the public for six hours per week.

Stephen Bunge

St Paul, MN

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You're close enough to Super88 in Allston to just take the T (green line, B-branch) from Kenmore Square....All your Asian veggies, tofu, various condiments, a good selection of western veggies, but not all, and the quality of them bears scrutiny...A fish-market in the back, THE place to go for whole and live fish, unless you wannah take the T in the other direction, and hit Chinatown...There are several there I could recommend...

The BEST Thai in Boston is in Coolidge Corner, at Dok Bua...Take the C-Branch of the green line to Coolidge Corner, walk about 5 minutes toward Allsrton for this amazing store-front place, with the most authentic stuff around..Just ate there last nit, spicy catfish in chili sauce was as good as usual, and my BF insists on miang kum as an app..BYOB...Slightly more expensive, and with *tableclothes*, is Khao Sarn, same T-stop, other direction...The best steamed fish with chilis I've ever eaten, and Yoshi, the bartender, makes a mango martini that'll make you swoon, more like a mango cloud...If you ask in advance, they can do Yum Pla Duk Foo... :wub:

Rod Dee II is in the Fenway, my #3 choice for Thai...They're actually better than the others for a nice, greasy plate of pad thai, which I don't consider the test of a Thai place, but I sometimes get a craving for. Don't bother with Brown Sugar, too sweet and American for my taste.

My favorite Vietnamese is in Chinatown, on 4 or 6 Beach Street, Nam Vang...Best fish in clay pot, best banh xiao, bun rieu, and spicy sour soup....If you wannah head to Dorchester, and you will, if you love Vietnamese, you'll wannah hit Pho 2000 in Fields Corner...But only after you've been here awhile :wink: There's a Vietnamese place in the Fenway, but it's barely mediocre...

Close to you, at the Brookline Village stop on the D-branch of the green line, is Sichuan garden, for KICK-ASS Sichuan...make sure you ask them for the special menu (it's translated)....

A deal for Hong Kong style seafood is Victoria Seafood, on the B-bramch of the green line...2 for $12.95 lobsters, best with ginger and scallion... :wub:

Going to Chinatown for Chinese, the lobsters are a little more at Peach farm, but they rule the roost on spicy-salt-fried anything...And you MUST have their oysters on the half-shell with black bean sauce. They're the size of your head.... :blink:

I second everyone's rec for Sea to You, but, again, it's only Saturday, and inconvenient for a T-person...The Shaw's in the Fenway is okay for veggies, and the one near Super 88 in Allston is good for fish.....

I agree with everyone on El Pelon. For me, they're the best fish burrito in Boston!

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Thanks so much to everyone for the responses. It's a strange thing, but knowing where to get get good Asian food helps me feel more settled and comfortable in a city. I currently drive 1 hr to Milwaukee to get authentic Chinese food (this restaurant also has the secret menu feature) so I don't think a couple of hops on the T for sashimi-grade fish will be an inconvenience at all (thank you, slbunge, for the report).

Wow, galleygirl, you have an encyclopedic knowledge of Asian restaurants in Boston! You also sound like my culinary soulmate from the kinds of dishes you like to order. I actually did visit Super88 - I really liked the food court (reminded me of Hawaii-style food courts) and the selection of fish was outstanding. I will be living pretty close to Brown Sugar but upon hearing your review, will likely avoid it since the overbearing sweetness is something which I don't like about the Thai food in Wisconsin. I ate at Chau Chow and really enjoyed the clams w/ black bean sauce and the roast duck. I've also heard good things about the Vietnamese sandwiches sold at the corner coffeeshop in Chinatown.

Looking through the internet, I did manage find a Hawaiian-type restuarant in Rockport called Hula Moon Cafe. Has anyone been there?

By the way, agbaber, I'm not going to BU but the neighborhood around the campus seems to have good restaurant possibilities.

Thanks again for all of your input. I look forward to exploring and reporting back.

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I currently drive 1 hr to Milwaukee to get authentic Chinese food (this restaurant also has the secret menu feature)

Hey! We just moved her from Milwaukee. Is that restaurant you drive and hour to visit on Hwy 100 between National and Oakland? I'm blanking on the name right now.

Sorry, off topic.

Great post galleygirl. One other grocery related item is wine. Any thoughts on a place with a great wine selection. I was impressed with Brookline Liquor Mart. Incredibly helpful finding wines in my price range. Are there others?

Stephen Bunge

St Paul, MN

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  • 4 weeks later...

A little late to this thread, but maybe you're still reading...

I'm not sure how helpful these suggestions are since you don't have a car, but here goes:

Russo's in Watertown - THE best place for produce (and a good selection of cheeses, bakery items, and prepared foods from the looks of it, though I haven't tried). They have a room of asian vegetables which equals or surpasses the asian markets I've tried, and the rest of their produce is top notch too.

Kam Man Center in Quincy - I MUCH prefer this place to Super 88. The last time I went to Super 88 (the one in Allston) I was so frustrated with the limp produce that I haven't been back since. Kam Man is located in an Asian Mall, and has a much better and fresher selection of produce, meats, seafood, and prepared foods, at least in my experience. (You might be able to get to this place by Red Line and then a bus, but it would be a pretty long haul.)

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I heartily second Jujube's recommendation of Kam Man. It's off the beaten track, since it's south of Boston, but it's a great place and I think it's better than Super 88.

As for "Hawaiian plate lunch - I've lived here for 35 years and never heard of it. What is it? If you find one, let us know!

I think you will like Boston - it is a great food town.

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Wow, galleygirl, you have an encyclopedic knowledge of Asian restaurants in Boston! You also sound like my culinary soulmate from the kinds of dishes you like to order. I actually did visit Super88 - I really liked the food court (reminded me of Hawaii-style food courts) and the selection of fish was outstanding. I will be living pretty close to Brown Sugar but upon hearing your review, will likely avoid it since the overbearing sweetness is something which I don't like about the Thai food in Wisconsin. I ate at Chau Chow and really enjoyed the clams w/ black bean sauce and the roast duck. I've also heard good things about the Vietnamese sandwiches sold at the corner coffeeshop in Chinatown.

Looking through the internet, I did manage find a Hawaiian-type restuarant in Rockport called Hula Moon Cafe. Has anyone been there?

Thanks, pandangirl, sorry it took so long to get back to this...

Super 88's food court is barely touching what Boston has to offer, there's better in *all* categories, but still, for a quick bite...But you're so close to Vistoria Seafood if you're out there!!!

Mix Bakery is the best in Chinatown for bânh mi(Vietnamese sandwiches)...They have the dac bîet(special, with pate and cold cuts), grilled beef9ask for NO extra sweet sauce) or tofu, which is what I get...There's other, flashier places than this Chines coffeee-shop, but their bread isn't as good...For the best bânh mi, it's Bâ Le in Dorchester....

There were some other posts on CH about the hawaiian place; turned out to be a basic American breakfast place that offered a spam omelet at brakfast; that was about it....

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Great post galleygirl. One other grocery related item is wine. Any thoughts on a place with a great wine selection. I was impressed with Brookline Liquor Mart. Incredibly helpful finding wines in my price range. Are there others?

Thanks; I'm embarrassed to admit, my wine-budget has been low, low, low lately..I usually find a dry white I love, and buy a case at Trader Joe's or Martignetti's....There's a Ferrande Sauvignon Blanc at TJ's that seems to go with everything I serve, and costs $6 at TJ's....It tastes like a very good $12 bottle...

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