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Philadelphia Produce Queries


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I thought it might be... less wasteful, maybe, to start a general topic rather than one for my narrow little inquiry, so here it is and there you have it.

Before I was a cranky old man, I was a cranky old child. In that childhood I lived in Lisbon, and in Lisbon I was very fond of a fruit we called, in our quaint foreign tongue, "nesperas". Well, after twenty years of whining about missing them, I finally used Google to determine said fruit is more widely know as a "loquat", and is native to Southern China. Which makes me think I might find loquats in Chinatown, or possibly on Washington Ave. Anyone remember having seen these, and if so where? And when: I'm not sure of season and such.

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I'm almost certain I've seen a misspelled sign for loquats on Washington Avenue. I think at the big market at 11th & Washington. I don't remember what time of year it was though.

Anastasio Produce at 9th & Christian could tell you if they have them when in season. I always look for my off the beaten track produce there and they're always quite helpful.

Last possibility would be O.K. Lee at RTM. Being an Asian owned produce shop certainly means they'd know what you're looking for.

Before I was a cranky old man, I was a cranky old child.

Color me stunned. :raz:

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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Canned loquats are always available at First Oriental Grocery, off Washington St. between 4th and 5th. I'm certain they get them fresh when in season.

JasonZ

Philadelphia, PA, USA and Sandwich, Kent, UK

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  • 2 weeks later...

Found canned loquats. Yech-ptooie-ptoo is too kind, but manners prevent profanity.

I suspected it might be the case: the flavor is so delicate, the canning itself is enough to ruin the fruit. All you can taste is syrup. Though I wouldn't expect loquats canned without syrup to be any better.

And now to wait for Spring.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm making cassoulet (have got the duck confit started today) and am looking for a Philadelphia source for either tarbais beans or the best locally available substitute for these rare beans. Flageolets are available at the Spice Corner on 9th St. -- that's my current front runner, but I've never cooked cassoulet before and would be grateful to benefit from others' experience.

For the record, Sonny D'Angelo's place on 9th St. is a great source for most of the other tricky ingredients -- duck legs and duck fat for reasonable prices, as well as the requisite French garlic sausages. 9th St. will also serve me well for fresh pork rind and pork belly, but that's a few days away.

Thanks in advance!

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I'm making cassoulet (have got the duck confit started today) and am looking for a Philadelphia source for either tarbais beans or the best locally available substitute for these rare beans.

Thanks in advance!,

Hi Gabe

Try Assouline & Ting.

Jim

Edited by marinade (log)

Jim Tarantino

Marinades, Rubs, Brines, Cures, & Glazes

Ten Speed Press

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I'm making cassoulet (have got the duck confit started today) and am looking for a Philadelphia source for either tarbais beans or the best locally available substitute for these rare beans.

Thanks in advance!,

Hi Gabe

Try Assouline & Ting.

Jim

Interesting thought... I wouldn't have considered A&T for this sort of dry goods, but on reflection they're as likely as anyone...

Gabe, have you tried DiBruno's? What about the lil' grocery attached to Fork? Just throwing names out, right now, waiting for the more acquisitionally adept to pitch in.

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Well, Assouline is selling 11# bags of tarbais on their website (for $88) -- maybe they have smaller packages available retail -- I'll check them out Monday. Thanks for the recommendation. DiBruno's 9th St doesn't have them, but perhaps their Rittenhouse location does. They don't have them in their catalog, though, so I'm guessing they don't have them retail either.

My duck legs are now simmering with thyme, rosemary, and garlic in a pot full of duck fat in the oven -- the house smells heavenly.

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Well, Assouline is selling 11# bags of tarbais on their website (for $88) -- maybe they have smaller packages available retail -- I'll check them out Monday.  Thanks for the recommendation.  DiBruno's 9th St doesn't have them, but perhaps their Rittenhouse location does.  They don't have them in their catalog, though, so I'm guessing they don't have them retail either. 

My duck legs are now simmering with thyme, rosemary, and garlic in a pot full of duck fat in the oven -- the house smells heavenly.

Oh hell Gabe, get the #11 bag and scale up.

Cassoulet: It's not just for breakfast anymore.

Jim Tarantino

Marinades, Rubs, Brines, Cures, & Glazes

Ten Speed Press

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Gabe.

Send a PM to e-gullet member "Tartetatin".

She is working on a cassoulet dinner in a few weeks and had not so good experiences with Assouline's Tarbais. She actually just came back from Paris and could not find them either.

Tarbais beans are almost no longer grown in france.

She should be able to provide you with a good source.

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Vadouvan, thanks for the lead. I called Assouline and they are out of stock at the moment, so I'll likely have to settle for a substitute. I've read about the scarcity of tarbais, which seems kind of ridiculous to me, but I've also heard that the cassoulet that results from cooking with them is spectacular. The cassoulets I've had have been wonderful, but who knows whether they've been tarbais beans or not. Dark Horse Tavern in Philly? Probably not. Homey hole-in-the-wall on the Rue Condorcet in Paris? Perhaps.

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Had a few emails back and forth with Gabe...

We have some local tarbais, and will be adding flageolet brought back from the south of France for our Cassoulet. Plus, possibly, some Northern to boot, from Margerum's/winter harvest/bob pierson.

A good on- line french food importing company, joie de vivre, offers good flageolet and other bean varieties. I order from them often, they're quite good.

D'artagnan has a Cassoulet package, which we've never indulged in, but it looks like an interesting variety.

Philly Francophiles

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Hi Gabe,

About a year ago the Dangerous Dinning Club hosted a cassoulet dinner at Caribou Cafe with Chef Olivier De St. Martin. I emailed him yesterday to find out what he likes and what he actually uses. Here's his response:

As you can tell (website) there are more than one white bean kind.

But the one we use for the cassoulet is the lingot (we don't find it here). It is skinnier and longer.

Therefore I use the great northern white. Sorry

Go to this web site and enjoy

Les Haricots

Olivier De Saint Martin

e-mail: cariboucafe1@aol.com

Caribou Cafe

1126 Walnut Street

Philadelphia, PA 19107

215 625 95 35

www.cariboucafe.com

We had about 40 people turn out for this, some of them are part of this discussion board.

Hope this helps.

Edited by marinade (log)

Jim Tarantino

Marinades, Rubs, Brines, Cures, & Glazes

Ten Speed Press

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Gabe,

Go to the website www.francvin.com and get the phone number. Francesca used to carry Tarbais in bulk. I haven't ordered them in a couple years, and she may not carry them anymore. If she won't sell in small quantities, offer to purchase some other items, especially the Moulin des Penitents olive oil, and she may be more ammenable to breaking it down for you.

Tod

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I thought it might be... less wasteful, maybe, to start a general topic rather than one for my narrow little inquiry, so here it is and there you have it.

Before I was a cranky old man, I was a cranky old child. In that childhood I lived in Lisbon, and in Lisbon I was very fond of a fruit we called, in our quaint foreign tongue, "nesperas". Well, after twenty years of whining about missing them, I finally used Google to determine said fruit is more widely know as a "loquat", and is native to Southern China. Which makes me think I might find loquats in Chinatown, or possibly on Washington Ave. Anyone remember having seen these, and if so where? And when: I'm not sure of season and such.

If you ever find your nesperas, please, do, let me know. To me those are "nisperos," and there's nothing quite like sliding one off of the end of a branch where it's growing and digging in.

:sad:

I have yet to see them here, but they are apparently grown in Mexico, as well as on the Iberian peninsula:

http://gomexico.about.com/od/fooddrink/ig/...it/Nisperos.htm

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Thanks to all for the help tracking down tarbais beans. I was unable to find them locally this time, so I used organic Great Northerns from Essene. And lo, it was good:

gallery_9752_4291_307192.jpg

Though the crust looks pretty dark, even the blackest bits were pure succulence. The recipe I used is from Bourdain's Les Halles Cookbook and made two pots that size. It was a rollicking success even with the Great Northerns. Hopefully next time I'll be able to get some tarbais.

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