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What Do You Order via the Mail?

  • b

What items have you found that are so good you order them through the mail instead of buying an alternate (and lesser quality) brand available locally??? We've gotten a few over the years:

1. Red wine vinegar from St Julien Winery in Paw Paw Michigan. I find their wines so so,but love their wine vinegar. (Was judging wine vinegar's at a wine competition a few years back and in its class this was the only double gold winner.)

2. BBQ sauce from Maurice's Piggy Park in Columbia, South Carolina (or at least we did before the current boycott over the flag)

3. Maryland Crab cakes from QVC. When I first heard about this source I laughed. But the person mentioning it grew up in Maryland and said these were the best he'd had since leaving home. Boy was he right! Expensive but worth every penny.

4. Black Raspberry Preserves from the Carolina Cherry Company. Just a small roadside stand between Beaufort and Savannah-but this stuff is the best I can ever recall having. Bursting with sweet fruit, great depth of flavor, long rich finish (sounds like a 67 Yquem(g)).

5. Hubs Peanuts from Virginia, Big, crisp and plump. I was never a big peanut fan until I tried these. (now available at some "Pier One" stores as well.)

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  1. I used to order cases of salsa from Santa Cruz Chile & Spice in AZ. This was way, way more than I needed for myself, so I'd take most of it to work and sell green and red salsa to my coworkers. They loved it, and would ask me about it if I hadn't mentioned it in a while.

    I also ordered spices from what I think is now called Pendery's, in Fort Worth, TX. It was from them that I learned just how much volume is occupied by a pound of dried parsley.

    7 Replies
    1. re: Jim Dorsch

      Mostly I buy equipment on the internet, as the selection around here is poor and the prices unreasonably high.

      The only food item I buy regularly by mail is caviar, salmon in particular, in larger sizes. The real thing is just not available around here at a good price. I used to get it at Balducci's, but they discontinued it (and I've heard stories here, thanks guys for keeping me up on the news), so I'm thinking of Russ and Daughters. My only limitation is, I need to have things shipped UPS so they'll leave stuff in my garage while I'm at work and no one is home sign for it.

      I've ordered other people spices from Penzey's as gifts, and everyone was happy about that. Also I've ordered gifts from a few places that I though the prices were too high, but I knew the recipient would be thrilled by the company.

      I've bought baking supplies from King Arthur Flour in Vermont. They have lots of stuff you can't get around here.

      1. re: Katherine

        capers packed in salt from the island of Pantelleria...much better than the brine-packed variety

        I get them from esperya.com

        1. re: Jim Dixon

          I used to order stuff from Oscar's Hickory House in New York. Wow, that box would come full of yummy smoked meats. You could smell the thing a mile away.

          I'm not going to argue with the big dog's review of Engel & Engel's Food Finds, but a lot of my mail-order sources came from their earlier editions. So, while Jim may be correct in his criticisms, I nevertheless found it useful, and a vicarious good read.

          I have the first two editions, but have not taken a good look at the latest, so I can't comment on it.

          1. re: Jim Dorsch

            Jim, I wasn't "against" the book, just suspicious. As I said in the review (on our Chowbooks page, linked below, for those reading along), I don't know enough places listed to make a conclusive...er...conclusion. So I appreciate your feedback.

            If anyone else has opinions of this book, please start a new thread on this board.

            ciao

            Link: http://www.chowhound.com/reading/read...

        2. re: Katherine

          Hello, Katherine

          I notice that you've chosen to post under only a single (and common) first name.

          Since we have literally thousands of users, the single name "Katherine" does not make for a name likely to be memorable. And as we're a tight-knit community, where many of us come to recognize and anticipate the preferences and tastes of regular posters, I'm afraid you may be doing yourself a disservice. You deserve to be distinct!

          We'd suggest using first AND last names (as most of our regulars do), or else a distinctive nametag (e.g. "Pepper", "Frank Language", "Big Ed", etc...though please don't use any of them, they're taken!).

          This way we can all get to know you, which makes for much more personal conversation!

          If you'd like to discuss this, please reply to the message "About the Name You Choose" on our Site Talk board (get there by clicking the link below)

          harrison

          Link: http://www.chowhound.com/boards/sitet...

          1. re: Harrison

            I was here first, and I don't intend to change my name now!

            1. re: Katherine

              katherine--see my reply to Harrison, on Site Talk (where, once again, we really do insist that discussion of this topic be addressed)

      2. Bacon of the month club from gratefulpalate.com

        One of the best gifts to myself in ages... Fantastic quality bacon

        1. This olive oil has been discussed on Chowhound once before. I ordered some from for my daughter and son-in-law for Christmas. They first tasted it at it's source while honeymooning in Southern Italy. They brought a bottle to me and I recall saying here that I could drink the stuff. It is imported by our very own Jim Dixon. More about this olive oil appears now in a new Special Report on the home page. Thanks Jim Dixon for providing this very special present for my kids. pat

          1. 1-Beer, either through Louie's on the Pike in Seattle or Belmont Station in Portland, Or. This is a must for all those special hard to get wets coast xmas beers.
            2-Tea. Whittard of Chelsea in England.

            1. Speaking of peanuts by mail, I get mine from the Virgina Diner. Not quite as good as I remember from my childhood, but undoubtably better than most. Very large and crunchy.

              Link: http://www.vadiner.com

              1. Best source for the best smoked salmon I've ever had is Port Chatham seafood, out of Seattle. (www.portchatham.com)Smoked coho and king, smoked trout, the hugest, silkiest and most luxurius smoked oysters I've ever had in my mouth. Also have a line of other seafood treats, baskets, canned products. Excellent quality, prompt mailing--a true delight. Available in catalog form as well as online.

                5 Replies
                1. re: berkleybabe

                  I especially recommend the "Kippered King Salmon Gourmet Cut" from Port Chatham, which is a 2 lb. portion of cured, then hot-smoked king salmon. It is moist, flaky and out of this world. However, it is not inexpensive ($39.95), but is worth every penny.

                  1. re: Barry

                    I've always been puzzled by the "Kippered" part, having had kippers in England and finding them unimpressive. How does the flavor/texture compare to their coho/king smoked salmon? Glad to have found another Port Chatham enthusiast!

                    1. re: berkleybabe

                      Don't let the terminology "kippered" mislead you...Port Chatham's kippered, smoked salmon bears no similarity to English kippers,thankfully. Port Chatham seems to get unusually "meaty", silky and moist king salmon for its product line. The primary difference in taste/texture between the smoked king salmon ("lox") and the kippered, smoked salmon is that the latter must be flaked rather than sliced (presumably due to the effect of heat-smoking on the salmon) and it is somewhat more of a "cooked" rather than "cured" product. What is remarkable to me is that the salmon nevertheless retains most of its moistness throughout the "kippering" process and I also appreciate the fact that the smokey flavor is lightly applied...it is not heavy-handed and does not overpower the salmon. It's a real treat to eat!

                      1. re: Barry

                        Wow, you convinced me. Anything that's a 180 from English kippers is OK in my book. Though the regular smoked salmon they produce is hardly "lox", which I don't really care for because of it's overly moist texture. I'm going for it on the next order. Thanks for the detailed explanation.Have you had the smoked oysters--unbelievably decadently delicious, without the oil that others have.A must to try.

                    2. re: Barry

                      Hello, Barry

                      I notice that you've chosen to post under only a single (and common) first name.

                      Since we have literally thousands of users, the single name "Barry" does not make for a name likely to be memorable. And as we're a tight-knit community, where many of us come to recognize and anticipate the preferences and tastes of regular posters, I'm afraid you may be doing yourself a disservice. You deserve to be distinct!

                      We'd suggest using first AND last names (as most of our regulars do), or else a distinctive nametag (e.g. "Pepper", "Frank Language", "Big Ed", etc...though please don't use any of them, they're taken!).

                      This way we can all get to know you, which makes for much more personal conversation!

                      If you'd like to discuss this, please reply to the message "About the Name You Choose" on our Site Talk board (get there by clicking the link below)

                      harrison

                      Link: http://www.chowhound.com/boards/sitet...

                  2. Until relatively recently, I was living fairly far out in a rural area of Vermont and didn't have access to many ethnic food sources. I found (based on a recomendation here) mahabazaar.com to be a great source for Indian ingredients. A fairly good selection, very good prices, prompt and affordable delivery and VERY helpful staff. Example - A large bag of dried curry leaves and a jar of mango pickles came door-to-door from Maryland in two days and cost $7.