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Jul 6, 2006 01:56 PM

searching for some speciality foods

HELP! Have just moved to Boston from NYC & am trying to feel out the scene for eclectic/ethnic grocery shopping - looking for some suggestions!

*frozen Acai - does the Brazilian supermarket near Porter Sq have this?
*spelt pizza dough - prefer fresh (i.e. from a pizza place that offers it as a crust option) versus frozen...
*GOOD quality RAW bulk nuts & dried fruits - again, would prefer fresh versus packaged - any good middle eastern markets that would have a wide selection?
*as above, good quality, bulk olives/capers/hot peppers/etc
*really dense, dark, multi grain & seed breads - my husband & I prefer our bread almost a little 'sour' versus 'sweet,' so no honey, etc

We are located Downtown and I am fully willing to travel within Boston/Cambridge area, whatever is reachable by T! For comparison, if people know NYC, I lived in Chelsea and went to Queens for the Trade Fair grocery stores for my Brazilian fix, to Sahadi's in Brooklyn for all my bulk stuff (as well as the best hummus, taramosalata, fresh feta...yum)Union Square market for my bread and to the East Village for my pizza dough.

I've been exploring the farmer's markets - Copley Sq last Friday, City Hall yesterday... great quality - yay!
Thanks in advance.

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  1. Last time I was in the Brazilian Butcher "Casa de Carne Solucao" on Bow St in Union Sq they had frozen Acai. Near the entrance there is a chest freezer with a clear top that has all the frozen pulps. The Gol Supermarket should probably have it too, but its been a bit hit or miss with things there since Gol took over from the previous owners. The just don't have enough regular selection to justify shopping there -- DeMoulas + one of the butchers is better.

    The other thing you could do is get friendly with someone in one of the Brazilian bakeries and ask the supplier, or perhaps simply just buy the pulp from them. The retail locations mark up enough that the bakeries would possibly match and might have better turnover. I had the name of a supplier in Metrowest, but its likely its now coming up from the City. If you search the board you can find articles on the bakeries.

    For a lot of bulk things, I have tended to go to Harvest in Central Sq. Bulk portuguese olives are available from Courthouse seafood in Cambridge and occasionally fresh piri piri peppers, bulk italian from Sessa's in Davis Sq and bulk raw cashews (and packaged peppers, plus some frozen) from La Internacional in Union. For Greek stuff, I tend to frequent a store in Belmont next to Linda's Donuts, although Sessa's carries pretty good fresh feta.

    1 Reply
    1. re: itaunas

      Agreed that since the Brazilian market on Somerville Ave became Gol! it has gone way downhill. They used to have interesting produce and lots of cool imports, but it's nowhere near as interesting as it was when it opened. I hardly go in there anymore.

    2. Sevan's Bakery in Watertown's "Little Armenia" has a great selection of fresh (not packaged) nuts. Their walnuts are blonde and never bitter! Quite good, and the place is worth the trip.

      1 Reply
      1. re: fullbelly

        I concur. Also check out Massis, Arax and the grocery store whose name I forget (across the street from these three). It has good, cheap fresh herbs as well as some of the same fresh varieties of feta as at these stores. All are good for fresh olives, nuts, greek cheeses, baked items, etc.

        There is also a nut specialty store in the area.

        Here is a good thread from the past.

      2. To make up for all the bulk and Middle eastern items you're missing, you'll have to hit the whole block of shops in Watertown's Little Armenia. Arax has the best bulk spices, an immense pickled veggie and olive bin set-up, a wide range of breads (tho not heavy, dense ones). I love their store-made sauces and spreads, like the garlic one (not for the faint of heart!) and the shallot one...(ditto)...Good range of bulk fetas, and halloumi if you need it; lots of labnehs and halvahs.

        The best taramasalata is store-made (not the Krinos) at Sevan. Great nuts there, too; I agree. I don't care for their baked goods; they never taste as good as they look, except for thei tahini bread(better than any in NY!)

        I don't get much at Massis...If there are any spices you can'r find at Arax, head to the "Wall of Spices" at the Harvest in Central Square.

        1. Believe it or not, frozen Acai is getting so popular that they now stock it in (at least some) Shaw's supermarkets. I definitely saw it for sale in the Porter Square branch.

          1. My favorite place for everything delicious is Fromaggio Kitchen. There is one in Huron Village, Cambridge and the other in the South End. Their cheese selection is the best in the city, and they also have a bakery, gourmet groceries, nuts, produce and beer and wine.