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favourite mail-order food

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Call me a late bloomer, but at 43 years I just got my first credit card. Never really needed one before, but I had to get this one for professional reasons. Anyway, now that I have access to the wonderful world of internet mail order, I was hoping some of you hounds who've been at it a while could direct me to your favourite food mail-order sites. (I live in Toronto, so skip companies that have stores here.) I'm game for just about any kind of food. Quality is most important, and I'd love to hear about places that ship the unexpected.

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  1. For a huge range of excellent tea, try...

    www.uptontea.com

    www.specialteas.com

    www.harney.com

    I have ordered from all three many many times & always been very pleased. Plus...their
    websites are well organized & very interesting whether you're new to teas or an experienced tea drinker....

    1. Living in Berkeley we can get most things locally, but we get these things mail-order:

      spices from Penzey's
      http://www.penzeys.com

      Steen's cane syrup
      http://shop.chefpaul.com/index.asp?Pa...

      Pernigotti cocoa in bulk
      http://chefshop.com/Itemdesc.asp?Came...

      White Lily self-rising flour
      http://www.chefscatalog.com/catalog/p...

      Anson Mills red Trentino flint polenta
      http://ansonmills.com/page22/page34/p...

      3 Replies
      1. re: Robert Lauriston

        If Penzey's doesn't have it, The Spice House in Chicago will. Related companies, by the way.
        Spice House also has stuff not listed on their site, so take the time to ask them if you need something hard to find (like organic white peppercorns, hurrah!) or otherwise unusual. Very nice folks.
        www.thespicehouse.com

        1. re: Bananna A.

          How are Penzey's and the Spice House related?

          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            If I have the story right, Mom & Dad (Bill and Ruth) Penzey started the business in WI, then their daughter & her spouse (Patty & Tom Erd) created/expanded The Spice House in IL. Seems that they have very similar offerings for spice rubs, etc.

        1. I have a standing order for Bazzini mixed nuts without peanuts from NYC. They are very good. Very old company. You can get their nuts in a wonderful big vintage tin with an elephant holding a peanut in his trunk on it. Once you get the tin just buy the nuts bagged to refill it. There's a scene in the Sopranos where the guys are playing poker with a Bazzini tin on the table.
          I think it's about $30 for 5 pounds. Very fair price. Would make a great gift.
          Bazzininuts.com
          800 228 0172

          1. Has anyone ordered from omahasteaks.com? I'm intrigued, but haven't tried it myself.

            4 Replies
            1. re: wontonton

              We've received gifts of Omaha Steaks (a variety of cuts and burgers). I didn't care for them at all (flavor or texture). You may be able to do better locally (especially for the price).

              1. re: Saccade

                Consumer Reports reviewed them, and gave their Filet Mignon a "very good" and their strip "good" ratings. Lobel's got an "excellent" rating for their filet mignon.

              2. re: wontonton

                Pass on Omaha Steaks; texture is mushy and flavor isn't anywhere near beefy enough (I can get better at my local Wild Oats). Definitely go for Lobel's - prime dry-aged cuts vs. Omaha's regular old choice cuts (which is what is sold in supermarkets).

                1. re: wontonton

                  Very overrated. You'll do yourself a favor by trying to find good aged beef at a local butcher.