Your favorite markets in Boston
Just curious how everyone weighs in on their favorite super market or place you go grocery shopping on a regular basis. I currently go to either Trader Joe's in Cambridge (the one by MicroCenter), which I like a lot. For certain things I do Super 88 in Chinatown or Dorchester, and then do Whole Foods in Beacon Hill. I love the produce, meat & fish at Whole Foods. I like the wine and specialty foods as well as basics (milk, eggs, butter, etc) at Trader's and of course for any Asian themed meals I'm making or if I want to buy a ton of basil or other things and don't want to spend a ton, I got to 88. Just curious where others go and why they like the places.
Pretty similar here...I shop at Trader Joe's in Cambridge, the River St. Whole Foods (I can send my groceries down and I just had a baby, so this is cool...though the car seat doesn't fit on a cart there, and I'm told they do at the E. Somerville Stop & Shop), and occasionally the Shaws on McGrath. I go to Market Basket only on days I can stomach the combat shopping experience (v. hectic and crowded). I end up at Shaws and MB less because I buy a lot of organic produce.
I used to go to Wilson's and Russo's more, but have a Red Fire Farm CSA which I pick up at the coop in Central Square in Cambridge, so I shop at the coop a fair amt in the summer as I can buy local stuff there easiest and it's convenient. If I need more herbs than I'm growing in my wee backyard...like say a big bunch of mint, I'll go next door to Shalimar (Indian).
I get Mid East stuff on Mt. Auburn (Arax and Sevan) and go to CMart or Super 88 for Asian stuff.
I love Public Markets like the one in Portland, ME -- my favorite I've been to is the one in Vancouver -- and wish we had one here that showcased all locally grown/raised/made foodstuffs.
Allstonian and I tend to make it out to Russo's at least once every two weeks, although much less so in the summer months when there are farmers markets and our CSA. I do most of my Asian shopping at the Packards Corner Super 88 (and tend to eat at least one banh mi a week at their food court), and there's a small stock of things we purchase at Trader Joes although I can't imagine doing the majority of my shopping there.
But when it comes to the majority of our everyday shopping, the Packards Corner Shaws is less than five minutes from our house, and unlike many stores in the chain, it's clean, well-stocked, easily navigated and competently staffed. Best of all, it's I think the only 24-hour supermarket within the city limits of Boston, which is enormously handy.
We tend to only shop at Stop and Shop for advertised specials, because there isn't one nearly as convenient as our Shaw's. When we're on the road in the burbs, we often stop at Roche Brothers, Market Basket or Hannafords just for the change.
Liquor: as a general rule, the Brighton Martignetti's. If we're staying in the neighborhood, the Allston location of Marty's for wine and Blanchard's for beer. Hard liquor we almost always just buy once or twice year when we're passing by a New Hampshire state liquor store.
If I have my druthers (which I don't always, since I don't own a car):
Russo's in Watertown for produce and cheese. They wholesale for restaurants and have all kinds of funky stuff like 6+ different species of eggplant, heck, even 6+ different species of bok choy! Pretty good cheese selection at better prices than Whole Foods. http://www.russos.com/
Super 88 for Asian related things. Produce is cheap, but well, sometimes you get what you pay for in terms of quality, and I like the price point/quality ratio at Russo's better given the choice. But there's no better place in town for Asian ingredients.
Wilson Farms in Lexington for organic and fancy produce. They have pretty consistently wonderful locally grown corn every summer, and a variety of first rate produce of various types. http://www.wilsonfarm.com/
Trader Joe's and Whole Foods for most everyday needs, for better or for worse, though I'm now switching to MacKinnon's in Davis Square for butchered meats.
Multiple options for wine and beer, I really like the hired help at Downtown Wine & Spirits in Davis Square (and they *really* know their beer!) http://www.downtownwineandspirits.com/ There is also Brookline Liquor Mart for an ineresting stock and lots of enthusiasm http://www.blmwine.com/; Cambridge Wine & Spirits for a large wine selection http://www.mallliquors.com/ and Marty's Liquors in Brookline and Newton for somewhat higher prices and lots of attitude http://www.martyswine.com/
And there are the organic farmer's markets which aren't really loaded with produce just yet, but will be soon. A complete list of the government approved markets is at http://www.mass.gov/agr/massgrown/far...
I stumbled into Sudbury Farms (in Sudbury, of course) a few weeks ago because Whole Foods was out of what I was looking for and Sudbury Farms was the next market down the street. Going into that store has changed my life! Sudbury Farms is the most amazing grocery store I have ever seen. It was so well staffed that you could really tell the difference. There was even a wine consultant!
I love Market Basket. When I am in the mood for better produce I endure the drive to Russo's, a place that always makes me cry with delight (except for the crowds).
I also like Penzey's in Arlington and Christina's in Inman, the former for fresher, more common spices, and the latter for more esoteric ingredients. Sevan in Watertown is great.
Agreed. For regular market items, it's so much cheaper than any of the other stores! Plus, the one on Somerville Ave has a huge variety of ethnic goods. Meats are pretty good too.
Alas, there is no MB near me... I wanted to cry when I walked into the Shaw's on Beacon St in Washington Square.
Market Basket - yes.
Russo's - yes, yes.
For mainstream supermarkets, the brand-new Super Stop and Shop in East Somerville on McGrath is never crowded and seems a touch cheaper than its siblings.
You can get a case of mangoes at the Indian stores on Moody for $6 = $.50 mangoes = a steal! And they are usually in good shape. Also recommend poking around there for spices - much cheaper than the designer spice places like Christina's and I would expect Penzey's. I got a good-sized bag of star anise for super-cheap.
For feta and middle eastern goodies, Mt. Auburn in Watertown has a number of great markets. Ask about specials on the weekends - I got some sort of warm sweet cheese, honey and dough sweetened with rose water "cake" at one of them a few weekends ago - very interesting.
I was at super 88 today and that place just rocks my world. The fish department is incredible. I bought fresh logan nuts which I had only ever tasted canned before. The selections and prices are the best. The nicest and most polite and helpful people work there. I bought so many things that a sweet woman took all of my things and helped me out to my car. I thanked her and handed her five dollars which she refused to accept. She thanked me a million times. That has never happened to me at Shaws and I am sure that it never will.