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Food you buy online [Moved from Home Cooking board]

I am curious about what kinds of foods people buy online - I recently saw an posting about buying tamales in Texas and having them shipped anywhere in the country. What is worth the effort, S&H, and the wait? I am not talking about websites where you order dinner from a local place and it is delivered - I mean things you can't live without and can't find locally. I am also curious about buying spices online. Any good online spice retailers? Thanks.

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  1. I live in New York City, where we order groceries on line. That's probaby not what you meant. I also order grass-fed beef and lamb on line. I can get it locally, but since, again, I live in Manhattan and don't have a car, it's easier to have it sent to me. I sometimes order flour and other baking supplies from King Arthur Flour. And I've ordered fancy ingredients from chefshop.com.

    2 Replies
    1. re: NYCkaren

      we order groceries online here too, in wisconsin, from peapod.com. love them. you generally pay a little more for products, and while it may not be worth it for some (mayo, oatmeal) it's definitely worth it for others (meats, produce). we find the quality is SO much higher than what we can get in a grocery store, and seeing as how we only have access to fresh markets for 1/4 of the year here, that's pretty important to us.

      1. re: NYCkaren

        The King Arthur Flour site is one that makes me wish I baked more. A HUGE selection of flours from wheat to nuts. The wheat flours have their specific gluten/protein percentages listed. They are willing to send back a whole tanker of wheat if it does not meet their standards - they test everything coming through their doors. The company is a real asset to Vermont (where I live), both culinarily and socially giving back. When I buy flour in the store, it is their's, no question. Best flour in the US, and I'd say that if I lived in any other state.


      2. In Canada, St-Viateur Bagels from Montreal - minimum order of six dozen. Shipping is reasonable and fast. Great if you're having guests for brunch and don't want to serve them "buns with holes".

        1. Seafood from Great Alaska Seafood, Fisherman's Express, Phil's and Linton's; pastrami, corned beef and breads from Zingerman's; steaks from Allen Brothers, Tallgreass Ranch amd Alderspring Ranch; ham from Niman Ranch; prepared food from Magic Kitchen and Impromptu Gourmet.

          1. I order spices from Penzey's, steaks from a couple of places and low-fat ramen noodles from an Asian grocery via Amazon. For some reason even Whole Foods doesn't carry the low-fat ramen anymore.

            1. I've been buying my spices online for years, from World Spice Merchants. (www.worldspice.com), I'd never buy them in a store again. So much fresher, and less expensive to boot.

              9 Replies
              1. re: dagwood

                Thanks - that website is so reasonable and the spices look so interesting. I just placed an order.

                1. re: dagwood

                  wow, they sure are cheap, just looking at the Hungrarian Paprika and I just paid 5.00 for an ounce and half and it was 1.00 an ounce on worldspice

                  1. re: thecountryrose

                    The paprika is sooooooooooo good too! I make paprikash just to utilize the world spice paprika because it's so superior to grocery store stuff. The smoked paprika is killer too. (btw, Joy of Cooking has a great recipe for paprikash; I've modified it a bit but the basics are all there and it's a great way to really taste the difference in quality, IMO)

                    Lowren, I'm always so excited the first time people try them! I hope you like it....(I always find the shipping fairly quick and reasonable as well)

                    1. re: dagwood

                      Smoked paprika is *awesome*! I use it in the rub I make for pork roast. So good.

                      1. re: dagwood

                        I just placed an order from them too! I usually buy my spices from The Spice House but found world spice to be even more reasonable. Thanks for the info.

                        1. re: dagwood

                          I sometimes make my mushroom stroganoff with smoked paprika, used carefully, and it really makes for a fun change. I heard about smoked paprika from Penzey's and am glad I did! I need to think of other ways to use it. Maybe to funk up some firm tofu? Hmmm...

                          1. re: BratleFoodie

                            Potatoes. They go really well with potatoes. They also go splendidly w/ roasted cashews. Actually, I think I find excused to put them in pretty much anything. . .. I roast pumpkin seeds w/ these, too, and add it to stews.

                            1. re: BratleFoodie

                              my husband does a smoked paprika polenta that is quite good. he's done it both just dusted on top as well as stirred in.

                              i'm a fan of it in burgers as well.

                        2. re: dagwood

                          World Spice is amazing! If you're ever in Seattle, pay them a visit--they're right behind Pike Place Market. I would pay admission to the store just to go in and smell things! They're nice folks, very helpful, too. I would do mailorder from them if they weren't local, but I sure do love having them right here in town!

                        3. Gullah Gourmet is great if you want down home cajun items and you are to lazy to make them from scratch. I also ordered a spril cut sugar ham from the catalog called Figi's. It was great. Candy from See's Candies. I am looking for double zero pastry flour and no one knows what I am talking about when I call places. King Arthur Flour was like, "You want what". I did find 1 place in new York at Chelsea Market, but was wanting to price comparsion shop first.

                          1 Reply
                          1. We buy peanuts (and chocolate covered peanuts!) though Bertie County Peanuts in North Carolina. They are great!

                            1. I buy tea online @ uptontea.com - my husband loves their iced tea blend.

                              Used to buy spices occasionally from Penzey's, but now that they opened a store relatively nearby I don't have the need.

                              Also, hopjes! The hopjes are very very important :)

                              1. Green coffee beans from Sweet Maria's.

                                1. I buy tamales from Pedro's (yes, in TX) and have them shipped to Boston for my SW expat husband. I buy 10 to 12 dozen at a time and the shipping cost seems reasonable. The tamales are excellent and well worth the trouble.

                                  We also buy sausages, especially franks, from the New Braunfels Smokehouse. Tea from Upton - they're not far from Boston but they're a mail-order only operation. Chocolates from See's and from Lake Champlain Chocolates. Used to mail-order spices form Penzey's but they have a local store now so we go there.

                                  1. have to buy my king cakes when it is mardi gras season from new orleans. also i love elmer's chee wees from new orleans and will buy those online also. havent tried anything else yet.

                                    1. I buy chocolates online because there is no where I can drive within an hour that has quality chocolates. I get a great selection shopping online.

                                      I have bought protein bars online, and I tried a german market for pretzels. But the German market charges too much to ship and it just wasn't worth it.


                                      1. We buy honey from The Savannah Bee Co. a few times a year and maple syrup from Moosewood Farms. Although we can buy competitors locally, supporting both producers became as important as the products they do well.

                                        When citrus hit $1.00/piece, we started buying oranges & pink grapefruits online but the quality was inconsistent, even at a reduced cost (& free shipping). The company always made good on bad (molded during shipping) but the delay in enjoying fresh citrus was a drag.

                                        Other than the occasional splurge or gift idea (many discovered on CH) we tend to keep our daily/weekly/monthly purchases local.

                                        1. I buy almost all of my meat from Mansergh Hall - an organic farm in northwest England.

                                          Some chutnies/pickles come from Tracklements, although I can usually find their products in good local shops.

                                          And I buy great apple juices from James White:

                                          Spices I can usually source from local shops but if ever I needed online then I would use Seasoned Pioneers who are market leaders

                                          1. In NYC, we have a bunch of on-line grocery services. The biggest one being Fresh Direct. I usually order my meat and seafood from them because unless I can get to my farmer's market or find a decent butcher in my neighborhood, the local supermarkets have awful stuff.

                                            1. Martin's Pretzels from Lancaster (or thereabouts) PA and Johnny Harris barbecue sauce from Savanah GA. Both better than any comparable product in the local stores.

                                              1. Penzey's is a favorite with me, too. Also, for my pizza sauce, I buy "6 IN 1
                                                All-Purpose Ground Tomatoes in Extra-Heavy Puree - 28 oz. can" from Escalon in California. Some are fortunate enough to find them in their local grocery stores but, so far, I've had no luck here in the southeast.


                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: grampart

                                                  I buy the Escalon tomatoes as well, along with other pizza-making ingredients, from Pennsylvania Macaroni Company. Their Grande cheeses are better than what I can buy locally and the Enzo pepperoni is simply the best.


                                                  1. re: JoanN

                                                    Joan, thank you for passing the Penn Macaroni Co website on. My family and I ordered six cheeses, stick of pepperoni, pizza flour, canned tomatoes and olive paste recently and we are very satisfied with our first order. Their cheese selection is wonderful and at great prices. lb. orders generous. Shipping perishables; PMC did a marvelous job.

                                                2. It's hard to find anything unusual here in central Maine. I'd buy everything on line if I could--I hate going out to shop. I browse on Amazon.com a lot and sometimes order that hard-to-find stuff in bulk: Roastaroma tea, Indomie ramen, interesting bits of this or that. I'm not a huge chocolate eater, but when I want chocolate it's Divine fair trade milk chocolate bars, which I get from agreatergift.org in the cooler months. Time to stock up before they stop shipping in the summer!

                                                  1. Personally, I think Penzys is overpriced (especially when you shop in their stores). I shop through The Savory Spice Shop, which happens to be local for me. They are just about to open their 3rd store in Boulder, and the single Penzys location that opened last year in Old Town Arvada is struggling. Savory Spicy Shop sells a broad range and variety of spices and herbs; spices are available whole or ground (and everything is ground fresh weekly); and their bulk prices are fantastic. Their website is easy to navigate and order from.

                                                    I also buy online from King Arthur Flour for special baking items. I don't buy tea online because I work for a local tea room that sells a high quality tea.

                                                    I also shop amazon.com for food stuffs that I can't find in stores (like spiced ginger preserves). I'll sometimes buy bulk chocolate online, but only in the winter when I can be sure it won't melt during shipping.

                                                    Oh, and one of my favorite online buys is Cushman's Citrus (out of Florida) for high quality citrus that I can't find in Denver. I love, love, love their Honeybells, which are only in season in January. I also love their Crimson Flame grapefruit and their Valencia oranges (which I need to order soon, citrus season ends in June!).

                                                    I have also bought various gourmet items through various online shops throughout the years. I am definitely not afraid to buy something online!

                                                    1. I order bacon online, I have ordered steaks before.

                                                      I'm trying to find out if anyone out there has ever order buffalo or hot wings online and see how that went.

                                                      So far, not having any luck.

                                                      1. I order my semolina flour online, my spices, and my rice. I also have ordered beef online too

                                                        1. A poster mentioned a place that mails bagels, but with a 6 dozen (!!!) minimum. Here's two threads about NYC bagels:


                                                          I think the NYC folks don't make you get 6 dozen. You have to call them directly to inquire. Good luck!

                                                          1. Rancho Gordo beans, Carolina Plantation rice, Peet's coffee beans, and via amazon, McCann's quick-cooking steel-cut oatmeal

                                                            1. My current obsession is British candy.....especially the Cadbury chocolate bars and chocolate biscuits. The dollar is so weak against the Euro that the online orders are killer expensive. Fiona's here in San Francisco has a great selection.

                                                              Anyone have recommendations of US British food online businesses? I can't wait to explore some other sites. If you have had a good experience with any place please post the name here for me. Thanks......
                                                              (As I nibble my Cadbury Crunchie bar.)

                                                              1. I prefer 'jameswhite' online stores for beverages especially Apple-juice.

                                                                And I like to buy online, only the things like grains & flour.

                                                                1. I buy cheese from http://www.igourmet.com/. Outstanding selection and excellent customer service, and their prices are in line with the market.

                                                                  1. My coworkers order handmade sausages from a German butcher in Pennsylvania. I had the opportunity to try some and they are really good.

                                                                    1. Mostly, I buy cheese at igourmet, and oils/vinegars at chefshop. Fish from Seattle Seafood.

                                                                      1. Beef Jerky from Mahogany Smoked Meats in Bishop, CA. The greatest honey turkey jerky ever.