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Some advice on Boston kitchen stores

I've tried searching the board for old posts, so apologies if this question has been addressed before--

I will be moving (back) to Boston after several years away -- the last time around was as a student with no money to buy any good stuff.

I'm trying to choose between buying myself a good set of pots (e.g., Le Creuset) and knives in NY and moving them to Boston or buying them in Boston or using Williams-Sonoma or other mail order.

Any thoughts or suggestions would be appreciate.

Thanks

BB

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  1. You would do better at Broadway Panhandler or Bridge Kitchenware than you would in Boston for both selection and price. However you would do best, I think, to find what you want and then buy it online:

    http://cgi.ebay.com/Le-Creuset-7-pc-C...

    for example... I believe this is a $500 set available in Norwood, MA for $270.

    1. There is an enormous Le Creuset outlet store at the Wrentham Village Outlet Malls, south of Boston. I've never examined their prices too closely -- I'm a Lodge man -- but they seem to be far below list on both first- and second-quality pieces. That might be an option.

      16 Replies
      1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

        Thanks both - these are very helpful tips. I hadn't thought of Ebay, but for a new, unopened set there seems little risk. Also didn't know about Bridge Kitchenware -- it solves another problem I hadn't mentioned, where to get a paella pan (rather than moving mine from London). I'll give the outlet a look too. Cheers, BB

        1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

          There's also a Calphalon outlet at Wrentham with particularly friendly and knowledgable staff. The Williams-Sonoma outlet there frequently has sales on All-Clad cookware. As for knives, the Kitchen Arts store on Newbury Street often has lots of really good knives on sale.

          1. re: Velda Mae

            Kitchen Arts is also our go-to store for knife sharpening, fyi. I think most of the knives in our house, including an ancient but much-loved set of Sabatier paring knifes, came from KA.

            Second on the W-S outlet at Wrentham: they often have crazy cheap prices there. I once bought a two-slice Dualit toaster there for $30.

            1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

              Please, please, please Barmy, tell me more about thier knife sharpening.

              I am in need and work close by!

              And I second the LC outlet in Wrentham. They practically gave me a large french oven with a slight imperfection.

              1. re: C. Hamster

                KA does a fine job of knife sharpening. I do it my self; it is so, so easy I have never understood paying someone to sharpen ones knives.

                1. re: StriperGuy

                  That's assuming that you've been taking care of your knives and honing them in between sharpenings. What we took into KA the first time was literally every knife in the kitchen (over a dozen at the time -- we've since pared down the collection), including a boning knife that I inherited from my father, which he himself had stolen from the mess at Otis Air Force Base in 1948 when he was on KP, and a number of well-used but not well-kept knifes that we had inherited from Allstonian's parents. Turnaround was less than 36 hours, and I forget how much they cost, but it was minimal, and they did a much, much better job on some genuinely banged-up and poorly-maintained knives than we could possibly have done at home. We haven't taken any in since then because we've taken better care of our knives than our parents did (regular honing, etc.), but I wouldn't hesitate to go in there again.

                  1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                    I seldom steel my knives. But there are never too far from sharp.

                    I have a coarse stone, with two surfaces, coarse, and not so coarse ($4 in chinatown) that I use for any knives that are really beat up. Then I have a very fine japanese waterstone (usually used by woodworkers for their chisels).

                    I can get the most dinged up blade, with actual notches in the cutting edge, razor sharp in less then 5 minutes. I find people are generally scared of sharpening their knives and think it is some big complicated deal. People really mystify it unnecessarily.

                    I will often bring my stones over to a friend's house with terribly dull knives, and sharpen all of the knives in their house in less then 10 minutes. Unless they are really in rough shape I can usually do it in less than 5.

                    1. re: StriperGuy

                      Are you free on Saturday? Heh heh.

                      I actually do know how to sharpen my own knives ... or I did when I took culinary school classes but am out of practice and, moreover, lazy as hell.

                      I know it's simple but .... I'm lazy.

                      I think I'll take them to KA and then get off my butt and do it myself more regularly.

                      THANKS!!

                      1. re: C. Hamster

                        In the time it takes to get to KA and back you could sharpen 20 sets of knives ;-)

                        1. re: StriperGuy

                          Except that I can basically see it out my office window. And, unfortunately, I have to show up here every day. I can't sharpen that fast!

                          1. re: StriperGuy

                            I could also starch and press my dress shirts myself instead of dropping them at the cleaners, but that, like knife sharpening and small plumbing jobs, is in the category of "I'm not so much paying you to do this as I'm paying you for me NOT to do this."

                            1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                              Completely, utterly, totally, disagree.

                              Had my shirts laundered for years. Don't know anyone who is afraid of laundering/ironing their shirts. Know plenty who won't touch a sharpening stone.

                              1. re: StriperGuy

                                Not afraid, just lazy!

                2. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                  also, kitchen arts has a bin of "seconds" knives - knives that have been buffed up and reconditioned. for a college student on a budget, they are a great deal - having a good knife makes such a difference, and these are very decent, if not brand new.

                  1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                    For the Somervillain, Siraco Sharpening Service: 617-628-6071.

                    1. re: enhF94

                      They are amazing - we go through the convoluted, several day process of dropping off and picking up at Fabric Corner on Mill St in Arlington now that the shop in Magoun Sq is gone - it's worth it if you get negligent about your edges like we do.

              2. For pure kitchen store joy, I'd had much better luck with kitchen stores in Manhattan or Philly (Fantes is always fun). Other than that, I tend to follow a few paths:

                1) Bed-Bath-and-Beyond for basic stuff - Pyrex, etc - because I have so many of those 20% coupons that never expire
                2) Mail order for unique things (I found the best price for my pepper mill, a Unicorn, online)
                3) An occasional lucky find at Homegoods or Tuesday Morning - I found a 5.5 qt Le Creuset dutch oven there for a great price, as well as Emile Henry bakeware but you have to be careful to watch for "seconds" - they might have critical flaws e.g. lid not fitting right
                4) Sur La Table - Chestnut Hill mall
                5) Wrentham Outlets - Williams Sonoma, Le Creuset, and Calphalon outlets....
                6) Ebay - I got a couple of nice Wusthof knives, new with tags, for good prices, as long as you are willing to watch and not go crazy.
                7) Restaurant supply stores - for the occasional item were restaurant durability equals quality (e.g. half-sheet pans, cooling racks, etc.) I hit this restaurant supply store on Highland road in Newton and pay with cash.
                8) If you are in Boston, head to Arlington to Penzey's Spices. you can buy small quantities and they are pretty high quality..

                I hope if you lived in NYC you hit the Wusthof and Henckels warehouse sales in late Nov/Dec. up in Weschester..

                1. I actually own Le Creuset and traditional cast iron (pretty good selection of both). I use the cast iron far more frequently. Better at browning things etc. The one Le creuset piece I like is the dutch oven because it can go on the stove top and in the oven and I would not want to do a long simmer with something acidic (tomatoes, etc) in a cast iron dutch oven.

                  I think Le Creuset is very pretty, but I just far prefer the actual cooking surface of cast iron. And the Le Creuset is SO expensive...

                  Also, on the knife front I am a huge fan of the Chicago Cutlery Centurion line. It is their version of the classic Wusthof knives (of which I also own several). The Chicago Cutlery knives are every bit as good as the Wusthofs (serious sacriledge I know) and if you ask me the steel is just a bit harder and they hold an edge a little better. I have had both for many years and if I did it all over again I would not bother with the Wusthofs:

                  http://www.amazon.com/Chicago-Cutlery...

                  http://www.amazon.com/Chicago-Cutlery...

                  1. I agree with all of the advice given, but I would like to add China Fair on Needham Street in Newton. The prices are below what you would find in other stores, including many of the outlets. On the other hand, you may not find exactly what you are looking for.

                    1. Marshells and TJmaxx surprisingly often carry Le Creuset pieces. I bought a large Dutch oven, a grill pan, and a pie dish there for great prices.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: seedove17

                        Thanks for all these suggestions. The suggestion of outlet is great -- something that was not on my radar screen as a student. I'll definitely pay the other local places a visit, and also make use of some of the Manhattan stores while I'm there/here -- while moving a whole apt, a few extra boxes don't make much difference. cheers, BB