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Wilson Farms or Russo's or other? Need help quick...

Hounds, I'm hosting two, yes two, cookouts this weekend (Friday night and Sunday afternoon) in celebration of my father's 80th birthday. I was going to do some sides and apps that require baking, cooking, etc., but we don't have A/C and I know it's going to be brutally hot this weekend.

So... I'm doing everything on the grills outside, but I need to get some interesting sides, salads, etc. Each cookout involves meat and seafood. Which would be a better choice for variety of ready-made food? Wilson Farms or Russo's? I live in Burlington, so Watertown is really the farthest I'll travel (and I'm not nuts about that...).

I won't consider Whole Foods because everything there tastes curiously the same, with the added woe of really fast spoilage. TIA!

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  1. If you mean sides for your meats and seafood, I think Verrill Farms might be the closest and the best for things like pasta salads, etc.

    2 Replies
    1. re: smtucker

      Verrill Farms does have delicious sides like the OP is looking for but it's way out the other side of Concord. If she's hedging about going to Watertown, she may not want to go to V Farms. I think it's worth the trip, though. Call ahead and see what they have and the price. The quality is excellent but it doesn't come cheap.

      In a current thread on potato salad, someone mentioned Blue Ribbon. The one in Arlington isn't too far away from Burlington. Can you pop in and taste the sides you're interested in? You could then place your order -- or not, depending.

      Maybe not what you are lookng for but how is Roche Bros. when it comes to potato salad, coleslaw, etc.? The one in Acton is better than I expected.

      1. re: three of us

        Guess it does depend on where in Burlington. I was just thinking, slip out Rt 62 and come in the back way. Aren't we lucky to have so many options?

    2. I think La Provence (www.laprovence.us) in Concord center puts Wilsons Farms, Russo's and Verill Farms' prepared food to shame. Many more salad selections (potato, bean, wheatberry, tomato, lentil, pasta, etc.) and diversity as well.

      1. We love the sides at Russo's. Don't just look in the deli but there is section kitty corner to the fresh pasta counter with wonderful pickles, kraut and and pickled veg that are so good and so inexpensive. The deli has a good selection of sides - potato salads, pasta salads, cole salw , grilled veg etc. and the prices are really good.

        1. I love Wilson Farms but I don't find their prepared foods to be their strong point. Pretty near though is Something Savory, which has excellent Caribbean-influenced food -- they might be worth checking out.

          Something Savory
          1312 Massachusetts Ave, Arlington, MA 02476

          1. If your tastes are a bit adventurous and you're willing to travel a bit farther, to Allston, the Russian stores have a delicious and colorful array of salads and other prepared foods. Closest would probably be Bazaar on Cambridge St just below Union Square and Berezka on Comm Ave at the corner of Harvard.

            Bazaar On Cambridge St
            424 Cambridge St, Allston, MA

            Berezka International Food Str
            1215 Commonwealth Ave, Allston, MA

            1. Wilson's is most likely easier to get too...just off Rte 2 and to the north from Russo's in Watertown, but it is more limited in its selections. I've always considered it a mini-Russos...even the checkouts look similar.

              1. Russo's for sure. Prepared foods range from good to great and the prices are extremely reasonable. If you're trying to feed a crowd (even a small crowd) the money you'll save will be considerable. I'm a fan of the Brazilian chicken salad, the whole family loves the teriyaki chicken wings, and my kids devour the mashed potatoes -- but, of course, there is much more to choose from. Come to think of it, maybe pick up some of their great melons to serve with or without prosciutto.

                Btw, I agree about the blahness of Whole Foods prepared foods....I've never bought anything there that was better than OK. And every time I sample a freebie in those little paper cups I think, "Nah, not too good. Pass.'' It's as if the chef is cooking for someone on a spice and salt (and flavor) restricted diet.

                8 Replies
                1. re: katzzz

                  I agree- Russo's is much less expensive and has better selection than other places.I also love the Brazilian chicken salad. While Verrill has great produce, I am not crazy about their prepared foods, but I generally do not like prepared foods. Surprisingly, Roche Bros. has some excellent prepared foods if there is one nearby.

                  1. re: emilief

                    can you describe the Brazilian Chicken Salad, it sounds really good. I have never bought the prepared foods at Russos but my parents have and they really like it.

                    1. re: macadamianut

                      It is rather odd. It has peas, carrots, potatoes, artichokes and other things.Try it!

                      1. re: emilief

                        Sounds delicious. Thanks for the description!

                        1. re: macadamianut

                          russos will also make up platters for you like large beautiful veggie platters for 25 people, with blue cheese or cucumber ranch dresshing, for about 35.00. they have great cheeses and olives for sides as well and bread, etc. oretty much one stop shopping. i even like their ny strip steaks at 6.99 a pound for the grill.

                          1. re: macadamianut

                            and whoe green olives (without pits, natch), the ingredient that makes it most distinctive.

                            1. re: katzzz

                              I agree, I tried it once not knowing what to expect, but I really liked it.

                          2. re: emilief

                            I really like that chicken salad. It also has chopped green olives and, if I remember correctly, corn. I think it's called Salpicao