Suggestions for Boston's Best Market Tour
I am going on a driving tour of Greater Boston's best non-chain food markets on Saturday. I'm skipping Chinatown because I can get there on the T... this is a driving tour.
Definite stops so far:
- Sevan, Watertown
- Russo's, Watertown
- Kam Man, Quincy
Any other suggestions for can't-be-missed markets? Is there a Japanese market somwhere? I would love to find a Greek market or a Polish/Russian/Eastern European market. Also would love Indian, Pakistani, Italian, Portuguese or Southeast Asian.
I also want the stop to be worth our while... no cramped holes in the wall with dusty jars and questionable boxes of frozen food that have been in the freezer for ages. I want truly inspiring, jaw-dropping markets that I haven't had the privilege of visiting yet.
Thanks in advance.
Formaggio Kitchen in Cambridge
Wilson Farms in Lexington (although it's somewhat redundant of Russo's)
Verrill Farm in Concord (to pay your respects)
In town (so save for T days) - Meat etc. markets by Polonia / Dot Ave; Bazaar in Allston and Brookline (East European); itaunas suggestions for Brazilian and Portuguese markets (some of these might be better by car - Everett/Chelsea, etc. - some are near U Sq, Smville and E Somerv). Union Square has a ton of markets, AND has an "ethnic markets" tour sponseresdby Som Arts Council, where the owners chat abt their food and stories. All of these suggestions can be researched on the board except maybe the SAC tour.
battambang market (se asian, lowell)
sure pinoy market (filipino, quincy)
patel brothers and waltham india grocery (indian, waltham)
new england meat market (american, italian, and greek, peabody)
kotobukiya (japanese, porter sq)
baltic deli (polish, south boston)
euromart (polish, south boston)
berezka (russian, allston)
bazaar (russian, brookline and allston)
lots of other options in the area but they are T accessible
My tour de food always includes Russo's, Savenor's, Formaggio, a stop at Christina's or Pensy's for spices, a visit to my man Carl at the New Deal Fish Market and a quick pop in to the live poultry fresh kill. Sometimes I'll go crazy and head over to Kotobukiya or to the Reliable in Union.
And in the Southend:
Syrian Grocery Importing Company
270 Shawmut Ave, Boston, MA 02118
Great topic. You are giving me so many places to explore. It made me go and pull a book from my shelf. Boston Food Lover by Lise Stern was published more than 10 years ago but, I still find useful tips. If you're ever in a used bookstore, it may be worth having.
There is also a website at MIT for international students that I use when I'm researching topics like this. Of course I can't find the link this morning. If anyone has it, please share.
I don't see that anyone's mentioned Capone Foods yet - great Italian market in Union Square, Somerville, with fresh pasta made to order in dozens of flavors and shapes, a small but well-chosen selection of cheese and salumi, imported European canned goods, and house-made frozen sauces and entrees.
While you're in Union Square you can also hit the Reliable Market for Japanese food, and La Internacional for Mexican.
La Internacional Foods Corp
318 Somerville Ave, Somerville, MA 02143
14 Bow St, Somerville, MA 02143
Reliable Meat Market
45 Union Sq, Somerville, MA
I love the Syrian Grocery Store! I bought my tagine and a bottle of rather hard to find argan oil there. Plus it's right next door to the South End Formaggio.
Another stop if you visit Savenor's in Cambridge is the Wine and Cheese Cask. While not as impressive as say Formaggio, they do have a nice selection of cheese and meats (and an incredibly friendly staff.)
If you are venturing west, e.g. to go to BAZA, drive to Wellesley Center and visit Wasik's Cheese Shop. They are terrific people, very knowledgable about cheese and food in general, very friendly and will give you tastes of Anything you want. This Saturday you will find some specialty things they get for holidays such as the Zola Creme, a cheese made with layers of marscapone and gorgonzola, just out of this world. Their own brand of crackers Are delicious, especially the ones to go with stinky cheese.
Be ready of massive crowds at Russo's. I only go there on weekdays now, as everytime I went on a weekend (any time) the place was completely mobbed. Not a pleasant experience IMO when you can't even walk down an aisle without being blocked in front and pushed from behind.
Never quite understand why anyone would prefer Massis over Sevan or Arax. I just tried some of Massis' spinach boregs and they were smallish, with less filling and less flavor then the ones at Sevan.
My very favorite are the large ones that Arax occasionally gets from a bakery in Montreal.
I just have a hard time finding anything at Massis that I can't find at one of the other stores. Does anyone have a particular item that Massis makes/sells that is really better than the neighboring stores.
Thank you for all the great suggestions. Driving between Quincy and Watertown took more time than anticipated, and by the time we made it to Watertown, hit the markets and had giant falafels at Fordees's, we had no desire to continue to trip to Russo's. Another weekend.
Highlights of my haul:
Kam Man - bag of shallots ($1.69!); bag of frozen lotus root, peeled and sliced (great for soups); deli container of fried eel (also great for throwing on top of rice); frozen chicken-and-lotus-root dumplings (have not been able to find these anywhere in Chinatown)
Massis - spinach and cheese boregs (great in the toaster for breakfast -- so fresh)
Arax - container of homemade apricot jam, huge bags of spices for cheap
Sevan - whipped french feta and red pepper spread; fried salted corn
That just scratches the surface, but these are the highlights that come to mind.
We also went in to Fistachi... from a market perspective I wasn't impressed, but it's a cute set up. We got some truffles and bundled ourselves in the car.
Thanks for the recs... obviously we have some more trips to plan.