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Decent Italian bread?

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I have a bit of a picky dilemma. I'm making an Italian dinner for a friend on Friday but we're going to be crunched for time. Basically, I need to jet to his place in Cambridge immediately after work with all the ingredients and have it made in about 30 minutes. I've got the whole thing under control--except for the Italian bread! Where can I get good Italian bread after 6 p.m. in either the Salem-area or someplace in Cambridge.
I know Gloucester has some great bread (Sclafani's and Virgilio') but I can't get there Thursday or Friday--and I'd like it to be at least day-of fresh. Is there any place in Salem or Peabody that I'm not aware of? Seems like there are plenty enough Italians to warrant a good bakery!

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  1. la Casias (spelling) in medford on main st the a6-10 min ride to camb

    1 Reply
    1. re: foodperv

      It's La Cascia's, I agree, great bread, not sure if the 6pm criteria is going to work for them though.

    2. Iggy's, Fresh Pond Cambridge. Most of the Whole Foods and many local supermarkets also carry iggy's

      2 Replies
      1. re: StriperGuy

        And lots of the Italian restos, too. Get the large basket Francese loaf, not the small one, so you can tear it into big pieces. The crumb and texture is much better than the individual size....

        1. re: galleygirl

          Ditto on the Francese @ Whole Foods..I also take half the slices of the loaf and baste with EVOO with garlic powder and press in a paninni maker until they have grill marks..Serve the rest of the loaf as is.

      2. Heck there is a nice little artisan bakery in Salem. Forget the name, right downtown google will tell.

        1 Reply
        1. re: StriperGuy

          That would be A & J King , I dont have the address