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$2500 worth of gourmet pleasure (Help needed!)

Received the bonus and salary increase recently and was (more than) pleasantly surprised (I am fortunate to work for one of the few companies that are doing well in the current economic condition.) So I've decided to allocate a small percentage of my hard-earned bonus to indulge myself in gourmet pleasure - and I would appreciate any suggestions from all of you gourmet aficionado out there to help me come up with a list of gourmet food that is sure to make my investment worthwhile.

Here's my criteria:

- edible (no culinary gadgets or appliances!)
- can be enjoyed in the comfort of my own kitchen (no restaurant recommendations!) and I don't mind food/ingredients that requires some preparation at home, such as steak, lobster, etc.
- can be mail-ordered and delivered to my door-step (foreign food is fine as long as it can be shipped to IL, USA)
- I am interested in food that is either extraordinary or ordinary food that is extraordinarily delicious

Thanks!

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  1. Lucky you! Get the croissants and other goodies from Williams-Sonoma. Take a look at la Cense beef and other prime beef, plus lobster delivered from Maine! An entire wheel of Maytag cheese, pate de foie gras! Truffles white and black. Fresh oysters and other seafood. Frenched lamb chops, prime veal shanks....ooohh! Wish I were you!

    4 Replies
    1. re: bayoucook

      Thanks for the suggestions, bayoucook! Do you recommend any specific vendors from whom I can order Maine lobster/oysters/seafood and truffles respectively?

      1. re: smilyfoodcritic

        Yes! Had lobsters sent to me from mainelobsterdirect.com - LIVE - we cooked 'em and swooned (about 2 lbs. each). Williamssonoma.com of course. nimanranch.com, igourmet.com, lacensebeef.com and peterluger.com for the BEST steaks.

      2. re: bayoucook

        I second bayoucook on the croissant suggestion from WS, even though I haven't had them. But I'm comfortable recommending them due to my family's experience. My mom visited me while I was living in Europe and had a true French croissant, which she proceeded to rave about to my dad when she got home. Which led him on a particularly obsessive search for similar croissants in the US. Local bakeries didn't cut it, but they eventually found the WS options, which my mom deemed to be exactly like her experience, and my dad absolutely loves, and thus further cemented his opinion that there's no reason for him to ever get on a plane again.

        BTW- conrats smily, it's nice to hear of people doing well these days, very encouraging! Enjoy your splurge!

        1. re: mjhals

          Thanks mjhals, I am feeling lucky too!

          I've heard so much about WS' croissant and it is on my list of "Must-try".

      3. Sometimes Costco's website has some culinary offerings that might suit your whims:

        http://www.costco.com/Common/Category...

        1. Allen Brothers.
          Claim they're the largest supplier of USDA Prime beef to the nations largest steakhouses and restaurants. Besides beef they have all kinds of food.

          http://www.allenbrothers.com/

          1 Reply
          1. re: monku

            Definitely - seriously look at their wagyu selection. Another great place for wagyu is Snake River Farms (also Kurobuta pork):

            http://www.snakeriverfarms.com/SnakeR...

          2. are there any particular dairies that have cheese you would enjoy?
            personally, i would order wheels of different cheeses i love.

            also, some jarred things (pricey preserves, chutneys, caviar!, etc.)
            jamon iberico
            truffles: there is a thread on this board about sources, where people weigh in their opinions.

            do you have a local whole foods near you?
            you could do a recon mission and tally up all the things you are interested in trying/having, and then go from there.

            in my home computer, i have a bookmark of a mail order place which is basically like an etsy for food (local, handmade stuff) and will post back.

            8 Replies
            1. re: dinaofdoom

              Wish WE had a whole foods, but we do have Epicure, which is a divine gourmet specialty store - I could spend 2500.00 there easily. Cheeses from around the world, pate de fois gras and others (but that is my fave at 26.00 lb.!), imported olives and olive oils and vinegars, hard to find spices and condiments, artisan bread......you get the picture....oh - and real proscuitto and Italian bacon, salami....

              1. re: bayoucook

                yes, i think my cabinets would be bursting with all sorts of canned and jarred goodness.
                hopefully the OP has a really big freezer!

              2. re: dinaofdoom

                here is the website i was talking about: http://foodzie.com/

                also, i would buy the sh*t outta this dairy: http://www.cypressgrovechevre.com/

                1. re: dinaofdoom

                  Curious as to why you say that about Cypress Grove chevre? I've only had great experiences with their award-winning cheeses, some favorites being Purple Haze, Fog Lights and of course Humboldt Fog, and Truffle Tremor (which was also a Chow pick):

                  http://www.chow.com/pick/5858

                  1. re: Rubee

                    I think dinaofdoom was using a colloquialism meaning "quite a lot." I believe it was meant to be favorable. ;)

                    1. re: evewitch

                      yes, i meant i would buy an inordinate amount of goaty goodness to shove in my face...
                      ;-)

                      1. re: dinaofdoom

                        HA! I'm such a dufus. I think I read it as a "wouldn't". At least we're all in agreement, although I want to plagiarize the statement "I would buy an inordinate amount of goaty goodness to shove in my face". heh heh. Perfect.

                        1. re: Rubee

                          i've never had anything from there that i didn't love!

              3. Try Zingermans.com they have wonderful cheese, meats, house made breads, oils, and vinegars that are wonderful. It's fun just reading all of the descriptions in the catalog of where they went to purchase, etc. I always thought if I had some money to splurge I would head to Ann Arbor for a big purchase. Their pecan-raisin bread is out-of-this-world!
                We've had good luck with Legalseafood.com for lobster and clam chowder.