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3 luxury items I want to try to keep

during this bad economy. Do you have three?

Mine are:
tellicherry peppercorns
Williams-Sonoma butter croissants
bits of foie gras from my favorite specialty store

too much to ask?

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  1. I know what they are, but have no interest in any of them.

    Fresh stone crab
    Good fresh pasta
    Broasted oysters


    And spinach dip sorry, I have to. Can I add and make it 4 luxury items?

    6 Replies
    1. re: kchurchill5

      Yum. I was trying to list rather expensive unnessary items, so to speak. Love seafood, but it's very affordable where I live; there's even an oyster reef not far from our house.
      During oyster season, we take the canoe and tong our own oysters - talk about fresh!

      1. re: bayoucook

        Ripe Burgundian Cheeses
        King Crab Legs

        1. re: bubbles4me

          since kchurchill5 has 4, can I add champagne to my list!? how could I forget it?

      2. re: kchurchill5

        Sorry, I don't understand "I know what they are, but have no interest in any of them."

        Why is my brain malfunctioning? If you're not interested in them, why are they your luxury items?

          1. re: bayoucook


            For me, going out to dinner a couple times a week despite being completely broke is luxury enough. Also stupid on my part.

      3. I can't help it:

        Black or White Truffles
        Kashmir Mogra Cream Saffron
        whole lobe of Hudson Valley Foie Gras

        4 Replies
        1. re: Lenox637

          I have no interest in any of those or champagne or caviar.

          Luxury to me is fresh good oysters
          Fresh stone crab
          And Fresh good pasta from this Italian deli

          all the best truffels in the world don't interest me and certainly not champagne or Foir gras
          This fresh spinach dip from this small cafe is Montana was the best, It wasn't Knorr, spinach and sour cream trust me
          I couldn't of added dunganess crab ... sorry I forgot that

          I consider these luxury items that I would love to keep on hand always. I love to try good food but good food to me that I enjoy best is still simple food. Broasted oysters are difficult for me to make at my place so I consider them a luxury cuz I don't get them as often as I want. Stone crab is once a year and usually have bags frozen but still that luxury which I do have.

          So I guess I like the simpler things.

          1. re: kchurchill5

            Oysters, shrimp, and starting in May, driving to Galveston/Bolivar Peninsula to catch speckled trout and redfish, plus the occasional flounder. I actually make a profit, I use soft plastic lures, about a buck a pack, plus some jigs, my only real cost is gas and wear and tear on my car, a 100 plus mile round trip.

            1. re: James Cristinian

              Your point? I know they are not expensive but for me to keep fresh not frozen but fresh oysters on hand and stone crab are luxury items I would love to have at all times.

              I can get fresh fish pretty much any time down here, that doesn't bother me, good oysters, I can get if they were ever opened when I didn't work. So fresh oysters are something I love, same with the stone crab. I have some frozen and they are good. FRESH is better. And since most restaurants are not open when I get home ... love fresh stone crab when I can get it. When I am home in the evening I try to either cook at home or go to a new and unique restaurant. So oysters and stone crabs FRESH are are luxury I would love to have. I really love simple foods and to me there is nothing better.

              1. re: kchurchill5

                Kchurch, what is your problem? You dismiss out of hand one person's choices, "I know what they are, but have no interest in any of them" and "I have no interest in any of those or champagne or caviar" but you ask someone what their point is when they make a comment about your choices.

                Please stop this. Thank you.

        2. Parmigiano Reggiano
          real maple syrup
          prosciutto di Parma

          not really luxury items, but the substitutes are so horrible

          1 Reply
          1. Dining out with friends

            Single malt scotch


            1. Never should've limited myself to three. Love/need ALL the items you've named, chowhounds!

              1. Caviar
                Parmigiano Reggiano/Pecorino Romano
                Good wine (or Jim Beam when I'm in the US)

                4 Replies
                1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                  JIm Beam is less than a $1U.S. per shot hardly a luxury. Live it up!

                  1. re: KTinNYC

                    You are completely correct! I get those big bottles with handles at about $35 each and 1.5 liter bottles of quite decent wines for my DC parties. My sarcasm is only exceeded by yours!

                  2. re: Sam Fujisaka

                    The Parmigiano Reggiano/Pecorino Romano aren't luxeries - they are necessities! You get to choose again.

                    1. re: alwayscooking

                      So right! And I need more choices. For my replacement choice - almost any slow wood smoked fish from almost anywhere on the planet: kipper, smoked trout and salmon, buckling, smoked haddock, abroath smokie, smoked makeral, bloater, Glasgow pale, red herring, tinapa, and, of course, smoked eel. Thank you!

                  3. Whatever coffee strikes my fancy at the time (right now it's Peet's Major Dickason's Blend)
                    Charbonnel et Walker Drinking Chocolate
                    Golden Malted Pancake & Waffle Mix from Williams Sonoma AND real maple syrup

                    BTW whs, we're in Vermont vacationing. I just bought some pure maple syrup - Grade A medium amber - in the grocery store for breakfast tomorrow - 12 oz. $9.49 - I'd call that luxury, but oh so worth it!

                    10 Replies
                    1. re: Axalady

                      Hey, go by Green Mountain Coffee Roasters in Waterbury, take a tour, buy some good cofffee!

                      1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                        Hi Sam,

                        Actually I am very familiar with Green Mountain Coffee (right now I have a bag of their Vermont Blend in the cupboard along with some Camp4Coffee I bought in Crested Butte and the Peet's). The GM Wicked Winter Blend is one of my favorite coffees.

                        Thanks for the suggestion about the factory tour! Just did a Map Quest, it's about 1 hr 50 min from where we are right now in Southern VT at Okemo. They don't offer a factory tour but they do have the Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Visitors Center & Cafe. Hmm, maybe I'll visit Ben & Jerry's too!

                        1. re: Axalady

                          while you're at it, see if there is a cheese company nearby and make a whole, gloriously delicious day of it!

                          mmmmm cheese... *homer simpson drool*

                          1. re: dinaofdoom

                            Dinaofdoom, you must mean Cabot Creamery. Another great idea!

                          2. re: Axalady

                            I sent an email to my colleague and friend there, "xxx, would it be possible to arrange a plant tour for my friend, Cathy /Cathy and a couple of friends? If you give me the OK, I'll send you her email address. Gracias y abrazos!" For this to work I need my buddy to agree and your email (see my profile and you can send it to me). The famous cheese place, the ice cream place (Ben & Gerry's or ??), and the restaurant, Hen of the Woods, are also "musts" for the vist to Waterbury!

                            1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                              Wow Sam, what can I say but THANKS! Even if it can't be worked out, how sweet of you!

                              BTW, read about your dinner parties under "Another Guest Behavior Rant"...sounds like a great time! Nothing better than good food, good drink and good people!

                              1. re: Axalady

                                All gladly approaved. Please email me so I can get you connected.

                                1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                  Hi Sam, I emailed you last night. I guess it didn't go through?

                                  1. re: Axalady

                                    No. Please try again: s.fujisaka@cgiar.org

                            2. re: Axalady

                              If you guys want some REALLY stellar coffee check out the Barrington Coffee Roasting Co. in Lee , MA I drink nothing else.


                        2. my interpretation of this post is "given the recent crappy economy, what are the three luxury items (read: non-essential) you hope you don't have to give up".

                          and here is my list, which are not necessarily items but are my "luxury" habits:
                          1. weekly sushi, even if it's just for a prix-fixe or bento lunch (this is how i cope with the $$$)
                          2. red wine (as much as i can drink given my need to be a functional human)
                          3. fish (austin is land-locked, and it's more $$$ but it's mostly what i eat for health and taste reasons).

                          when budgeting, these are the 3 things that take the hit.
                          i would be sad and miserable without them, though.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: dinaofdoom

                            I totally relate, I listed stone crab, broasted osyters, etc. But yes .. red wine, bourbon for me ... sushi of course and fish. I love all three.

                          2. If I had to limit myself to three items, that probably fit into the window of "luxury," it would be, and in this order:
                            1.) fine wine (all varietals and styles)
                            2.) foie gras (especially seared and served with a fine wine)
                            3.) various great cheeses (domestic and imported to US - no Kraft American Genuine Imitation Cheese-food Processed Stuff for me.)

                            If I get a fourth, then I'll choose my Cuban cigars


                            2 Replies
                            1. re: Bill Hunt

                              Sorry fine wine ... just give me a descent cab or merlot. foie gras ... never and cheese well if it comes with the wine ... give me some sushi first ...:)

                              I wish now and then I had your taste. My last meal may actually be a simple egg mc muffin, who knows. I have simple tastes. But shushi does rule.

                              1. re: kchurchill5

                                Most of us will possibly be surprised by what our "last meal" will be. I doubt that mine will be Mc anything, but who knows?

                                At one favorite local restaurant, I always order the duck tamales. The chef will often come out and ask why I do not try some of his other appetizers, though he did win a James Beard award, partially on the strength of those tamales. My reply is always the same, "if I die tonight, and missed your duck tamales, my life would not be as complete as possible." He usually retreats to the kitchen. I know that he has some great things, and half of his menu changes weekly. I just love the duck tamales, so only venture to the something else, when I know that I can share my tamales for a bite of whatever.


                            2. Foie Gras

                              Liberte Yogurt

                              really good cheese like Petit Livarot

                              17 Replies
                              1. re: Candy

                                Liberte yogurt is not on my list, but I want to mention that I buy their goat yogurt regularly. It's lovely. I've been thinking about mixing some with some salt and club soda for a fizzy ayran beverage. Yum!

                                My top faves probably change with some frequency, but right now I can't live without my truffle oil (black truffle, but there are a couple of flecks of the truffle milling in the bottom of the bottle -- heavenly!), really good Phu Quoc fish sauce and my 12-year balsamic vinegar (old enough to taste great but not too expensive to use regularly). Also, I want to put in a good word for a really sensational crotonese cheese I used recently in place of pecorino romano. It's also a sheep's milk cheese, but not as salty. Instead, it's more got more sheep-y tang. I used it on a pasta dish with my homemade basil and spinach pesto that substitutes anchovies for the cheese(s) in the basic recipe (which holds up better over the winter in my freezer). The combo of crotonese and anchovies may be a sin for some, but was sinfully good in the bowl!

                                1. re: Candy

                                  I've got to add one more Minus 8 vinegar.

                                      1. re: bayoucook

                                        It's made in a (secret) location in Canada from grapes that have been left on the vine through the first frost. Really special (and insanely expensive) stuff.

                                        1. re: pikawicca

                                          Well it's less expensive than a good balsamic and goes a long way . . .

                                          1. re: alwayscooking

                                            Went to the website, wow. Which one do you buy? It IS expensive!

                                            1. re: bayoucook

                                              I get the 200 ml bottle. The price quoted on the website is quite a bit less than one would pay in a shop.

                                              I had an olive oil/vinegar/salt tasting party a few years back. The dessert was olive oil cake served with Minus 8 sorbet -- a show stopper.

                                              1. re: pikawicca

                                                Wow - great idea. I'm going to steal it. How did you make the sorbet?

                                                1. re: alwayscooking

                                                  This goes back a few years, so I don't remember the exact details. I think that if you find a recipe for a citrus sorbet and sub Minus 8 for the citrus juice, you're good to go.

                                                  1. re: pikawicca

                                                    Thanks and it's time for a resurrection! (it was good wasn't it?)

                                                    Mr Hunt - the spruce sorbet is very intriguing . . .

                                                    1. re: alwayscooking

                                                      Though I've had many wonderful dishes and presentations, this is the one that left the greatest imprint on my memory. I shared the design with my caterer, for the next big whoop-de-doo. Now, it's up to him to find the spruce! Back in Colorado, that would not have been the problem. In AZ, he'll probably have to go to the "Rim," to find spruce.

                                                      I'm off to buy some of that Canadian vinegar. Thanks for the mention. I'll see if my wife is up to trying it in her sorbet machine.


                                                2. re: pikawicca

                                                  That sorbet sound intriguing. I've never done anything like that, but believe that I would enjoy it. Do you mind giving a quick rundown on the creation?

                                                  Best "odd" sorbet that I have encountered was a spruce infused sorbet. It was served in one of those martini spheres with a conical glass in the opening. The sorbet was in the cone, and there was a tiny spruce branch with cone, at the bottom of the sphere, where ice would go for use as a martini server. Do not know which I appreciated more - the sorbet, or the presentation. Both were excellent.



                                                3. re: bayoucook

                                                  It's a bit less expensive than my cherished balsamic. On a side thought, I served the balsamic with the cheese course for a lunch with a friend. He hadn't had it before and followed my example of a couple of drops on the plate. He tasted it, moaned, went back for the bottle - this time filling his plate. He did ask if it was expensive and I smiled. I loved that I could give someone something that truly enjoyed and appreciated - but I did rush the course moving very quickly to dessert. The Minus 8 would have been equally appreciated and we could have spent more time on the cheese.

                                                  1. re: alwayscooking

                                                    Try it with some foie. Heaven! Fortunately I sell it and get a discount.

                                                4. re: alwayscooking

                                                  Thanks for the link. So it's basically eisewein vinegar? Neat. Compared to the basalmic that my wife gets from Italy, it's almost reasonable. Will try some of these. One can never have too many vinegars in the kitchen.



                                                  1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                    Yes, hence the name. The grapes for the vinegar are harvested at -8 C. The sugars are highly concentrated. Sublime stuff.

                                        2. Great olive oil
                                          Great vinegar
                                          Great cheese

                                          I'll be fine with these.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: pikawicca

                                            Pikawicca -

                                            My perfect list since the 'great wine' has already bitten the dust - I'm now settling for fine wine instead.


                                            1. re: alwayscooking


                                              Keep the faith! The prices for great wines are falling, if any of the domestic and international auctions are an indicator. Yeah, some are holding their own, but few auctions are bringing in the $'s of just a few months back. But hey, if great wine is not available fine wine will do too, and most of them very, very nicely.


                                          2. Real Maple Syrup. Better to have it less often than not at all.
                                            Parmigiano Reggiano. A little goes a long way.
                                            Magners Cider (good Irish hard cider, doncha know.)

                                            1. At Penzeys' prices, I think you can easily keep your peppercorns. :)

                                              Whole Tellicherry Indian Black Peppercorns 8 oz. bag

                                              I ran out(!) of black peppercorns this week and Gotta get 'em fast. Don't ask how I managed to run out. Long Story.

                                              1. Old Amsterdam Cheese
                                                Organic Grape Tomatoes
                                                Premium Korean Instant Ramen - I know, not very chowish, but I don't want to have to go for the Oodles of Noodles which are significantly cheaper.

                                                1. deb and i came back to the states in 1975. i got a job with a local paper for $175/week. our son was three-months old and rent was $360/month. we watched the pennies but splurged on a decent champagne every month (week?). i'll never give that up.

                                                  3 Replies
                                                  1. re: steve h.

                                                    Cool! Kathie and I went to Bolivia in 1974. I had an OAS grant for $275/month. Our rent was $160/month. We watched the pennies but splurged on decent Tarijeno wine. I'll never give that up either. Thanks, Steve!

                                                    | Permalink | Report | Reply

                                                    1. re: steve h.

                                                      This could be a chapter from "Love by the Glass." Makes perfect sense to me.


                                                    2. Scottish smoked salmon
                                                      Prosciutto di Parma
                                                      Martell Cordon Bleu

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: BobB

                                                        Sorry have to go for 4
                                                        Santa's White Christmas Coffee (very hard to find now)
                                                        Prosciutto di Parma (with ya there BobB!)
                                                        Goat's Cheese
                                                        Blue Fin Tuna

                                                      2. Three businesses I hope make it:

                                                        Makers of Canton ginger liqueur
                                                        A Thai restaurant I love - Thai Talay in the L.A. suburb of Westchester
                                                        Pinkberry <--- once in awhile we go there, trendy frozen yogurt place

                                                        1. Lobster
                                                          Heirloom tomatoes (Wilson Farms, oh my $$$)
                                                          Silver Queen Corn on the cob(fresh)

                                                          1. Fresh Salmon
                                                            Good cheese varieties
                                                            Fresh herbs

                                                            Although these luxuries are moreso items I hope to be able to afford more of once I'm no longer a poor student! The herbs might seem silly but right now I find it hard to justify spending a few extra dollars on an item that I can't use up on meals for one before they quickly wilt, not to mention can easily live without.
                                                            Thinking about it, perhaps I'll grow a few plants of my own!

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: Hassley

                                                              Nothing to laugh at here, fresh herbs are expensive to afford, even when you aren't a poor student!

                                                              I have "extended" the life of most herbs I buy for about 1&1/2 weeks in the fridge.

                                                              I take them home pat dry and put a paper towel in the bottom of a large plastic container. I bought a couple of the ziplock 5 x 9 inch retangular ones. I then place
                                                              a couple of bunches of herbs in each, place another paper towel on top. Seal tightly,
                                                              place in fridge.

                                                            2. Fresh coffee beans weekly
                                                              Good wine (may my liver forgive me)
                                                              And fresh coffee beans weekly.

                                                              Did I mention the coffee?

                                                              1. Decent beer, fresh veggies, freshly grated Asiago.

                                                                When we're broke it's 'economy' brew, whatever's on sale, and (gasp!) shaker cheese under the green lid.