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Half-sour pickles

  • AnjLM May 22, 2009 01:51 PM
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I love half-sour pickles but they seem very hard to find in Boston. I've had them at Abe + Louie's and form Zaftig's but haven't really been able to find them elsewhere. Anyone know where else in Boston to find them? I'm hoping to find a place near me in chinatown even though I know it may be unlikely.

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  1. If there's a Stop & Shop or Giant near you, they carry the BaTampte brand in the refrigerator section...these are the real deal, and the closest I've found in a jar to good deli half-sours.

    8 Replies
    1. re: The Professor

      Russo's has great ones, though they are small.

      1. re: The Professor

        The Shaw's in Back Bay carries them; also the green tomatos.

        1. re: The Professor

          i find these to be wildly inconsistent. i prefer Rosof for supermarket pickles.

          1. re: ScubaSteve

            I don't think I've tried these brands but I tend to have bad luck with supermarket half-sour pickles. They are usually overpickled.

            1. re: ScubaSteve

              Rosoffs went out of business. It broke my heart. They were the best half sour ever.

            2. re: The Professor

              Somerville Market Basket carries that brand, bought kraut there yesterday but did not notice which pickles they had--just that there were several.

              1. re: The Professor

                I bought the BaTampte brand pickles once, based on favorable reviews, but couldn't even finish the jar and tossed them in the bin. They were beyond even olive green and didn't compare with the ones I've made myself, but even mine didn't turn out as bright a green as I was looking for -- once they had the best flavor, the color had faded. I shop at a co-op in Philadelphia that has half-sours so perfect that I asked to see the container they were supplied in. I can't right now remember the company name but it came from just across the Delaware River in Camden, NJ.

                1. re: neeruam

                  Welcome to CH (Chowhound).
                  While I've had the same experience with the BaTampte half sour picks, I do enjoy the pickled green tomotes.
                  I'm curious and don't expect an answer, but with you being a first time poster and maybe a longtime reader, what brought you to this 5 year old post to make your first mark?
                  I just wish I could remember my first post.

              2. Rubin's Deli in Brookline has them.

                1. Checked the prepared foods area of most Whole Foods. They carry "new Pickles" from Gus' Pickles in New York. If the store has good turnover, they're fresh and garlicky...Otherwise, Batampte, but since they're both fresh pickles, you have to use your eyes and only buy them when they're the degree of doneness you like.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: galleygirl

                    russos has excellent half sours, on the small side but with the right "snap" and spice. gus's at whole foods or at the butcherie in brookline. In the supermarkets, in the refrigerator case, Rosoff or BaTempte are ok, but you can taste the preservative difference between them and the others listed above. Don't know of any place in Chinatown or near to it: maybe the market on Charles Street?

                    1. re: teezeetoo

                      what preservatives are in BaTampte???

                      1. re: The Professor

                        the tomatos have 1/10 of 1% benzoate of soda for a preservative.

                        1. re: 9lives

                          BaTampte Half-Sours do not have _any_ preservatives of any kind added.
                          They are as good as or better than any half-sours I've had...home made, deli, or otherwise.
                          They aren't even spiked with vinegar, as some commercial half-sours are.
                          BaTampte are the real deal.

                          1. re: The Professor

                            Professor, You don't have to sell me on them.

                            I already buy the 1/2 sours and the tomatos..which according to the label do have vinegar and a small amount of preservative. No 1/2 sours in the house today..but I'll restock this week.

                            1. re: The Professor

                              just restocked the BaTempe 1/2 sour ..you are correct;no preservatives or vinegar..and delicious

                    2. The S+S Deli in Inman Sq in Cambridge has excellent half-sours.

                      1. Thanks for all the suggestions! I was really hoping not to have to travel far as 1) I don't have a car and 2) I'm a medical student without enough time! I'll probably try whole foods first as it's closest. I'll have to try Russo's when I get a few weeks off this summer.

                        1. Half sours are super easy to make at home. Here's a link to a recipe I use: http://tommyjskitchen.blogspot.com/20...
                          A fresher cucumber yields better results, so buy your cukes at the best produce place you have.

                          1. Go for ba tempte in the refrigerator section. Typically you can find them in the produce section, close to hummus.

                            Since we're outside of NYC, you need to make sure the pickles are very bright green. Often times at my Shaws I won't buy them because the pickles aren't bright enough. Another indicator that the pickles have fermented too much is that the brine is cloudy.

                            For great pickles at a restaurant, try Rubin's in Brookline.

                            Russo's pickles do look good, but when there I buy kirby cucumbers for pickling at home.

                            1. I forgot the Russian delis in Brookline and Brighton have good pickles. Bazaar, on Beacon above Winchester (green line C train) has excellent pickles, very good salami and ham, prepared foods like eggplant salad, eastern european yummies like Halva and sour cherry jam. worth an expedition for the pickles and more.

                              1. Russo's in Watertown usually carries POE (Pickles, Olives Etc) half sours from the Upper East Side of Manhattan. They are reasonably priced and delicious. I look for the really bright green, crispy ones... Yum!

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: wellington

                                  Very tasty...

                                  1. re: wellington

                                    I just got the P.O.E. pickles at Russo's on Friday...They're great! A little more fresh and bright flavor than even Gus's....A little more garlic. And a GREAT price. a quart container for $2.32....

                                    On a side note, I've been going thru way more pickles than usual. The Cheese Shop in Concord adds them to their Greek Salad. I know it sounds strange, but it's FABU!

                                    1. re: wellington

                                      I agree - the pickles at Russo's are terrific, and I also choose the greenest ones (ie new pickles). I have found that the POEs don't taste so great as they get more sour, so I eat them quickly; maybe it's just a personal preference for news.

                                    2. Both Ba'Tampte and Nathan's (sold in the refrigerated case in the kosher section of Shaw's) can be good, but with either one, always check the color first - if they're bright cucumber green they'll be fresh and crisp, if they're dull "pickly" green they're older, mushier, and overly strong in flavor for half-sour. You'd think that places selling a lot of them would always have fresh ones, but I've even seen older jars of Ba'Tampte at The Butcherie, so be careful!

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: BobB

                                        Question: Do BaTampte half sours go bad or just continue to get stronger?

                                        Comment: When I worked on Washington Street in Boston---near Filene's---all the lunch rooms had bowls of large half sours on the counters. I could get a meatball sub, a soft drink and all the half sours I could eat for $1.

                                        1. re: ashes2fire

                                          Older half-sours get stronger - whether that's good or bad is really a matter of personal taste. To my palate, it's bad - if I want a stronger-tasting pickle I'll just get dills or garlic dills or something that's made that way intentionally. A half-sour should be just as the name implies - still fresh-tasting and not too strong.

                                      2. There is a deli in Saugus on Route 1 called Lendy's. My wife and I go there all the time because its cheap and the food is very good- not great though. They always serve nice half sour pickles with their sandwhiches. They are vibrant green and very good and fresh with just a touch of pickling. They have a big bin of them up at the counter, so i am sure you can buy a bunch to take home too.

                                        1. I just had one of the best half sours I've eaten in a while at Barry's Deli in Waban. Bright green and crunchy right out of the big jar on the counter. I only had one, but now I wish I had bought a whole mess of them. D Line Waban stop.

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: Science Chick

                                            I love Barry's half sours as well as their corned beef, huge knishes and REAL homemade chicken soup.

                                            1. re: catsmeow

                                              I'm a fan of Barry's and like most everything I buy there.

                                              There is also a guy near the Park St T Station who sells 1/2 sours off a cart, individuly or the quart. They're a little pricy but very good..also a habanero flavored version; whic I sampled and thought was good..but maybe too spicy for the non fire eaters.

                                            2. re: Science Chick

                                              I love Barry's, grew up on it, and the pickles are indeed very good. In a strange twist of fate, the Waban Market next door (a Russian-owned market, I believe) has half sours that, dare I say, might be better than Barry's. Don't love much else there, but the pickles are strangely awesome.