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Half-sour pickles

AnjLM May 22, 2009 01:51 PM

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. The Professor May 22, 2009 01:56 PM

    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.

    5 Replies
    1. re: The Professor
      nsenada May 22, 2009 02:00 PM

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

      1. re: The Professor
        9lives May 22, 2009 03:18 PM

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

        1. re: The Professor
          ScubaSteve May 22, 2009 04:16 PM

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

          1. re: ScubaSteve
            AnjLM May 22, 2009 05:03 PM

            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.

          2. re: The Professor
            Aromatherapy May 23, 2009 04:18 PM

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

          3. a
            ashbee May 22, 2009 03:54 PM

            Rubin's Deli in Brookline has them.

            1. galleygirl May 22, 2009 06:49 PM

              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
                teezeetoo May 23, 2009 03:57 PM

                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
                  The Professor May 23, 2009 04:40 PM

                  what preservatives are in BaTampte???

                  1. re: The Professor
                    9lives May 23, 2009 05:13 PM

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

                    1. re: 9lives
                      The Professor May 25, 2009 03:27 PM

                      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
                        9lives May 25, 2009 04:17 PM

                        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
                          9lives May 30, 2009 09:05 AM

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

                2. a
                  AisforAlex May 23, 2009 04:59 PM

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

                  1. AnjLM May 23, 2009 05:04 PM

                    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. m
                      masterson May 24, 2009 07:03 AM

                      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. s
                        snifflyfro May 24, 2009 10:33 PM

                        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. t
                          teezeetoo May 25, 2009 02:06 PM

                          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. wellington May 25, 2009 04:40 PM

                            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
                              wellington May 25, 2009 04:48 PM

                              Very tasty...

                              1. re: wellington
                                galleygirl Jun 8, 2009 07:08 PM

                                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
                                  Kip McSkipster Sep 30, 2009 09:22 AM

                                  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. BobB May 27, 2009 06:56 AM

                                  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
                                    ashes2fire Dec 6, 2009 04:49 PM

                                    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
                                      BobB Dec 7, 2009 07:59 AM

                                      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. mwbachta Dec 10, 2009 03:59 AM

                                    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. Science Chick Dec 24, 2009 11:26 AM

                                      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.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: Science Chick
                                        catsmeow Dec 24, 2009 05:40 PM

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

                                        1. re: catsmeow
                                          9lives Dec 25, 2009 07:15 AM

                                          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.

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