This has become such an iconic institution that none of us mentions it specifically anymore. But, really, it’s one of our great local strengths and it deserves its own thread.
Let me sing a few praises in random order:
b) Raisin pecan
c) Walnut (only on Tuesdays)
Very good breads:
a) Huron, Concord, Mistral, Semolina, baguette
b) Corn, although less corny now than before (fewer corn kernels)
Breads I miss from the past:
Scones & pastries, etc.:
a) Cheddar scone (really good)
b) Maple pecan scone (equally good)
c) Cheddar snail (almost as good as the two above, but better warm than cold)
d) Apple-wlanut cake/muffin (spectacular, but only in the fall, and only if you’re not in my way)
e) Irish bread (spectacular, but only for two or three weeks in early March.
f) Everything else: really, over 20+ years, I’ve had everything they offer, and nothing has been less than very good.
Over the pandemic, they offer excellent produce. And, they’ve always sold very good, if idiosyncratic wine (taste of the owner).
A bottle of wine, a baguette, and … you’ll have to supply the “thou.” If that fails, amble over to FK for a few slices of ham and some dark chocolate.
I, too, like most of their breads and other baked goods, but for the last few years, I get them at a farmers market and I haven’t been in the Concord Ave shop. Years ago, I used to work near the shop on Brattle St (which closed, moved to Mass Ave, then Mass Ave closed). I really enjoyed all of their soups (especially gazpacho and chili), fresh limeade, and many of the sandwiches, including the breakfast sandwiches. Expensive but really good with very high quality ingredients and huge…I easily got two meals out of one sandwich.
Ramps are a form of wild onion. They taste like a cross between onion and garlic. There’s some controversy about their being over-harvested in recent years and the environmental damage it does, but Hi-Rise said these were from a local farm, not foraged in the wild (and therefore I hope their practices are sustainable).
My preference is to cook them as little as possible: I’ve added them at the end to a mushroom saute, for example, or sauted them in a bit of butter and stirred them into soft scrambled eggs after the eggs are off the heat.