Recent trips to old reliables? Watertown MA, for me

Seems like here mostly people post about newer things, which makes sense since we’ve migrated mostly from Chowhound where we had built up lots of chatter and archives about esteemed old standbys. But since I just took my annual trip up to the Boston area to do tax stuff and I always use that as an excuse to hit the Armenian markets, it seemed like maybe a good chance to see what standard bulwark places people are going to recently that break no new ground but that always deliver.

We ate a quick and solid falafel sandwich lunch at Fordee’s (i like the radish pickles they put in these, seems like the same ones you get at the markets) and then hit up Sevan and Arax. I never get tired of going to these places year after year–Sevan for desserts, savory baked goods, taramasalata and lamejun. (The latter are a heck of a lot more expensive than they were when I first discovered these markets, but are still great). Arax for Syrian bread, baba ganoush, pickled stuff and all kinds of other side dishes. Also always get the honey cake things here (not sure what these are called) and the produce is always nice–got Satsuma tangerines for a good price. They seem to have stopped carrying the Danish feta in the red and white package that we always would get, though. That was mildly disappointing, but it isn’t like there aren’t lots of other types of feta to try out.

Anyone else going to visit any old favorites lately?

2 Likes

Visited Russo’s last night. Since moving to the south shore it’s not as convievent as it used to be. Missed shopping there. Although Saturday mornings are more fun since it was “Full contact” grocery shopping.

My favorite side dish at Arax is a chickpea-spinach stew called (I think) nivik. Sooo good.

If you are a nut lover, Fastachi across the street has the best nuts in the world.

ha, when I lived in Somerville, I’d head there on Saturday mornings a lot. I’d always try to get there as soon as they opened and would park far away in that back lot.

I go on my way home from work at 8am on weekday mornings. I even know some of the staff now
I am spoiled because I live, maybe, two miles away.

The only “full contact” shopping I ever did was the Somerville Market Basket one saturday.

Exactly once. Never again.

Over to Taqueria el Amigo, recently, and found it the same. It has its skeptics but on its best days it has remarkable consistency. I wrote this four years ago and its still pretty true

I did not realize that Sevan sold taramasalata!!! Thanks!

The best taramasalata is at Sophia’s Greek Pantry. I always have to add her shop to my Armenian “tour.”

1 Like

for me, carless in somerville, the prices make the “full contact shopping” more than worth it.

I would disagree about the nuts @ Fastachi, Sevan (back on the other-side of the street) has the best, and cheap too!

I also was at Sevan last week for a few things to supplement our za’atar seasoned burgers. We love the veggie grape leaves and hummus, but probably our favorite thing there is the whipped feta roasted pepper and garlic spread. Unbelievably good. The nuts at Sevan are excellent. We didn’t get any this trip, but the macadamia nuts were huge and looked awesome, as did the blanched hazelnuts. We usually hit up Arax as well, but didn’t need too much this trip.

We did head over to Massis for their delicious little spinach-feta pitas to use as buns for the burgers. Massis is probably my least favorite of the markets but the little pitas are worth a stop and best reheated in a toaster oven.

I’m not sure if you have to be a member of WGBH to watch their shows. Hopefully this link will work. This is a fun episode of the now-defunct Neighborhood Kitchens with Margarita Martinez. It’s worth watching.

http://www.wgbh.org/programs/Neighborhood-Kitchens-1859?episode=45314

Watertown’s Little Armenia and Sevan Bakery.

1 Like

Do you refer to the prepackaged nuts at Sevan, or do they have bins of freshly roasted nuts – as they do at Fastachi – in some secret back room that I do not know of? If you refer to Sevan’s prepackaged nuts, I don’t think they compare well at all to Fastachi’s nuts.

Even the simple peanut at Fastachi is elevated to a very high level of crunchy close-to-perfection* that it’s hard to find elsewhere.

*The perfect peanut is the one slow roasted in sand by street vendors in cities in India.

Everyone probably already knows, but I just have to add a perennial plug for the yogurt at Sophia’s Greek Pantry. It’s my favorite yogurt anywhere, so thick and rich that the plain stuff is more like neufchâtel cheese than greek yogurt. I especially love their vanilla and honey flavors but pretty much anything there is amazing. I wasn’t too thrilled with their frozen yogurt (tasty and rich, but so full of ice crystals that it was crunchy). I remember hearing that they serve their plain yogurt with fresh fruit on request, but the one time I asked about that, they looked at me strangely, so I guess not.

I forgot about listing these, they are great and I’ll always get them.

I’ll try out that Massis rec sometime. That’s the market I generally skip over.

I haven’t been around long enough to have old favorites - but I will give a shout out for the Greek yogurt from Alba’s on Moody in waltham. It’s a relatively new little spot, but wow that yogurt is great.

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold