Specialty delivery and pick-up [Greater Boston area]

I think we need a new thread to encompass those special items that Onions have sought out over this crisis. It’s not really groceries, it’s not really about essentials, and it’s not about stocking up per se. More of a “what are the little things you’ve found a way to safely source that make being a foodie still possible” kind of thread.

For us, we’ve been monitoring Eater Boston’s Best Thing I ate this week column, and took a hint and did the Goldilox bagel pickup last weekend. I got a mixed dozen (they do let you pick specific varieties) and we waded through their email back and forth to select a pick up window. We drove over, texted when there, and were promptly handed our bag through the car window. I liked the bagels and the salt and rosemary is a clear winner. Notice I said “liked” as in, didn’t love. Bagels are so personal, so I’ll tell you for reference that Bagelsaurus is my favorite and Iggy’s is my utilitarian go-to with which to stock the freezer. I felt Goldilox were similar to a Brueggers- a bit chewy, a bit doughy- neither of these negatives, mind you. One complaint for me was that the sesame seeds, while plentiful, were completely flavorless even when toasted. Not sure how that’s possible. Anyways, we give them a solid B+.

I really am craving Bagelsaurus but I’m not willing to spend $39 on their dozen bagels random mix pack with cream cheese and tip. I need more control in my life than that.

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Good one! I’ll start. I placed an online order from The Spice House coming up on 2 weeks ago because I need to refresh supplies with all this home cooking. At that time, Penzey’s was closed for online ordering (and is now running behind since they reopened online).

Standard fulfillment time from The Spice House is currently about 2 weeks because of high demand. I’ll report back once I get the goods.

I’m normally not a one-stop shopper so sourcing almost everything from the grocery store in surgical strike mode, once every two weeks, is less than joyful. Though I remain grateful that we are able to buy what we need.

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try Curiospice in Cambridge. Free shipping, I have only bought in person before the pandemic.

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Curiospice is a likely suspect for my next indulgence. I have a habit of collecting spices and condiments, so this tip you share really appeals.

Thank you!

ETA: I see that Curio stocks barberries and the makings for rose harissa paste. Intrigued because I have been poking through Ottolenghi’s Simple and Jerusalem books for inspiration.

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Hopefully it makes sense to post this here. I’ve been anxious to get my Earthboxes planted, but the threat of frost, and some inertia on my part, had me holding off. I was excited to learn that Russell Garden Center in Wayland was offering online ordering and curbside pickup. The online ordering wasn’t super clear, so I called the vegetable dept. and got it straightened out. They have links to sheets with their inventory, and you can look that over and make a list of what you want. You then go to the online ordering link, scroll all the way down to where it says something like “If you know exactly what you want” and type in your list. I put my order in a little before dinner time and got a call about 9:30 this morning confirming my order and taking payment info. This afternoon I drove around their circular drive to the mulch-bagging section, which is removed from the main section, and grabbed my order and stashed it in the trunk. No contact, easy and clean.

The center itself was slammed. I didn’t go in, but people were waiting for parking spaces and there was lots of activity. I have no idea if there was social distancing, etc., but everyone clearly had gardening fever on this gorgeous day.

They had the tomato varieties that we wanted, an obscure Brazilian hot pepper that my son wants to try for making hot sauce, and some Hatch chiles along with our usual suspects. All in all, it was very convenient, efficient and positive.

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I love the idea of CSAs but not the randomness of the items boxed. Happy to say I found Heron Pond Farms which lets you select your items from a few different groups and includes fruit. So we signed up for a partial, $400.00 for 20 weeks and added the mushroom option for $150.00 which works out to $27.50 per week. Reasonable for what we might normally spend and its local. There are other add-ons depending on your preferences.
Pick up in North Andover so its very convenient. This is our first year, hopeful that is works out.
http://heronpondfarm.csasignup.com/members/types

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To update, Curio is closed this weekend to take stock of the situation and is planning to reopen next week with curbside pickup as an option.

I’ve recently stumbled upon Burlap and Barrel, which has a very interesting collection. And there’s always that temple of spices in New York, La Boîte.

[In my old life – two months ago – my Manhattan pad was a 7 minute walk to the discreet, almost unmarked La Boîte boutique (you pressed a buzzer to get in), and my Cambridge one is a 10-minute walk to Curio. Spices within striking distance everywhere.]

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Thanks for this intel. Curbside has big appeal to me.

I’m starting to plot a Cambridge curbside caper, because The House of TomatoTomato is starting to run out of a few pantry ingredients that make home cooking happy. We’re lucky and grateful to have plenty of food.

Equally, if not more, on my mind: I’m increasingly concerned about folks who don’t/won’t have enough these days. The increased numbers I hear about food insecurity in our state are more than troubling. And I’m sure I’m not alone in this recognition within the HO community.

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Yes, this is a real problem and one that’s going to stay with us for a while (and get worse). Many of the local food shops (Curio, Forge, etc.) have links on their websites to local places that are supplying food to those in need, and we’ve found those good ones to check out.

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I ordered from Curiospice last week; they were very helpful via email and the chat function with some questions I had. I also discovered Burlap and Barrel last year; they have great stuff, as does La Boîte. I love the two cookbooks Sercaz, owner of La Boîte, published. I’ve never ordered from them (yet) but Ana Sortun (he named one spice blend after her) offers some of his products at the Siena Farm outlet at Boston Public Market (delivery through Mercato) and at Sofra in Cambridge (online ordering for curbside pick up).

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Yes, I am also concerned, and I’ve donated several times to the Greater Boston Food Bank https://www.gbfb.org/ and also to Community Cooks. I used to volunteer cook monthly for them and deliver to a local non profit. They had to suspend the cooking but are doing whatever they can to help otherwise for people who are food insecure. https://communitycooks.org/

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I ordered curbside pickup from Mighty Squirrel Brewery in Waltham. Ordering and paying online was seamless, and for pickup I just went to the patio, showed my ID to the waiting attendant, and grabbed our beer. Comfortable and easy.

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Also, Elmendorf Baking supplies in Inman Square Cambridge has curbside pick up for online ordering. I’ve done it twice already for flour and yeast and also their delicious chocolate chip cookies. I apologize if I posted this here before.

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We do the same for Semolina Kitchen in Medford (and you can get snacks, wine, beer, Jeni’s ice cream as well as their food) and Sarma in Somerville. Again, sorry if this is repeat info from me; I can’t remember if I’ve already posted that here and that other site.

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Oh, it’s always helpful to have reminders. Things change so rapidly that it’s good to know of any recent experiences. Our 44th anniversary is coming up, and we’re going to do takeout for the first time in months! Sarma is on our list, and I’m drooling over other menus, too. I can’t decide if we should do “cook at home” from Giulia or Fox and the Knife, or fully prepared meals. I’m also itching to get back to Semolina.

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Our 43rd is coming up in June. We might try Fat Hen in Somerville, or go so far as Lynn for Nightshade Noodle bar. Who knows. Options will change between now and June 17! June 16, 2004, is the day I met the 4 year old we adopted when he was 7, so it calls for a really special celebration.

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Congrats to you and Bear on the anniversaries. We just celebrated 20, but we probably beat you in age as we met later in life :wink:. Bear, tell us what beers to try from a Mighty Squirrel- first I’d heard of them.

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You probably don’t beat us in age since we were born in 1955. We married in 1977, back in the day when nobody was getting married that young, at least among people we knew then…it was the day after college graduation. Congratulations on the 20th!

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‘54, so one of us has you beat. My child bride was born in ‘57.

Hope your June 16 is extra special. Your 20 year old sheltering at home with you?

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Yep, he’s with us. He has many strong talents and abilities but due to his background is not yet ready for or wanting independent living. We make progress. That he feels connected as a family with us after his history before age 7 is a major joy and accomplishment for all of us, and a source of healing. I am so lucky to be his mom. It’s been an amazing ongoing journey. Expanding his food choices has been real progress, too. I just signed up for Medicare Part A! My husband will sign up next month! I hope your enjoyed your anniversary… the 0 and 5 years are worth taking special note of.

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

― Jonathan Gold