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fine foods shops, London

Great, thanks so much for the suggestions!

Apr 12, 2012
greens in U.K./Ireland

fine foods shops, London

Hi, all--

Visiting London for a few weeks (staying with friends in Camden and have been here about 5 days already)... I've been scouring the London boards for dining, etc. recs, and have found some great things, but one search I'm having some trouble with is finding good sources for specialty/imported foods outside of Borough market. I've got Neal's Yard Dairy and some of the Maltby-area pop-ups for cheese, but I'm specifically looking for shops where I can find top-notch olive oil, vinegar, pasta, olives, salted capers, etc. We're cooking a few nights and I'm wanting to procure some proper ingredients. Any suggestions appreciated.
Many thanks!

Apr 01, 2012
greens in U.K./Ireland

Hail Queen Makeda - Resurrected in DC

We finally made it here for dinner tonight, and now I realize it should have been first on my list. Then again, if we'd tried it first I'm not sure we would have made it anywhere else.
This is by far the best Ethiopian I've had in D.C., and possibly anywhere. I ate Ethiopian for years in Atlanta, which has quite a good offering itself, and here we've tried Etete, Dukem, what used to be Roha, Lalibela, and one other place I can't remember.
We ordered the veg. combination and the meat combination, which came to about 9 dishes, and everything was stellar. Such marvelous, varied spicing! There was not a dish on our platter that didn't taste doted upon. I was incredibly impressed with the food, and our server could not have been sweeter. I think my search is over, at least for the meantime, for an Ethiopian standby.

Nov 23, 2007
greens in Washington DC & Baltimore

Tantalizing Thai X-ing

The pad thai here kicks a**. No, really. The vegetables get overcooked from sweating in their packaging on the way home (bean sprouts excepted), but you just fish them out and add a pile of slivered green onion at home. This is the first version I have found that doesn't taste as though it's been doused with peanut butter. Awesome sauce with layers of flavor. I LOVED it. Bf's penang curry was super, too. Tofu soup was even marvelous. Iced tea was this bizarre neon orange (my first experience with this stuff), but so good!
The wait was 45 minutes, which does sort of stink, but just call before you're starving. I thought it was totally worth the wait. And they deliver on Fridays.
This is going to be my takeout for standby, and for Thai until I find something better.

Oct 19, 2007
greens in Washington DC & Baltimore

D.C. specialty foods shops

One more update, since y'all were so kind in offering so many suggestions.
A. Litteri is a gem, I agree. Diamond in the rough, even more appropriately. Kind of refreshing that it's so no-nonsense.
Cowgirl Creamery is sublime. I have not made it out of that store without spending $75+ . How can a person eat that much cheese (and salami and crackers and olives and...)? It takes a lot of running, I tell you. I am simultaneously disappointed and relieved that it is out of my way. Going back this weekend. ;)
I take back any derogatory comments about WF's wine selection. It's just space-efficient, and since wine distributors are all different here, I've had a lot to explore. Prices also seem pretty competitive. Still love Best Cellars.
What I am at a loss for is great bread. I was just in San Francisco for one week after a looooong absence, and everywhere I turned there was killer bread (all hail Tartine). I've found some good bread here (vendor at Dupont, so embarrassed I can't remember their name), but not stellar.
I've had an even harder time finding really good-quality salumi. Who here slices their own pancetta, soppressata, bresaola, etc.? A. Litteri is sufficient, but not quite the quality I'm after. Cowgirl has some from Fra'Mani, but selection is limited. Any ideas?
However, I've had much fun exploring, and thanks again for all the advice.

Oct 19, 2007
greens in Washington DC & Baltimore

SF for one week—how are my choices?

So here's the update:
Had a blast in your city. What wonderful food. I am so phenomenally envious.
For lunch: Ended up doing Tartine twice (soppressatta/fontina/rapini pesto was obscenely good) Pizzeria Delfina twice, which was some of the best pizza I've had outside Italy (all hail the Margherita with bufala), Slanted Door once (quite good, loved the clams) and a mediocre French bistro spot in the Fillmore I've already forgotten the name of.
Dinner: Delfina was excellent, Cafe at Chez Panisse was perfect, Bar Tartine was marvelous, Incanto was very good but my pasta was dry. Service everywhere was top notch, except at Delfina, where our server was distracted by the upcoming staff party that began before we even left the restaurant. Annoying, but the food made up for it. Bi-Rite Creamery was absolutely heavenly (salted dulce de leche and honey lavender particularly so), and the sourdough everywhere was killer. There is a pitiful shortage of spectacular bread in D.C.
Anyway, thanks to all for the many recommendations; I took them all to heart. Hopefully the next visit will be sooner rather than later.

Sep 26, 2007
greens in San Francisco Bay Area

SF for one week—how are my choices?

Still working on this a little...
Help me with this choice? Bar Tartine and Delfina: which would be better for a group, and which would be more appealing for dining alone? I have reservations at both, but will need to cancel one and do the walk-in thing by myself one night. Trying to decide which to assign to each night.

Sep 14, 2007
greens in San Francisco Bay Area

SF for one week—how are my choices?

Okay, I think I'll probably try for both Quince and Incanto, though both will most likely be on my own, since I may have a couple of dinners during the week on my own, too. I read in another thread that Incanto is great for solo dining; how is Quince? And I do prefer pasta (by leagues) to offal (sweetbreads and tongue I can do; liver nauseates me, and the only bite of brains I had was surely my last). I am such a pasta fanatic, in fact, that Quince is sounding right up my alley.
I should say I will probably not order the roast chicken at Zuni, but if I were planning to I would definitely consider Range. ;) I use the roast chicken technique from Judy Rodgers' book, and it's pretty damn good, if I do say so, so I'd probably try something I'm less capable of making at home.

Sep 13, 2007
greens in San Francisco Bay Area

SF for one week—how are my choices?

You guys are fantastic. Thank you for all the super suggestions.
You're selling me on Incanto, but I'm now I'm wondering whether to go there or to Quince, should I need to make the choice. I actually like the looks of the sample menu at Quince better, but it seems I may be missing something. What do you all who prefer Incanto to Quince think is superior?

Sep 12, 2007
greens in San Francisco Bay Area

SF for one week—how are my choices?

Hmm... good question. First, I am of the mind that one cannot easily overdo cafe meals, particularly when good ones are not easily found at home. I was actually thinking of going to Tartine twice. ;)
Also, I have lots of time to kill during the week, and since I've never been to Berkeley thought there would be plenty for me to do. No?
I would be really appreciative of other relatively casual lunch spots, though. I'm sort of short on those.

Sep 12, 2007
greens in San Francisco Bay Area

SF for one week—how are my choices?

Hey, all—

I'll be in SF visiting friends the 18th - 24th. Food is going to be the highlight of the trip, so I hoped some of you might be willing to edit my list for me. You can probably discern from the spots I've picked what kind of food I'm after, so I'm mainly wanting to make sure I'm not missing anything obvious, since I have one or two more meals to fill. I am planning to do El Farolito, because my friends love Mexican, and we have none of that worth eating in D.C. Otherwise, I just want stellar ingredients, relatively simple preparations with French or Italian accents.

Chez Panisse Cafe (have reservations)
Delfina (would Pizzeria Delfina be a better choice?)
Cafe Fanny
Tartine (I have a few days on my own for lunch when I planned to eat here, but should we also hit Bar Tartine one night for dinner?)
Zuni
Greens (my friend has been wanting to try this spot, plus the cookbooks were my veg. bibles for years)
Bi*Rite Market
Quince (should I replace this with Michael Mina or Gary Danko?)

Ferry Building market on Sat. (any food in particular we should try for brunch/lunch?)

Let me know what you think. Thanks!

Sep 12, 2007
greens in San Francisco Bay Area

Shelling Beans in D.C.?

Hopefully one of these days I can reciprocate with some feedback. In the meantime, do any of you know of any markets/specific vendors who grow shelling beans? I'm thinking pink-eyed peas, zipper peas, butter beans, baby limas, etc. I didn't see any at Dupont today, but sometimes they're kept in coolers, so I could have just missed them. Or are these a Southern thing and I'm out of luck?

Sep 02, 2007
greens in Washington DC & Baltimore

Logan-area favorites

Looking for best bets within walking distance (long walks okay) of Logan Circle—which could include anything in that neighborhood, U. Street/Shaw, Dupont and probably some other areas I'm not as familiar with. Trying to appease my boyfriend and usual dining date, who prefers not to make a night out of transportation.
Open to any and all suggestions, though ideas for Indian, Ethiopian/other African, Middle Eastern, Japanese, and restaurants devoted to sustainable/organic/local ingredients would be especially appreciated. BF also kills for great crab cakes. We already tried CF Folks, good stuff. Have enjoyed St. Ex pretty well with the exception of a couple of middling entrees, Viridian not so much. Also liked Dukem and Etete.
Thanks so much.

Sep 01, 2007
greens in Washington DC & Baltimore

D.C. specialty foods shops

Just a bit report: During the hell that was our move, we stayed in Alexandria for a couple of days, so we swung by Cheesetique, which made my day. I was thrilled with the cheese selection, but I'm so sad it's too far away to visit weekly. Also checked out the market at Lebanese Butcher where we ate dinner one night and saw some pretty cool goods. Hoping to squeeze in some more shopping this weekend in between tearing boxes open.

Sep 01, 2007
greens in Washington DC & Baltimore

D.C. specialty foods shops

Thanks, K. I was pleased with the Dupont market last visit—I go to Morningside here on Saturdays, and while we have beautiful, beautiful produce, there's an enormous scarcity of meats, dairy, breads.
Def. will check out Penn Quarter and Cowgirl, too. I love the cheeses of theirs I've had, which is just a few.
Star Provisions is an amazing store. One of our local farmers operates a farm stand there a few days a week now, so it's feasible to shop for everything you need in one place. Your bill, of course, would be through the roof, but everything is so incredible, and there are always so many marvelous things to try.

Aug 21, 2007
greens in Washington DC & Baltimore

D.C. specialty foods shops

A. Litteri's sounds great, and I would love to try the German honey.
KWynn, Star Provisions on the Westside (off Howell Mill, owned by the guys of Bacchanalia, Floataway, etc.), is my favorite stop by far, even though it's across town. I also love Savor in Buckhead, which is a haul for me, so I don't make it there that often. It's fairly new, though, 2 years old now, I think?, so not sure if you would be familiar with that one. I will make do with Alon's, but there's so much emphasis on prepared foods there now that it's basically a cheese, bread and pastry destination for us.

Aug 21, 2007
greens in Washington DC & Baltimore

Buying chanterelles in DC?

I don't live in D.C. yet, so perhaps shouldn't be posting, but because chanterelles are wild (as far as I know, they're never cultivated), they're never going to be inexpensive, exactly. I've seen them from $20-40/pound, usually $30+, in various cities, and never on a regular basis.
I did note the mushroom vendor at Dupont a few weeks ago, and didn't see chanterelles, but I would suppose she might carry them occasionally if she has a source.
I'm so glad to know someone at Eastern Market carries them regularly, though.

Aug 20, 2007
greens in Washington DC & Baltimore

D.C. specialty foods shops

So our move is coming up, and in a week or so we should be in our new place in Logan Circle. I am truly psyched to be within walking distance of the Dupont market on Sundays (5 blocks). Also one block from WF, so not too shabby.
Sadly, I wasn't able to check out many of the spots you all listed earlier on our last visit, but I'll get to them in short order, I'm sure.
I've already fallen for Best Cellars on Connecticut—love their selection! Plus, Ga. wine distribution laws are absurd, so most wine seems remarkably affordable—the one anomaly in D.C.'s cost profile, it seems!
We were not thrilled with the wine selection at WF, however, so I'm sure the above suggestions will come in handy.
In the meantime, if anyone has any additional suggestions for shops that stock great European cheeses, nifty honeys, pastas, grains, condiments, etc., that might be within easy transit distance from our new area, I'd love to hear. Will still check out all suggestions, though—they'll make for great weekend excursions!

Aug 20, 2007
greens in Washington DC & Baltimore

D.C. specialty foods shops

You guys are awesome! Thanks so much for all the great feedback; I will try to check out all of this eventually. I have scoured the farmers markets threads already; that was the first thing I researched when I found out we were moving. ;)
We do have two cars, and I have no idea where we're going to keep them, but I'm totally up for driving to check out foodstuffs, though overall I try to stay as close to home as I can for dining and shopping both. In Atl. that's not so feasible, so I've gotten used to driving for it.
Making Sense, we're crossing all our fingers we can find something in Dupont Circle, so I'm guessing the Dupont Circle market on Sundays will be my standby, though I'm planning to visit most of the other major markets at least once. Ideally I'd love to be able to do my shopping in the neighborhood or surrounding, but I'll travel for anything heads and above the rest. I spare little energy for great ingredients!

Jun 01, 2007
greens in Washington DC & Baltimore

Craft Beer in Boulder (+ Sunday dinner)

Thanks again to y'all for the recs.
Little report:
We hit Mountain Sun not one, but three times, once for the food and beer (not too bad, but nothing I would head for in itself), twice just for drinks. We were amazed at how many different brews they keep on tap, and really fell for a few: the Illusion Dweller IPA, the FYIPA, and a porter I've already forgotten the name of. It was marvelous on the nitro tap. I also love that they serve 8 oz. glasses as an option.
We had intended to hit Avery and Great Divide in Denver, but the dates they were open clashed with our schedules, so we made an accidental trip to Oscar Blues when we got caught in a hailstorm on the way to Rocky Mt. Nat'l. Park. That was a really pleasant surprise, with unbelievable service and a menu that's really not half bad at all. My sister and I had a great green hatch chile soup and helped my boyfriend with his pulled pork sandwich, which also got two thumbs up. Great beer, of course. Love Dale's, and the cans are always hilarious.
We also had some seriously stellar sandwiches at Dish (every town needs a joint like this—I would eat here at least once a week were it not halfway across the country)—creative combinations, excellent ingredients, super-friendly people.
And then, despite a few disappointments per meal, we really enjoyed dinners at Mateo, the Kitchen and Leaf. All worthy of repeat visits, though I'm definitely hitting Frasca first next trip—we fell in love with some artwork and killed our budget before our last night's dinner . Oops.
And can I just say that I have never experienced such consistently friendly, accommodating and laid-back service anywhere else? With the exception of one especially aloof and borderline-rude server at the Kitchen, the service we got in this town was top-notch.
Can't wait to visit again next year.

May 30, 2007
greens in Southwest

D.C. specialty foods shops

Hey, all—

I'm looking for independent shops that carry a range of specialty foods—boutique olive oils, vinegars, cured meats, heirloom dried beans, grains, pastas, honeys, mustards, etc. If they have a knock-out cheese selection, even better.
I've done some preliminary research already, but with this lousy search function that doesn't let you search by date, it's been a little slow going.
I'll be moving to D.C. from Atlanta in August, so I'm a little ahead of the game, but I'm planning to do some food-centric research on our next visit up, so thought I would get a head start.
Coming from a town where the farmers' markets are brilliant on quality but tiny in number, I'm already psyched about those, but I haven't found much yet in the way of specialty foods. Whole Foods is my last resort , but I'd way rather give my money to local shop owners.
Many thanks for your help.

May 25, 2007
greens in Washington DC & Baltimore

Craft Beer in Boulder (+ Sunday dinner)

The market is a fantastic idea, thanks. We're getting in early Sat. morning, so we'll go straight there. I am a farmers market zealot.
Mountain Sun sounds right up my alley, so we'll definitely try that. Many thanks for all the suggestions!

May 15, 2007
greens in Southwest

Craft Beer in Boulder (+ Sunday dinner)

Hey, guys—

I'll be in Boulder in a couple of weeks to visit my sis. We already have reservations at Frasca, the Kitchen and Mateo, but I'm having a really hard time finding something for dinner Sunday night (Kitchen was booked solid). I imagine it may be tough at this point because of the crazy race on Memorial Day, but I thought I would check here for extra suggestions. Anyone know of good bets that would be open on Sunday night? We already have our top-notch spots booked, so it doesn't need to be spectacular or even accept reservations, but I'd love some good grub; something SW-oriented would be especially nice since we don't have much of that on the East Coast.
Also, my boyfriend and I are freaks for great microbrew, so I wanted to solicit feedback on where to go for the best selections of craft beers from Colo. and all over.
Thanks in advance—

May 13, 2007
greens in Southwest