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Mail Order Food

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Jenise

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Mail Order Food

by Jenise » Fri Jul 31, 2020 12:27 pm

I suspect that just about everyone here has resorted to ordering food from afar since the pandemic hit. Can't go to exotic places and not even able to safely shop around much locally, so mail order is an excellent way to keep things interesting without leaving home.

I've definitely embraced it. Today I'm expecting a case of fresh organic papayas from Molokai, Hawaii. At $60 for fruit AND overnight shipping they are an amazing deal and it supports a small farm local in a place I love. The cherry season has waned, and for some reason plums (another seasonal habit) haven't been as interesting as usual, so the papaya will be a delightful morning habit for the next two weeks.

Also arriving today: four one-ounce Australian winter truffles. I haven't exactly decided what we'll do with them, but a bottle of old Burgundy, an omelette and garlicky green salad dinner with the movie "Lost in Paris" should be perfect escape fare tonight.

What have you been ordering?
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Paul Winalski

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Re: Mail Order Food

by Paul Winalski » Fri Jul 31, 2020 1:07 pm

Since I'm so heavily into Asian ethnic cuisines, I've always run into obscure ingredients that I can't obtain (or obtain in proper condition) locally. I do try to support local retail establishments when I can. The pandemic hasn't really change my mail order food habits. My main ones:

o Loose tea. I order from Upton Tea Imports in Massachusetts, which has both a wide variety and top quality.

o Spices, especially obscure Middle Eastern ones. Local Indian and Asian markets have a good variety of these, but freshness can be a problem. I like Penzeys because they have enough inventory turn-over that what you get is fresh. Ditto with The Mala Market for Sichuan goods.

o Cajun tasso and andouille. I used to order these from K-Paul's in New Orleans, but North Country Smokehouse here in New Hampshire produces them and the local supermarket carries the andouille. Mail ordering the tasso saves a 2-hour drive to Claremont.

o Thai ingredients not available at the local Thai grocery I order from importfood.com.

-Paul W.
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Robin Garr

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Re: Mail Order Food

by Robin Garr » Fri Jul 31, 2020 1:11 pm

Beans! But only because they're Rancho Gordo, and I've been on that train for several years. Otherwise, either curbside or mask up during off hours at the local grocers and specialty stores we love, and I haven't felt deprived yet. Especially with fresh peaches in season - still Georgia at this point but working up toward us pretty soon. I'm certainly not opposed to Internet/mail order and will do it like a flash if there's something I need. But it hasn't come up yet.
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Dale Williams

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Re: Mail Order Food

by Dale Williams » Fri Jul 31, 2020 3:56 pm

Occasional Flannerys, Penzeys, D'Artagnan, Rancho Gordo,
Bentons for country ham.
Betsy orders tea from some place in Sacramento.
But 99.5% of things I can get local.
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Larry Greenly

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Re: Mail Order Food

by Larry Greenly » Fri Jul 31, 2020 4:12 pm

You mention Penzey's. We had a store here in Albuquerque until very recently d/t NM covid closures, most likely.
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Re: Mail Order Food

by Robin Garr » Fri Jul 31, 2020 4:52 pm

We have a. bricks-and-mortar Penzey's store here, and it's still open. I go there on occasion, mainly to support Bill Penzey for speaking out about politics. :)
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Jenise

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Re: Mail Order Food

by Jenise » Fri Jul 31, 2020 5:07 pm

Robin Garr wrote:We have a. bricks-and-mortar Penzey's store here, and it's still open. I go there on occasion, mainly to support Bill Penzey for speaking out about politics. :)


I've been a mail-order Penzey's customer for years. Lived with 100 miles of one a time or two but never in close enough range to shop in person but when in 'away' mode. Larry, I'd be surprised if any B&M Penzey's stores survived the last six months.

Paul, understood re Chinese ingredients. Your expertise in that department pales everything I know, but I have enjoyed living within shooting distance of Richmond BC. I can buy things there that I would never find here in Bellingham (where the locals think Chinese food is fried meat in 1 of 10 sweet sauces ranging from heavily-ketchup-oriented to almost-no-ketchup), but what kills me is the fresh Chinese produce I can't bring back over the border not just now but most of the time because the border guys are sketchy about allowing produce they don't understand. The Kroger market in Bellingham carries some Asian produce but it's on my no-fly list now--it's normal clientele are more inclined to be Trumpers who haven't worn masks until they were forced to. I've ordered from Upton tea before, they're outstanding.

Dale, I'll bet Flannery's is doing well with the pandemic. Bill already had a huge mail-order thing going. Same might have saved Crowd Cow, who I've ordered from twice because I received gift certificates. The meats are nice, but not better than what I can get at Whole Foods (I know, not the point, but....)
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Larry Greenly

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Re: Mail Order Food

by Larry Greenly » Fri Jul 31, 2020 7:58 pm

Luckily, Albuquerque has a number of Asian, Indian, Mexican, and Middle Eastern grocery stores that stock many, many spices and herbs. Two stores here are particularly large, if not huge.
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Jeff Grossman

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Re: Mail Order Food

by Jeff Grossman » Sat Aug 01, 2020 12:59 am

OK, I've had to rewrite this post. :lol:

In answer to Jenise's original question, I have mostly been able to get interesting things in the stores around me. The only exotic shopping I have done in these Pandemic Times is from Regalis, Jacques Torres, and D'Artagnan.

The rest of my mail-order food is part of my normal operations:
-- I am also a Penzey's regular. And for things they don't have -- there are a few -- you can go to the other Penzey's shop, Spice House. (She's determinedly apolitical but you can't have everything.)
-- I buy from Wine Forest occasionally (foraged mushrooms and spices).
-- I've bought from Flannery, once on Berserker Day and then again after his website was hacked. The steaks are really good but I can get Prime at all three of my local butchers.

That's it because I have a lot of really excellent stores around me (three butchers, one fishmonger, two bakeries, three bagel joints). It's a Middle Eastern neighborhood so that cuisine is widely available. One small Asian grocery. I don't even go to the fanciest deli! Add in a Trader Joe's and a couple supermarkets. A slightly longer walk adds even more specialty shops.

I can think of only two ingredients that I really like that I have to stretch to get: butternut squash oil, from The Filling Station, and crema di pistaccio, from Buon Italia.
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Paul Winalski

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Re: Mail Order Food

by Paul Winalski » Sat Aug 01, 2020 2:27 pm

Jenise wrote:I can buy things there that I would never find here in Bellingham (where the locals think Chinese food is fried meat in 1 of 10 sweet sauces ranging from heavily-ketchup-oriented to almost-no-ketchup),


That was the situation here in the Nashua, NH when I first moved there from Worcester, MA in 1980. Worcester had one Asian market and several decent Chinese restaurants. Nashua had no Asian grocery and the worst collection of Chinese restaurants I've seen. It wasn't that they were all Chinese-Polynesian--they were bad Chinese-Polynesian. The influx of high tech into southern New Hampshire has changed all that.

The local supermarket chain, Market Basket, has always tweaked the product mix in its stores to match the local clientele. The MBs in southern Massachusetts carry a lot of Portuguese items. The Amherst, NH store carries a lot of upscale wines. The stores in north Nashua and south Nashua carry a lot of Asian and Brazilian fresh produce, much to my delight. Nashua also now has Thai and Indian groceries, and there's a Chinese/Vietnamese market in nearby Manchester.

-Paul W.
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Pat G

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Re: Mail Order Food

by Pat G » Sat Aug 01, 2020 2:31 pm

Loose tea from Tea Forte. Dear Husband started me on the stuff and once I had really good tea I was spoiled. Still use occasional tea bags, but most days it's English Breakfast or Darjeeling using my little tea filter and loose tea. So very good. Used to be just a half-caf person, but weekdays are now good tea!

Uh...isn't wine comfort food? Almost all my vino has been purchased directly from vintner this year.
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Rahsaan

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Re: Mail Order Food

by Rahsaan » Sun Aug 02, 2020 11:47 am

Jeff Grossman wrote:...crema di pistaccio, from Buon Italia.


One of my favorite ingredients. Have you ordered from Gustiamo? Their operation also based in Nyc, but no storefront, only mail order. I've been ordering from them for years and their pistachio spread is gorgeous, full flavor (and lovely color) with so few ingredients.
https://www.gustiamo.com/pistachio-spread-c-amaro/

Rancho Gordo is another favorite, as is tropical fruit grown in Florida (my favorite is Robert is Here). It helps that I'm in NC, so I can do two day ground shipping. It's all more expensive than supermarkets, but air prices seem extravagant even for me and my love of fruit. (Although bravo to Jenise for getting papayas from Hawaii!) Recently ordered a half bushel/25 lbs of Keitt mangoes, end of the season.
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Jeff Grossman

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Re: Mail Order Food

by Jeff Grossman » Sun Aug 02, 2020 2:05 pm

Thanks, Rahsaan, I'll have a look at Gustiamo. The one sold by Buon Italia is Cartillone:
https://www.grassosrl.net/product/crema-di-pistacchio/

It has lecithin and 'natural flavors' ...and still hard to stop myself from just eating it with a spoon. (And it's half the price, btw.)
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DanS

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Re: Mail Order Food

by DanS » Mon Aug 03, 2020 5:11 pm

I buy a lot of specialty ingredients from the web. From steak, pork chops, and lam racks from Lobel's (and a few others), to Morels and ramps from earthy.com. I used to buy spices from Penzeys but I don't care for their politics so I switched to either local or several small spices houses.

For my tea (I like strong black tea, I gave up coffee many years ago), I am supplied by Harney and Sons. My late-wife and I went to a host air balloon festival in Northwest CT. We were out sightseeing and I spotted H&S so we stopped in town for a visit. H&S would remind you of an old time pharmacy or Chinatown tea shop. Bins of all sorts of teas that you can sample and buy. I have been drinking their East Frisian ever since then. I also discovered that I am not a fan of Kombucha.
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Jenise

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Re: Mail Order Food

by Jenise » Sat Aug 08, 2020 2:32 pm

Just placed an order with ChefShop in Seattle. On its way to me is a small bucket of koji rice because I have just got to experiment with koji-aging beef, and a bag of black chick peas. Apparently a natural thing, not the result of fermentation. Have never seen them before!
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Paul Winalski

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Re: Mail Order Food

by Paul Winalski » Sat Aug 08, 2020 4:59 pm

Our local Indian grocery sells several varieties of chickpeas, including the black ones. Black chickpeas bear the same sort of relationship to tan chickpeas as West Indian black beans do to kidney beans.

-Paul W.
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Jenise

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Re: Mail Order Food

by Jenise » Sat Aug 08, 2020 5:51 pm

Interesting to know. This purveyor only mentioned that they are rarely used in Italy because they require longer cooking. I thought that a rather odd statement, making it particular to Italy given that this is not an Italian food specialist I'm buying from.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov

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