Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Grocery Shopping around Greater Boston

I had a moment of insight yesterday about grocery shopping around the greater Boston area--mainly Medford and Watertown, between which I spend most of my time.

My favorite grocery store over is Russo's in Watertown on Pleasant Street. Much of their produce is super fresh from New England farms. The prices are generally lower than the Stop & Shop right next door. You can even buy Chinese green leafy vegetables like snow pea tendrils and yu choy there. In the back room where they keep leafy vegetables, they have racks full of slightly older produce for a GREAT discount. It's not unusual to walk home with 2 lbs of vine ripe tomatoes for just $1 or 4 lbs of bananas for $0.59 (great for banana bread), but you would have to expect to throw out a couple in the package or just cut out bad parts with a knife.

I try to get fish once a week, and it's become so expensive almost everywhere. There are still a couple of places to get very fresh fish for a relatively low price. The Chinese supermarket chain Super88 in Malden, Allston, and South Boston all have fresh fish (you can usually look at the clarity of the eyes and tell). Some are even live and swimming in tanks (like the tilapia and eel). They also carry a larger variety that are seldom or never seen at Stop & Shop. I rarely buy meat at the Super88, but the fish is definitely fresh -- probably not fresh enough for sushi, but great for grilling.

For sushi grade fish, stop by either the Korean grocery store in Union Square or the Japanese grocery store Kotobukiya in Porter Square -- some of the fish may be frozen -- but if they're labeled as sashimi or sushi, then they're safe to eat raw. Their prices vary, but sometimes I think they're even better than Wild Oats, Whole Foods, or even Stop and Shop.

Wild Oats and Whole Foods (and sometimes Stop&Shop) have sushi grade fish -- I would and had in the past made sushi with fish from these places. However, they are definitely NOT considered inexpensive.

The worst salmon I've ever bought came from Foodmaster -- I had to throw it out because it smelled awful -- and I eat fish the same day I buy it.

BJ's also has great prices on very fresh fish and seafood -- if you don't mind buying a large quantity. HOWEVER, fruits are generally not fresh at BJ's -- I often find rotten moldy pieces whenever I buy a case or bag.

The best and cheapest meat can be found at McKinnon's in Somerville's Davis Square. They also have some farm produce (though it cannot compete with Russo's in that area).

I hated Foodmaster until I tasted their fresh baked Italian and French breads. I think they really have the best fresh baked bread there -- surprisingly!

1 comment:

david Barkay said...

I know it is a late comment, but i found your post (great) useful for a post i am writing just know, so i am linking this current post of you to mine (i hope to finish mine today),
davidbarkay.blogpost.com thanks. David