North Shore Food Finds

Posted: October 2nd, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: American, Asian, Bakery, Beverly, Bistro, Deli, Gloucester, Marblehead, Marketplace, Peabody, Revere, Rockport, Salem, Sweets and Treats | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Everyone has their favorite restaurants, from the one you look forward to visiting on special occasions to the one you turn to when you can’t even think about cooking. But what about those favorite dishes and treats you’ve discovered in your neighborhood or on your travels? We’ve put together a list of ours in the hopes that readers will be inspired to respond in kind. If you’ve got a North Shore food find to add to the list, let us know in the comments, and we’ll be sure to check it out.

Bouchon, A&J King
Talk about addictive. This little cake looks simple, but it’s not. It’s rich and not too sweet with a melt-in-your-mouth texture and a wonderful hint of almond. One of the best chocolate experiences on the North Shore. Oh, and they have great bread, too. ($2.25)

House Dumplings, Sugar Cane
We love dumplings of all sizes and shapes, but these are our favorite. The dough is thin and wonderfully crispy, the inside is flavorful, and the accompanying ginger soy sauce puts these little gems over the top. ($6)

Tiger’s Tears, Floating Rock
This dish has it all: spice, citrus, and crunch. Thin slices of marinated beef are served cold and paired with sliced red and green bell peppers, onion, basil, red pepper flakes, and ground roasted rice. If you like spicy food, you will love this—but don’t be scared off, we found the balance of heat and citrus just right.

Chicken Salad, Henry’s Market
We’re picky when it comes to chicken salad—no large chunks or odd ingredients, thanks. Henry’s makes it just the way we like it: finely ground, super fresh, and perfectly seasoned. We like it made into mini-sandwiches on the top-knot rolls baked fresh in the store daily.

Guacamole, Cielito Lindo
Made fresh and served in a molcajete (a stone bowl for grinding), this guac is the perfect antidote to a long day and just one of the things we love about this often-overlooked Mexican restaurant in Beverly. Grab a tortilla chip and dive in—you’ll be amazed at how quickly the generous serving will disappear. ($8)

Fresh-Baked Cookies, Shubie’s
These are the kind of cookies you could easily pass off as homemade (not that we would ever do that, of course). They’re baked fresh in the store every day, and while the peanut butter and oatmeal raisin ($8/pound) are terrific, the larger kitchen-sink cookies are the stuff of dreams, packed with dark and white chocolate and cranberries ($1.75 each).

While you’re in the store, be sure to check out the cheese counter, which has one of the largest selections of New England cheeses we’ve seen. Selections include several from Vermont Butter & Cheese, Cabot clothbound cheddar, Jasper Hill blue, Blue Ledge Farm crottini, Ploughgate Creamery willoughby, Spring Brook Farm tarentaise, Maplebrook Farm mozzarella, Shy Brothers Farm Hannabells, and cheddars from Shelburne and Grafton Farms.

Strudel, Helmut’s Strudel
What is it about apples and pastry that makes us swoon? We don’t know, but this place is the gold standard for the combination. Sweet, gooey apple filling and a crunchy, flaky not-too-sweet shell come together for the perfect mouthful. Folks, there’s a reason this tiny Bearskin Neck shop stays in business selling nothing but strudel and croissants. ($4 per slice)

Hot Cookie Dough Topping, Terry’s Ice Cream
If you like your cookies just barely cooked and hot from the oven, you get the idea here. Even better than hot fudge on top of ice cream, this is decadence in a cup. Go ahead, indulge; we’ll never tell.

Toasted Iggy’s Bagel, Foodie’s Feast
If you’re a fan of Montreal-style bagels (thinner and more flavorful than New York style), you’ve got to try Iggy’s, which are very similar. Our favorite way to enjoy them is to let the nice counter folks at Foodie’s toast one up and serve it alongside a steaming mug of joe. They’re also available at Whole Foods in Swampscott.

Truffle Paté, Crosby’s
This mousse-like spread is the perfect addition to your holiday cheese platter. We like to serve it on lightly toasted baguette slices or water crackers. It’s so good, you may want to buy two for your next cocktail party and forget to put the second one out.

Ribs, Smokin’ Jims
If you’ve never heard of Smokin’ Jim, you might be tempted to drive right by his parking-lot location on East Main in Gloucester. But these ribs are the real deal: smoked on oil-drum cooker until they just about fall off the bone. Side dishes like cole slaw, beans, and corn bread are available, too. There are picnic tables nearby, or you may want to drive over to Stage Fort Park. Hours vary seasonally, so check the Web site before visiting.

Marissa’s Salsa, Whole Foods
You’ll never want to go back to that stuff in the jar once you try this fresh version, packed in ice in the produce section and featuring a heavenly balance of heat and cilantro. Even better, it’s made in small batches by Nahant resident Marissa Salomon.

Potato Chips, Mandrake
We like the well-built drinks, reasonably priced food, and friendly bartenders at this downtown Beverly spot. Add the freshly made potato chips served as bar snacks, and you’ve got the start of a beautiful relationship.

We had a lot of fun putting this post together, and we look forward to hearing from readers who try one of our “finds” and those with a special treat to contribute…

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Henry’s of Beverly: A Food Lovers’ Paradise, Now With Wine

Posted: July 17th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Beverly, Henry's Fine Foods, Marketplace | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

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A few months after Kristen moved back to our home town, she called me. Instead of “hello,” she demanded, “Why didn’t you tell me about Henry’s?” She was right—I had neglected to tell her about one of the richest food resources on the North Shore. My bad.

For those who’ve been, you know about this market’s amazing array of products and fantastic service (did you know you can phone in your order and have it delivered by a retired policeman?). Now there’s even more to enjoy because last month, Henry’s owner, John Keohane, took over the adjacent space previously occupied by a bank and turned it into a lovely wine store. And if you’ve never been to Henry’s, you’re in for a real treat.

With its combination of groceries, produce, butcher shop, prepared food, and top-notch bakery, Henry’s is unique to the North Shore, offering great ingredients for when you’re in the mood to cook and hand-made prepared foods for when you’re not. Add a little New England-style hospitality (and young men to help you to the car with your groceries), and you begin to get the idea.

Henry’s is our go-to resource for hard-to-find items like pink peppercorns from Morton and Bassett spices, oatcakes from Effie’s, sauces and jams from Stonewall Kitchen (a huge selection), and gluten-free items including mixes from The Really Great Food Company. They even have lingonberries for your Swedish-themed dinner and LU’s Petit Ecoliers in white chocolate.

Then there are the made-to-order sandwiches, soups, quiches, lasagna, pot pies, and chicken salad. Sure, there’s also ham salad, egg salad, and seafood salad, but it’s the paté-like chicken salad people crave for their summer picnics. (900 pounds of chicken are cooked every day at the market to be made into chicken salad and chicken pot pies.)

Other stand-outs include dairy products like Better Than Bakery infused butters, uncured applewood smoked bacon, and Boars Head diced pancetta; store-made bottled sauces including buffalo wing, citrus grilling, and merlot wine steak sauce; a fresh fruit bar; and cheese that runs the gamut from camembert to chevre, halloumi, and cotswold.

The produce section not only carries seven types of apples and three types of pears in summer (along with rainier cherries and lush apricots), it has dried fruits like goji berries and cherries, fresh Indian simmer sauces, tubs of Henry’s fresh salad dressings, and house-made salads alongside microwavable hot entrees and sides. Right around the corner is our favorite guilty pleasure: individual pies from The Pie Guy. Yes, there are whole pies, too.

Those pies are only the beginning of when it comes to sweets at Henry’s, where the bakers come in at 1:00 every morning to make bread, rolls (dinner, hot dog, and hamburger), cakes, tarts, pies, old fashioned pastries like crullers and fruit squares, cookies, and brownies. Our personal favorite is the pastry case, where you can get individual servings of plain or turtle cheesecake, carrot cake, key lime tart, fruit tarts, and molten lava cake.

In the meat department, you can choose from three types of beef: traditional, Meyer angus, and Brant (aged for flavor and tenderness). Or go with a gourmet burger or slider, fresh-made kabobs or sausages, or one of the small roasts perfect for a special occasion. In a nearby case are Bell & Evans chicken, beef, and pork carefully trimmed and marinated using best-quality ingredients.

We love that Henry’s carries an abundance of local products, including Maria’s Gourmet Pasta (Malden) Sauces ’N Love pasta sauces (Lynn), Harbor Sweets (Salem), Ye Olde Pepper Company candies (Salem) Giovanna gelato (Boston), Shains of Maine ice cream, and Good Wives hors d’oeuvres (Wilmington).

We also love that the new wine store offers selections from very-affordable to let’s-splurge; a range of specialty beers from Belgium; and carries cheeses, dips, and frozen take-and-bake appetizers. To top it off, the store holds wine tastings Thursdays from 4:00 to 7:00 and Saturdays from 2:00 to 5:00. Sign up for the e-mail newsletter to learn what wines are being featured (sign-up is in the store).

Keohane started as kitchen manager 25 years ago and bought the business from its founder, Henry Swanson, five years ago. Today, he’s in the store virtually every day making sure the quality and service Henry’s is famous for never wavers. Of course, many of Henry’s 190 employees have worked in the store their entire adult lives. So don’t hesitate to ask questions of employees you see in the aisles or behind the counter—you’re sure to get a warm reception and good food advice.

Henry’s
588 Cabot St, Beverly
(978) 922-3885
www.henrysofbeverly.com

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