At this cheery Joan’s on Third-style café, tubs of beef bourguignonne are available for takeout. A deli case glistens with salads like the one with butternut squash, arugula, bacon, and cranberries. All manner of dangerous-looking pastries are displayed on the counter: pies, croissants, muffins, and more. Diners slurp from deep bowls of corn chowder, munch salads topped with rosy fillets of salmon, and nosh sandwiches like tarragon chicken salad and turkey meat loaf on our new favorite baguette. The lunch rush can be intimidating, but coffee and a generous helping of chocolate bread pudding put us at ease.
Best Larder, August 2010
More than gourmet shops and not quite restaurants, larders supply all that's necessary for a semi-home-cooked meal (minus Sandra Lee's tablescapes). The Curious Palate earns points for its heavily local provisions. Our best loved, though, is Thyme Cafe & Market
, where the freezer holds everything from chicken potpies to tubs of Julia Child-worthy beef bourguignonne. The counter displays pastries, and shelves hold fancy teas, spices, and chocolates.