Roslindale/West Roxbury neighborhood guide: Shop
Alejandro Rodriguez started El Chavo to bring products from his native Mexico to Roslindale residents who typically have to travel elsewhere in Boston to find them. Looking for corn husks for homemade tamales? How about a variety of hot chili pepper or other hard-to-find ingredients? They're all here, and the store frequently holds tastings of Mexican chocolate, cheese and other delicacies to get you inspired. El Chavo's shelves are also stocked with colorfully wrapped candies, children's toys and soccer jerseys. During the holidays, the shop teams up with neighboring taqueria/pizza joint Romano's to host a traditional Posada Navideña neighborhood event around the holidays.
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Dollar-conscious bargain seekers, offbeat interior decorators and the kind of fashionistas who refuse to show up in the same dress as somebody else all gravitate toward Boomerangs, a resale shop with a focus on all things funky and vintage like its hugely popular JP sister shop of the same name. The West Roxbury location sells clothing, accessories, furniture and other knick-knacks at rock-bottom prices, with sales benefitting the AIDS Action Committee. Tired of your own duds or planning to redecorate? Boomerang's will happily accept your tax-deductible donations.
The sci-fi lover in your life will thank you—profusely—for perusing owner Brad Kinne's collection. Or maybe that sci-fi junkie is you. Either way, this well-curated bookstore bursts with sci-fi paraphernalia that goes well beyond Star Wars and Star Trek (although you'll find those too). The owner says he puts only one title of each book on the shelves, for a tally of 6,500 sci-fi/fantasy tomes—not to mention those classified under genres like "horror" and "vampire." It's a great place to get lost for an afternoon, provided you eventually emerge on the other end of the wormhole.
Whether you're an aficionado who rates cheese on a "stinkier = better" scale or merely looking for a nice block of cheddar for that dinner party tonight, this celebrated shop has your bases covered. The staff is happy to provide recommendations and they’ll even let you sample slivers of their dozens of cheeses, ranging from varieties of brie, blue and goat into more unfamiliar varieties, like a mango-ginger stilton. You can also stock up on other specialty food items like chocolates, chutney and tea.
A self-proclaimed "shrine to wine," this cozy shop hosts frequent tastings and the staff is well accustomed to recommending pairings for cheeses procured from the Boston Cheese Cellar around the corner—so be prepared for their instructions and suggestions. You might very well walk in expecting to buy a California cabernet and find yourself exiting with a French port. Just go with it. There's a small selection of specialty beers and sake, too.
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