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Short orders

(wendy maeda/globe staff)

A peaceful tea party

Given the history of British tea in Boston, it takes a cheeky company to try for a comeback. Whittard of Chelsea, a 120-year-old London stalwart with 160 shops worldwide, last week confidently opened its first US store on Newbury Street. "We hope to get a warmer welcome coming back here now," says Andrew Richardson, who is running operations in this country. Part of the store's mission is to educate Americans about the tremendous variety of tea. A good place to start is the tasting bar, where 45 kinds are lined up in glass jars by type (such as dark English, flavored black, green). Pick one and request a freshly-brewed sample. A blend-your-own tea bar gives you a chance to customize your brew the way Earl Grey did (he added oil of bergamot, which gives the tea its character). The rest of the shop's shelves are stacked with loose-leaf tea bags, instant tea, whimsical pots and mugs, brewing devices , and even a few types of coffee. Coming this summer is a Faneuil Hall shop, boldly storming the former Sons of Liberty stronghold. Whittard of Chelsea, 170 Newbury St., 617-536-5200, whittard.com. -- CLARA SILVERSTEIN

Nuggets with information

Chicken nuggets are what the picky kids order at fast food restaurants. Bite-size , golden brown, and hardly a challenge in terms of taste, they're hard not to like. But who knows what part of the chicken the nuggets really are, and where that chicken comes from? With Bell & Evans Breaded Chicken Breast Nuggets you know. The firm's antibiotic-free birds are naturally raised in Pennsylvania. The nuggets ( $5.99-$6.99) are hand cut from the breasts only -- no skin, no fillers, and no chopped mystery meat. Tender white meat is breaded, flash-fried in non-hydrogenated vegetable oil, and then frozen. The birds have been fed an all-vegetable diet -- mostly locally grown soybeans -- then are air chilled after processing to retain more juicy flavor. All of that, and the nuggets are still fairly bland, so even the picky kids will like them. Available at Donelan's Supermarkets, Roche Bros. Supermarkets, Wild Oats Marketplace, Whole Foods Markets , or go to bellandevans.com. -- JONATHAN LEVITT

Good to go

Brothers keep the pasta coming in Cambridgeport

Brothers Reno and Altin Hoxhallari moved from Albania 10 and six years ago, respectively. Both have worked in restaurants around Boston and on the North Shore, with Reno the more experienced cook of the two, says Altin , the younger sibling. At Basta Pasta, the Cambridgeport take out shop they opened two years ago, the brothers share a seven-day work week cooking and selling dishes like pasta puttanesca ($7.95 , above ) and pasta Bolognese (best served over house-made fusilli). The brothers, who are also roommates, have clearly defined roles at the shop. "I'm the little anchovy, he's the big boss," says Altin. Basta Pasta, 319 Western Ave., Cambridge, 617-576-6672. -- LEIGH BELANGER

Master meal-making, by degrees

No student should have to rely on ramen noodles. With a copy of "College Cooking: Feed Yourself and Your Friends" ($19.95, Ten Speed Press), they won't have to. Written by sisters Megan and Jill Carle, undergraduates at Arizona State University, the book tackles everything from outfitting the kitchen to stocking the pantry. Recipes include easy spins on familiar dishes. Shrimp quesadillas are deliciously cheesy, baked penne with Italian sausage hearty enough to satisfy flatmates and anyone hanging out with them. The book offers money-saving tips and food trivia. While waiting for the timer to ring, learn why pitas pop, how lasagna got its name, and some practical information about nutrition. When faced with a plate of cut fruit, for instance, choose the cantaloupe (lowest in calories and fat, rich in fiber and carbohydrates). The authors have done their homework. Available at most bookstores. -- JEAN KRESSY

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