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Jake

Where do you find xxx

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Hi all. I thought I would start this thread as a resource and discussion on where to find ingredients etc. in Toronto. There are a number of us on this board who cook professionally, cater,or just love to create at home and Toronto is a great city with a multitude of places to find unusual ingredients. We're lucky to have so many different ethnic groups and the shops/restaurants that go along with them.

As a bit of background, although I have cooked and done some training professionally, I am currently only cooking at home or for friends. However, I shop all over the city for different ingredients. I'd love to share some of my finds and experiences and to benefit from others, especially when it comes to more unusual ingredients. Sure, Whole Foods and Loblaws are one stop shops for many things, and their price points reflect it, I'm more interested in the best (price and taste) smoked duck breast, or the greatest selection of fresh chilies...

If you have a question, or something to share or discuss I hope you'll post here. Let's increase participation on this board and see what topics flow from there.


Barbara Laidlaw aka "Jake"

Good friends help you move, real friends help you move bodies.

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Great idea Jake. Maybe we could expand the discussion to inlcude the GTA? I seldom make my way into the city anymore, but would love suggestions for good Asian markets, butchers etc in or near Oakville.


Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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Sure, I should have made that clear, GTA it is!! I've been known to drive well out of Toronto in search of something specific...my favourite smoked pork is from the Fergus area.


Barbara Laidlaw aka "Jake"

Good friends help you move, real friends help you move bodies.

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Excellent idea for a thread, Jake.

When I first moved to Toronto, I could buy Pompano in the downtown fish markets.

I don't see it now, though I'm only at St Lawrence once in a long while. It was like a large Angel fish, no scales. It was really good, broiled, and I'd like to try it again.

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Excellent idea for a thread, Jake.

When I first moved to Toronto, I could buy Pompano in the downtown fish markets.

I don't see it now, though I'm only at St Lawrence once in a long while. It was like a large Angel fish, no scales. It was really good, broiled, and I'd like to try it again.

My 2 go-to fish markets are City Fish and Diana Seafood. I don't know if they've had Pompano recently, but a quick phone call, or visit if you're in the area should tell you. Service is exceptional at both places and even though they are further out of my way unless I'm really strapped for time I prefer them to SLM. If I am in SLM Domenics is my usual stop. Lately (i.e. the last year or so) I've found the market has the usual fish and that's all, the other 2 shops have fabulous variety. City Fish supplies a few of the better restaurants and chefs in Toronto as well.

Jay, where did you move from, and are there ingredients you cannot get here that you really miss?


Barbara Laidlaw aka "Jake"

Good friends help you move, real friends help you move bodies.

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I really really want tomato paste in a tube. I've never seen it at even the "upscale" stores here in Toronto. It just make so much sense to me.


Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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I don't know about the Oakville area, I'll do some checking, but I get it at Lady Yorke foods in Toronto....if they have it when I'm there next I'll pop a couple tubes in the post if you like.


Barbara Laidlaw aka "Jake"

Good friends help you move, real friends help you move bodies.

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I don't know about the Oakville area, I'll do some checking, but I get it at Lady Yorke foods in Toronto....if they have it when I'm there next I'll pop a couple tubes in the post if you like.

Pusateri's has it also (about 3 times the price that I pay here)

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Yes, I have found tomato paste tubes at both Pusateri's and Bruno's...and I'm sure that I've seen them elsewhere in T.O. I'll re-post if I remember where...

cava_girl

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Isn't that weird. We have Brunos here and they don't carry it.


Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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Tomatoe paste and all things italian can also be found at Grande Cheese, off of Dufferin on Orfis Road...AMAZING selection...

I actually got these Italian Cherry tomatoes in cans there for .89 each! WICKEd deal, amazing quality!

I am always ont he lookout for King Fish, for ceviche, if anyone sees it, shout! =)

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We do however have the most amazing bakery in town. Monastary bakery. You can't even get in there on a Sat or especially Sunday after church. I get all my fresh bread there and dinner rolls, when I can't be bothered using my bread machine.

As an added bonus, they make some of the best fried chicken I've ever had. Go figure.


Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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Isn't that weird.  We have Brunos here and they don't carry it.

hmmmm...it's been a while since I've purchased it, but next time I'm at Bruno's in the city I'll check on that and confirm here.

cava_girl

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We do however have the most amazing bakery in town.  Monastary bakery.  You can't even get in there on a Sat or especially Sunday after church.  I get all my fresh bread there and dinner rolls, when I can't be bothered using my bread machine.

As an added bonus, they make some of the best fried chicken I've ever had.  Go figure.

Fried chicken could be worth the drive to Oakville. :wub::wub:

There is a new bakery at Bayview and Millwood in Leaside, EPI with some really wonderful artisinal bread.

Sadistick, I've never been to Grande Cheese, I usually patronize Alex Farms or the Cheese Boutique. Have you been to those, and can you offer a comparison?


Barbara Laidlaw aka "Jake"

Good friends help you move, real friends help you move bodies.

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Excellent idea for a thread, Jake.

My 2 go-to fish markets are City Fish and Diana Seafood. I don't know if they've had Pompano recently, but a quick phone call, or visit if you're in the area should tell you. Service is exceptional at both places and even though they are further out of my way unless I'm really strapped for time I prefer them to SLM. If I am in SLM Domenics is my usual stop. Lately (i.e. the last year or so) I've found the market has the usual fish and that's all, the other 2 shops have fabulous variety. City Fish supplies a few of the better restaurants and chefs in Toronto as well.

Jay, where did you move from, and are there ingredients you cannot get here that you really miss?

Is City Fish Dufferin and Lawrence? Haven't ben there yet, but it is on my list.

I moved from Yonge and Lawrence to Pickering. Before that, several years in the East Village.

I tend to overbuy in big marts or big box stores, and end up with stuff I take to the park for the animals. I really miss buying seafood, meats, breads, produce on Second Avenue, daily. Suburban life has its advantages, but fresh local food is not part of it!

Diana's is not too far away, and Taro is a short drive. Have found many good places on Lawrence East, many of them mentioned in earlier threads.

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Well Grande cheese is mostly italian, but they have tons of other cheeses as well, I think its cheaper than both alex farms and cheese boutique...I dont care for Alex farms actually, the only other cheese store other than Grande Ill shop at is Global. Also, Grande has some of the best proscuitto around, and fresh mozerella :)

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Excellent idea for a thread, Jake.

My 2 go-to fish markets are City Fish and Diana Seafood. I don't know if they've had Pompano recently, but a quick phone call, or visit if you're in the area should tell you. Service is exceptional at both places and even though they are further out of my way unless I'm really strapped for time I prefer them to SLM. If I am in SLM Domenics is my usual stop. Lately (i.e. the last year or so) I've found the market has the usual fish and that's all, the other 2 shops have fabulous variety. City Fish supplies a few of the better restaurants and chefs in Toronto as well.

Jay, where did you move from, and are there ingredients you cannot get here that you really miss?

Is City Fish Dufferin and Lawrence? Haven't ben there yet, but it is on my list.

I moved from Yonge and Lawrence to Pickering. Before that, several years in the East Village.

I tend to overbuy in big marts or big box stores, and end up with stuff I take to the park for the animals. I really miss buying seafood, meats, breads, produce on Second Avenue, daily. Suburban life has its advantages, but fresh local food is not part of it!

Diana's is not too far away, and Taro is a short drive. Have found many good places on Lawrence East, many of them mentioned in earlier threads.

No, I'll be food is not an advantage of living in Pickering. I had the same problem when I was in Aurora for a short time. Blech.

Yes, City Fish is on Dufferin south of Lawrence, Lady Yorke foods (old school Italian) is in the same plaza, so try both. There is a little Columbian bakery in the same plaza that does great cafe con leche and savoury pastries and pain al leche for breakfast. Haven't tried the sweets as sweet is not really my thing. City Fish is my absolute fave for fish, Diana's is great for oysters, especially the Beau Soleil. They had some great deals on Malapeques from PEI last weekend.


Barbara Laidlaw aka "Jake"

Good friends help you move, real friends help you move bodies.

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Well Grande cheese is mostly italian, but they have tons of other cheeses as well, I think its cheaper than both alex farms and cheese boutique...I dont care for Alex farms actually, the only other cheese store other than Grande Ill shop at is Global.  Also, Grande has some of the best proscuitto around, and fresh mozerella :)

What don't you like about Alex Farms? I frequent the one on Bayview, and prefer it to SLM, the staff at Bayview are great. Prices have been reasonable too.


Barbara Laidlaw aka "Jake"

Good friends help you move, real friends help you move bodies.

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Where is Dianas? Only problem is I have never shucked an oyster...wonder if they will tach me.

I dont think they have as good of a selection as Global, btw its the one in Kensington.

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Diana's is at Crockford and Lawrence E., a few blocks east of Warden. They ususally have Kingfish, and I have seen Kingfish and Flying fish at NoThrills, Malvern Town Center (a big fresh fish counter, and fresh meat including feet, tripe, brains etc. but no sweetbreads).

Another busy ethnic fish counter is in the Asian supermart at Brimley and Lawrence; they usually have Kingfish.

Well, where are the sweetbreads, anyway?

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I'm sure they'd be happy to teach you to shuck, the staff are great there. For a detailed pictorial go toBeau soleil website.

I've shopped at Global before. Nothing bad to say. However, really like the staff at my 2 usual haunts. Great for knowing my tastes etc. and directing me to new things.

For sweetbreads give Upper Cut Meats at the SLM a call. You could also try Royal on Danforth, but I have not used them for this before.


Edited by Jake (log)

Barbara Laidlaw aka "Jake"

Good friends help you move, real friends help you move bodies.

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Since this thread has become an instant success, I thought I'd add a few things that I can't find, but would buy if I spotted them.

Most are intensely flavoured items, and I'd like to purchase from small stores rather than places like Bruno's or Pusateri's, who charge what the traffic will bear.

1. Smoked Cod roe. A suggestion in E. David's books, yers ago.

2. Buttariga (Botargue in Provence)

3. Coffee beans, roasted to order, east of Yonge St.

4. Dried Morels from the Yukon. They had a great harvest this spring, and I wonder if they are showing up dried.

5.A burr coffee grinder called 'Rocky' by the afficianados in the coffee section.

6. Hatcho Miso, or similar traditional miso made in bamboo vats, non pasteurised.

7. Bonito by the block.

8. Fresh Kimchi. Have heard about a place on Parliament St.

9. Bulgarian sheep's feta, in the green can, with a quaint seal from the state veterinary commission.

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Thanks to Anna N, I now know I can get ground ancho chili powder at the St. Lawrence Market.

Brisket. Now that's something that's hard to find here in Oakville. I can get flats at Whole foods, but I'd like the point.

I know now the butcher at Whole Foods will custom cut short ribs for me. Otherwise, all I ever see is flanken style or really horrible looking english style at Sobeys.

On the other hand, I found fresh pig tails at Sobeys the other day and used them to make pork stock.

There are some pretty good restaurant supply stores in Toronto, but again, not much out this way.


Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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Dried ancho, chipotle and possibly other chiles are also available in some of the latin places in Kensington. Available in bulk, so you can buy as much or as little as you want/ need.

Dried limes anyone? Avland in Kensington had them, but they have, sadly, closed. I'm guessing Nasr on Lawrence would be a good bet, but I haven't managed to get out there to find out.

Meat. Well, cow meat. I've often wondered why all the butchers seem to have all the same cuts - yet there's a good third of the cow that seems to go missing - I only occassionaly see cuts from the chuck, and I've never seen hangar steak. And I've asked butchers where does it go? The chuck ends up in hamburger, but hangar steak? One butcher told me it goes to Japan. I dunno 'bout that. How about the tritip from the sirloin. Our butchers don't cut the sirloin that way. (The Healthy Butcher on Queen W. told me they could get hangar steak, and that they sometimes even have it on display)

So, any tips on butchers that carry cuts from a cow other than the usual loin steaks and roasts, flank steak, sirloin and shank. (As an aside, does anyone have any preferences between the butchers at SLM for beef? They seem to all have the same cuts at the same prices, so I don't really know how one chooses one over the others. I was actually thinking of starting a thread on this very topic.)

Also, good places for offal, cow or otherwise? I have seen kidneys & tongue, for example, at SLM.

Oh, veal bones - have tried a few times at SLM. I've been told if you call ahead a few days, they can save some up, get them etc. I'm guessing they get sold to the restaurant trade. So, anywhere for veal bones?

Fresh kimchee? I'd try the KOrean supermarket at Bloor and Manning. Sanko, the Japanese place on Queen W. also has kimchee I think. Also, Tai Kong (I think it's called) on the west side of Spadina north of Dundas is an Asian supermarket that has all kinds of Asian goods, produce, fish and poultry (I think meat as well?). I think I've seen kimchee there as well. While I'm on the topic of Tai Kong, they also have a fish counter at the back that has weird and wonderful fish I haven't seen elsewhere, such as beltfish (looks like, well, a belt). They also have black chickens, which I've been tempted to try.

Cheese Magic, in Kensington, might have the Bulgarian sheeps feta. I'll try and remember to have a look next time I'm in.

Cheers,

Geoff Ruby

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I have just come out of diana's at crockford and lawrence with areally fresh Atlantic Halibut @ 6 per lb.

I'll go across the st. To see if Nasr has dried limes. Will post back if they do.

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