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Mexican Market in TO?

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I'm a transplant from California, and while Island Foods Roti's are my new favorite food (sadly.. very sadly..I've never been able to find Roti's back home), I do miss a good burrito, I've been to the many places here, and while good in their own right, there's not a lot that can compare to a good San Francisco style burrito in a mission Taqueria like Pancho Villas or El Toro. So I'm going to make some at home.
That said, does anyone know if there's a market that offers more of a diverse selection of salsa's, beans, corn and flour tortillas?
I've been to Loblaws and Dominion but they only ever seem to have Taco and Fajita kits.. any suggestions? Thanks

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  1. Try the Latin American Emporium on Augusta St. in Kensington Market. You'll likely find everything you need there.

    3 Replies
    1. re: FlavoursGal

      Thank you very much!

      1. re: Lyndalh

        No problem...and welcome to Toronto!

        By the way, there are a couple of women at the back of the store making pupusas, as well as a couple of other dishes.

      2. re: FlavoursGal

        Perola a couple of doors north of Emporio Latino has a very large selection of dried peppers.

        247 Augusta, 416-593-9728

        And Segovia Meats across the street has more than a dozen styles of Mexican/Latin American chorizos of various degrees of heat.

        216A Augusta, 416-593-9904

        House Of Spice has a good selection of beans and frozen tortillas, too.

        190 Augusta, 416-593-9724

      3. There was a very thorough article on this in the star a year or so ago. Which cited posts of actual chowhound members here. However my link for the article is dead as the star has recently revamped their website, throwing all bookmarks out of sorts.

        If anyone has that article still, I would like to revisit it.

        1 Reply
        1. re: aser

          Hey, I have a quick question. You stated, and I quote, "Reasonably fresh masa is stocked at No Frills" Which No Frills is this.

          You see, I have been in TO for 6 months now and have found NOTHING remotely similar to fresh masa. The closest thing has been good ole Maseca. I have been dying to make tamales, but REFUSE to use Maseca, as any good Mexican, I want Masa. Therefore, if you would be so kind as to share the whereabouts of this No Frills, I would be EXTREMELY grateful.

          Gracias =o)

        2. I think I was quoted in that Star piece! As a transplant from AZ, I feel your pain. Several small groceries in Kensington can help. I find a growing range of canned San Marcos Mexican products at No Frills stores, so someone's buying the stuff. Dried chiles are tough: what's available is pricey, limited in selection, and often not all that fresh. Fresh tomatillos occasionally surface in Kensington, as do poblanos for proper chiles rellenos. Flour tortillas are now more available but aren't much like home despite the resemblance; corn tortillas are problematic since they have a crappy shelf life and there just aren't tortilla factories in the GTA. Reasonably fresh masa is stocked at No Frills for that DIY urge. Forget goodies like corn fungus and fresh nopalitos.I get mercy packages several times a year from PHX and I'd suggest leaning on friends and family to ship stuff till you sort out local supplies and substitutes.There really aren't any Mexican restos in the GTA, despite claims that perfectly acceptable Central American grub is just like regional Mexican or LA variants--trust me, it ain't! That said, keep looking and hang out here for heads-up on new places and resources.

          1. If you're ever in the Tillsonburg area (or anywhere in tobacco country -- SW of Hamilton) in the summer, you can find warm, fresh tortillas. I go out to a native-plants nursery out there and have brought home wonderful tortillas from a couple of odd places (i.e. corner convenience stores that happen to be run by ex-pat Mexicans now catering to share-croppers here for harvest).

            7 Replies
            1. re: Atahualpa

              That worth be worth a trip to Tillsonburg! Any further details on which stores sell the tortillas?
              Whole Foods on Avenue Road in Yorkville sell tomatillos, poblanos, serranos, frozen corn tortillas and jicama - but prices are sky high! Stick to Kensington Market.
              Nobody seems to be stocking Muir Glen fire roasted canned tomatos any more - shortage due to bad harvest perhaps?
              Anybody know which No Frills has fresh masa?

              1. re: KitchenVoodoo

                i've been told that muir glen doesn't ship to canada any more.

                1. re: emz

                  really! that's a totally bummer. I wonder why, it's good stuff
                  Whole Foods is also having trouble getting in my favourite bacon from New Jersey.

                  1. re: orangewasabi

                    I will have to find out more about unavailability of Muir Glen.... I know they are owned by General Mills (in the same stable as Old El Paso and Betty Crocker, as depressing as that might sound!). The GM (no pun intended) on-line store does not ship ouside of the U.S., so if they really do not supply Canadian stores or wholsalers anymore then we'll have to start an underground railroad!

                2. re: KitchenVoodoo

                  I've found fresh bagged masa(not an oxymoron)and lots of canned salsas and chiles along with much of the Goya line at the No Frills at Mavis+Eglinton in Miss. No Frills are all different and adapted to their locales. Think it's pretty much where you find it.

                  1. re: Kagemusha

                    I have been looking for fresh masa forever! Thanks for the tip, heading there this weekend. If anyone knows any place closer to downtown that would be great.

                  2. re: KitchenVoodoo

                    I was in several convenience stores in a few small towns. At least two had fresh tortillas available. I also drove past a least a half dozen other places with signs out advertising fresh tortillas.

                    But, I can't be any more specific since I don't live in the area or go any more often than about 3-4 times a year.

                3. I'm pretty sure I saw masa at the No Frills at Landsdowne and Dundas.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: jamesm

                    Was that fresh masa you saw, or dried masa harina (flour in bags)? The location makes sense - does anyone know if there is still a Latin American leaning grocery store on Bloor West, between Ossington and Bathurst?

                    1. re: KitchenVoodoo

                      Fresh masa? Ha! All bagged, amigo, but not stale or buggy like the Quaker junk. Most big Loblaws seem to carry Herdez and San Marcos Mexican canned salsas and chiles--even the PC salsas(all US-sourced)are better than the awful Pace and Old El Paso industrial product.No Frills just sells all this stuff for 20-25% less than Loblaws.I hear a lot more Spanish spoken around Mississauga now and think I'm hearing the reason some of this stuff is surfacing, though few are Mexicans. Small Latin American groceries are starting to sprout in Miss. and Brampton.

                  2. I'm pretty sure that I've seen fresh nopalitos --that's the cactus paddles, right?-- at one of the latin markets in Kensington. And I've seen bottled nopalitos at the local No Frills...

                    1. You might want to try Highland Farms (I go to the one at Dufferin and Finch), as well. They stock a lot of Latin American products, including the Goya line.

                      1. I guarantee you can find nopalitos in Kensington. No worries.

                        But here's the weird thing. Apparently huitlacoche is (very) occasionally available in Montreal... little ole Montreal! But they can also support an amazing fresh tortillarilla (Tortillarilla Maya on St. Laurent in Mile End). They also supply several LAm groceries in the area, and supposedly as far away as Quebec City. So shouldn't TO be able to support its own, too? I am horrified at the thought of buying frozen tortillas. I see a business opportunity for a creative tortilla maker.
                        Any takers?

                        And for the record, Loblaws carry Herdez salsa, which is the hands-down best.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: pouletsecret

                          I want more Mexican cervesa: Pacifica, Bohemia, Tecate, various Dos XX brews!

                          1. re: pouletsecret

                            I remember about 20+ years ago, in the Annex, a crazy guy had an authentic tortilla factory - the press and the rolling toaster machinery - (where Kinko's used to be - south side of Bloor, between Spadina and Book City). And a restuarant where the freshly made corn tortillas were dished up with things you'd like - strips of grilled beef with tomatillo salsa. Reminded me of muched loved street food in Mexico City. The operation was way ahead of its time but collapsed. Anyone remember that? Wonder what they did with the machinery....??

                          2. Hola Lynda,

                            I have been in the TO area for six...SIX long months and have yet to find most of the authentic Mexican products I need. I have found quite a bit of Central and South American products though...not much help, I know. But many of the people that have responded are right, Perolas is about as good as it gets. Around the corner from Perola's is a spice store, there are a couple actually, go to the second Hispanic-owned one, there is a very nice female there, she has the best Chiles de Arbol I have seen yet.
                            As for tortillas, I recommend that, if you can, have them frozen and shipped from Cali =o) Or if you're the adventurous type, do as I and make them from Maseca. The brands that I have tried thus far, I cannot recall the brand names, but one has a figure of what is supposed to be a Mexicano taking a siesta, and the other I believe has an image of the Popocapetl...anyhow, they stink =o( I had some sent from Cali, as well as queso fresco, cotija, and Oaxaca.

                            If, however, you want a good queso fundido and a very decent chorizo with some pretty good tortillas, try EL TROMPO in Kensington Market. The owner is wonderful and she sells Chorizo and Queso Oaxaca. I believe at $15/lb. Way pricier than Cali, but the only other place I have found it is at Perola's.

                            Good Luck to you and to all of us who are far from home and the products we need =o)

                            BTW, tell me you didn't laugh your butt off at the "Hispanic Food" section in the grocery stores?!?!

                            1. I'm reviving this thread, if only to ask where I can find huitlacoche (either in a restaurant or store).

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: piccola

                                I'm looking, too. It surfaces in canned form occasionally but is just as lifeless as canned mushrooms. Will repost if anything turns up.

                                1. re: Kagemusha

                                  The latin markets on Augusta regularly stock several brands in cans but they are very expensive. I have asked at those places if they have ever seen it fresh in Toronto and the answer has been a universal 'no'.

                                  1. re: Cat123

                                    Sigh. Is the canned stuff really that horrible?