PC Products Total about $125.00
I was planning this post last night and ironically I see a post about PC Thai curries at the top. The amount I have to spend is about $125.00, a bonus from banking use I believe! My post is qyite different as I have not been using PC products for over a year, so as to avoid too many local friends/acquaintances who stop to talk to me. This request is to ask you what PC products I should buy to try, frozen, jars, etc. Thanks!!
If you look on the PC website, many (though far from all) PC products have posted customer reviews. I can tell you from experience that these are not censored. They might screen for abusive or obscene postings, but they don't muck around with even very critical comments.
If several people rate highly something you might like, and their palates seem similar to yours, the product is likely worth trying. In every category, they range from exceptional to not worth eating.
Note, though, that PC points are counted as cash tender toward your order and can be used to buy anything in the store. They aren't restricted to PC products.
Thanks Embee, info much appreciated! I just thought I'd stick with PC products because I have been missing out and the products from Dave Nicol's creations to today seem well received. I won't even try most the other Supermarket's lines having generally found them failing and/or terrible!
Random quality products:
PC Organics honey almond granola cereal: my go-to cereal, really delicious. A better and healthier version of Quaker Harvest Crunch. I don't like the Blue Menu version; if you prefer a lot of granola flakes, get that one instead.
PC Crisp & Thin 8 Grains crackers: a tastier and healthier version of Breton's, and also doesn't break apart as easily. Good for spreads, with cheese, etc.
PC Dark Chocolate bar with almonds / bittersweet dark bar: good quality eating/baking chocolate from France. Big bars.
PC Frozen Desserts line: this is where they really excel. Numerous quality products, much of which is comparable to the good bakeries, i.e. banana/pumpkin/coconut cream pie, lemon tart, cheesecakes, pineapple upside down cake, and much more.
re: Chester Eleganté
"PC Frozen Desserts line: this is where they really excel. Numerous quality products, much of which is comparable to the good bakeries, i.e. banana/pumpkin/coconut cream pie, lemon tart, cheesecakes, pineapple upside down cake, and much more."
Come on, Chester - a somewhat dank crust with not-unpleasant topping is the best one can say for the PC frozen pies - fine to serve children or take on a picnic - in a pinch - but not remotely "comparable to the good bakeries" - surely you jest ? Have you tried Frangipane's lemon tarts, just to cite on example ? or Wendy's cream pies ? or ? or ?
PC desserts are servicable and a cut above Sara Lee/McCain - so let's celebrate that fact and not exaggerate what they are !
Most of them are a damn site better than Sara Lee/McCain. Some of them are comparable to good high end commercial bakers (e.g., Dufflet) and a few are of patisserie quality. Some of their best are also among their cheapest.
Their cookies are among the best mass market commercial cookies available in North America, and many are unique.
I find some PC desserts weird or inedible.The new Grasshopper Pie is disgusting. YMMV, but I give them credit for doing so many desserts well. This is one area in which they totally outclass their competition.
Embee, I said "a cut above" Sara Lee and McCain, so our difference is one of degree. But what product/s would you seriously say are "comparable to" Dufflet ? Are you referring to Dufflet's low-end squares and so on which you see in freezers ? Maybe. But not what you or I could purchase (admittedly at a much higher price point) fresh any day of the week. The cookies are fine for what they are - "mass market commercial cookies" - I think some of what you buy at Second Cup and Starbucks, supplied from local bakeries, are tastier. Does PC do desserts "well" ? Sure, give them credit for trying - but any comparison with the crust, freshness and mouth feel of a bakery product is, with respect, a bit of an exaggeration.
I commend PC desserts for their use of real cream, something that is absent from a lot of baked goods in Toronto; not, perhaps, from Frangipane or Dufflet, for sure. But, let's not compare them to the cream of Toronto's crop. That said, I would have preferred a PC coconut cream pie to the cardboard crusted, stale one I purchased at McEwan a week or so ago, at more than double the price.
We are, of course, discussing matters of personal taste, and it's clear that your taste and mine differ greatly.
We certainly seem to agree about Sara Lee (who actually made extremely high quality, good tasting products way back when) but is now just a "brand", and about McCain.
However, the giveaway about our differences is your mention of the desserts at Starbucks. I've always wondered how Starbucks manages to source an unending supply of sweets that I find inedible.
Everything Starbucks sells is, and has been (to my palate), variously too sweet, gummy, leaden, artificial, or various combinations of the preceding, not to ignore just plain bad. I have often tasted their samples and never liked anything very much. Whenever I buy something, I regret it. Indeed, the only sweet I ever really liked at Starbucks was the sugar free cheesecake (sourced from Carol's) that they sold during the Atkins craze and then discontinued.
I feel that the PC lemon and chocolate tarts compare admirably with similar items from Dufflet. Neither PC nor Dufflet is perfect. The PC crusts are more buttery than those from Dufflet, but are too hard. I like the PC lemon filling better. The jam glaze on Dufflet's lemon tart competes with, and spoils, the lemon flavour. The PC chocolate tart's filling compares well with Dufflet's "intense chocolate" product.
The PC real cream pies are better than most fresh ones available, at any price, in Toronto, though the crusts aren't the best. Unfortunately, they often disappear for months at a time.
There are many other examples. The bottom line is that they are trying to make good products at low prices. Sometimes they succeed; sometimes not.
I'm living with the taste memory of a huge Brooklyn commercial bakery called Ebinger's. People of my background get all teary thinking about Ebinger's nearly 40 years after its demise. Then there was Sutter's, a little shopfront in my neighbourhood that put today's Rahier to shame.
Neither Dufflet nor PC can compete with my memories of Ebinger's, nor Rahier and its kin with Sutter's, but we do have some great local baking nowadays, something Toronto had little of when I first came here (RIP Cake Master). But "comparison with the crust, freshness and mouth feel of a bakery product is, with respect, a bit of an exaggeration" is off the mark.
I say this more with respect to the ghastly (or even just mediocre) "treats" that I've paid big bucks for at local bakers than as a declaration of PC product greatness. Still, PC deserves credit since no major competitor has anything comparable. Sure there are better desserts to be had, but I've paid big bucks for horrible products at highly reputed shops much too often.
Note that I'm praising only the frozen PC desserts, and only some of them. The stuff from Loblaw's "freshly baked in the store" counters is typically awful.
I have a few horror stories about the local ones.
I used to work near Rideau Centre and was always near the Second Cup in rideau centre before closing and the manager was always telling the employees to put the baked goods back in the plastic container to sell the next day.
The employee that day was new and wanted to throw the muffins out and the manager told her not to.
Also worked near the Second Cup on Slater (near o connor downtown) and would pass t here every morning and evening.
That one store, they never close their shades and you could see the same cheesecake there for 4 or 5 days only with 1 or 2 slices missing.
I guess you can say I'm quite an observant person as for my job I actually get paid to go to different stores and observe stuff and write reports on that-mainly for the many chain stores from clothing to food (and bars even...).
But for PC desserts I used to like the "flourless" chocolate cake.
Not sure if they still have that as I usually just make my own :)
The pineapple upside down cakes are good, but very fattening and kind of fun for "junk food".
Not sure if I'd say they were that good as t hey are not memorable at all to me (unlike the Stubbe cake slices I used to love and still enjoy-exept for eating too much marzipan cake one week and never wanting to eat that for at least 1 year, lol).
The most horrible and traumatizing pc food is the frozen sushi.
It is the worst smelliest, soggy sushi in the world.
Even day old restaurant sushi and a major improvement.
The pc tempura shrimp rolls (I usually love tempura shrimp rolls),
but these you miscrowave them (first bad sign I ignored....)
and the sushi is already put together and so of course then it is going to be soggy inside.
the fish also smelled overly fishy and the rice was quite soggy.
just bad overall...a good way to torture your friends or enemies though.
Now maybe if the shrimp were separate from the rice it might work,
but first they have to find a way to make sushi that does not smell....
I actually tried some very good frozen tempura shrimp,
they were from Aquastar I think, from AP (now metro I guess).
kind of a ripoff but good for a frozen item and came with dipping sauce that was decent. kind of a ripoff product but still very convenient (costs maybe $10 for 12pc....)
I also found out that a lot of the PC ice cream is made by Chapmans, esp the cheaper ones (nothing wrong with chapmans).
I learned this at a foodservice show.....
I love the new Blue Menu Roasted Pistacio nuts(unsalted)($5.99)
I like the fig tapenade($4.99)
The frozen portabello mushroom burgers are tasty.
Lots of good frozen seafood and fish products too.
PC Just Peanuts peanut butter is my fave PB these days. As the name suggests, no added sugar, no added oils, just peanuts. The downside is you have to refrigerate it, and you either have to invert it, or stir it when opening, as the natural oil tends to gather at the top. But it tastes great. Look to buy a couple of jars when it periodically goes on sale.
Another product I really enjoy is the PC "Cool Delight" tangerine grapefruit drink mix. As a diabetic, I need to avoid most sugars, and you can only drink so much diet pop. This has a refreshing taste that avoids the bitterness of Crystal Light. I also like the PC chocolate bars another poster referred to, but they have to be a rare treat for me. I bought one before Christmas, and still have more than half of it left.
But, as someone else pointed out, you can use PC points to buy anything, include meat, produce, and dairy (no cigarettes or lottery tickets, I believe). I believe you have to redeem at least 10,000 points ($10.00), and by 10,000 point increments after that. Every few months, when I get enough points, I'll just use my points, and pay the cash difference. E.g. $43.61 of groceries - 40,000 PC pts and $3.61 cash.
We cooked one of the PC's Blue line sheppard's pie last night for dinner. It wasn't as good as some but, it was tasty and filled three kids that are picky eaters. (I am babysitting this weekend.)
The PC's Sirloin Pie is also a staple in the winter in this house, so are the wellingtons -- chicken and shrimp/sole.
and for junk food, the hot wings are good and a decent size.
I have heard their rack of lamb is good. And I love their piri Piri bbq sauce and chips -- not traditional since it is more orange in colour but it is very tasty.
The pineapple upside-down cakes are great -- they also have a really yummy vanilla cake that I haven't seen in awhile.
I'll vouch for the PC frozen & seasoned (Rosemary etc) Racks of Lamb...I always keep a couple of boxes in my freezer..in the summer we BBQ them and in the winter we oven roast...they're really good. I also keep a couple of PC'Original' Cheesecakes in the freezer..topped with 'seasonal fruits' for topping or I make a puree of rasberries (Cdn...picked and frozen in the summer at their peak)...simply wonderful...
Thanks for replies so far received, will continue checking during the weekend and will make a list, using the bonus plus CC no doubt! - Jar
The PC Steel cut oats is wonderful and a fraction of the cost of McCann. We also like the sun dried tomato pesto and the white balsamic vinegar.
Just want to chip in my 2 cents for the PC "World's Best Meatless Chicken Breast." One of the Blue Menu products in the frozen foods section. If you are interested in cutting down on meat consumption, these are awesome. Truly the finest meatless 'meat' product I've ever tried. (By the way I don't work for Loblaws, these are just excellent. 'Nuff said.)
I second these! Also they have new meatless chicken strips which are to die for! You can't tell they aren't actually chicken! The breasts are a different story (you can totally tell it isn't meat) but the texture is great and depending on how you cook them, they can come pretty close to the real thing!
Something I just tried last week, and now quite like, is their savory PC Cottage Cheese (Mediterranean, I believe). It tastes like Greek salad kind of, and comes in individual serving sizes.
Finally located the PC new italian pastas in the deli section.
So far only tried the Pumpkin ravioli and it was filled with pumpkin and amaretti cookies-pretty good overall and would buy again, it is made in Italy was was $3.50.
-not very filling though.
pc olive tapenade in a glass jar, pretty good.
organic jams are good from pc
I like their butter in the sticks the french style one I think....
also liked the blue meny brownie bites, kinda like the 2 bite brownies but without all the artificial stuff. they keep well in the freezer!
re: pâté chinois
I have unfortunately become quite fond of the new PC dipping chips. Haven't tried all the flavours yet but I really like the fully loaded baked potato followed by the aged cheddar &onion. The piri piri is okay -- pretty spicy but also too vinegary for me. The regular "plain" is too plain but tasty and nice and crunchy with a good dip.
I looooove the PC ice cream that is "Loads of" brownie pieces. It's really, really good.
I also drink a lot of PC teas- I like the Moroccan Mint (sweetened with stevia) and the Vanilla Rooibos (I boil massive pots of it and drink it iced... in fact, I am drinking it right now!).
I also like their blue corn tortilla chips. Not big on the salsa though.