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Trip to Buffalo N.Y. what grocery items would you bring back? (moved from Ontario board)

I'm going to Buffalo N.Y. in early Oct. and was looking to do some grocery shopping for things that I can't get here in Toronto. An example would be frozen pearl onions and oyster crackers. What would you bring back because you can't find it here?

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  1. Beer. Just beer. Various USA micros and European beers that the LCBO doesn't bring in.

    3 Replies
    1. re: lister

      The beer selection at Premier Gourmet is amazing. Look for some french cider. Keep your fingers crossed they don't check your car, duty can pack a wallop.

      1. re: dubchild

        Beers of the World in Rochester is even more amazing. Huge selection!

        I always report what I'm bringing back. So far I haven't been dinged for duties and taxes.

        1. re: dubchild

          Speaking of wallop, the Victory Hop Wallop is also great and available at Premier Gourmet!

          I find when I cross, as long as the only alcohol you have is beer, they never make you pay duties. I don't necessarily tell them the price I paid on beer (I would say the price if they ask), but I just say I bought beer. If they ask how much I say the number of bottles. They probably assume you paid $15 for a case of Bud Light.

      2. No food shopping experience in Buffalo is complete without a trip up (and down, and possibly back again) along the breakfast cereal aisle. While there, seek out Quisp: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quisp Hard to find, but worth the trouble, if only for the retro appeal. My wife describes it Cap'n Crunch without the roof-of-your-mouth damage.

        1. Nathan's hot dogs
          Mallomars
          Goya Curry rice
          Jeni-O turkey links
          Bacardi Rum Runner mix
          Stouffer's french bread pizza

          1. Take a cooler with you - Haagen Dazs flavours that aren't available here are always on my list!

            1 Reply
            1. re: Truffles

              and they're a lot cheaper in Buffalo.

            2. Good Season's Italian Salad Dressing (the kind that comes in an envelope and you mix with oil and vinegar)...I really like this stuff...a childhood memory for me...used to be able to get it in Canada but not now...always stock up on it when I'm in the States

              1 Reply
              1. re: tochowchick

                Blueberry syurp.

              2. Hot dogs for sure, Nathan's if I can find them, or else Hebrew National.

                1. Nathan's as has been noted.

                  Muir Glen Fire Roasted Tomatoes. THE best canned tomatoes.

                  Sweet Baby Ray's bbq sauce.

                  DT

                  16 Replies
                  1. re: Davwud

                    Sobey's is now carrying Sweet Baby Ray's sauces.

                    I'd be bringing back Canfield's Diet Chocolate Fudge Soda.

                    1. re: middydd

                      I've been to 3 and haven't seen it.

                      DT

                      1. re: Davwud

                        I've been buying it in Barrie.

                        1. re: middydd

                          And North Bay when travelling earlier this summer.

                      2. re: middydd

                        Where do you find the soda?

                        1. re: pinkprimp

                          Wegmans or Tops.

                          1. re: middydd

                            I used to buy Canfield's in Toronto decades ago. I haven't seen it here in many years. That is great tasting stuff....

                      3. re: Davwud

                        Muir Glen tomatoes are available at most Canadian natural food stores I've been to.

                        1. re: maplesugar

                          Such as??

                          And are they the fire roasted ones??

                          DT

                          1. re: Davwud

                            I don't know exactly where you are but I've found them most recently at Superstore (Calgary) The store locator doesn't work for Canadian addresses but you can call them: Small Planet (Muir Glen/Cascadian Farms 'parent" co.) Phone: 1-800-624-4123 between (7:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. CT, weekdays) or online: http://consumercontacts.generalmills....

                            I checked both Whole Foods and Planet Organic in the TO area already and neither carry Muir Glen anything. Most online retailers appear to carry Eden Organic instead it seems. A google search turned up Muir Glen hits on ebay.ca too.

                            1. re: maplesugar

                              I'm in TO. I'm assuming the OP is as well as Buffalo is our default US destination for cross boarder shopping.

                              DT

                          2. re: maplesugar

                            I used to buy Muir Glen tomatoes at Loblaw's and Dominion, but they are no longer available in Ontario. My understanding (which may or may not be accurate) is that a dispute with the government over nutritional information (which is presented differently in Canada) and unilingual English labels caused them to withdraw from the market. Seems they decided the market was too small to be worth the bother.

                            If you consider the English/French stickers with nutritional info pasted onto almost everything at T&T, this is plausible.

                            1. re: embee

                              I heard the same thing. The last place I bought them was at Liquidation World.

                              Great prices!! Unfortunately, a while ago and they're all gone now. Great tomatoes!!

                              1. re: middydd

                                A few years ago, I got some MG fire roasted tomatoes at Liquidation world too. When I called the compay to enquire about the expiration date, I was stunned to find out how really old they were.

                              2. re: embee

                                An executive at Longo's told me the same thing about the labels. I don't know if he knew or was just speculating.

                                DT

                                1. re: embee

                                  I believe you are correct regarding the labeling issue. I recall a few years ago when Whole Foods opened a new store in my area. They were stocking their 365 brand products but the labels were english only. Then slowly they began sticking bilingual nutritional labels on some but not all of their products. It's interesting that during this phase they also stopped stocking quite a few of their 365 brand products including my favorite and one of their best which was their line of soft drinks. All their 365 brand colas were HFCS free and contained real cane sugar. This was a popular product that they would sell out quickly then one day it just never appeared again. When I inquired the Store Manager said that they were working on the labeling issue and hoped to have it sorted out within a few months--that was 2 years ago.

                            2. Butter. Kerrygold Irish butter, for a start. Absolutely delicious, and I'm pretty sure you can't find it here.

                              1. Entenmann's
                                Boca burgers
                                BBQ Sauce
                                Cereal! (Kellog's Cracklin' Oat Bran, Organic Oat Bran Flakes)
                                King Arthur flour
                                Plugra or Kerry Irish butter
                                Weird flavoured chips
                                Haagen Dasz or Ben & Jerry's Ice cream (much cheaper & more flavours)
                                Jiffy Corn Muffin mix
                                Tia Rosa's Tortilla Bread
                                Diet soda (they have more variety)
                                Yogurt (Fage and some good flavoured low-fat & nonfat varieties)

                                Wow, I think I am long overdue for a cross-border shopping trip.

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: toveggiegirl

                                  Tell me it's true that you have found Fage yoghurt in Buffalo! Where and how long ago? It's probably made in the US now but still willing to try it.

                                  1. re: tuttebene

                                    Fage yogurt sold in the US is different from the product made in Greece. It's certainly good, but I personally find Liberte significantly better.

                                    1. re: embee

                                      Thanks for the tip. Good to know since I love Liberte as well. Had Fage in Italy last year which didn't taste as good as I had remembered and then I noticed it was made in Italy. Something to be said about terreroir.

                                2. My wife stocks up on baking supplies - 50 lbs of flour, 10 lbs of butter - as she finds it much cheaper than here in the GWN.

                                  11 Replies
                                  1. re: FrankD

                                    FrankD is this with duty or do you sneak it through ? And in general, do readers find Canadian Customs sympathetic and willing to blind-eye some groceries or not ?

                                    Didn't this thread work better in ON as that clearly is its intended audience ?

                                    Corned Beef Hash - ridiculously priced at Loblaw's, much cheaper and more variety S of the border.

                                    1. re: Bigtigger

                                      Thank you, everyone that has posted. Please keep the great suggestions coming.

                                      1. re: maxandrick

                                        I live in SW Ontario( I'm American) and I go to Buffalo( actually Amherst) a lot. Thankfully, I have a friend from Cali who lives in Lewiston.

                                        I live closer to MI, so there are some things that I dont buy in NY because they're cheaper in MI. Here are the things I usually buy at Wegman's.

                                        Temp-tee cream cheese
                                        Hebrew National Hot Dogs( I dont eat them, but my Canadian niece loves them)
                                        Yoo Hoo( childhood thing)
                                        Farmer cheese( for blintzes)
                                        Wegman's ice cream( pints) or Hagan Daz or Ben and Jerry's.
                                        Gold medal or KA flour( I dont like Canadian flour)

                                        Bagels from Bagel Jays( 3 locations, great NY bagels)

                                        I also buy 50lb bags of High Gluten flour at a wholesale warehouse in Buffalo so I can make my own bagels.

                                        If you like Brisket, you can find it at Wegman's.

                                        I always bring back a rye bread from Wegman's too. Oh and a slice of peanut butter pie from My Tomato Pie in Tonawanda.

                                        If you like a good sub, check out DiBella's on Niagara Falls Blvd ( across from the mall).

                                        There are a ton more things I bring back, but am drawing a blank.

                                        1. re: Calipoutine

                                          Wow, totally forgot about You-Hoo! Sometimes Sam's Club carries the flat of 35 glass bottles (that's how we like it) but most of the time we just get the cube with the Tetrapacks (drink boxes).

                                          As for Canadian flour, see my post above - Canadian flour ruins American recipes.

                                      2. re: Bigtigger

                                        I am pretty sure that duty does not apply to strictly grocery items. What I mean is that altoids are kind of iffy, but things like breakfast sausage and cheese chex mix seem to be immune to duty. I have never asked out right where customs draws the line, but my co worker just came back from Buffalo with almost $200 bill from Topps and nary a penny in duty.

                                        1. re: sweetie

                                          Actually one of the border guards told me that grocery items are exempt from duty and there is no limit to what you can bring back. There are some limits on specific items (only 5 lbs of cheese or something) but overall, if it's something that is not taxed here in canada you can bring back as much of it as you like.
                                          I've come back with 300 in groceries during a day trip and it was no problem.

                                          1. re: cubmike74

                                            Its 20.00$ worth of dairy. I always bring more and have never been dinged.

                                            Also, you can bring back 1 turkey. I'm pretty familar with the rules and I usually go to MI 1x a week.

                                        2. re: Bigtigger

                                          I have found them willing to let you over your limit by a bit, if it's groceries. But not wine.

                                          1. re: Bigtigger

                                            We have returned with over $400 of worth of groceries and clothes, and only occasionally are asked to pay duty (about 1 in 10 times). However, we never have booze or tobacco, so I think that makes a difference.

                                            1. re: Bigtigger

                                              I have NEVER been charged duty when declaring "groceries", which is what they would find if I got hit with a random search. Alcohol is another matter.

                                              1. re: embee

                                                Late to the party, but your comments about customs remind me of a story. I used to live in Switzerland (early 70's), and my wife of the era and I drove down to Italy to shop quite often. Much cheaper, much better quality, for almost any fine consumer item. Also great scenery and food--Italian restaurants of that era were so much better than the French, but I digress. Anyway, Swiss duties were fairly high, and the inspectors were tough. But they had this real special thing about wine--they just loved to catch you with wine--I even once watched one of them dig around in a Mercedes in front of me, find some the fool didn't declare, and actually wave it above his head. We always were bringing back lots of expensive household items and clothes. So we got in the habit of always buying some wine, generally red which was better and had a lower duty anyway since Switzerland produces few reds. When we got to the border and the inspector asked us if we had anything to declare, I'd sort of hesitate, and then say, well, yes, some wine. He would always say, show me. I'd show him, he'd calculate up some silly little duty like a couple of dollars, we'd go pay, and the subject of other stuff simply wouldn't come up. And we drove through the border with our really good stuff untaxed.

                                                A little psychology goes a long way sometimes.

                                          2. We do this trip a lot - always bring back:

                                            Webers mustard
                                            Loganberry syrup
                                            fresh polish sausage
                                            pierogis from the broadway market
                                            imperial pizza slices......

                                            most of the other stuff people are listing, I can find in VA, but I'm not sure about Ontario....

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: jeanmarieok

                                              Now you're talkin. All these responses, and no one focussing on the fact that the OP is going to BUFFALO.

                                              To your excellent list, I'd add:

                                              Sahlen's Hot Dogs -- foot longs, natural casing, from Wegmans
                                              Ted's Hot Sauce - for the dogs. Got to pick them up at Teds.
                                              Sponge Candy. From any reputable candy store in town. Aletheas, Antoinette's Sweets, etc.

                                              1. re: sbp

                                                Yes! I have a 5 lb bag of Sahlen's Hot Dogs in my freezer right now. And my husband swears by Park Edge Sponge candy!!!

                                                as a side bar - I really wish we had a Ted's !!!!!!!!!

                                            2. Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, Sensuous Slathering Sauce, best barbecue sauce ever, usually at Wegmans.

                                              1. Oh, when I saw this post I knew I was going to answer it... put in a lot of thought into it for you!

                                                First of all, to get the sale prices from the flyers you HAVE to get the Bonuscard issued by that chain - just go up to the customer service/lottery booth up front at Tops and Wegmans and ask for it. If the card isn't scanned at the checkout, your items will ring up at regular prices. Unlike the useless "points"/"air miles" cards you see here, these ones actually SAVE you money right away. (I could rant further on Air Miles but that would be offtopic)

                                                My wife is from the southern U.S. so she will buy a lot of things she misses from home, which thankfully you can get in Buffalo. Some examples: Poppyseed cake filling (in cans), grits, Spanish yellow rice mix, chicken and dumplings, BBQ spice rubs and sauces that actually came from the south, cottage cheese (it's way different from the Canadian), etc... She also buys flour exclusively in the USA because American recipes (cakes, cookies, etc) don't turn out right using Canadian flour. Reason is, American flour is low-gluten compared to the Canadian version.

                                                Others have mentioned Nathans/Hebrew National hot dogs and the vast selection of breakfast cereal, ditto on those. Take a walk down the soft drink aisle too. I like to buy the variations of Mountain Dew you can't get here... Code Red is my personal favorite but there are others. Cherry Coke Zero and Diet Dr. Pepper Cherry we LOVE. (all the cherry sodas are gone from Canada....) And she'll buy cream soda because what we have here isn't what she grew up with (and she can't stand that wacky "bubblegum" flavor here) Be warned, there's a 5 cent deposit per can there.

                                                If you like Louisiana mixes like Zatarains those things go for 1/3 to 1/4 the price they charge here, so stock up on those.

                                                Best advice I can give you is to stock up on food items that are artificially expensive in Canada due to the food cartels (I hate those damn cartels with a passion and on principle I try to spend as little as possible with them). Since you're there in October, trust me, buy your Thanksgiving turkey there, it'll pay for the gas you spent to drive down. One year Wegmans had a special the week before Canadian thanksgiving, where if you spent $20 in groceriers you could get a Butterball turkey for NINETEEN CENTS A POUND. Stock up on dairy products (milk, cream, butter, cheese), eggs, and definitely stock up on meat (we like to get steaks and spiral sliced ham at Sam's Club).

                                                The import cheese section at Wegmans will blow you away. Think SLM selection but at 1/4 the price. For a unique Western New York taste, look for Yancey's Fancy Buffalo Wing Cheddar cheese. And if you like wings, you're there, why not get some.... I usually get a big take-out box from the Anchor Bar, eat some when I get home and freeze the rest for use later. If I don't have time to head over there, the cold wings in the deli section at Tops are OK, just reheat in the oven.

                                                Visit any hole-in-the-wall liquor store. Supermarket Liquors and Wines in Niagara Falls is my favorite (they even send us coupons!). Cheaper prices than duty free and a selection that puts even the flagship LCBO locations to shame. Buy your New Year's champagne, scotch, Bordeaux, whatever, at 1/2 the monopoly prices...

                                                Finally, if you want to save a LOT of money on food, stop at ALDI. Most Canadians have never heard of the place and so, you won't see a lot of Ontario licence plates there. This place is what Loblaws SHOULD have done with No Frills -- it is almost 100% house label brands, displayed on pallets, and unlike Loblaws they actually do pass on the savings to you. My wife stocks up on frozen chickens and Cornish hens here. Even though the food is house labels the quality is pretty good (better than that PC crap). Check out this website: www.aldi.us and click on "special purchases" to see what's on sale this week and next. Only caveat about Aldi -- they only take cash and debit cards from American banks. So bring U.S. cash here.

                                                Technically groceries are duty free (as was mentioned) but there are import limits on certain items. Assuming you aren't bringing in an entire side of beef and 20 gallons of milk you should be OK.

                                                Hopefully this helps you out :-) You sure you want to wait till October?

                                                20 Replies
                                                1. re: TexSquared

                                                  Yes, forgot about Cherry Coke Zero. We came back with a trunk full last time; it is fabulous. So sad we can't buy it here.

                                                  Thanks for the Aldi recommendation. Looks good. Had never heard of it.

                                                  Great list.

                                                  1. re: TexSquared

                                                    WOW! All of this is really appreciated. My grocery list just keeps on growing. Pleeeeease keep the suggestion coming. Maxine

                                                    1. re: TexSquared

                                                      Of course, turkeys are free at Honest Ed's before the holidays, with no purchase required ;-)

                                                      1. re: TexSquared

                                                        I'm American too and always buy Gold Medal or KA flour. I can't stand Canadian flour, I'm an excellent baker and I've screwed up a few recipes using flour bought here. I also hate Canadian cottage cheese. I've recently stopped buying sour cream here too. It contains modified milk ingredients( most cheese, ice cream etc) in Canada have this. I usually buy Daisy when I go to MI or NY. I also love Friendship cottage cheese. Bar cream cheese is a lot cheaper too. Usually 1.19 for Wegman's brand vs 3.50 for a bar of Philly here.

                                                        Btw, Aldi's is owned by Trader Joe's. I'd be thrilled if a TJ's or Whole Foods would open in Buffalo.

                                                        I mail order Heirloom Grits from Anson Mills or Hoppin Johns. Unfortunately, they wont ship to Canada, but I have a PO Box in MI.

                                                        1. re: Calipoutine

                                                          Flour:
                                                          I believe KA flour is more similar to Canadian flour than it is to other brands of American flour. However, Canadian flour labeled "all purpose" usually has a much higher protein content than "all purpose" flour milled in the US, so ignore the name. Check the protein content of the KA flour you like (it's on their website if not on the label). A Canadian flour of the same type (presumably unbleached) with a similar protein content should give you similar baking results.

                                                          Fresh Cheese:
                                                          Canadian cottage cheese in supermarket tubs is pretty awful, but Ontario has some of the best cottage cheese and pot cheese in the universe. The best is from Daiter's, on Bathurst St in Toronto. It sometimes appears in other stores, where the brand name is Lana, but it is a fairly local product. You can get it in several styles, directly from the cheesecloth.

                                                          The Western brand, also excellent, is distributed much more widely. It's carried by all of the mainstream supermarkets in the GTA. If they don't have it where you live, but they do have Liberte, it's a related company and they may be willing to ship some to a specific store. They supply things I've asked for to two Loblaw stores in Toronto, though Loblaw's doesn't list them. Apparently they deliver directly rather than to the warehouse.

                                                          Sour Cream/Cream Cheese:
                                                          Western sour cream is the best I have ever eaten (and I grew up in Brooklyn way back when). The 15% is good and the 30% is decadent, though they make low fat versions also. Ingredients: cream, bacterial cultures, microbial enzymes.

                                                          Western cream cheese has a similar sparsity pf ingredients and is equally good. It's very creamy and spreadable and it has no gums (so you can't make a NY style cheesecake with it, the one downside).

                                                          "Modified milk ingredients" are common in US products also. In Canada, I'm told it is one way to get around some of the Milk Marketing Board rules. Our milk doesn't have any growth hormones, which I think is a good thing.

                                                          1. re: embee

                                                            Yes, yes, yes. Great plug for Daiter's. They have excellent stuff.

                                                            1. re: embee

                                                              The "Whattabagel" chain carries Western products, and we enjoy them. In particular, their smoked salmon cream cheese with fresh hot bagels makes a wonderful Sunday brunch.

                                                            2. re: Calipoutine

                                                              Ya - but at least Canadian dairy products don't have human growth hormone! And as Embee points out try Western brand. Also, I find that lower fat cottage cheese and sour cream can have an icky texture, depending on the brand. Have you tried pressed cottage cheese (forget the brand I get) or Mandels cream cheese?

                                                              As for flour, there is nothing better for bread baking but I can see why you'd have problems with certain pastry items. Still, some pastry - e.g. puff pastry and choux pate does better with high protein flour so you might want to think abt learning to work with Cdn flour for certain items and saving your "imported" stuff for those other things. Less stress over running low! I'd also advise weighing your flour if you don't already, b/c it's heavier here. There are ways to make Cdn flour work: try pouring and sweeping (or LIGHTLY dipping) and sweeping, rather than digging in as you scoop. If you don't already, of course.

                                                            3. re: TexSquared

                                                              Hello Tex Squared.
                                                              I am returning to the Niagara Region from the US for an extended period of time and need some advice, a lot of which I have read so far is very helpful. I plan to do meat, dairy shopping at Tops and Wegmans in Niagara Falls NY and for those canadians returning, is there a $ limit on how much you can bring back. We plan on spending no more than $100 US each time, and I would be interested in hearing if anyone has encountered problems. A.lso if anyone has any tips on good Italian/Greek delis or small markets in the Niagara Falls/Buffalo New York area I would love to hear about them.

                                                              Thank you

                                                              1. re: turtle mom

                                                                If you're out of Canada for less than 24hrs, you technically have no allowance. However, they're pretty lenient these days as they're focus is terrorisim and not excessive shoppers( this is what I was told by customs officers in Sarnia when I got my nexus card). If you're out of Canada for 24hrs your allowance is 50.00. 48hrs gets you 400.00 and 1 week gets you 750.00. I go to Michigan 2-3x a month and always grocery shop( in addition to Target, Big Lots, etc) and I've never gotten dinged for a day trip. Once, I was gone for 2 days and was "Randomly selected", but was told that I wouldnt have to pay duty, it was just a random inpection. They glanced in my car at the customs office, and I was on my way.

                                                                1. re: Calipoutine

                                                                  If you are not carrying alcohol, especially, they won't give you any trouble.

                                                                  1. re: Calipoutine

                                                                    I will be going to MIchigan in early December. What other stores do you recommend? What do you recommend purchasing at Big Lots? (have never been to this store)

                                                                    1. re: Full tummy

                                                                      You should make sure to visit a Meijers - this is like a giant Wal-Mart, only with better food selection. They're all in the suburbs, but most are easily accessible from an Interstate. You can look up their location on-line.

                                                                      And, although I would never recommend doing this myself, I understand some people will purchase clear spirits (gin, vodka, rum), by the gallon, and pour those into empty water jugs for the trip back to Canada. Some people....

                                                                      1. re: FrankD

                                                                        Sneaky. I'm not enough of a drinker, nor risk-taking enough, to do that. And I'm glad my husband isn't either, hahahaha.

                                                                        Yes, actually I have been to Michigan a number of times and Meijers is always on my list, along with Target and Trader Joe's. It is a fabulous grocery store. I once found pounds of butter on sale for some crazy low price that would be unheard of here in Toronto, and stocked up.

                                                                        Any other tips?

                                                                        1. re: Full tummy

                                                                          Yes. Visit a White Castle (numerous locations, check out their website) and order a sack of sliders. You'll understand after you eat one. Also in the FF category - Church's chicken, which seems to have disappeared from Canada. Chicken and fried okra - yum! I'd even recommend Hooters - not that the food is any different, but it's way cheaper than in Toronto.

                                                                          Head out to Dearborn, (take 94 West, and get off at Ford Road, then turn right on Schaeffer and left on Warren to 14300 W. Warren) and visit Shatila foods. My wife just got back from a weekend in Detroit, and brought back three huge boxes of their assorted baklava. Really fabulous, and worth the wait (there is ALWAYS a line-up).

                                                                          I used to enjoy Carl's Chop House, but I understand it fell on hard times, and I don't know if the nearby casino traffic has helped it regain any of its past glories. Great steaks and appetizers, but it was getting run down five years ago, so I can't give it a glowing recommendation.

                                                                          Finally, on the way back, stop off at Tunnel BBQ in Windsor. Not for the ribs or chicken, which are "meh" IMHO, but for their fantastic brownies. Big, chewy, chocolatey - the perfect accompaniment to an ice-cold glass of milk.

                                                                          1. re: FrankD

                                                                            Quick follow up: Did some checking on Carl's, and apparently its downhill slide has accelerated. Uniformly negative comments - dirty, poor service, out of most items, etc. Sorry to have mentioned it.

                                                                          2. re: Full tummy

                                                                            Awesome place.

                                                                            http://davwudsfoodcourt.blogspot.com/...

                                                                            DT

                                                                            1. re: Davwud

                                                                              Woohoo! That looks great!!! Thank you so much. YUM. Can't wait. May not get there this time, but soon. Have a friend in the Ann Arbor area who's a vegetarian. Explains why she never mentioned the place...

                                                                            2. re: Full tummy

                                                                              Where ya going in MI? Its a big place.

                                                                              1. re: Calipoutine

                                                                                This time, we'll be up in the Rochester Hills area, but we are generally in Ann Arbor and Royal Oak.

                                                                  2. Gulden Spicy Brown mustard. I'm not from here so that French's glow in the dark mustard freaks me out.

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: GoodGravy

                                                                      Once in awhile you can find Gulden's at Giant Tiger.

                                                                    2. I would recommend Alcohol. If you are a beer drinker anything from Ommegand like Rare Vos, Hennipin. Or Champagne even the one from Costco is pretty good. We pay ridiculous prices here in Canada.

                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                      1. re: elvisahmed

                                                                        Just a reminder to anyone going from Canada to Buffalo. Unless you have been in the US for 48 hours, you cannot bring in any alchohol unless you want to pay LOTS of duty for it. If you have been in for 48 hours, you are able to bring back a certain amount duty free.

                                                                        1. re: icey

                                                                          That is technically true, but I've gone for one night and brought back 1 case of beer and paid no duty. I've also brought back 1 case when I've only been gone for the day ( in MI). It really depends on the customs agent!!

                                                                        2. re: elvisahmed

                                                                          Actually, there are no Costco's in NY State other than in New York City metro area. The closest Costco to the border is in Detroit.

                                                                          If you still have a Sam's Club membership, they have two clubs in the area, one in Niagara Falls (near the ALDI), the other in Cheektowaga near the Walden Galleria. They should have advertised this fact when they were still open in Canada and maybe they wouldn't have failed as they did. Ours runs out end of October and we will be heading down to make use of it one last time. Might actually renew it for U.S. use just because the prices and selection are so good and we're in the U.S. a lot (mostly on business) and drive by a lot more Sam's than we do Costco.

                                                                          1. re: TexSquared

                                                                            Just a tip, even if you don't have a Sam's Club membership (or, are no longer a member), you can always go to their customer service counter and ask for a visitor's day pass. The downside is that they tack on a 10% fee onto your purchase, but unless you are buying a lot of things of high value, it's a negligible amount My favourite purchase there, always, is the huge flats of eggs - so incredibly cheap (and I can always use more eggs for breakfasts, baking, etc.).

                                                                        3. Diet Mountain Dew for sure..!

                                                                          1. I'm a big fan of the Archer Farms brand - It is Target's premium generic brand.
                                                                            I go to Target to stock up on a lot of grocery items. They don't stock fresh produce or meat, but they do have pretty good prices on everything else.

                                                                            The Archer Farms brand has some yummy stuff:
                                                                            Lemon Cookie Straws
                                                                            Cheddar Scallion Crackers
                                                                            Pesto Parm Pita Chips
                                                                            Chewy Snickerdoodle cookies
                                                                            Lots of vareities of nut mixes: I like the Sweet cajun
                                                                            Black Pepper and Sea Salt Crackers
                                                                            Cinnamon Pecan Stickybun Breakfast Granola
                                                                            etc etc

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: cubmike74

                                                                              Good thinking! I always stock up on the Archer Farms trail mixes; excellent ingredients, some more, some less junky, at a great price. Cannot find anything in that league in Ontario, unless you're in the gourmet aisle, spending big bucks.

                                                                            2. I usually pick up packer briskets from Super Walmart on Transit Rd. They are usually about $1.50 per pound compared to the outrageous prices you find them for up here.

                                                                              I grab a couple of containers of Bison french onion dip.

                                                                              I like Sahlen's weiners so I bring them back. I've never been as thrilled with Hebrew National or Nathan's as others on this board (my SO likes them so I bring them back for her).

                                                                              Like TexSquared, I've been known to bring back a turkey from time to time. The season is coming up, I used to grab one for my grandmother and freeze it for her, for the Christmas dinner she'd prepare for the family.

                                                                              I grab some pop as well, Code Red being the favourite.

                                                                              Trashier selections include Easy Cheese (or the less expensive Great Value knock off from WalMart). Tastykakes peanut butter kandy kakes, and cupcakes.

                                                                              I occasionally bring back a family sub meal from Wegman's to eat when we get home (or on the way depending on traffic). ;)

                                                                              15 Replies
                                                                              1. re: Dr Butcher

                                                                                I love shopping in buffalo.
                                                                                I recentely became a huge fan of premier gourmet.
                                                                                I stocked up on lots of gourmet goodies that are WAY cheaper there.
                                                                                i.e rothchilds makes a huge range of dips, mustards, and they were $5.99 vs. $12.99 here in Toronto.
                                                                                Love shopping at Tops...condiments, cereal, bread, u name it.
                                                                                Its shocking to discover that while we have 10 varieties of mustard..they have 30!!
                                                                                Have Fun.
                                                                                p.s Ive been having the subs at Wegmans for years.

                                                                                1. re: domesticgodess

                                                                                  I just wished Aldi's more foodie/upscale brother Trader Joe's would open in Buffalo! :-) Best deal at Aldi is Red Thunder energy drink .. tastes exactly the same as Red Bull, but for just $2.99 for four cans. Sugar free tastes the same as the regular!

                                                                                  To comment on the other posts, ditto on Gulden's Spicy Brown Mustard, and on Sahlen's hot dogs (if you've never tried them, just stop at Ted's since that's the brand they use). My wife also stocks up on sugar-free Jello cooked (not instant) pudding, which is not available here (or if it is, it's not reasonably priced).

                                                                                  If you're going there for a day and want to avoid the chain restaurants, here are my two biggest recommendations for lunch/dinner:

                                                                                  La Galera at Niagara Falls Blvd at I-190 for non-pretentious Mexican food: the really picky Mex-snobs on the Toronto board would probably hate it, but it is the kind of Mexican food selection and pricing we're missing in Toronto. You can get a good lunch for about $7. No website, but you'll find some reviews online; popular with the locals but unknown by the Canadian cross-border shopping crowd who all run to Chili's or Applebee's :-)

                                                                                  Kentucky Greg's Hickory Pit, it's in the neighborhood between the Walden Galleria mall and the airport . Great BBQ. right up there with Camp 31 in quality. Check it out and get stuffed for a lot less than you would at the Rotary Ripoff Ribfests:
                                                                                  http://www.kentuckygregs.com/
                                                                                  If we're flying home from a trip, we go there straight from the airport since, well, Delta Airlines doesn't feed you... Unlike Toronto (which is, what, 5 times bigger), Buffalo has a very competitive BBQ scene with several ribbers IN TOWN open all year. Not like up here with the Ribfest monopoly....

                                                                                  If you're in a rush and feel like Taco Bell (I know), just find Mighty Taco. Local chain has been around for years and the crowds at lunch should tell you, food is good and the price is reasonable.

                                                                                  You can tell we cross-border a lot... we even have a mailbox at the UPS Store in the same plaza as the Niagara Falls Wegmans to avoid ripoff shipping and import duties for online purchases, also good for redeeming mail-in rebates only valid for American addresses :-) Yes, they even have mail-in rebates for ALCOHOL.... seems ridiculous that beer brewed in Toronto costs half the price, a 90 minute drive away than it does at the Beer Store down the street from the brewery.... damn monopolies and cartels, hate them hate them hate them....

                                                                                  1. re: TexSquared

                                                                                    I"m American and grew up south of Buffalo in Pennsylvania. When I lived out west in South Dakota, my mother would ALWAYS bring me Bison brand French Onion chip dip and Wise potato chips. We couldn't get anything close out there. It was the nices gesture and a little taste of home.

                                                                                    1. re: KristieB

                                                                                      Obviously these won't ship well but did she try to bring you chicken wings and Mighty Tacos too? :-)

                                                                                      Since you grew up in the neighborhood, gotta ask, whose wings are the best, Anchor Bar, Duff's, Bar Bill Tavern, or someone else? [for me: love the Anchor Bar, hated Duff's, never tried Bar Bill]

                                                                                      1. re: KristieB

                                                                                        Yes, I forgot to mention I always get a bag or two of Wise ripple chips to go with my Bison dip!

                                                                                      2. re: TexSquared

                                                                                        I was very disappointed to see Ted's Hot Dogs has closed the Walden Galleria location :( I would head over their after flights since its close to the airport. Didn't know they used Sahlen's product--I will definitely try a pack on my next trip there.

                                                                                        1. re: ParsleySage

                                                                                          Ted's uses Sahlen's?? We went there last summer and were rather underwhelmed. I wanted so much to like it but it just didn't do it for us.

                                                                                          I guess I don't need to pick any Sahlen's up next trip. Apparently I don't think much of them.

                                                                                          DT

                                                                                          1. re: Davwud

                                                                                            Wow. I've never heard of anyone disappointed by Ted's (and I've seen enough of your posts not to write you off as a know-nothing). It's a very different hot dog from the Boars Head/Nathans mold. Those are very garlic-centric. Ted's clearly has pork in it and a more black pepper spice "bite."

                                                                                            After a good charcoal grilling, Ted's/Sahlens are my favorite dogs. One of the reasons I put them head and shoulders over Pinks or a Chicago style hot dog is the focus is on the sausage itself, not on what you put on them.

                                                                                            I guess great minds don't always think alike. :)

                                                                                            1. re: Davwud

                                                                                              Just to verify, go to Ted's website:
                                                                                              http://www.tedsonline.com/
                                                                                              The Sahlen's logo is on the home page.

                                                                                              1. re: TexSquared

                                                                                                Yep. Just one caveat. My recollection is Sahlens makes a special recipe unique to Ted's, so the ones available at the supermarkets (like Wegmans) isn't exactly the same. Close enough for me, though.

                                                                                                1. re: sbp

                                                                                                  I don't think the franks at Ted's are different from those at any other place selling Sahlen's (though I've never actually eaten one myself). I think it's more about their cooking method and their sauce.

                                                                                            2. re: ParsleySage

                                                                                              They have a location on Transit Road in Williamsville, if you look at the map you'll see this is very close to the airport:
                                                                                              http://www.tedsonline.com/locations.php

                                                                                              1. re: TexSquared

                                                                                                I think that's the one we went to.

                                                                                                I'm not here to dis Ted's. It just didn't WOW me. To me, it's just a case of me liking other dogs more I guess. No biggie.

                                                                                                DT

                                                                                                1. re: Davwud

                                                                                                  I've always found Sahlen's to be a bit of an acquired taste. I had a university roommate from Fort Erie who would always bring them back from trips home so I had them throughout my university days where I gained my appreciation for them.

                                                                                                  I find them to be more of a European style of weiner, nothing close to a Nathans or Hebrew National style.

                                                                                                  I was just in Buffalo and picked up a package. ;)

                                                                                          2. re: domesticgodess

                                                                                            DiBella's has much better subs. THe bread is better, the meats are better. I was a huge wegman's sub fan until I tried DiBella's. I can't stand the "wafer turkey" they use at Wegman's. Its pretty cheap( 3.99lb)

                                                                                        2. White Hots. Great regional sausage.

                                                                                          1. Native Buffalonian here, though I haven't visited with regularity for many years. A couple of unusual things I'm not seen elsewhere:

                                                                                            A horseradish and mustard blend -- yes, blended -- I think Weber makes it.

                                                                                            Vernor's soda ("pop" locally). A ginger soda, if I remember. Also Squirt, which is grapefruit flavor. Not sure if either still exists, but I remember them fondly.

                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                            1. re: comestible

                                                                                              Vernor's is common in Ontario - I'm under the impression it originated in Detroit, no?

                                                                                            2. What about Plochman's mustard; is it available in any of the supermarkets? I'm interested in trying their Chili Dog mustard.

                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: adkatz

                                                                                                I, too, am going to Buffalo shopping and Darien Lake next weekend. I was shopping on the Wegmans website and happen to notice that they sell 8 oz of mascarpone for $3.49!!!!!!!! I will be sure to add a few of those to my list, as I can't touch the 8 oz for less than 7.99 here.

                                                                                                Also, appreciate all these items, can't wait to get shopping...

                                                                                                1. re: foodie_guru

                                                                                                  Whoa, that's pretty good. I'd make a huge tiramisu at that price.

                                                                                                2. re: adkatz

                                                                                                  Happily, I found Plochman's at Tops in Niagara Falls... I just wish TO were half the foodie town Buffalo is!

                                                                                                3. Frozen pearl onions, as you point out . . . what is soooo frickin' hard abt stocking these here? Frozen artichoke hearts.
                                                                                                  Sour cream.
                                                                                                  Jiff peanut butter (extra crunch).

                                                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: cinnamon girl

                                                                                                    Galen, are you listening?

                                                                                                    Frozen pearl onions and frozen artichokes. Why not?

                                                                                                    1. re: cinnamon girl

                                                                                                      Any mid-eastern store, and most Russian stores, will have the artichokes, all over Toronto. They are large, great looking artichoke hearts, though the flavour often disappoints. They usually come from Egypt. Nasr, Arz, Ararat, several stores (at least one of them 24/7) on Yonge between Steeles and Sheppard, Sababa, many more) all stock these.

                                                                                                      I don't buy many mainstream frozen veggies these days but, when I last did (perhaps 25 years ago) frozen pearl onions were a standard supermarket item. When did they disappear?

                                                                                                      Sour cream? Try Western brand (widely available), which is better than anything from the US. Butterfat content from 1% up to 30%. Several more brands available at Russian and Ukrainian stores and even at some NoFrills outlets.

                                                                                                      Jif is sold here, though not widely. Check with the distributor.

                                                                                                      1. re: embee

                                                                                                        What I particularly love about Western sour cream is that if you look at the ingredient list, it's SO short. And the best part...no modified corn starch. I think most of the major brands available in Ontario have corn starch as the second ingredient, while Western has none. I think Organic Meadow is the only other brand with no corn starch.

                                                                                                        1. re: embee

                                                                                                          Thanks Embee - you're right Western sour cream is delish and tastes as sour cream should. Part of my problem was that I was buying reduced fat, whatever brand . . . which used to taste like sour cream - was just runnier. But over the years it's become worse and worse. I won't sweat the frozen artichokes if they're a let down. But I wouldn't travel to the north end just to buy them anyway. I just want the convenience of them - but more so the pearl onions, in everyday supermarkets / freezer cases.

                                                                                                      2. I'm not going to overwhelm you with suggestions, since I don't know what you like. However, I can give you some info that may save you time.

                                                                                                        The best single store is the Wegman's on Sheridan Drive in Williamsville. (The Wegman's in Niagara Falls is a much older, much smaller store with neither the merchandise range nor the service.) And this isn't even one of Wegman's top tier stores, which have 150,000 sq ft almost totally devoted to food. Their website lists just about everything in the regular stock - tens of thousands of things. Note that, as of late 2008, Wegman's no longer carried Nathan's franks. One Wegman's quirk: if you buy anything with ANY amount of alcohol, at any age, you will be carded.

                                                                                                        The other must see is the Premier store on Delaware near Sheridan, for wine, beer, and "gourmet" foods (though some of these foods are mainstream in Toronto).

                                                                                                        Tops is not an exciting shopping experience. However, they do sell some things that Wegman's doesn't. You will find the huge US array of processed and junk foods that we don't have at home (and they do sell Nathan's, though not at every store). Most Tops stores aren't worth the bother, but their Supercenter on Niagara Falls Blvd, though a shadow of its former incarnation as the "International Bazaar", is fairly well stocked. Tops' store made foods and baking are blah.

                                                                                                        Beware of Aldi. They can be incredibly cheap. However, it is virtually all private labels - some good; some not. It doesn't make sense to stock up on something and haul it home when you really have no idea what you are buying and when they may never have it again.

                                                                                                        8 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: embee

                                                                                                          I figured you or KevinB would chime in here eventually!

                                                                                                          In defence of Aldi, I agree, some of their house label stuff sucks. But since we do return frequently we'll usually buy just one of a new house label item we want to test, and if it's any good we'll stock up. Some of them are no-brainers, house-label stuff that they can't screw up. Table salt, German egg noodles, cooking spray, baking soda, flour... we're there for the price not the gourmet/foodie quality. (as I said further up, if Aldi's brother Trader Joe's opened there, we'd be in heaven). Their frozen cornish hens and whole chickens are fine, at 1/4 the Canadian cartel pricing. And if we didn't plan on going to Sam's Club, Aldi's prices on eggs and milk usually beat the other chains.

                                                                                                          They do have national brands for a lot of things. If Wegmans or Tops doesn't have them on sale, Butterball turkeys are usually in the freezer there, and they have the best prices on the brand name snack foods, like the big cans of Pringles for 99 cents (the same ones that go for up to $2 in Toronto), or the half pound bags of Combos (one of my favorites).

                                                                                                          And as I said in the Toronto board, Aldi is what No Frills should have been. A way for Loblaws to sell all their house label stuff in one shop at prices that blow Metro and Sobeys out of the water. If not for the food cartels and import restrictions (yeah, free trade is a farce), Aldi could come over and do really well in Canada and really put a hurting on Loblaws. (gotta love government protectionism that keeps the Weston family billionnaires when they don't deserve it).

                                                                                                          They are all over Europe as well as in the USA, Australia, etc, so there's no reason (other than political) that they couldn't do well in Canada. They are German-owned so yes, they do have a lot of house label stuff from there if you're looking for it. This is a very successful international operation that just can't be dismissed as no factor as you have, they won't come in and fail like (I admit) Krispy Kreme or Dunkin Donuts or Olive Garden or Outback. Be like me saying "don't bother with Walmart, waste of time" while they rack up profits every year because they're good at what they do.

                                                                                                          So, to the other posters, don't bypass Aldi just because Embee said so. Go once and try it, it's worth a look, honestly. If you hate it, fine, that's your prerogative. But it is worth at least one visit to see an internationally-proven "no frills" grocery shopping concept not seen in our country. We passed it for years not knowing what it was and our first try, 4 years ago, just out of curiosity really (we were driving between Sam's Club and Wegmans), blew us away. We left there with a cart filled to capacity.

                                                                                                          -Tex

                                                                                                          1. re: TexSquared

                                                                                                            Actually, I'm not putting down Aldi at all. The OP was looking specifically for "things that I can't get here in Toronto". Your post is about something very different - saving money. Yes, Aldi will most definitely save you money! Price wise, Aldi can make Wal-Mart seem like Pusateri's.

                                                                                                            You make regular trips to the US stock up on groceries. We don't do that very often and we bring back ONLY what we can't get at home. Since we don't have much storage space, buying things like flour and salt doesn't make any sense.

                                                                                                            Despite the incredible simplicity of Aldi's operation, and the similarity of all their stores, the stores can provide drastically different shopping experiences - like any other chain. I actually find that surprising, given the extreme central control over everything. You won't find "service" at an Aldi, but some Aldi stores are clean and friendly while others are gross. If I lived near an Aldi, I'd certainly shop there. But I wouldn't drive 150 miles for that reason.

                                                                                                            Should No Frills have been modeled on Aldi? That's actually a very interesting question. I'm sure this was considered. One idea was to stock NoFrills stores almost completely with "NoName". Thing is, people still complain about the "too narrow" merchandise selection at No Frills, which stocks much more stuff than Aldi and has fewer disappearing products.

                                                                                                            You may not be aware of this, but we actually had an Aldi clone chain in Toronto, Valdi, which was, indeed, extremely cheap. There was one down the street from where I live, but it was still necessary to shop elsewhere for most of my list.

                                                                                                            Valdi was owned by Steinberg's of Montreal, the chain that had the equivalent of today's Wal-Mart Supercenters, only much nicer, in the sixties. When Steinberg's was destroyed by the feuding daughters of the deceased founder, Valdi actually lasted several more years.

                                                                                                            I'm sure that the billionaire family that owns Aldi has looked at Canada and decided that they aren't interested. Canada is to small, and the population too widely dispersed, to make this concept as profitable as they would want it to be.

                                                                                                            The "relationship" between Aldi and Trader Joe's, is complicated, and there are Chowhound threads about it. They aren't exactly the same company - or maybe they are. Only the owners really know, and they aren't talking.

                                                                                                            PC was specifically an amalgam of Trader Joe's merchandising tactics (Dave Nichol bought the rights to "Insider's Report" from Trader Joe's) and Mark's and Spencer's product quality. It's unfair to call the PC products "crap". They aren't all good, but they do aim high and many of them are consistently the best in their product category. And here, too, Loblaw's creeping attempts to sell mainly private labels meet with much resistance - especially on this board.

                                                                                                            I didn't mention Wal-Mart because (1) I don't know exactly what they sell, (2) I find Wal-Mart a depressing place to shop and (3) I abhor their business practices and the way they treat their employees. Why go there when you have Wegman's? FWIW, Wegman's is consistently rated as the best place to shop for food in the entire US (and they are just a small regional chain) and one of the top five employers in the entire US.

                                                                                                            1. re: embee

                                                                                                              To understand the relationship between Aldi and Trader Joe's, one has to know that Aldi is actually two separate chains, each owned by a different Albrecht brother: Aldi North, which is based in Northern Germany, and Aldi South, based in Southern Germany. Each chain has expanded into other countries, with Aldi South going into the US. Trader Joe's, on the other hand, is owned by Aldi North. In other words, in the US, Aldi and Trader Joe's are separate operations, although they share a similar emphasis on house brands.

                                                                                                              1. re: embee

                                                                                                                Good points all, but the only one I question is your comment that "Canada is too small and the population too widely dispersed" for Aldi to be profitable here. You could say that about Wal-Mart but they overcame that and steamrolled over some rather weak competition in the process.

                                                                                                                But let's get back to Aldi. They're in AUSTRALIA too, and what you said that makes Canada unprofitable would apply to 'Oz. Worst yet, Australia is a LONG ways away from home base which would make shipping prohibitive for all that German and American food, and let's not forget Australia's import restrictions. So clearly they'd have to produce a lot of the food domestically. Why couldn't they do that here? I think you know where I'm going with this.... (I can just see KevinB rolling his eyes at that, if he still reads this board -- I think he left in disgust during the whole Chicago Pizza Kitchen debacle).

                                                                                                                I vaguely remember visiting the Valdi at Eglinton and Bermundsey (there's a condo there now, go figure) years ago. And honestly I'm too "young" to remember it at all.

                                                                                                            2. re: embee

                                                                                                              Embee

                                                                                                              I picked up Nathan's at the Wegman's in NF a month ago. The had more than one type too.

                                                                                                              DT

                                                                                                              1. re: Davwud

                                                                                                                Nice. They had delisted them last year for reasons unknown but, unlike Loblaws', they do seem to respond to customer requests.

                                                                                                              2. re: embee

                                                                                                                The Wegman's on Alberta drive is comparable to the store on Sheridan. Its right across the street from the mall.

                                                                                                                1. re: Calipoutine

                                                                                                                  Good to know. Thanks.

                                                                                                              3. Wegman's has Mexican Coke

                                                                                                                6 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: plavka

                                                                                                                  Wegman's carries Mexican Coke? I did not know that--thanks for the tip! Coke in the UK is HFCS free also.

                                                                                                                  1. re: ParsleySage

                                                                                                                    You can get Mexican Coke here in Kensington.

                                                                                                                    DT

                                                                                                                    1. re: Davwud

                                                                                                                      Where exactly in Kensington?

                                                                                                                      1. re: ParsleySage

                                                                                                                        Emporia Latino and Perola's both carry it.

                                                                                                                        In fact the Latin food court at Weston Rd. and Finch has it too.

                                                                                                                        DT

                                                                                                                        1. re: Davwud

                                                                                                                          Davwud: Many thanks!

                                                                                                                          1. re: ParsleySage

                                                                                                                            NP

                                                                                                                            DT

                                                                                                                2. As a non-Canadian living in California I found this thread very, very interesting. I'm no economist, so I guess I assumed that NAFTA would make it easy for any American foodstuffs to cross the border and be widely available. I can understand that some American companies don't want to label bilingually if the market isn't big enough, but it's too bad you have to drive to Buffalo to satisfy your cravings.

                                                                                                                  Can someone explain cartels, and how (and why) they make some things cost more?

                                                                                                                  45 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: ptrichmondmike

                                                                                                                    This article explains how the dairy cartel operates in Canada to keep prices artificially high:
                                                                                                                    http://www.iedm.org/uploaded/pdf/fev0...

                                                                                                                    They go by the euphemism "marketing boards" but let's call a spade a spade, they're cartels, just like how OPEC unilaterally controls the price of oil and DeBeers unilaterally controls the price of diamonds, and the world is powerless against them. They dictate the supply, they dictate the price. Canadians are powerless against the food cartels, there is no competition. Milk goes for around $4 a gallon here. Everywhere. If you find it cheaper somewhere, that's a loss leader by that retailer.

                                                                                                                    NAFTA has so many exceptions it's a joke, and the exceptions (or outright breaking of the rules) goes in both directions, it's not just American food products denied access to Canada, there are Canadian things that are denied access to the American market. If our retailers could import American dairy products duty-free under NAFTA that would be great as it would do an end-run around the cartel and force them to lower prices to compete. Three cheers for competition, thumbs down to price fixing.

                                                                                                                    1. re: TexSquared

                                                                                                                      How can you bring some of the items mentioned in this thread home? I thought no meats allowed?
                                                                                                                      I once asked at the airport if I can bring back cooked ribs from Texas and was told no. So I usually bring back coffee, spices and baking supplies that I cannot find in TO.

                                                                                                                      1. re: caitlink

                                                                                                                        I think if you are driving across the border, it's different. We went to Ft. Erie for dinner in August, and brought all of our leftovers back, with no problem. Including cooked ribs. And we packed a whole picnic (meat, veg, snacks, sweets, small grill,beer, etc ) in Buffalo and took it over to the beach in Canada, without any questions asked.

                                                                                                                        1. re: jeanmarieok

                                                                                                                          Unless things have changed drastically since 9/11, the border at Buffalo has always been pretty basic. The only time we had trouble was when I was a kid coming back to the US. We had spent a day at the beach, the station wagon was loaded with kids, floats, sand toys, etc. The border guard asked "what was the purpose of your visit?" My mother responded: "What does it look like? We went to sell the kids and there were no takers." Wound up getting the car searched.

                                                                                                                          1. re: sbp

                                                                                                                            Your mom sounds like my kind of girl. Never mouth off to a government agent! We used to live in Potsdam, NY, and go across to Canada regularly from Massena and Ogdensburg, to get things that weren't available in the North Country. The only "trouble" we ever had was one Christmas when we were bringing gifts to my mom and dad - the value of the gifts was questioned but the Canada Customs guy let us pass w/o duty being paid. Holiday spirit?

                                                                                                                        2. re: caitlink

                                                                                                                          We've never been hassled about bringing groceries into Canada. There are a few, insignificant, banned items, though I don't remember offhand what these are. We have never been asked. (Similarly, we can't bring citrus fruits, Sichwan peppercorns, or fresh mangosteens into the US lest we somehow infest and destroy certain crops.)

                                                                                                                          The only big deals have been about alcohol and tobacco. Since we have never smoked, and don't bother with alcohol unless an incredible bargain on an incredible wine justifies the extortion and the hassle, these have never been an issue.

                                                                                                                          A sealed meat package with a USDA inspection label is okay, though they were quite officious during the Mad Cow scare. Cooked meats are usually overlooked. They won't typically confiscate something from Wegman's or the Anchor Bar, but I do believe some ethnic profiling occurs.

                                                                                                                          If you appear to belong to certain ethnic groups, they are fanatical about things such as homemade or uncooked sausages. (When planes arrive from certain countries, a sausage sniffing dog is almost always on duty.)

                                                                                                                          1. re: caitlink

                                                                                                                            You can find more info on what food products can be brought into Canada at this government website:
                                                                                                                            http://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/fpa-apa/la...

                                                                                                                            1. re: toveggiegirl

                                                                                                                              Thanks so much for the link. Looks like I can bring back cooked ribs. I've been looking for this link forever.

                                                                                                                          2. re: TexSquared

                                                                                                                            The correct term is that dairy is a "supply-managed sector". Highly sensitive in any economy. It's not that goods are "denied" market access but through "quotas", trade is limited. Trade in agricultural goods is further complicated by labelling (as some have mentionned), differences in regulatory standards (think hormones) and geographical indicators - especially cheese.

                                                                                                                          3. re: ptrichmondmike

                                                                                                                            Simply stated, NAFTA is a crock. With a genuine free trade agreement, there are no restrictions, duties, or taxes when moving merchandise across borders. Indeed, when you carry an EU passport, you can skirt the customs and immigration formalities when crossing any EU border.

                                                                                                                            With NAFTA, the US does whatever it wants. We win cases at NAFTA tribunals, and the US simply ignores the decision. Consider today's "Buy American" policies. Sure I can understand the emotions involved, but this is NOT free trade.

                                                                                                                            The reality is that the EU has a standardized food labeling policy. Quebec needs French food labels, but in the Toronto and Vancouver areas, Chinese labels would make more sense. The Canadian daily food guide and its US equivalent do not agree on very much (different successful lobbyists) and express nutritional content differently

                                                                                                                            Our reality is that few US food producers and distributors are willing to make an effort because their home markets are so large and the Canadian market is so small.

                                                                                                                            In the food arena, the dairy and wheat marketing boards cause the most problems. For example, we get very few flavours of Haagen Dazs or B&J ice cream because they must make it here. They can't import product from the US without buying someone else's milk quota.

                                                                                                                            Producers/distributors of products not controlled by one of the cartels still won't send things here because they can't be bothered with the necessary paperwork (which, with true free trade, wouldn't be necessary).

                                                                                                                            Finally, transportation costs in Canada are astronomical. Some of this is legitimate (small population densities over humongous distances), but some of it is pure gouging. I can't vent about UPS Ground's cross border shipping ripoff on Chowhound, but it's a beaut of a scam.

                                                                                                                            1. re: embee

                                                                                                                              Ditto to EVERYTHING you said! And I'm fully aware of that UPS "brokerage fee"; if any idiot ships something to us UPS Ground we always refuse delivery and then tell the shipper, "now resend it USPS or FedEx like we asked". Worst incident was a $100 item and they wanted $120 in fees for it. What? But that's going offtopic too far.

                                                                                                                              As for the transport costs, that's why I used the Aldi in Australia example. Australia is huge with a lot of sparsely populated zones (outback, desert, etc), and has a lot of import restrictions, yet Aldi moved in and is doing fine there. If they can survive there they should handle Canada.

                                                                                                                              I agree, how can anybody call it a free trade agreement if it's watered down with so many rules such that nothing changed and I still can't import whatever I want (whether by FedEx or by cross-border shopping)? We don't need to go all-out EU style (where people can move without restriction), but let's have true free trade. But of course the cartels (and I lump Brewers Retail in with them as they're not government) know how to grease the right palms and keep their little scam going forever when clearly it is wrong. LCBO sucks but there are some U.S. states that keep hard liquor sales in-house so it's not a totally foreign concepr; however allowing beer to be sold by a *PRIVATELY OWNED* monopoly , that's crazy.

                                                                                                                              1. re: TexSquared

                                                                                                                                Most websites and mail order providers will not ship food to Canada under any circumstances, even where duties and taxes are not involved. Many more will ship ONLY via UPS Ground, which costs peanuts within the US, but caviar across the border.

                                                                                                                                The Beer Store situation is even worse than it seems. Not only is Brewer's Retail a privately owned cartel, but beer brewing "consolidation" in recent years has made it a totally foreign owned cartel!

                                                                                                                                Today's owners are Belgian (Labatt), American ("Molson" - Coors), and Japanese (Sleeman). Every other brewer is at the mercy of its gorilla competitors to get listed, and most of the genuine micros can't afford it. I do give them credit for their reuse/recycle policy, which is probably the only one in Ontario that is actually effective.

                                                                                                                                1. re: embee

                                                                                                                                  We've never ordered food to be shipped here as few will do it and the cost is prohibitive. Since we are across so often, we have a UPS Store mailbox in Niagara Falls (in the same plaza as the Wegmans) where we have our U.S. mail order/eBay stuff sent to, so we can take advantage of the cheap shipping and of course avoid the brokerage fees and import duties. Only way we could get coffee from PT's Coffee in Kansas (yes, we ordered the Panama Esmeralda Especial, amazing stuff!) was to have it sent there, as I don't think I saw a foreign shipping option on their website at the time. Wife often orders southern food (that isn't available in Buffalo) and has it shipped there or her mom will send us a box.

                                                                                                                                  The cost of the fuel to drive to and from Niagara Falls and the price of the mailbox rental is more than offset by the savings in shipping, "brokerage fee", and duties we'd have paid to have the stuff sent to Canada, so any additional savings from shopping at Wegmans, Tops, Aldi, Wal-Mart, the outlet mall, etc, on the same trip is just bonus! For those who do a lot of U.S. mail order this is a great solution -- also good for mail-in rebates that need a U.S. address.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: TexSquared

                                                                                                                                    re Esmeralda: http://www.rocketfuelcoffee.com/Black...

                                                                                                                                    1. re: TexSquared

                                                                                                                                      Do you have much trouble shipping to a PO box??

                                                                                                                                      I'm fortunate to have a MIL, SIL and friend all of whom I can send stuff to in the US but I know some people who would be interested in a PO box.

                                                                                                                                      DT

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Davwud

                                                                                                                                        It's not a PO box, as you have to be a local resident to get one from the U.S. Postal Service.

                                                                                                                                        It's a private box at a UPS Store. When we have things shipped there we enter the address as 1623 Military Road, Unit (xxx), Niagara Falls, NY 14304-1745. So to the shipper it's a building, not a post office. Totally transparent, and they'll accept shipments from UPS, FedEx, etc, which USPS won't.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: TexSquared

                                                                                                                                          Very cool. If Mrs. Sippi ever wises up and dumps me I'll have to remember that but until then, I'll keep the wool pulled over her eyes.

                                                                                                                                          ;-)

                                                                                                                                          DT

                                                                                                                                  2. re: TexSquared

                                                                                                                                    I will not argue that the LCBO is over price but it in no way sucks. It has a great
                                                                                                                                    selection and has a nice clean look to it. The have a better price on beer in small batches than the BR. They don't mind ordering items that you want either.

                                                                                                                                    They also have some terrific buying power and it would be nice to pass that along to us consumers but we live in Canada and are willing to pay these prices.

                                                                                                                                    DT

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Davwud

                                                                                                                                      Uh, it sucks BECAUSE it charges ripoff monopoly pricing. You'll find things at Supermarket Liquors in NF that they don't have. Not even worthy of debate.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: TexSquared

                                                                                                                                        I disagree. As I said above, they're expensive. I'm not arguing that. Expensive and sucky are two different things though.

                                                                                                                                        I've found plenty of stuff at the LCBO that I can't get at the local places down yonder. The LCBO's selection is bigger and that's when you consider there is a really good liquor store that we pass every time we go from my MIL's to my SIL's.

                                                                                                                                        I buy as much as I can at duty free anyway.

                                                                                                                                        DT

                                                                                                                                        1. re: TexSquared

                                                                                                                                          The LCBO is certainly a monopoly. Some of their pricing is excessive; some isn't. It is certainly worthy of debate.

                                                                                                                                          Given their buying power (if they aren't literally the biggest single booze buyer in the world, they are close), they could charge less for much of what they sell. Their minimum price policy sucks.

                                                                                                                                          We may be the only place in the Western world where restaurants/bars pay more than retail rather than getting volume discounts. I resent that they control merchandise bought outside of their system.

                                                                                                                                          They made a big mistake last year by culling most really good lower cost wines from their list on the pretense that customers told them they wanted a broader range of "better" (read more expensive) "value priced" wines. A pox on that.

                                                                                                                                          That's a very long list of negatives. Nevertheless, unlike the Beer Store, I don't hate the LCBO.

                                                                                                                                          I find that they do have some very positive attributes. They have created a very pleasant shopping experience at their newer and renovated stores. The stores with a Vintages area tend to have genuinely knowledgeable and seemingly impartial people on staff.

                                                                                                                                          Their lab testing policy, which does add something (admittedly not much, given their scale, but something) to their costs, has done a good job of keeping contaminated and adulterated products off their shelves.

                                                                                                                                          The LCBO selection isn't bad at all. If your local store doesn't stock what you want, they will send it there for you. Unlike the Beer Store, the enormous LCBO profits stay right here.

                                                                                                                                          Cities like NY have specialty wine shops that sell more high end bottles than the LCBO, sometimes (not always) at much better prices. The Niagara Region is blessed with food and wine shopping opportunities far beyond what one would expect. Both Buffalo and Rochester have liquor stores that are well above the US norm. Wegman's is based in Rochester, hardly a "foodie" destination, and has their fabulous prototype store there. I find this, frankly, kind of weird, but they are really lucky in that area.

                                                                                                                                          But the reality is that most US liquor stores have a minimal selection of high volume stock. They have lots of bottles for under $5, and they may sell drinkable Aussie or Chilean wines for 1/3 less. But they have little selection and little knowledge. And some states have public monopoly outlets that make the LCBO look dazzling.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: embee

                                                                                                                                            For both Embee and Davwud:

                                                                                                                                            On principle I do not shop at the LCBO, just like how on principle Embee refuses to shop at Wal-Mart. Both are good at what they do, no question, but some don't like HOW they became profitable and do not wish to add to those profits.

                                                                                                                                            I pay enough tax as it is. Shopping at the LCBO is like voluntarily paying more tax, and unlike gambling at the government casinos, you have no way of winning every once in awhile.... it's a lose-lose for you every time as you're always paying too much. Their "sales" are a joke -- $1 off a $50 item? (that doesn't look as bad as putting up "SALE! 2% OFF" signs!) I do not need alcohol (unlike, say, I need food to live). I would rather do without and wait till my next U.S. visit than willingly hand over more of my hard-earned money back to the government like that. There is not a single bottle of beverage alcohol in my house that was bought at the LCBO or Brewers' Retail.

                                                                                                                                            I get their Vintages catalog in the mail, and all I do with it (if it didn't go into the blue box right away) is bring it with me to Supermarket Liquors to compare prices. And I'm not the only one doing that in the store either.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: TexSquared

                                                                                                                                              Just to play devil's advocate ;) ..... how do you think this province helps fund OHIP, public schools, etc.? It's not likely you're boycotting these services? Whatever people think about the LCBO, think about what taxes you'd be paying if this revenue source dried up. And BTW, the knowledge of product consultants in most stores I find is worth the added cost.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: tuttebene

                                                                                                                                                Read again what I said: "I do not need alcohol". People do not need to drink to survive (those that do have other issues beyond the scope of this board). Are you saying that those who do not drink, for whatever reason (health, personal, or religious), are unfairly boycotting the LCBO too?

                                                                                                                                                As for the "knowledge of product consultants", let's face it, the Internet has made that aspect of shopping obsolete. Who goes into a Best Buy and asks for the opinion of the sales guy when looking for a TV or computer? I sure don't. Same with alcohol. I come up with a list, I go to Supermarket Liquors in NF, and I buy what I wrote down, at 1/2 the price of the LCBO. Done.

                                                                                                                                                Product consultants "Worth the added cost"? OK, let's turn that around for you. Let's say a computer has an MSRP of $600, but if you have to get help from a sales guy for advice at Best Buy, the price doubles to $1200. But more importantly, you DON'T have the option to go across the street to another store to get that computer for $600. You're forced to pay $1200, whether you used the sales guy or not. That's LCBO.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: TexSquared

                                                                                                                                                  I agree!! I dont drink, but I do buy booze for cooking( and guests). I NEVER( well except for my wedding when I was forced to by my spouse) by booze at the LCBO. I try to get a few bottles of cheap wine ( for cooking) when I go to Trader Joe's in MI. I've even found that I can bring back 1 case of beer ( spouse drink blue light) when only gone for the day. I'd much rather pay 20 bucks US than 38.00 CAD for the same product.

                                                                                                                                                  The only time I visit the LCBO is for the Food and Drink magazine!!

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Calipoutine

                                                                                                                                                    I wish they had Trader Joe's in Buffalo. I have been to two of them, the original in Monrovia, CA, and another in Columbus, OH, always a treat. Where else can you get wine for $2 a bottle? (if LCBO sold Charles Shaw it'd go for $12-$15) I like to stock up on their "Bananas, flattened" -- ugly looking things but taste good....

                                                                                                                                                    As for beer, I bought 12 bottles of Stella Artois for $13 at Tops. Over at "The Beer Cartel", the same box goes for $24.50 (just checked the website). Ridiculous.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: TexSquared

                                                                                                                                                      I've been waiting eagerly for TJ to open a Buffalo location--I check their website periodically to see what locations are opening up--they have expanded quite a bit on the east coast but just not further north enough. It would be worth the drive to me once a month or so to stock up on groceries and wines--the prices even when you factor in the exchange are still great deals.

                                                                                                                                                  2. re: TexSquared

                                                                                                                                                    My intent was to add some levity to the discussion but since your are stressing the point about being a nondrinker let me reitierate that as a non drinker, you still benefit from the major revenue that the LCBO contributes to this province, regardless of your shopping habits. That observation was intended as humour - sorry you missed that.

                                                                                                                                                  3. re: tuttebene

                                                                                                                                                    I dont feel guilty about not buying booze at the LCBO. I pay enough in GST and PST!!! Property tax pays for public schools( at least in the States it does).

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Calipoutine

                                                                                                                                                      Thank you for telling it like it is. Trying to convince we smart cross-border shoppers to pay double for everything at the LCBO.... he might as well talk to a brick wall because I ain't listenin' :-)

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Calipoutine

                                                                                                                                                        For Calipoutine http://www.lcbo.com/fooddrink/recipes... :)

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: maplesugar

                                                                                                                                                          Thanks, but I do like looking at the magazine too( even if it is really just a sales tool) I once( forgot about that for a moment) ended up buying a small bottle of kirsch at the LCBO to make a black forest cake that was featured in the magazine. This was years ago, and I still have the majority of the bottle.

                                                                                                                                                  4. re: embee

                                                                                                                                                    A few points for Embee and Davwud:

                                                                                                                                                    (1) Whether LCBO pricing is excessive is not a matter of debate. It's a matter of comparing prices. I have not attempted to compare prices on everything the LCBO sells. But everything that I have compared, and that would include more than 100 bottles of wine, were more expensive than what they can be bought in the U.S. and the vast majority by huge margins. For fun I compared a list of wines LCBO was marketing as "bargain wines" on a local radio show and found they cost, on average, more than 40% more than U.S. prices after the exchange rate was considered.

                                                                                                                                                    (2) The selection of wine in rural Idaho or the high desert in New Mexico is far better than at the LCBO --- because any American in the lower 48 can order any wine online and have it shipped to their home. It does not matter if the state runs things in brick and mortar stores. There are dozens of online retailers of wine and their selection as a group DWARFS (a bit ironic capitalizing that word, sorry) what is offered in the LCBO. And because nearly every wine is sold by more than one online merchant, they compete in price and service. That is the reality. And those online sites and others are great sources for information, far better than what you will find at the LCBO.

                                                                                                                                                    (3) In the rare circumstance that you can't find an online retailer in the US for a specific bottle, you can order overseas and pay for shipping and that's it. In Ontario you would have to pay a heft sum to a broker, taxes and then a huge surtax to the LCBO for the privilege of buying one of the countless bottles of win this government monopoly has decided shouldn't g on it shelves.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: CookatHomeinLondon

                                                                                                                                                      can summarize it this way:

                                                                                                                                                      Bargain wine in the US is $1.99 a bottle (Charles Shaw at Trader Joe's, the infamous Two Buck Chuck)
                                                                                                                                                      Bargain wine at the LCBO is $10-$15 a bottle for the worst plonk they could find in Niagara Region.

                                                                                                                                                      A sale at a U.S. wine store is 40% off and/or a not insignificant mail in rebate.
                                                                                                                                                      A "sale" at the LCBO is $1 off a $25 bottle and maybe 1 bonus "air mile"

                                                                                                                                                      As I've repeated many times, on principle I refuse to shop at the LCBO. Every bottle of liquor in my house was from cross border shopping or were gifts from friends and family.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: CookatHomeinLondon

                                                                                                                                                        Since you're an American living in Canada (as is my wife), the best suggestion we have for you to get around those shipping ripoff issues is get a mailbox at a UPS Store (or since you have friends/family in Utica, have stuff shipped to them) then pick the stuff up on your next visit.

                                                                                                                                                        We have all our U.S. mail/internet-order and eBay purchases shipped to our mailbox at the UPS Store in Niagara Falls, NY, as well as U.S. magazine subscriptions (which often cost triple or quadruple the rate for Canadians) and mail-in rebate checks (which often send only to U.S. addresses). The savings from all of the above more than covers the cost of the box per year.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: TexSquared

                                                                                                                                                          Or befriend an American who lives across the boarder.

                                                                                                                                                          Lucky for me, I have about 5 US addresses I can ship to.

                                                                                                                                                          DT

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Davwud

                                                                                                                                                            I mentioned that in my post (I said "since you have friends/family in Utica, have stuff shipped to them")...

                                                                                                                                                          2. re: TexSquared

                                                                                                                                                            This is how I do it too. Except, my box is at the UPS store in Port Huron, MI since I'm closer to Port Huron than I am to Buffalo. I do have a friend that lives in Lewiston, NY, but Amazon does charge NY state tax when you ship to NY. There is no tax when I have my item shipped to Port Huron.

                                                                                                                                                            Oh and I just found out about some new electronic fee added to all electronics purchased in Ontario.( I bought a Clock at Canadian Tire and was dismayed to see a fee of 2.75). I was *thinking* about getting our next computer here in town, but now I definetely wont be buying local( or even in Ontario).

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Calipoutine

                                                                                                                                                              For the same reason I never buy car batteries or new tires in Canada (those things are overpriced here plus add those stupid disposal fees) . We've driven to Buffalo on 4 nearly bald tires and 6-year old battery and came home same day with 4 new tires and new battery (plus an oil change).. Easy to "smuggle" those across! Oh yes, unlike here, no sales tax on the auto shop labour!! Just tax (and a much lower rate than PST+GST) on parts.

                                                                                                                                                              As for state tax, how it works is, sales tax is applied if the retailer has a presence in that state (be it a storefront, a warehouse, or even just a sales office). So, if I have Adorama in NY ship a camera to Buffalo, then there is NY state tax on it. So I try to pick online retailers that do not have a NY presence.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: TexSquared

                                                                                                                                                                Yeah, I know that about the tax( state presence), but not sure why Amazon( since they're based in WA) charges tax to NY, but not MI.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Calipoutine

                                                                                                                                                                  I think I found your answer:

                                                                                                                                                                  http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/ne...

                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Davwud

                                                                                                                                                      I believe I read somewhere that the LCBO is the largest single purchaser of beverage alcohol in the world. So, yes, you would think they have some buying power.

                                                                                                                                                      But the US isn't always cheaper. Good Scotch was usually more expensive in Michigan, and even Jack Daniels cost more than here at home. However, the no-name brands are very cheap - I remember seeing an American gallon of vodka for $7.99.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: FrankD

                                                                                                                                                        I'm not sure where "At home" is but I buy my Old No. 7 at the Duty Free at a fraction of the cost and my Gentleman Jack at the Costco in Nashville for less than I can buy it at DF.

                                                                                                                                                        I do know for a fact that the single largest buyer of Mother's Champagne is the LCBO. It would stand to reason they're the biggest buyer of a lot of other producers.

                                                                                                                                                        They have the ABC in Huntsville and I'd rather go to the LCBO any day of the week. Yes the prices are higher but not a lot higher and the selection and cleanliness of the store are far superior.

                                                                                                                                                        DT

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Davwud

                                                                                                                                                          I was comparing Detroit with Windsor; I lived in Windsor and worked in Detroit, so I had exposure to a lot of prices. As I said, "well" brands were unbelievably cheap in Detroit (i.e. Popov vodka, Fleishman's rye, etc.) but Scotch, bourbon, brandy - all about the same or more than in Windsor.

                                                                                                                                                      2. re: Davwud

                                                                                                                                                        And the LCBO sells Bell's Scotch which is not to be found in New York City except at duty-free stores. Liquor distribution is just plain weird.

                                                                                                                                                2. I definitely 'second' the suggestions to bring back some Hebrew National products; the beef franks and knockwurst for sure if you're going to be anywhere near a Wegmans ( Wegmans has been named one of the ‘100 Best Companies to Work For’ by FORTUNE magazine for twelve consecutive years. In 2009, Wegmans ranked #5 on the list.) Hebrew National used to sell some of their products through Loblaws but during the great 'mad cow' debacle between Canada and the U.S. and then the tit-for-tat beef embargo, the product never made a comeback into the Canadian market. It's a mystery to me since Con Agra is certainly a big enough company to plan some sort of re-entry into the southern Ontario market, at least.

                                                                                                                                                  1. Having grown up in Buffalo (moved way out west 8 years ago) and recently visited Toronto for the first time (during the 09 film festival) I must say I'm amazed there are things in Buffalo you cant get in Toronto.

                                                                                                                                                    6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: ch1ll1ng

                                                                                                                                                      Exactly why embee above said that free trade (both the original FTA and the current NAFTA) are a joke. And exactly why there are a lot more Ontario plates at Buffalo supermarkets and shopping malls than NY plates in Toronto supermarkets and shopping malls....

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: TexSquared

                                                                                                                                                        That may be one reason but I can tell you that by living here and marrying into an American family and having been there many, many times. Canadians are more interested in what they can get in the US than Americans are in what they can get in Canada.
                                                                                                                                                        When Mrs. Sippi first moved up here she seemed to have this "If I couldn't get it in the states, I didn't want it" attitude. Of course, she's grown from that.

                                                                                                                                                        DT

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Davwud

                                                                                                                                                          Canadians like to save money AND get what they can't get at home. Both of those needs are satisfied through cross border shopping. And until we can get American goods at American prices, that won't stop anytime soon. Here's hoping the Canadian dollar hits par in time for Black Friday....

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: CookatHomeinLondon

                                                                                                                                                            Hey,

                                                                                                                                                            If you need/want anything, contact me. You can have it shipped to my box in Port Huron. I'm in London all the time and can drop off to you. I understand what its like to not have your favorite products!!

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Calipoutine

                                                                                                                                                              I have places I use too but perhaps we should team up and split the trips. How do I get in touch with you?

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: CookatHomeinLondon

                                                                                                                                                                calipoutine@cabletv.on.ca

                                                                                                                                                      2. I agree with some other posts as far things you can only get in the buffalo/niagara falls is something I deal with for my partner who grew up there. Most of these things I actually had mail ordered for her birthday from Buffalofoods.com..and when we have about ten friends coming down later this month they are bringing many of these things (and then i don't know what you can't get in Toronto)

                                                                                                                                                        Salen's hot dogs (I say Salen's because you really can only get them there, Nathan's hotdogs you can get all over the U.S.)
                                                                                                                                                        Aunt Rosie's Loganberry soda
                                                                                                                                                        Sponge Candy
                                                                                                                                                        DiCamillos Bread (i think you can only get it in NF)
                                                                                                                                                        Stick Pepperoni from the deli
                                                                                                                                                        Webers Horseradish mustard.
                                                                                                                                                        Anchor Bar Wing Sauce

                                                                                                                                                        And just to throw it out there because I saw someone mention a sub..if you go anywhere go to Viola's in NF (I've had subs all over the place but never one like the Super at Violas with mayo not oil)

                                                                                                                                                        5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                        1. re: hungry4life

                                                                                                                                                          Someone else mentioned horseradish mustard. We can get it here - have some in the fridge. Or is there something special about Webers. And stick pepperoni? Do you mean the thin sticks? how is it different? just curious

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: cinnamon girl

                                                                                                                                                            I just know Weber's is a locally made brand there, lost of mustards and relishes, some of the best I've ever had. The stick pepperoni from there (Tops) just has a better taste than most other deli's that I've gotten it from and I've lived in many places in the U.S. and tried it all over and I do say that stuff we had shipped from Buffalo is some of the best. My partner swears that it's some of the best pepperoni she's had and she's italian so I take her word for it.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: hungry4life

                                                                                                                                                              Thanks Hungry. I'll look for both of these items on my next trip.

                                                                                                                                                          2. re: hungry4life

                                                                                                                                                            One thing I always buy is Cocoa Krispies cereal - can't get it here in Canada!

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: FresserGuy

                                                                                                                                                              I can get Cocoa Krispies at Sobeys and Superstore in alberta...but only recently.

                                                                                                                                                          3. I have a very specific question for folks in the know here. Growing up on the Jersey shore with my grandfather running a diner, I love creamed shipped beef. Now I live in the Toronto area and can't find air dried beef for love or money. Is there anyplace near the US-Canadian border near Buffalo where I could find it?

                                                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                            1. re: stephen

                                                                                                                                                              Tops and Wegmans carry it. It's in glass jars, in the canned meat aisle (usually near things like hotdog chili and Manwich).

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: stephen

                                                                                                                                                                I have no idea what it is or what it tastes like, much less whether it resembles what you are looking for, but most Toronto supermarkets carry something called dried navel beef, which is apparently a Newfie staple. It's usually in a plastic tub, in the fridge, often with things like herring and kosher pickles.

                                                                                                                                                              2. I just got back from a brief trip to Ithaca NY to visit my student nephew there...WOW...what an amazing Wegman's store for such a small city...makes coming back to our Toronto grocery stores just sad...

                                                                                                                                                                1. Am off to Buffalo tomorrow morning. Just a note to say THANK YOU! My grocery list is quite extensive now, can't wait.

                                                                                                                                                                  Maxine

                                                                                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: maxandrick

                                                                                                                                                                    So, how was it? Any findings not mentioned in this thread that you can share? :-)

                                                                                                                                                                    And how full was your vehicle on the way back? Couldn't see out the back window?

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: TexSquared

                                                                                                                                                                      We had a wonderful time, lots of laughing going on! Went shopping for other things too and yes, we could barely see out the back window. As far as food stuff brought back, it was alot of cheese, hot dogs, booze, Ghiradelli brownie mixes, smoked paprika; for some reason I have a hard time finding it where I shop in Toronto and butter. Oh, we did stop at The Cheescake Factory for cheesecake to go.

                                                                                                                                                                      By the time we got to our grocery shopping we were a little tired so we did not really spend time looking for things not on our list. If there was a food find to be had I missed it.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: maxandrick

                                                                                                                                                                        Glad you enjoyed yourself! And with the dollar approaching parity, I suspect I'll be heading there again very soon!

                                                                                                                                                                  2. Cottage cheese, both Bison or Hood's chive cheese, or just plain Bison. The American stuff, I have to say, is so much superior - firm and tangy, while Canadian cottage cheese is usually little white clumps in a white, watery goo.

                                                                                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: ekammin

                                                                                                                                                                      I love cottage cheese and it makes me sad that I can't buy it in Canada. I have to get my fix when I go to MI or NY. I love Michigan brand and Friendship( in NY). I dont know why the stuff here is so freaking watery.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Calipoutine

                                                                                                                                                                        I'm sure I've replied to you before and I know I've replied to ekammin. Western, Daiter's/Lana, MC Dairy, and several other brands than I can't recall. (I don't disagree about the "major brand" tubs in the supermarket.)

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: embee

                                                                                                                                                                          Embee, I agree. You can also find some American brands (like Breakstone) in Toronto stores catering to Kosher customers.

                                                                                                                                                                    2. If you don't mind taking the chance on bringing liquor back, Red Stag bourbon from Jim Beam is excellent. They had a tasting at DF last week and it was great.
                                                                                                                                                                      Black cherry flavoured bourbon.

                                                                                                                                                                      DT