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Summerhill Market - prepared foods

So over on the TNT thread, everyone was talking about the quality prepared foods at Summerhill Market and I could use a little guidance. I will admit that a lot of the stuff looks tempting but if I exclude the stuff that's insanely overpriced (2 Harbord Bakery cheese blintzes for $5.99) and the "looks way better than it tastes" (Spicy Chicken with Chow Mein, chicken fingers, empanada, chicken noodle soup, bbq spare ribs, ravioli in tomato sauce), I have to say that not much has wowed me.

I do a lot of cooking at home but I usually enjoy a couple of "cheat" meals in the week. The chicken paprikash was pretty decent. Their prepared salads are great and really handy. Party sandwiches were tasty. Their 7 layer Mexican dip is good. What else do you guys really like?

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  1. The pot pies are spectacular: filled with good quality vegetables and very generous quantities of big cubes of chicken or turkey breast. I miss them tremendously.

    Their tortiere is also pretty good, and I remember that we used to go through a stack of them pretty quickly.

    1. Okay here goes. At the risk of coming off like I never do anything but reheat food here are a few of my favourite things from SH: Yeesh now that I think of it, maybe that is the case :)

      #1 the chicken pot pies - very tasty and excellent value
      Nepali or butter chicken - both are very good. Love it with basmati rice which we make ourselves (hey, at least it's a start)
      onion rings - just so much easier than making your own, and they reheat nicely
      lasagna - really good but very rich, and the odd time has been a little too salty
      cabbage rolls - really good and hearty
      perogies - with all the trimmings (bacon, onion) - mmmm good.
      Those are pretty much are go to items. There are probably other things, I just can't think of them at the moment. I will post as they come to me.

      Oh yeah, baked goods - excellent chocolate cranberry cookies, cinninnon buns and bread.

      OMG, I'm getting hungry!

      1 Reply
      1. re: millygirl

        You must try their white bean and truffle dip.....really good!!!

      2. Just a caution - you need to check posts that are relatively 'current'. Their in-house chef changed about a year ago - it used to be Chris Klugman - very talented. BEFORE that I endorse all the raves. Since then I haven't tried much,so can't judge whether it has changed, but just wanted to alert you that some comments may not currently be valid.
        I'm not trying to disrespect any comments but when I read "I remember we used to go through a stack" - that COULD indicate an older review that may no longer be useful.

        8 Replies
        1. re: estufarian

          Good point estufarian, Chris left over a year ago now. In fact the current executive chef Jameson has just completed his second christmas rush, and lived to tell about it!

          Initially I was very sorry to hear that Chris had moved on, but I gotta say Jameson is doing a spectacular job. I would go so far as to say things are even better since he's taken over.

          1. re: estufarian

            Thanks estufarian (and hello, long time no see!!) - do you know if Chris Klugman stayed at All the Best or was that just a fleeting thing? I can't say I've ever been impressed with any of the prepared foods at All the Best and I don't recall any notable changes when he took over the reins there.

            1. re: peppermint pate

              I didn't know he went to 'All The Best"! I certainly never saw him there. My info was that he had turned to full-time photography - in effect a career change. I used to have a link to his photo website, but it's long gone. And Millygirl - I guess I'm out of the loop - never heard of Jameson!

              Edited to add: From Chef Database
              All The Best doesn't show Chris as ever being there.
              Summerhill Market doesn't show anybody as chef since Chris left (not that I believe Chef Database is a 'bible' - I was looking to see if they showed anyone).

              1. re: estufarian

                He was defrinitely there at some point. I've attached the only link I could find from this board - see snarf's last post. Just before Thanksgiving that same year, they were serving Harper vs. Dion turkey meals and you voted to see who was the biggest turkey. I saw Klugman there at the time and maybe once or twice after that but never since so I'm not sure what happened.

                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/556905

                1. re: peppermint pate

                  As I was told by All the Best, Chris is no longer involved with them. Apparently he was brought in as a 'consultant' but for whatever reason he left some months ago. I have not heard any updates as to what he's currently doing.

                2. re: estufarian

                  Well if this is his work, he should go back to his previous career.

                  http://www.chrisklugman.com/food.html

                  A "chef" would know what kind of photography is involved in cookbooks and magazines and this is nowhere near it. Even the plating of the food is amateur.

                  1. re: estufarian

                    Jameson Watermulder, moved here from Winnipeg where he owned and operated a very successful restaurant, Gluttons. For a guy in what appears to be his late 20's, early 30's, he is very knowledgable, successful and creative. The staff have told me outright that they love working for him. We recently ordered a few dishes from the catering department and they did a fantastic job of it.

                3. re: estufarian

                  True: since I moved from Toronto over a year ago, my statement may no longer be valid.

                4. our favourties -
                  chicken or chicken with broccoli and cheddar cheese pot pies
                  beef lasagne - very tasty with bechamel and bolognese sauces, spinach, mushrooms, ground chilies for a bit of spice, and mozzarella and parmesan
                  spinach salad with bacon, onions, mushrooms, almonds, in-store dressing
                  bolognese sauce by the jar or plastic container
                  pumpkin pie when it's available (actually a pumpkin cheesecake pie)
                  pumpkin cheesecake when available
                  various berry or apple crumble (fabulous with the Kawartha vanilla ice cream)
                  cranberry orange sauce
                  potato salad
                  chicken tetrazinni - very rich

                  that's all I can think of for now.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: JamieK

                    Chicken or tuna fish salad (yes, iI guess I am lazier than I want to admit)
                    Cobb salad
                    Housemade ceasar dressing
                    Housemade aioli

                    1. re: JamieK

                      I'm adding another item to our list of favourites -- the salmon fishcakes are great and they come with tasty red pepper aioli.

                      After a winter of relying on prepared foods quite a bit, I have to admit I agree with remarks below that the chicken and turkey pot pies are too meaty and pastry-heavy and need more sauce and veggies. We'll still buy them once in a while especially after barbecue season is over but probably not as often.

                    2. Thanks guys.

                      I'm not a huge fan of chicken pot pies in general but after all the recommendations here, I'll have to try one. Oops, forgot about the meat lasagna we tried, yes it was pretty good (not as good as Bologna Pastifico but certainly more convenient - I also sometimes pick up the spinach lasagna from Terroni when it's on special - but I digress...). The perogies do look good (I'm such a sucker for perogies) - I've got some in the freezer from Wychwood Barns that I need to finish first. I've seen the chicken tetrazinni, JamieK, looks good - I'll try it.

                      Hey millygirl, next time you feel like reheating some cabbage rolls, I HIGHLY recommend the ones from Prague Deli.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: peppermint pate

                        Prague Deli - you know that's one place I've never been. I must check it out.
                        Thanks for the tip peppermint pate.

                        Now that I think of it, the cabbage rolls at SM come from Nortown Foods. Either way, they are very good. Royal Beef is another place that we get them from on occasion. I've also heard that one of the shops at St. Lawrence in the basement does a damn good one, but we've not had them. Do we need a cabbage roll thread :)

                        1. re: peppermint pate

                          The chicken and turkey pies are the ones I actually don't like at Summerhill. While I appreciate that they put very large chunks of chicken/turkey breast into the pie, I find it's way too dry. I prefer a pot pie to have some sauce and veggies. Their pot pie is pretty much pastry and chicken meat and not much else.

                          1. re: sbug206

                            I agree with sbug206 - too big chunks, too little sauce... we werent' thrilled. But there is so much else to tempt at Summerhill, not the least of which is it's quaint location (park farther away and walk the neighbourhood! Excercise and gastronomy in one fell swoop!)...