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Jan 20, 2011 01:05 PM

My crazy shopping day yesterday - highlights

Have to share. Spend a day running around mostly the northern reaches of Toronto looking for a miscellaneous bunch of stuff and found a couple of unexpected things.
1 - Yummy Market - Eek, what a place! Like a Russian version of T&T, really. Everything nicely displayed, no mayhem, a crazy long deli counter with cheeses and charcuterie from from much of Europe (lots of Eastern and Baltic). Along one side of the store there's a smoked fish counter, followed by an incredible assortment of salads that I've never seen before, followed by hot prepared foods that looked amazing. I was, alas, not in the market for really any of that stuff so I came out only with a jar of Russian pike caviar (???), some interesting cheeses and a large container of cream cheese (which I needed). I had to ignore the enormous freezer filled with every kind of perogies you can imagine (including Siberian) and bags of amazing frozen berries of all sorts. I'll be back!
2. At Highland Farms I bought a 20 lb. whole shoulder of pork which was on sale for .99 lb. I needed it like a hole in the head but eventually I'll make a gigantic batch of pulled pork and I'll be happy I have it.
3. Central Epicure: I know it gets slagged quite a lot by people looking for the perfect smoked whitefish, and I do agree that Milbree Viking did have it beat. But now that the competition is gone, I think it may be the only game in town and I have to say it's worth going there just for the experience. They claim to have a "factory outlet store" but when you try to open the door, it's locked. An older gentleman eventually comes and opens up and asks me what I want. I look around - the coolers are empty. I ask if they have whitefish. He says yes - and goes into the back to bring out two beautiful big smoked whitefish which he swears are extra specially good. He says he can tell by looking at them. I buy them and a 2 kg. side of smoked salmon (to go with the cream cheese, as mentioned above). He was all quite friendly and cheerful about the transaction and appeared to be the only person on the premises of this large, presumably operational, smokehouse. I'll be serving them on the weekend so will let you know if they're as good as he says.
4. Just before heading home, a delicious plate of BBQ pork and duck on rice at Richmond Court at Times Square. I ate it while watching the most bizarre Chinese TV program that looked kind of like a Chinese version of Harry Potter, but with this slightly hairy main character who trains under some kind of Zen master. I have no idea what it was about but it was amazing.

133 Laird Dr, Toronto, ON M4G3V5, CA

Highland Farms
850 Ellesmere Rd, Toronto, ON M1P, CA

Richmond Court Restaurant
328 7 Hwy, Thornhill, ON L4B1A1, CA

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  1. your enthusiasm had be grinning from the start. it's so nice when you have a great day like that.

    this is the first i've heard of yummy market, will be sure to tuck it away into my brain to check it out. i usually go to starsky's. thanks!

    1 Reply
    1. re: pinstripeprincess

      i agree, the enthusiasm is infectious! i just looked up Yummy Market ( and realized that I pass it often so I will definitely be stopping in to check it out. Sounds like I'll need a few hours blocked out so I can slowly walk around and look at everything...I love ethnic supermarkets!

    2. I love your posts Nyleve. Thanks for sharing. I think Poorboy recently mentioned Yummy Market, and some friends of mine say its great. Since I have a soft spot for foods from Eastern/Northern Europe, I think a visit is in order!

      1. Whoa, hang on a sec. Are you saying that your version of an impulse purchase - you know, maybe a People magazine or a bag of chips for some - is a 20 lb pork shoulder??? Ha - love it (awesome price). Thanks for sharing your journey.

        9 Replies
          1. re: Nyleve

            It's a good sickness! Quite contagious, too, as it's made me want to go to Highland Farm and buy a whole pork shoulder...

            Highland Farms
            850 Ellesmere Rd, Toronto, ON M1P, CA

              1. re: TorontoJo

                Highland farms is one of the few places in the city where you can buy pork belly and curing salt mix in the same trip. Worth the trip for that alone... 1 week later, you've made delicious, delicious bacon in your fridge!

                They've got so many good cuts... you can cure everything from brisket to cottage rolls.

              2. re: Nyleve

                Agreed, it's a good kind of sickness and this board is full of enthusiastic enablers.

                Years ago, I opted out of a direct flight to Tel Aviv just so I could have a 5 hour stopover in Paris, which was just so I could pick up a box of chocolates at my favourite shop...

              3. re: peppermint pate

                OMG, thanks for the laugh! I love pork too, though not sure if I would buy 20lbs (since it's just me)!

                1. re: always_eating

                  Well, there is a bit of waste - what with the bones and all. 20 lbs. isn't as much as you'd think.

                  What am I saying - it's freaking gigantic. Have to have a big party.

                  1. re: Nyleve

                    Sounds like it's Bo Ssam o' clock at your house haha

                    19 Finch Ave W, Toronto, ON M2N7K4, CA

                    1. re: table4onthefly

                      Uh....maybe in a few weeks. Details to follow.

              4. Smoked whitefish update: I bought two large smoked whitefish from the Central Epicure "outlet". In the past, there were complaints about their fish being a bit dry - slightly overcooked. This time the fish were nice and moist - not overcooked really at all. But the smoke flavour was very mild. We all agreed that a bit more smoke would have improved the fish. But on the whole, it was as good as it gets, whitefishwise, in Toronto. We only ate one so I vacuum packed and froze the second one.

                On the other hand, the smoked salmon from Central Epicure was really delicious. I bought a 1 kg vacuum pack pre-sliced side. Everyone commented on it and there wasn't a scrap left. A whole kilogram! Gone! Just like that! My fault, of course. We also had Montreal bagels and Western cream cheese - irresistible. I thought the price was ok too - $40 for the package. Cost a bit more than the generic Costco stuff but it really was much better.

                3 Replies
                1. re: Nyleve

                  Not sure why my earlier post got deleted, but let's try it again...

                  Nyleve, how's the Russian Pike caviar from Yummys? We don't eat caviar much, so would it be a good starting point for us caviar newbies? We go to Yummy's occasionally to stock up on cabbage rolls and their fresh salads.

                  1. re: Royaljelly

                    Haven't tried it yet so I can't say. I bought it because I've never seen it before. No, let's be honest - I bought it because the devil made me do it. This was just before the pork shoulder incident. I will report on the pike caviar when we have it - maybe next weekend.

                    1. re: Nyleve

                      You can pick up fresh Salmon Roe at Yummy, but the smoked Fishes and Herrings are beyond salty.
                      The prepared foods are abundant and very reasonably priced.

                2. Speaking of 20 lb pork shoulders: any suggestions on where to get these reliably at a reasonable price?

                  I see them occasionally in my No Frills, for $1/lb or so, but not all the time. A few stand-alone butchers nearby have them all the time, but for $4-5/lb (which seems pricey for commodity pork).

                  Where can I get a decent-sized (preferably bone-in butt) pork shoulder for a good price, without calling ahead? Bonus points for the west end of the city.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: detritus

                    Well, as I said Highland Farms had them last week - but this might have been a special. Also Superstore claimed to have them on special a couple of weeks ago but I avoid that place like the plague so don't know if they really did get any in. Failing that, I've not seen whole shoulders much. I have seen smaller pieces - butt or shoulder, 7 to 10 lbs. - at First Choice (Kennedy at 407) for less than $1.50 lb. pretty much all the time.

                    Highland Farms
                    850 Ellesmere Rd, Toronto, ON M1P, CA

                    First Choice Restaurant
                    1116 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M6J1X2, CA