MacEwan: is it worth the drive to Don Mills?
I haven't been yet but I might go if it's worth a visit. Or do they sell products I can find just as easiyl at Whole Foods and Pusateri's?
1539 Avenue Rd, Toronto, ON M5M, CA
No. Not unless you're really keen on of of the house brand made products. Everything else can be found in most other places and sometimes even cheaper at a place while Whole Paycheque, I mean Whole Foods. ;-)
I stole 'Whole Paycheque' from another hound somewhere on the board.
I went once just to check it out and left with almost nothing. I bought a coffee and a treat since I was there. I have not felt the need to go back. Although they did have some interesting produce and had a few different things out for sampling. I did find the prices on most things quite high even compared to Pusateri's and the like.
From what I understand there is a small skating rink in the Shops at Don Mills complex, so you could make a bit of an outing out of it.
My two visits had me ogling some of the prepared foods and the lovely fish and seafood display, yet I purchased nothing from either of these counters. The prices were staggeringly high for everything. I couldn't resist the cheese counter, though I had to put put on my cheese "blinders" and focus on just one or two cheeses (or risk bankrupting myself over hard-to-find raw milk cheeses and rare types that I haven't seen elsewhere). As pretty as the produce section was, sense won out over impulse, as prices were just outrageous.
I could spend a long time perusing the aisles and checking out high end items like stocks, sauces and spice blends, but based on the scant few shoppers actually buying these items, I'd be worried about turnover and expiry dates.
In short, while there were a multitude of items I'd love to savour, I couldn't justify purchasing most of them, particularly not with my uber-frugal husband in tow! It's one thing to pay for convenience, but for us, McEwan isn't even conveniently located. An excursion there feels more like a school field trip than potential shopping, to me.
I think it comes down to a question of shopping experiences rather than ingredients. If you want the experience of going to a high end place which will make more of an effort than chains, it's not bad, but you pay for it. If you want to try the prepared food, there's a large variety available at a significant premium, though less than restaurant prices (his, not less high end places).
Imagine if Williams-Sonoma ran a food store. That pretty, and that far off the regular price map for things you can find elsewhere at half the price. If you're going to go, have lunch at Linda, a thai place in the same complex with reasonable food done very well in a nice room (same folks as Salad King).
340 Yonge Street, Toronto, ON M5B1R7, CA
IMO each of the three you mentioned have their strengths and weaknesses. I have shop regularly at all three and currently primarily shop at WF, due to where I now live. Though if I am in the area of each grocery store I do pick up my favourites.
McEwan's has the best prepared foods and meat counter of the 3, for my tastes, when I feel like splurging on "unhealthy" cuts of meat; ribeyes, rack of lamb, if I'm not at Cumbrae's or Olliffe. My favourites are the simple mushroom, brie and frisee sandwhich, their root vegetable salads and many of their take home pasta's. Apart from Pusateri's beef ribs and WF's wild mushroom strudle, there is not much I order from their respective counters. Also, I almost always purchase a slab of Galler dark chocolate - by far my favourite of anything available in Toronto, that I've tasted. McEwan's organic section is pretty much non existant.
Whole foods has the best selection of local and organic fruits and vegetables, which comprises most of my diet so for me they are the ideal grocery store. I also purchase almost all of my chicken from them.
Pusateri's strength, for me, is their dessert counter, their organic section (though not as wide a selection as WF, still good enough) and the freshness of their fruits and veggies.
All 3 stores have comparable cheese selections though WF and Pusateri's wrap their cheeses in plastic wrap, whereas McEwan's wraps it in wax paper (much preferred!).
481 Church St, Toronto, ON M4Y, CA
1539 Avenue Rd, Toronto, ON M5M, CA
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