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Cross-Border Grocery Shopping

Planning on going to New York (Buffalo area - Amherst/Cheektowaga) in March and am wondering what everyone likes to bring back to stock their fridges and cupboards. There was already a thread on this, but it was fairly dated.

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  1. just back yesterday, but my trips tend to be a "junkfest" rather than anything approaching "gourmet", so with that in mind:

    Sahlen's Hotdogs (a Buffalo fave for years)
    Wise Potato Chips (I am a Reg chip guy, but Onion and Garlic are good and not "overly seasoned")
    Nutter Butter cookies (or Bites)
    Dove Dark Choc. covered Almonds (tough to find usually only at Walgreen's)
    Dark Choc. Raisinets (I have found them in here in Canada but have not seen them for quite some time)

    Plus if you're an OREO fan, the array of flavours is getting ridiculous (good?) choc creme, peanut butter, golden w/ choc creme, neopolitan triple creme, mint, etc. plus the new Oreo Fudge creme (available in Canada) but new U.S. flavors choc and mint (tried the choc)

    just writing this is making me think about getting on the treadmill...

    3 Replies
    1. re: kwfoodiewannabe

      Kwfoodiewannabe if you're into the various Oreo flavours and in Toronto you should check out the Peek Freans outlet over at O'Connor and Bermondsey. According to their website they currently have regular, chocolate, golden, cool mint and berry burst ice cream. Not sure how up-to-date their website is, but they usually have a pretty good selection. I think they're usually around $2.50 a pack.


      1. re: kwfoodiewannabe

        I love junk so am happy to hear your recs. I always come back with some type of chocolate, usually form Target.

      2. We used to head to Tops when there to buy Crystal Beach Loganberry drink (they serve it at Duffs here in Toronto). They used to sell it by the 2L bottle, but now I can only find bottles of concentrate.

        Kids and DH also love the Cheez-It crackers -- they're nothing special but very nostalgic for DH :)

        1. Fage yogurt by the bucket load
          Biscoff cookies by Lotus
          LaCroix flavored water
          Oscar Mayer turkey bacon
          UTZ's potato chips & party mix
          I enjoy the Newman's Own frozen pizza's so if its wintertime I will haul some of those back too.

          1. I was one of those who received some excellent advice on this from the previous threads, happy to see a chance to get updated.

            I am also thinking junk food when doing cross border shopping too: chips, various brands of hotdogs, cheese-filled combos.

            Also: yogurt from pastured milk in a glass jar, various cheeses such as cave-aged "artisan" cheeses that can be a much better deal than those up north.

            1. Jimmy Dean breakfast sausage in the tubes, not pre-sliced.

              1. Wegmans' Placek Coffee Cake
                Wegmans' pork/apple sausage wheels
                Crunchy Nut Corn Flakes (formerly "Honey Nut")
                Yancey's Fancy cheeses
                Jell-O coconut pudding mix
                Archer Farms pumpkin pancake & corncake mixes
                Trader Joe's (Detroit)
                Keebler Town House Flipsides Garlic Herb crackers
                Man, the list could go on and on......

                1. King Arthur white whole wheat flour
                  Post Grape Nuts (US version very different)
                  Land o Lakes whipped butter
                  Armenian string cheese (Sun-Ni)
                  Goldenberg's peanut chews

                  1st 4 all at Wegman's, last at Rite-Aid

                  1. I love to bring back jars of 'pickled Okra', Grits, and when I'm in Savannah, shelled fresh pecans and also
                    Pralines and Pecan Rolls made by the Savannah Canady Company.

                    1. I get Sahlen's Hotdogs too, but I always get the skinless ones

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: bbbradk

                        Love Sahlen's. Never miss a trip to Ted's Red Hots where they make the most awesome Sahlen's dogs and 'footlongs', cooked over real charcoal. Their onion rings are topnotch, too. Just something to augment your shopping trip to Buffalo and area.

                      2. I go to Trader Joe's and bring back all sorts of stuff we don't have here. Recently bought freeze-dried mangoes, which are absolutely delicious. I really regret only buying one bag.

                        16 Replies
                        1. re: piccola

                          There's a Trader Joe's near Buffalo?

                          1. re: Yongeman

                            Rochester opened last year. Buffalo will open later this year-in Amherst, by Boulevard Mall next to Barnes & Noble.

                            1. re: gregoryyyz

                              That's great news, gregoryyyz. Thanks for the info.

                                1. re: gregoryyyz

                                  OMG - Trader Joe's in Buffalo - I think I might faint! Seriously, I'm in shock. I have been to many on trips to the US, but that is not very frequent. This changes everything...

                                  1. re: gregoryyyz

                                    After months of secrecy, Trader Joe’s has announced it will open its first Buffalo-area store Oct. 11...Trader Joe’s will be open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.


                                      1. re: gregoryyyz

                                        Now I can open my grey market reseller store "Not Trader Joe's" and not get sued by them.

                                        1. re: gregoryyyz

                                          Will plan my next trip for after that date!

                                          1. re: gregoryyyz

                                            Wasn't able to get to Amherst (N.Y. state) for the TRADER JOE'S opening but did manage to get to one in Florida a few weeks ago and LOVED IT!!! Lots of neat stuff under their own name, best dried mango in pkgs I've ever had...no sulphites etc...great jam, their own French roast Coffeee....only thing missing was a 'hot bar''...prepared food to go, kind of surprised me...I thought it would be more like Whole Foods/Wegmans but it's not. I will try to visit (Amherst location) when we get back to Toronto..

                                        2. re: Yongeman

                                          I thought we were talking about general U.S. x-border shopping, not just Buffalo. But great to know that it's opening there soon!

                                          1. re: piccola

                                            The OP mentioned the Buffalo area--that's why I questioned the option of Trader Joe's...and I'm glad I did! Otherwise I may not have heard about the new TJ location near the Boulevard Mall. So, thanks for bringing up TJ in the first place, piccola.

                                        3. re: piccola

                                          Have you tried the chili line mixed nuts? So spicy and addictive!!

                                          1. re: Full tummy

                                            I'm a big fan of their entire trail mix and dried fruit aisle.

                                        4. I usually go for the huge choice of crackers and snack foods..one guilty pleasure is the Entemans cheese
                                          Strudel....so so good..

                                          1. My crossborder junk treat includes the various hot and spicy Cheetos snacks that don't seem to have a market up here. XXX Hot and Cheddar and Jalepeno are the most common flavours, I think.

                                            1. from WalMart: imported from Spain, Goya brand green olives, stuffed with real pimiento, as they used to be (not bastardized w minced pepper, colour & gelatin as they are now).

                                              Argo aluminum-free double-acting baking powder.

                                              LandoLakes unsalted butter in sticks, whipped butter.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: beach_cook

                                                Izzy naturally sweetened carbonated fruit beverages and Modelo (Negro and Especial) beer from Sam's Club. Organic chickens from Costco in Detroit and wine at much better prices than at the LCBO. Kahlua Especial (35% alcohol) from Duty Free. I get all the Mexican ingredients I can't find easily in Windsor (fresh tortillas, good tortilla chips, serrano chiles, queso Oaxaca, queso fresco, queso anejo, crema, salsa fresca) at the Honey Bee Supermarket right near the Ambassador Bridge in Detroit.

                                                1. re: 1sweetpea

                                                  sounds like a good selection but the OP is asking about buffalo not detroit..

                                                  my suggestion would be to check all the online flyers for places like Tops, Wegmans, Walmart, Target, kmart and the like to see what specials they have going on and make a shopping list. also look for item that are not available in canada or are much more expensive like eggs, be careful though, fresh meats, fruits and veggies are not border friendly,

                                              2. I just came back from Buffalo a couple of weeks ago and brought quite a bit back from there. I usually bring a cooler and fill it with ice after I buy my frozen foods e.g pizza, ice cream etc. Since it was rather hot, sometimes you run the risk of the ice cream melting but I have been very fortunate not to have anything melt on me as of yet. On my recent trip, I brought back Haagen Dazs Peanut Butter Pie Ice cream, Mango ice cream and their Pistacio ice cream too. I highly recommend the Mango, it was delightful. I also brought back a couple of small pepperoni deep dish pizzas from Red Baron. I brought back some Tahitian Treat cases and Loganberry carbonated sodas. I really love Snapple Apple so I bought ten small glass bottles of those, lucky only a buck each with my Tops card;) I also bought my sour ice pops from blue bunny, pretty impossible to find. Only Walmart in Niagara Falls carried it. I was disappointed in my chips selections but I will say that the TGIF's potato skins were awesome. I would get those again.

                                                9 Replies
                                                1. re: callitasicit

                                                  Mmmm, Tahitian Treat....

                                                  TGIF's potato skins!!!

                                                  1. re: magic

                                                    I seem to remember tgif potato skins at Costco. Is there a difference when you get them in the states?

                                                    1. re: LexiFirefly

                                                      I'm not sure! It's been years since I had. I just rememeber liking them a lot in the States. Not sure if I've had them here....

                                                      1. re: LexiFirefly

                                                        Oh man, if the big bags are at Costco, I must go asap!!

                                                    2. re: callitasicit

                                                      I saw some Red Baron pizzas at Kitchen Table the other day (Atrium location).

                                                      They weren't small pepperoni deep dish, but just thought I'd pass that on. Not sure if the brand is still hard to find in Canada, or just the kind that you like.

                                                      1. re: magic

                                                        Thanks but chances of me going downtown for that is slim. The Red Baron deep dish were very good though.

                                                        1. re: callitasicit

                                                          No worries (might also be at Forest Hill Village Kitchen Table if you're ever in that area - better for parking).

                                                    3. Caramel Bugles and many cans of Rotel. And the Cheeto Mix with 4 different kinds in one bag.

                                                      1. Parmesan Cheese - Cook's Illustrated "Best Buy" rated Parmesan is
                                                        "Belgioioso Parmesan"

                                                        US made .... good parmesan at a great price.

                                                        I buy several wedges each time I am over the border

                                                        3 Replies
                                                          1. re: Full tummy

                                                            Tops Market in Lewiston; 5 minutes from the Lewiston border crossing.

                                                            1. re: StewBing

                                                              Be ware of that crossing. You can easily end up in a 2 hour crossing line up.


                                                        1. I really love going to Penzy's on Elmwood Ave (easy to get to if you cross at Fort Erie)...lovely restored old space and the staff are very helpful...now a must on my cross border trips....

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: tochowchick

                                                            What have you bought and liked from there? We usually order from Spice House (they have a few stores, one in Chicago).

                                                            1. re: TeacherFoodie

                                                              They have some interesting/yummy spice mixtures...check their website for descriptions...I also got some great gift boxes when I was there in November for Xmas gifts...very helpful staff and charming store...

                                                          2. I usually pick up a package or two of frozen White Castle sliders. They're not the best ever, but they do satisfy the occasional slider cravings since no one in the GTA serves anything even close.

                                                            5 Replies
                                                            1. re: Michael N

                                                              I'm not a fan of WC. I much prefer Krystal's.


                                                              1. re: Davwud

                                                                I prefer Krystal's as well (though I haven't eaten there in ages), but beggars can't be choosers. I'll take a real slider wherever I can get it, and if the only choice is frozen White Castle, so be it.

                                                                1. re: Michael N

                                                                  how are they compared to the PC Free From, Angus Sliders??

                                                                  1. re: youdonut

                                                                    Apples and oranges. White Castle burgers are sliders in the classic sense of the term (a thin patty which is griddle-cooked atop a bed of onions, essentially cooking by steam). What PC sells are only sliders by the more contemporary definition of the word, which is to say that they're just regular burgers that happen to be small.

                                                                  2. re: Michael N

                                                                    I'm more likely to just make 'em at home.

                                                                    White Mana style.


                                                              2. Interesting!! When we travel to Canada, we stock up on the made in England Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce and pates!

                                                                1. Trident Cinnamon Gum! You can't get Cinnamon gum in Canada that isn't "FIRE" I like the nice subtle cinnamon you can only find in America.