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Grocery items that you can't find in Toronto (but you can in the states)

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  • szw Jan 31, 2014 09:44 PM
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Picked up a couple packages of grits already. Would like some more ideas of things to pick up to use and also for gifts.

Thanks

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  1. Load up at Trader Joe's.

    http://www.seattleweekly.com/home/950...

    3 Replies
    1. re: PushCut

      We go every 3 months and get stuff not available here. Never had a problem. We always tell them we are bringing back groceries.
      Flaming Cheetos, Cheesecake from Cheesecake factory, liquid smoke, Stubbs and Dinosaur BBQ sauce, flavoured coffee creamers, lots of cheese and milk. And yogurt. Some we have here but so much cheaper in the US. Green tea mints from Trader Joe's.
      And while we are there, we pig out on all the different flavours of Starbucks and Haagen Dazz (?) icecreams not available here. The variety you get in the US is so much better than here.

      1. re: caitlink

        Mmmmm, Cheesecake Factory Cheesecake!

        1. re: caitlink

          I knew I was missing out on driving to the USA to shop. I don't know how i have managed to survive all these years without Flaming Cheetos and Dino BBQ sauce.

      2. Cases and cases of really bad beer.

        2 Replies
        1. re: hal2010

          Decades ago, before we had no name brands, etc., I was in a Buffalo supermarket and the guy in front of me had a case of 24, brown plain box with almost no print naming beer and all I could think of is what a rubbish product it then was. Of course today there are some better beers, micro breweries, etc., but the great USA will never beat our Canadian beers from any level! The irony, I much later met a guy in Toronto that was then at Upper Canada brewery for a tasting. He not only was from Buffalo, but ran in the USA a club that weekly sent a 6 pack to it's members of a different brew from sources across the USA. What a lot of work and inspiration he provided to beer lovers. Of course, here in Canada, we can never have that level of beer sourcing, let alone allow me to join his club as I am in another country! So, things change from that dreadful looking 24 pack to an enthusiastic club, I could not be a part of!!

          1. re: hal2010

            What I find interesting is that I can find a wider selection of Quebec beers in some stores in the Buffalo area than I can through LCBO/Beer store. I really need to do some research prior to my next trip so I am not buying just based on labels as I have bought some bad beers too :)

          2. Payday candy bars, Bridge Mixture in bulk, 99-cent brand name hair detergent at check-out counter, Cheezies, Wegman's sticky buns, Wegman's sharp cheddar huge 2 lb packages for a song, many flavours of Wegman's sodas with diet cherry-grapefruit highly recommended, whoopee (crème filled) cookies, peanut butter with striped grape jelly, Swanson gravies (liquid) plus stocks and powdered package gravies at about a buck, Wegman's individually pouched packages of 10 skinless boneless chicken breasts at $1,99/lb, Hawaiian dinner rolls, Wegman's 2 lb packages of pulled pork, store-brand butter at $1.69/lb (price varies), canned items like tuna fish and cranberry jelly at $1 each for up to 10 - and on and on. To get the best prices, and potentially some gas discounts, sign up at Tops and Wegman's for their free shopper cards, Quite different feeling stores each with great offers.

            1. Cheese - so much cheaper there!

              Also, if you are into making your own sausage, cured meats, smoked meats or cheese the Sausage Maker (Buffalo area, not far from Walden Galleria) is a great place to get ingredients/supplies - my husband has gotten stuff there several times.

              1. Kummelweck or "Weck" buns (assuming you're in Buffalo)

                Ro-Tel

                Potato rolls

                Hebrew National Hot Dogs

                Weber's Mustard

                Like others, I love to stock up on Trader Joe's items

                Reasonably priced wine

                Jiffy Cornbread mix

                In Buffalo we always make a stop in Elmwood Village to pick up Penzey's spices and amazing olive oils from D'Avolio

                Pelicano's Pasta Sauces

                3 Replies
                1. re: Breadcrumbs

                  Nice list. The Hebrew National is the major issue. They stopped selling here a few years ago when US beef was banned. After the ban was lifted, they decided that it was worth the effort to sell here anymore. I also find the Jiffy mixes enjoyable.

                  Other sadly missed items include:

                  Baby Watson cheesecake
                  Vernor's ginger ale (sometimes available here?)
                  Deviled crabs
                  Fried clams !!!
                  Drake's coffee cakes
                  Hershey's chocolate fudge sauce
                  Cheap Mexican TV dinners (like at US Walmarts)

                  1. re: evansl

                    Sheesh, I'd forgotten all about the Vernor's and I also LOVE Fried Clams...why can't we get fried clams?!!!

                    1. re: Breadcrumbs

                      I found finally fried clam strips at Seafood Depot on an industrial street near 400 and & 7. Of course the relationship between fried clams and fried clam strips is like the relationship between heroin and methadone. Still, it's better than nothing.

                2. Between Wegmans and Trader Joe's you can do a lot of damage. Like a kid in a candy store.

                  And they are right near each other in Buffalo, around Niagara Boulevard Mall.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: magic

                    Correction, mall is called Boulevard Mall (no Niagara in name).

                    1. re: magic

                      100% agree on Trader Joe's. For the bakers, Trader Joe's carry these 1 lb bars that are made by a belgium manufacturer and they're 72%. They're so affordable it's ridiculous.

                      They have great organic dried fruits at prices you cannot find... like fresh medjool dates (1 lb for $4), organic figs, apricots, blueberries... everything!

                      They have a copy of the Laceys dark chocolate almond cookie for about half the price of the costco price and size (which already is at 40% discount from retail).

                      In the freezer section, they have lots of goodies. They have arguably the cheapest and best value kouign-amann in the freezer section. I think it's like $3 for 4 of them. They have respectable frozen macaron. For a box of 16, I think it's only $5. They also have the mochi ice cream, frozen blueberries and acai blend, and a great ginger ice cream that has candied ginger pieces and ginger cookie pieces.

                      I'm going to stop now before I get too hungry imagining all the amazing things Trader Joe has... I haven't even started on the savoury snacks!

                      1. re: Nevy

                        Noted, thanks.

                    2. Jell-O brand coconut pudding mix
                      Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
                      Cheez-It crackers
                      Placek Coffee Cake at Wegmans
                      Yancy's Fancy Buffalo Wing Cheddar Cheese

                      I could go on and on, but I'd be here all day. This is a good start.

                      7 Replies
                      1. re: magic

                        This thread has just brought to my attention that there is a Trader Joe's in Buffalo. It's about time...off to plan next trip!

                        Speaking of dark chocolate peanut butter cups, the Wegmans brand are outstanding too - found near the bulk food but when I bought them they were in a plastic, like clamshell box - not sure if they had them in bulk as well. If not at Wegmans then I'll get the Reese's dark chocolate mini cups - not as good, but so much better than the milk chocolate ones. Even those I can rarely find here if it's not a holiday.

                        To add to the list - cereal. I love cinnamon cereals. Was able to get Honey Bunches of Oats with the cinnamon clusters here but it's disappeared. Also like the Special K cinnamon pecan, and Cinnamon Chex. Neither available here. Just don't understand - maybe Canadians don't go for cinnamon?

                        Funny, I grew up in NC but my grandparents were in Pennsylvania. My mother always used to send boxes of Jiffy cornbread mix up to my grandmother because she couldn't get it in PA. I guess that's probably not the case anymore.

                        Gonna have to get me some of those flaming cheetos next time I'm there. Oh and another to add to the list - the Fritos scoops. Perfect for that so bad it's good queso you make with the cans of Ro-tel!

                        1. re: 16crab

                          Off the US topic but if you like cinnamon cereals, have you tried the cinnamon flavoured Puffins? They are in the organic section of most supermarkets. I make a special trip into the organic aisle just to get them.

                          1. re: FrenchSoda

                            Thanks! I will certainly check those out!

                          2. re: 16crab

                            cinnamon toast crunch!!! :)

                            1. re: youdonut

                              I like it, but not as much as the others!! I'm thinking about buying regular chex and sprinkling on cinnamon...don't know if it will be the same though!

                            2. re: 16crab

                              Was in Freshco on the weekend and saw Jalapeno Cheetos. This was the first time I've seen those, and got excited because I thought they were the same as the Flaming Cheetos discussed here. Turns out they are not, but they are pretty good. Have some kick!

                              1. re: 16crab

                                I can, and do, resist all fructose and corn-based "snacks", except Cheetos...they are evil personified, and the new Jalapeno variety are from the 9th Circle of Hell...impossible to resist.

                          3. I shop quite a bit and have never seen here (BC) and bought last week in states

                            Chipotle oxo cubes
                            coffee extract
                            exlarge tortillas
                            sure jell (making ls jam)
                            hominy grits I think there called. want to try pozole
                            nathans hotdogs
                            south african spice from trader joes plus a bunch of other stuff
                            a bunch of spice you prob can find in t.
                            wack load of cheese and butter

                            8 Replies
                            1. re: daislander

                              Oh I forgot all about the butter....butter is a must!

                              1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                Why?
                                I bought a pound of Stirling Euro 84% today at Costco for $3.79, regular price.

                                1. re: jayt90

                                  in states I bought 1 pound of danish butter for 1.99 regular price. and if its that new euro butter that they just started carrying we pay 5.69 for it in bc! reg butter is 3.79. and butter comes in 1/2c sticks which is very handy

                                  1. re: daislander

                                    It is highly unlikely that Danish butter at $1.99 has 84% butterfat. What does the label say?

                                    In Ontario, Costco started selling the Stirling Euro butter at $6/lb last year and the price has been going down as the market builds up. There are many chefs and bakers in GTA who have been paying up to $9/lb in N.Y. state for high bf butter, so the new Stirling introduction is a revelation.

                                    BTW Breadcrumbs, Stirling has been noted as one of the world's best by Saveur.

                                    1. re: jayt90

                                      Thanks jay, I do like Stirling but for my taste, the European butters are far superior. I also recently had a New Zealand butter in Singapore and it was truly outstanding. Though I tend to prefer unsalted butter, this one had a hint of salt and was simply sensational. mr bc is a big fan of a Polish butter we are able to purchase here in Ontario. The butterfat content is so high that it softens in seconds of being removed from the fridge.

                                    2. re: daislander

                                      I was very surprised when I moved here from the states that the butter didn't come in individually wrapped sticks! Have seen one brand here I think that does that but it's always so much more $$ than the 2c block.

                                      1. re: 16crab

                                        The sticks are less common than the four-stick blocks, but they're definitely out there. We always get the sticks at Loblaws...forget the brand, but it's nothing fancy. There's a PC version as well that comes in sticks (http://www.loblaws.ca/en_CA/products/...).

                                    3. re: jayt90

                                      I love European butters and there's a lot of variety of high quality butters in the US. As daislander points out, it's also much less expensive than anything we can purchase here in Ontario.

                                2. Butter for me too - but the fake stuff: Land O'Lakes half-fat.
                                  grits for me, too
                                  Pure Leaf ice tea - we get it here but its different
                                  Fage yogurt
                                  B & M brown bread in a can
                                  Peet's/Paul Newman/Green Mountain coffee beans

                                  1. I hope this thread stays active. I really enjoy grocery shopping across the border as they have so many different brands/items that you can't find here. Usually I just explore and see what I come across but it is good to know what is good so this thread will help.

                                    I suggest definitely bringing a cooler or cooler bag. I pick up a lot of cheese/dairy (but, try to stay in the "limits"). If you go to Wegman I highly recommend trying Siggi's Skyr. It isn't as good as the Icelandic Skyr but pretty close - http://siggisdairy.com/v2/
                                    I also like trying out different frozen foods that aren't available here (I like the Amy's brand here but they have WAY more selection in the USA).

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: ylsf

                                      Siggy's is available here at Summerhill Market.
                                      Last time I was at Whole Foods (in NYC), they had 'genuine' Icelandic Skyr - after about 2 years when they didn't stock it. So that product isn't available here.

                                      1. re: estufarian

                                        Ah, yeah, I forgot I saw it at Summerhill. They have a much broader selection of flavours at Wegman's though and they also carry other products like the Swedish milk drink that they make (I bought some last time and it is pretty good!). But good note for the thread on that. I wish more places carried it or that Liberte or someone would make a version of it in Canada.

                                    2. Grits is similar to Cream of Wheat

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: jayt90

                                        just looked what I got are called hominy, looked like a puffy corn kernel, its what they use to make pazole, both which I have never tried or seem where i live.

                                        1. re: daislander

                                          I love hominy. I haven't found dried in the Toronto/GTA but I have found canned at FreshCo's. It's fabulous in chili!

                                        2. re: jayt90

                                          Except for that it's corn.

                                        3. also found some gluten at walmart about 1/3 of the price of what I could find here. used for making bread when your using a home ground or heavy flour.

                                          Also at walmart the full line of watkins extracts, that you can only order from a sales rep here.

                                          1. As a general comment on this thread - I was under the impression that ALL dairy and meat were prohibited imports.

                                            26 Replies
                                            1. re: estufarian

                                              From the Canadian Border Services website: http://www.cbsa.gc.ca/fpa-apa/regs-en...

                                              The following are some examples of the limits that apply to personal importations of food products from the United States:

                                              2 dozen eggs;
                                              20 kilograms of dairy products not exceeding $20 in value (e.g. cheese and butter);
                                              3 kilograms of margarine or butter substitutes; and
                                              20 kilograms of edible meats and meat products, including turkey and chicken.
                                              Within this limit on meat, the following restrictions apply:

                                              a maximum of one whole turkey or 10 kilograms of turkey products;
                                              a maximum of 10 kilograms of chicken; and
                                              a maximum of 20 kilograms of edible meats and meat products from cattle, sheep, goats, bison and buffalo.

                                              Worth while reading the site for anyone that is planning a trip across.

                                              Personally I want more of a clarification on the fruit/veggies issue and what is allowed vs. restricted. I

                                              1. re: ylsf

                                                Thanks for the link. That just doesn't mesh with my actual experience when specifically, I attempted to bring in some, Italian butter and it was confiscated and put in a bin marked 'For Incineration'. I pushed as hard as I dared. even asking for a copy of the regulations - which incidentally I never received. I was told I could 'appeal the seizure' (and given a copy of the process) but was specifically told that the butter would be destroyed immediately and I would only be entitled to compensation if successful on my appeal. The specific reason given was 'risk of hoof and mouth disease'. I subsequently determined that no case of 'hoof and mouth' had ever occurred in Italy, but decided that being marked as a troublemaker at custom was a tag I didn't want, so I walked away. As a postscript, I subsequently found the identical butter on sale in a Toronto store!
                                                So good luck to all out there - I've given up on transporting any food products.
                                                And, subsequently, I was also admonished for not declaring chocolates (which were legally permitted) but I had not declared them as 'dairy' products, but chocolate contains milk. No charges or fines, but it was made clear to me that they should have been specifically declared and I should not, in future, mark 'NO' to the dairy question if I had chocolate.

                                                1. re: estufarian

                                                  Estufarian,
                                                  I've had a conversation with a CBSA person at my local pub and they admitted that they really have no idea what's allowed and not allowed, that's up to the CFIA. IF there is one available at your point of entry they should be able to clarify. As a tourist I would say claim it all and go from there. Your chocolate is a great example of them overstepping their bounds.
                                                  You can look at the website and frankly its may of well be in some foreign language I have no clue about.
                                                  If a border guard gives you grief about anything ask them to speak to a CFIA, as really that's not within their area of responsibility.
                                                  An agent giving you grief about a chocolate bar is exactly why a lot of visitors here hate the process of entering this country. A talk with a supervisor would of taken care of it, but again may be more trouble than it's worth.

                                                  1. re: damonster

                                                    I think you've nailed it.
                                                    They probably don't know (how can anybody know everything?), but once they've made a decision, they don't want to ever appear that they are wrong.

                                                  2. re: estufarian

                                                    I am curious if that Italian butter was something you bought in the USA or something you had bought in Italy and were travelling through the USA or back directly to Canada? The rules I posted just apply to purchases in the USA for personal consumption.

                                                    1. re: ylsf

                                                      The confiscation was at Pearson. However, I had brought back the identical butter in the past (way back it won an International competition as the 'best butter'). I have also found it in both New York (first time I brought it back) and Toronto.

                                                      1. re: estufarian

                                                        I've mentioned this in the past.

                                                        Look up whatever you want to bring on AIRS (Automated Import Reference System)[http://www.inspection.gc.ca/plants/im...

                                                        ]

                                                        This is what the CFIA refers to. If it's allowed on here I would print it out if there's something specific you want to bring. If confronted at the border by a CBSA agent who is being obnoxious, immediately ask to speak to a supervisor. This is your right and it HAS to be granted. It's always best to be polite and calm when dealing with these people.

                                                        Butter from Italy is unfortunately not allowed on AIRS. However, butter from the USA is no problem.

                                                        Meat from the US, clearly marked with its origin under 20kg is allowed except for these restrictions:

                                                        "1. Non-commercial importations – Personal use
                                                        (Non-commercial importations are for the personal use and consumption of the importer and are not intended for re-sale or distribution.)
                                                        United States origin
                                                        . Importations of edible meat and meat products not exceeding 20 kg (44 lb) per person that are identifiable as originating
                                                        in the United States are exempt from the requirements in this section, subject to the following restrictions on chicken,
                                                        turkey:
                                                        – Whole Turkey: 1 (FAITC restriction),
                                                        – Turkey Parts: 10 kg (FAITC restriction)
                                                        – Chicken: 10 kg (FAITC restriction)
                                                        – Chicken or Turkey, including in cans or jars: 20 kg/person (Food of Animal Origin Division of CFIA restriction)"

                                                        1. re: radiopolitic

                                                          Thank you - that's very useful.
                                                          It appears I can now bring in Beaver - as long as it is in a pack showing origin USA i.e no Canadian Beaver!).

                                                          1. re: estufarian

                                                            Isn't that like bringing sand to the beach? Or is it unpatriotic to eat Canadian beavers?

                                                            1. re: GoodGravy

                                                              It's 'almost' illegal - the meat can't be sold. But in the US it can be sold (not sure what the status is of transporting Beaver across state lines though).

                                                              1. re: estufarian

                                                                In Ontario one can buy beaver meat directly from a trapper legally but it can only be consumed by the buyer or a member of their immediate family. Unless one gets a minister's permit, I have no idea how one goes about obtaining such a thing.

                                                                1. re: bytepusher

                                                                  Yes, but the trapper also needs a permit. I've tracked down a trapper (way outside Toronto) but he' s not prepared to dress the meat.
                                                                  One can also serve it at a 'charitable event' where a different permit is available.

                                                                2. re: estufarian

                                                                  Est'n: Forbidden! The Mann Act!

                                                                  1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi

                                                                    !. Doesn't the Mann act only apply to white beaver?
                                                                    2. Not valid in Canada anyway.

                                                    2. re: ylsf

                                                      My husband is a hunter as well and asked at the actual border about bringing back venison. He was told by a human being that if it was one deer, killed by him, for personal consumption, not a problem. Don't know if that is an 'official' answer though.

                                                    3. re: estufarian

                                                      Ice cream mixes are imported by most Canadian makers to get around our dairy prices.

                                                      Whenever eggs go on special, they are likely USDA, and it is legal.

                                                      The Loblaw group regularly sells USDA meat in shrink wrap.

                                                      1. re: jayt90

                                                        I know that.
                                                        Cream 'powders' but not fresh are permitted - which is why most bulk ice creams have their texture.
                                                        Eggs I'm not familiar with (other than that it was taken to the Supreme Court of Canada when Quebec tried to restrict Ontario imports).
                                                        Meat is permitted WITH A PERMIT - but I've never tried getting one. It is not permitted without that permit - somewhere in my files I have the details; I researched it sometime back - but it's conceivable the 'old rules' have been replaced; I've just given up trying to follow them.

                                                        1. re: estufarian

                                                          Regarding eggs, I noticed a lot of USDA grade A large packs in Loblaws, Sobeys and their discount operations from October to January, usually on special. I contacted my MP and he got a reply from Minister Ritz; here is part of it,

                                                          "The import of food products is a long-standing component of Canada’s agri-food industry. In 2012, Canada imported the equivalent of 28.6 million dozen eggs. This was equal to 4.6 per cent of a total domestic production of 604.9 million dozen. While Canadian egg graders and processors import table eggs on a year-round basis, levels tend to increase when usage is at its highest, often around the Christmas or Easter holiday period. Table egg imports are controlled in Canada using a two-stage tariff system; 21.370 million dozen eggs are imported free of access, while imports over this access level are subject to a tariff of 163.5 per cent.

                                                          While Canada’s egg producers focus on producing eggs for the domestic market, there is a limited export of eggs and egg products. In 2012, this amounted to 20.7 million dozen in egg equivalent, valued at $19.6 million. "

                                                          I guess they have egg counters in Ottawa as well as bean counters!

                                                          My problem with this is different feeding and nesting regulations for U.S. fowl, and the huge mark ups that Gray Ridge and Burnbrae can get from non Canadian eggs. It belies our chicken quota system.

                                                      2. re: estufarian

                                                        Not at all estufarian. Of course you should always declare what you're bringing into the country but I've never had an issue w cheese or other dairy when crossing the border.

                                                        I do think there must be an issue with turkeys though because we've been asked if we have any turkeys on a few occasions when returning from Buffalo. It wouldn't be something I'd even think about bringing back but the question always interests me...I'd love to know why turkeys are singled out.

                                                        1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                          Breadcrumbs, the limits are due to Canadian socialist nanny state poultry/dairy marketing boards. You may think these good or bad depending on your politics, but they are the sole reason why, for instance, Wegman's charges $1.99 lb for boneless skinless chicken breasts or Tops sells turkey before US Thanksgiving for 49 cents lb, whereas in Canada $4.99 and $1.99 would be bargain prices, and the norms way higher! I have noticed more Canadian sales recently on butter - why that should be so maybe some one else will know.

                                                          I make at least one run a month to Buffalo and bring back around $200+ of groceries per person in my SUV - no officer ever has challenged me at the Lewiston crossing, If you are upfront with them - even a 30 of Genesee beer - they are far too busy to bother with trifling overages that have been declared.

                                                          Sometimes they observe as they hand back the cash register slips, "You know, a few of those items aren't basic groceries." But they never have said "Oh you have 21 k of chicken" or "You spent $25 on dairy." The guys in the booth are, after all, the same guys who rotate to the inside office where they collect tax and duty - and they know the value of their time is not to comb through a grocery bill, separate out the 30-40-50 items I've bought and charge tax on some, not others. (Once and a while when I have a lot of clothes or other dutiable items the office inside looks at my supermarket slip and hands it right back saying "groceries, we won't bother with these.")

                                                          One might, I know - and have heard - run into a stickler for the letter of the regulations but even if that was once in 20 visits one would be way way ahead of the game compared to Canadian prices, not to mention the much greater variety of products in the US that is the subject of this thread. (and chances are that indoor officer would not be interested in it, as I wrote). So be upfront and smile and I'd bet all will be well.

                                                          And BTW when you are in Buffalo, go to La Nova Pizza (voted #1 in the US) off Main St E exit in Williamsville for some slices or pizzas to go - awesome - to Joe the Butcher for beef on weck and to Anderson's for awesome shakes and other ice cream confections.

                                                          1. re: Bigtigger

                                                            I can only assume my file is tagged. Last time I brought 3 bottles of wine across (instead of the 2 permitted) I was pulled over and received a lecture about not doing that again - but they did let me through.

                                                            1. re: estufarian

                                                              Estufarian, either your file is marked, or you have been incredibly unlucky. The way the agents look at my grocery receipts is so casual (except I point out the beer item line so there's no question they can see the amount coheres with my oral declaration) that I doubt they would ever discern Italian butter from any other - ditto chocolates. No permit needed for meat - maybe true for commercial imports or poultry above the regulations - but for personal imports, not an issue. (I have some inkling that raw sausage or a few specialty products could cause a stink but have never been asked and I don't buy them anyway.) I wonder if you, Estufarian, are relating an airport experience rather than the roadway border? With their dogs and their focus on minutiae (just watch Border Security on Rogers 85 - highly entertaining and shows our tax dollars largely wasted with some obvious exceptions imho) and the general heightened airport security there seems to be a much tighter control.

                                                              1. re: Bigtigger

                                                                Do not confuse the rules for land border crossings and products with US origin with an airport arrival from overseas...totally different game

                                                                1. re: bytepusher

                                                                  emphasizing 'U.S. ORIGIN' - not imported into US.
                                                                  Same rules there if you arrive by plane.

                                                                2. re: Bigtigger

                                                                  Way back (way way back) I wrote about my searching for Wink (the soft drink) and the strange things that 'seemed to happen' as I attempted to track it down (eventually found in North Carolina).
                                                                  Yes, some of my 'dealings' have been at airports - where one has to sign a declaration. At land crossings a verbal declaration suffices, and we all know that the spoken word is not as reliable as the written word (assuming no intent to deceive).
                                                                  And I also find that in my newer car (new licence plate) I have not (yet) been pulled over - but I also have never risked importing foods using that either! So, I guess paranoia works (although I do recall a quote that it's not paranoia if they're really out to get you).
                                                                  Another example (and for the record I always declare) - I have a collection of old patent medicines and found a particular tonic that caused concern because it was 40% alcohol (I hadn't noticed - it was bought as an antique, although I obviously was aware that alcohol was often a constituent of many remedies). I also brought back some wine (over the personal limit) that was also declared. I was then challenged because I hadn't declared the medicine bottle as part of the wine claim. Eventually they did allow it without duty/taxes.
                                                                  There's more. but I've probably ranted enough.
                                                                  PS I watch Border Security as well. But I'd really like to see the outtakes when the 'customer' was right and the border officer wrong. But that would never occur would it?

                                                                  1. re: Bigtigger

                                                                    Or maybe I cross the border a lot.

                                                          2. We covered this topic a year ago, little has changed.
                                                            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/888698

                                                            10 Replies
                                                            1. re: maple99

                                                              Well, Trader Joe's has opened in Buffalo...

                                                              Speaking of, from TJs I get:
                                                              10 min. quick cook barley and farro
                                                              Coconut mango bites in dark chocolate
                                                              Frozen Indian entrees
                                                              Pure cherry juice
                                                              Hearty grains hot cereal
                                                              Coconut cashews
                                                              Those huge bars of chocolate

                                                              From Wegmans:
                                                              Donuts!!! So, so good. Honestly, the best donuts I've ever had, especially the coconut one.
                                                              Cracklin' Oat Bran
                                                              Fage yogurt

                                                              1. re: sgogo

                                                                Have you had Paula's donuts from Buffalo? Are Wegman's better than Paula's?

                                                                1. re: TeacherFoodie

                                                                  Haha, are you crazy.

                                                                  I love Wegmans. Their donuts are certainly not bad.

                                                                  Paula's Donuts though are so far beyond Wegmans it's silly to even have the conversation.

                                                                  Go to Paula's. Either location is great but I like the atmo at the Main St. shop.

                                                                  1. re: magic

                                                                    So, all these months later, I can now say that I agree with magic. It's like comparing apples and...donuts. Wegman's are great, no question, for a solid coconut cake donut. But Paula's....holy crap. Those things are monsters. I feel so terrible getting them, and a few that I've tried have not been my kind of thing (cheese, red velvet, black forest). But any of the ones with chocolate or coconut are amazing. And there's one location super close to TJ's.
                                                                    Thanks (I think) to TeacherFoodie for the mention, We can never go back to not knowing about Paula's now.

                                                                    1. re: sgogo

                                                                      Haha, nice! So glad you agree.

                                                                      Exactly, Wegmans' donuts are pretty good, no arguments there. They just can't be mentioned in the same breath as Paula's. I've had donuts in lotsa cities. Paula's are amongst the best I've had anywhere I think.

                                                                      1. re: magic

                                                                        For people who haven't tried Wegman's donuts, how do Paula's stack up to Von or GHD? While we're at it, how do Wegman's stack up to Von and GHD?

                                                                        1. re: GoodGravy

                                                                          No idea!

                                                                          Have had little interest in trying GHD, and have not yet tried VON.

                                                                          I will say this, they are very different styles. Paula's is classic old school (as are Wegmans'), which I prefer and seek out. GHD and VON are of course modern takes on donuts.

                                                                          You should pay a visit to Paula's if you can. And I will pay a visit to VON.

                                                                        2. re: magic

                                                                          I have lots of family in Buffalo and have been going there all my life. On a recent visit we were told about Paula's. I asked why no one had ever mentioned it before. We went. OMG, it was exciting. We went to the one on Sheridan. At 9:00 a.m. we had to wait to get a parking spot and we had a 30 minute wait in line, but enjoyed every minute of it. Everyone in line was giving us their opinion on what we had to get. So, we got to the front of the line and explained that we are from Toronto and this was our first time at Paula's and we wanted to buy 6 donuts. In a booming voice, the server said that we had to buy at least a dozen! Okay, so we ordered a dozen of assorted donuts and asked that they be split into two boxes -- the donuts are enormous and they were jamming 12 into one box and we wanted them to look nice when we got home. My husband lived the key lime donuts, sprinkled with coconut and I loved everything chocolate (except I didn't love the red velvet). Anyway, hands down, they were the best donuts we've ever had -- we both agreed on that. The cost was ridiculously low and the flavour, texture and size were amazing. They were even good two days later, zapped in the microwave for a few seconds. I can't imagine we'll ever go back to Buffalo withing making a pit stop at Paula's!

                                                                          1. re: farmgirl1836

                                                                            Agreed!

                                                                            I've even found most of Paula's varieties keep well for 3 days! I have no idea how. They're not loaded with preservatives I'm guessing, so I'm amazed at how long they keep.

                                                                            Check out the Main St. location too. Just as good, and I really like the cozy neighbourhood vibe there.

                                                                  2. re: sgogo

                                                                    Are these in the bakery trays with windows (fresh) or packaged? I'll have to add it to my list!

                                                                2. Good Season's dry salad dressing mix...Italian...a childhood memory...used to be available in Canada and my Mum always used it...I like it as a marinade and also salad dressing.

                                                                  1. trader Joe's frozen chocolaté croissants….soooo good

                                                                    1. Well, the simple answer is FRAY BENTOS Steak and Kidney Pies and Puddings, but I don't expect anyone will even comprehend what they are or why you would want to consume them...I know my wife doesn't.

                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                      1. re: peasepudding

                                                                        I know exactly what they are - but I agree with your wife!

                                                                        1. re: estufarian

                                                                          Mmm...

                                                                           
                                                                        2. re: peasepudding

                                                                          Whom in buffalo would carry these pies??

                                                                          1. re: youdonut

                                                                            The point is you can order them on-line in Buffalo. Since the "mad cow scare" you can't even bring them into Canada even though they're made in South America and never even see the UK.

                                                                        3. Chili lime Fritos.

                                                                          1. Here are my favourites:

                                                                            Trader Joes:
                                                                            -Frozen croissants
                                                                            -Old Cheddar with Bacon
                                                                            - Carmelized onion dip
                                                                            - Pita chips
                                                                            - English toffee with dark chocolate and pistachios
                                                                            - Frozen French green beans
                                                                            - Cornbread mix
                                                                            - many of their prepared meals are quite good

                                                                            Wegmans:
                                                                            - Chicken breast (amzing deal in the vac pack)
                                                                            - NY Strip steak (again a great deal and decent quality in the vac pack)
                                                                            - Popcorners chips (not easily available here)
                                                                            - Cheese, cheese, cheese!
                                                                            - Garlic and Herb cheese spread
                                                                            - Canned Soup (more varieties there)
                                                                            - Quaker Real Medleys Oatmeal (they need to start selling these in Cda - so good and convienent)
                                                                            - Nathans Hot dogs

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: cubmike74

                                                                              I think they just started selling Quaker real medleys in grocery stores here. I recall seeing them at Loblaws within the last couple of weeks.

                                                                            2. Kerrygold butter from Wegmans
                                                                              Fage yogurt
                                                                              Biscoff cookies
                                                                              Trader joe spices and snacks

                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. re: ParsleySage

                                                                                You can buy Biscoff cookies at the Leonidas store on the Danforth, and presumably their other locations as well.

                                                                              2. If you are in Florida, Publix has the BEST fried chicken strips. Not sure why I like them so much, but really good product for a trip to the beach.

                                                                                Grits in Buffalo are a go to...not only regular grits but various types of instant, flavoured, packaged and plain grits. Love them with some goat cheese melted in and fried cajun shrimp

                                                                                1. Wise Potato Chips.

                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: Pincus

                                                                                    +1 for WISE...

                                                                                    1. re: kwfoodiewannabe

                                                                                      Wise used to make this Caribbean jerk flavoured chip - a search tells me it was called Mambo Mania (and later renamed Crazy Calypso although I don't remember that one). They were so, so good. Sadly, it appears they've been discontinued.

                                                                                      1. re: 16crab

                                                                                        I actually love Presidents Choice jerk (chicken?) chips.

                                                                                  2. Forgot to mention Chocolatey Delight Special K - used to be available in Canada but haven't seen it here in a long time.

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: TeacherFoodie

                                                                                      decaffeinated teas...MUCH better selections

                                                                                    2. The problem with cross-border grocery shopping for me, which I would only do if I happen to be going to Niagara Falls, NY as I live in Toronto (long trek even if there are some items we can't get here) is the fact that you are not allowed to use your Nexus card if you are bringing back food. If you do and they catch you then you lose your card. You have to go in the regular line-up if you want to bring back food. That really lessens the attractiveness of bringing back food for me.

                                                                                      7 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: Flexitarian

                                                                                        Wow, if that is the case I will probably skip getting a Nexus card. I guess it still speeds entry into the USA but I had assumed you could self-declrare on groceries if you had a Nexus card. Makes it less attractive to me, thanks for pointing that out.

                                                                                        1. re: ylsf

                                                                                          I also was not aware of that. Interesting.

                                                                                          Then again, I always find the wait to get back into Canada is nothing compared to getting into the States (but I tend to re-enter Canada later at night), so going in a regular line to get back to Canada would not bother me in any case.

                                                                                          Nexus is more about skipping the long lines into the US, and you don't have groceries at that point anyways. So...

                                                                                        2. re: Flexitarian

                                                                                          Hmmm, that doesn't fit with my experience. It is true that going into the US you need to declare every food item you have - including an apple. BUT coming back into Canada, I have nexus and I used the nexus lane and bring back groceries all the time without problem.
                                                                                          It is important to know the rules, what is taxable and what isn't, limits on meat and cheese, etc. I just tell the border gaurd "I bought $200 in groceries, etc" and it's never been a problem.

                                                                                          Of course everyones experience is different and I'm not offering advice on what to do / not do. Just recounting my experience.

                                                                                          1. re: cubmike74

                                                                                            Hmmm, when I had my interview the official stressed to me 3 times that I cannot bring food over the border with this card. I know someone that lost their pass because they found an apple core in his car. And friends of mine also were instructed about the 'no food' rule when they were interviewed for their Nexus. But, I just reviewed the rules at the Canadian website at http://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/publicatio... and it appears to allow declared food, so maybe the person that interviewed me for my Nexus was referring only to undeclared items. And now that I think of it he was a US official, not Canadian so maybe that only applies to bringing food into the US. Or, maybe the rules have changed as I got my card 7 years ago.

                                                                                            I could ask the Nexus border official next time I go through the Nexus-only Whirlpool bridge in Niagara Falls, but then he would be the US official. Maybe I'll phone in to clarify this rule. Sorry for any confusion I may be causing!

                                                                                            1. re: Flexitarian

                                                                                              Yes, the Nexxus official is always with American Customs. They are the boss of us.

                                                                                              1. re: Flexitarian

                                                                                                Yes I received the same stern warnings, but to be clear, that was about bringing food items INTO the US.
                                                                                                There are different rules for going into the US versus coming back to Canada. My understanding is that the rules for coming back into canada are more relaxed around food.
                                                                                                Next time you cross at a land crossing ask a _Canadian_ agent. They will be happy to explain it to you.

                                                                                              2. re: cubmike74

                                                                                                Thanks for the clarification.... I was kind of curious about the post because a cousin that lives in that area told me she goes food shopping all of the time and it is fast with her Nexus card.... I thought after this post that she was saving time on just the entry into the USA but your post lines up more with what she had told me.

                                                                                            2. Fresh lump crab meat in plastic cartons. Great for making crab cakes!
                                                                                              S&W can food products.
                                                                                              30% more Campbell's Soup selection! eg., Cream of Chicken and Corn, Russian Bortsch, Oxtail,...etc

                                                                                              1. For anyone planning to cross the border for grocery shopping, bring a cooler:

                                                                                                http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/02...

                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: TeacherFoodie

                                                                                                  Funny....I just came to post this. Looks awesome!

                                                                                                  1. re: justsayn

                                                                                                    I loved the comment in the page "I gained two pounds just reading this"! Looking forward to try a flavour or two the week after next.

                                                                                                2. For anyone who does cross the border into the Buffalo area you should definitely make a trip to the Trader Joe's store in Amherst. I ended up going twice on my recent visit and they have many wonderful items at great prices!

                                                                                                  Some great finds were: Cilantro Salad Dressing, Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups, Bacon Cheddar (with real bacon), Habanero sauce (my husband says it's great), Cowboy Bark, Caramelized Onion Dip, Spinach and Kale dip, almond croissants (freezer section), Root Beer (made with sugar cane) and also their prepared salads. All were TJ's own brand and prices were extremely reasonable. Staff in store were very helpful.

                                                                                                  6 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: TeacherFoodie

                                                                                                    Trader Joe's prepared Hollandaise is surprisingly good.

                                                                                                    1. re: prima

                                                                                                      Thanks prima - I will have to check it out next time I go. Have you seen the Trader Joe's threads in "chains"? Lots of suggestions there.

                                                                                                      1. re: TeacherFoodie

                                                                                                        I have seen the threads, but I rarely drive anywhere near Buffalo, and when I have driven near/past Buffalo, I've never had time to stop to buy groceries. Any of my visits to Trader Joe's have been to California locations. My groceries from the States have usually come from visits to NYC or California.

                                                                                                        When I'm in NYC, I stock up at Kalustyan's.

                                                                                                        1. re: prima

                                                                                                          California is great! Glad to hear you are able to get to TJ's sometimes!

                                                                                                          1. re: prima

                                                                                                            Hello prima, what's good at Kalustyan's?

                                                                                                            1. re: smfan

                                                                                                              They have a massive selection of spices, pickles, preserves, condiments and other pantry/dry goods from all over the world. They also have refrigerated goods, but I'm usually buying things to bring home, so I stick to the goods that can be kept at room temperature, and that Customs will allow into Canada via Pearson. It seems easier to bring some groceries over the border by car than by plane.

                                                                                                              I've bought Trinidadian curry powder, aji amarillo and Soan cake (that being said, I was happy to see Soan cake at my local Great Canadian Superstore recently). While I could find most of the ingredients if I travelled around to various ethnic shops in Toronto, it's nice to have them all offered under one roof at Kalustyan's.

                                                                                                    2. I miss the Mark & Spencer shrimp chips, wine gums, & chocolate digestifs.

                                                                                                      Trader Joes seasonal treats and snacks are great. One year they had chocolate ganache filled dried figs that were also dipped on chocolate. AMAZING.

                                                                                                      Marron glacé at Payard and Maison au Chocolat.

                                                                                                      Anything at Eataly.... Really though I'd like to think in Toronto we have equal quality except more scattered in various stores.

                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: Nevy

                                                                                                        Not to mention Mark & Spencer's Canned Jellied Ox-Tongue, Potted Crab and Salmon Spread, Minced Beef and Canned Curries.

                                                                                                        1. re: Charles Yu

                                                                                                          I love the "Cornish Cruncher" -- better than the made-in-the-UK "Canadian Cheddar!"

                                                                                                      2. :) Hope you like them.

                                                                                                        1. Corn Chex Cereal. Love it.

                                                                                                          Sometime you can find rice chex or cinnamon chex or some other Chex but I can never find plain Corn Chex.

                                                                                                          1. Entenmanns chocolate cake!
                                                                                                            So sad I can't find this anywhere anymore.

                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: 1roadstr

                                                                                                              +1 for Entenmann's Choc cake!

                                                                                                              Used to be able to find them at Loblaws/Zehrs.

                                                                                                              Now only in the U.S. I think... (probably not such a BAD thing - I'd be eating one a week!)

                                                                                                              1. re: kwfoodiewannabe

                                                                                                                I am obsessed with Entenmann's Marshmallow Iced Devil's Food Cake.

                                                                                                                Heaven.