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
850 Ellesmere Rd, Toronto, ON M1P, CA
Richmond Court Restaurant
328 7 Hwy, Thornhill, ON L4B1A1, CA