Granted, a grocery store is a not the sexiest topic. You just might get stood up if you dm ‘meet me in front of the Provigo at seven, we’re about to really eat’. But what you are not taking into consideration is that there are stores that carry produce and meats and cheeses that are unconscionably sexy they will have you planning out home cooked dinner dates for days. Trust me — that sliver of Bleu d’Elizabeth will have you and your boo moaning in no time.
Since we at Novella are, all things considered, only truly concerned with making you the sexiest motherfu**ers Toronto’s ever seen, we couldn’t in all good conscience not give you the below list of stores you should hit for a night in. Go for the salt, goo, and stink of the splendor at these establishements and enjoy it in the comfort of your home and sweatpants. (Pusateri’s at Saks Fifth was not included in the list because it makes me feel uneasy).
Cheese Boutique (and Nancy’s Cheese)
This could be our way of re-purposing our interview with Afrim Pristine, but it’s not. The Cheese Boutique really is the best place to get cheese in Toronto. Get a bit of different cheeses — make sure to taste them —, pick out a chocolate or two, and grab a baguette and a thing of olives. The best part of the Cheese Boutique is that the staff are knowledgable and will help you pick out what you like.
If the Cheese Boutique is a little too far, Nancy’s Cheese on Dupont and Spadina also carry a very good selection of cheeses from around the world and Canada. Nancy’s has an approximate list of what’s in stock on their website, so you can check it out before you go.
Sanagan’s Meat Locker
Sanagan’s Meat Locker has two counters — one for the butcher and one for the deli. The butcher section features meats from numerous farms across Canada and offers everything from premium steaks to offals. The deli side is a little retrained in its choices but all the better since everything it offers is excellent. Personal favorite is their blood sausage — ask for an inch-thick and grill it for breakfast. Sanagan’s also carries a variety of meat-based deliciousness like bone marrow broth; it also has lunch options, so if you’re too hungry to wait, you can get some straight away.
Schmaltz is truly a magical place. From a variety of smoked fishes, pickled herrings, caviars to cream cheeses and deli salads, these ‘purveyors of fine fish’ really know how to eat. If you need more convincing than a brief look at their goods, try one of their bagel sandwiches — chazzer (gravlax, salmon caviar, horseradish cream cheese) is great place to start. Eat it next to a tiny counter with napkins and local event ads and proceed to spend all your hard earned money. It will be worth it.
Last on our list is Galleria Supermarket. As the name cries out, it is expansive and covers every section of the food pyramid and spills over some. This Korean grocery store’s mandate is “Better than the best products”. As such their products are fresh and reliable, and their stores are clean and well-managed. Galleria offers produce from Asia alongside your regular blueberries and watermelons, and niche products for adventurous home cooks to chefs alike. Going to Galleria is like an adventure (with a cafeteria at the back at the Finch location) — you will always be surprised by what’s available. (They’ve recently opened a smaller ‘Express’ branch on Bloor W.)