Saturday, August 20, 2016

Loblaws tapas dim-sum smörgåsbord

Noticing a sale at a local supermarket deli counter, I thought I make it my breakfast. I ended up with 7 small portions of various snacks, costing me, together with a 650g yogurt, $17.67

chicken thai and the receiptAs you may or may not know Loblaws is generally more expensive than Metro but their sales are 50% off whereas Metro is usually 20 to 30% off. I’ve had some bad experiences with Metro, and watched people being mistreated, but they do offer 10% off on certain days to students at nearby institutions. For instance, the Bloor & Spadina Metro gives 10% off to students on Tuesday and Wednesday, but they are quite draconian in checking student ID to the point where some students are turned away because their ID is supposedly unreadable and they look older than 20. As such, buying items on sale at Loblaws makes more sense, as food is usually still fresh and cheaper than similarly discounted items at Metro, not to mention that you get superior customer service and avoid the mean-spirited arbitrary pettiness of Metro management.

all dishes together

Of all the above, the best bet was probably the “quinoa pilaf”. The other quinoa dish, the “sweet kale” was a little too sweet for me. The seafood vinaigrette was too acidic and had mostly imitation crab, and while not too bad, the Chicken Salad Bombay had just one fingernail-sized piece of chicken, while the potato and egg salad was swimming in mayo and its ingredients did not justify its price tag. Finally, the Salad Thai Chicken was quite alright – not extraordinary, but neither was it a major disappointment.

I also had a look at a recent NOW article on cheap eats in Toronto (nowt-e). Of their recommendations I like

  • Banh Mi Boys (392 Queen St W) $5.50 baguette with veggies and pulled pork/meatballs/grilled tofu
  • Emporium Latino (243 Augusta Ave) tamales, pupusas, empanadas for less than $5 each
  • Mystic Muffin (113 Jarvis) falafel wraps & deli-style sammies for $5
  • Ginger (546 Church) filling pho $6.95
  • Sky Blue Sky (605 Bloor W) $4.29 BLT
  • Patties Express (4 Elm St) $1.89 patties, $3.39 with coco bread
  • Upper Deck (20 College St) $5 snack menu: fried green beans, chicken or steak tacos
  • Dumpling House (328 Spadina Ave) $7.99 dumplings

To this list I’d add Paradise Garden Restaurant on Spadina with $5.99 lunch special (soup + choice of 20+ dishes) and Red Room/Lounge at 444 Spadina,  a perennial fav, even though it gets occasional hygiene warnings and it’s cash only, but their Red Room Special is still an unbeatable value. Add to this their daily booze specials, which unfortunately I don’t remember, except that they were extremely cheap. See below for more on cheap booze (nowt-d).

Sources / More info: nowt-e, nowt-d

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