In a world saturated with cheap potato chips and stale snacks, Spudniks stands apart. Rather than selling crinkly bags of chips and popcorn designed to last for months—thanks to additives and preservatives—they make each without unnecessary chemicals and serve them up to customers fresh and warm. The flavours are better, too—snacks are only seasoned once they're sold, and the shop's varied seasonings come with gluten-free options in flavours such as bleu cheese and chicken wings, mexi-jalapeno, and spicy thai-chili. The finger food selection ranges far and wide, from potato chips and kettle corn to spoutine and spachos, Spudniks' takes on the traditional comfort foods.
The products are also available in sealed packages for retail sale and portable consumption, with each bag actually full of snacks—not the disappointing air pocket or novelty rubber snake that fills other bags. For off-site enjoyment, Spudniks caters events with their warm chips and popcorn.
Whether crowned with berries or decorated like castles, wedding cakes from Leslieville Cheese Market look just like traditional nuptial desserts. There's just one difference: every cake is made from wheels of cheese. But despite being the most extravagant dish Leslieville's team makes from its stock of local and global cheeses, cakes are upstaged by the eatery's most popular dish.
That would be the grilled-cheese sandwich, named one of the best in Toronto by BlogTO. Each sports gourmet fixings – from aged white cheddar to artichoke hearts – between slices of house-made rye grilled for exactly six minutes on panini presses. More sandwiches adorn Leslieville's catered platters, as do smoked salmon, cured meats, and plenty of cheeses, including vegetarian-friendly rennet-free brands. To further spread their cheese appreciation, Leslieville's proprietors host private tastings and classes focused on skills such as pairing cheese with beer or anything .
Inspired by the boutique markets of New York and France, Fresh & Wild's King and Spadina and Bloor West locations buzz with activity as customers browse produce, meat, and artisan goods sourced both locally and from across the globe. Within the King and Spadina store, a high-powered media system plays rock and blues as shoppers lasso tapenades and fresh tomatoes into carts. A modern café echoes Italy as it brews fair-trade coffees, leans slightly askew, and dishes out flaky pastries from local bakeries. The Bloor West location celebrates the bounty of nature by displaying vibrant green plants within indoor and outdoor cases.
Each morning at 4 a.m., the grocery's buyer arrives at a food terminal to acquire fresh items and potatoes, which he then uses to fuel his car back home. Additionally, Fresh & Wild employs a catering team that stack gourmet sandwiches and shake up organic salads until they plead for mercy.
Named one of the best cheese shops in the city by blogTO, Cheese Emporium curates cheeses from at least a dozen different countries, celebrating the unique cheese-making character and tradition found in each locale. French and Italian cheeses dominate the dairy cases in the shop, whose selection Toronto Life describes as “defiantly European.” Pungent and creamy Delice de Bourgogne fills a cheese plate alongside one of three Roqueforts, and Italian offerings such as Sardinian goat cheese and buffalo mozzarella mingle with swiss gruyere. More local cheeses stroll over from other provinces and the USA, including a 12-year Quebec white cheddar and a smoky Oregon blue. Toronto Life also describes an “extensive olive bar” from which customers can harvest a wide variety of googly eyes for the sandwiches at their next business lunch.
As one of Canada's largest nutrition retail outlets, Popeye's Supplements populates its store with nutrition, weight-loss, and fitness aids designed to address a variety of health matters. Expert vitamin prospectors help patrons find supplements best suited to their fitness goals. Shoppers can fill their baskets with Hydroxycut bars or stock up on Allmax Nutrition's muscle-magnifying creatine. Meanwhile, the green-tea extracts and soy vitamin E in the Ascenta NutraSea fish oil team up to strengthen hearts and soothe joints. Customers who aren't sure which supplement may work best for them can try out different ones at Popeye's Supplements' sampling station.
With glimmering wine glasses, white napkins, and fresh flowers scattered across its wooden tables and countertops, Bistro 243 personifies a cozy-yet-stylish French bistro. The intimate restaurant serves elegant lunch and dinner dishes daily, with entrees such as mushroom risotto and chicken stuffed with spinach and brie further channeling European pleasures. On weekends, diners stop by to sip on mimosas from the full bar while enjoying brunch selections ranging from omelettes with smoked salmon to sandwiches with pulled pork.