As a child I had a particular dislike for grocery shopping. I still harbor a great deal of resentment at being left alone with the cart for what seemed like hours (it was probably only 3 minutes, but 3 minutes parked in front of the Babybel cheese can seem like an eternity to a child) and my sister following me around the store silently laughing and not telling me I had tucked the back of my lycra skirt into my sagging ribbed wool tights added insult to injury. In addition to the boredom and humiliation I was sure to endure at the store, our local Provigo had a lackluster food selection; wilting vegetables that had been “ashed” on by University students, bagels which were actually just bagel shaped bread, cardboard thin minute steak, iceberg lettuce and Kraft Italian salad dressing as far as the eye could see.
When I was 19, I moved to the big city, where I developed a love of food shopping. There was a multitude of stores to choose from and a wide variety of food choices to suit my vegetarian and later on, my gluten-intolerant needs. I still enjoy food shopping and I like to go to a variety of grocery stores (especially when traveling) to check out all the different snacks.
I have decided, not in a New Year’s resolution way but in a general lifestyle change way, that I need to return to a healthier way of eating as I have been eating a lot of unhealthy food court takeout and have a Starbucks monkey on my back. My Christmas present to myself this year was a large order of Bento boxes and Bento making supplies from casabento.com which I will write about in great detail when it arrives. I anticipate this will give me some excitement about bringing my lunch to work. I am already off to a good start. I had a week and a half off over the Christmas holidays which gave me time to recover from the foodcourt (and the flu) and upon my return to work last week, I brought my lunch every day and more importantly did not go to Starbucks once. I actually feel slightly less crappy.
I decided to go on a grocery shopping adventure this weekend to stock up on lunch making supplies and get some tasty weekend treats for myself. My first stop was the The St. Lawrence Market on Friday after work since my office is in close proximity.
My primary reason for going was to find a replacement rubber ring for my Bialetti Moka Express, but while I was there fulfilling my coffeemaking needs, why not also pick up 3 kinds of olives, some spicy chorizo, a filet mignon tornado, some rollmops, roasted artichokes and 200 grams of strong appenzeller cheese from the cheese store where all the cute guys work.
Today’s lunch of Rollmops, roasted artichoke hearts and carrot and celery sticks
Fueled by my a desire to get more exciting, exotic foods I decided to have a Saturday adventure and go to one of my favorite stores:PAT in Little Korea, This store has a great variety of produce and Korean and Japanese food and the prices are pretty reasonable.
This is what $61 worth of groceries from PAT look like. It is actually 2 large bags worth of food and includes some higher end products like umeboshi plums, dried shiitake mushrooms, fresh King Oyster mushrooms and a Guava. I have never had a Guava before.
Here are some rice flour dumplings filled with red bean paste and Shiritaki noodles. These have about 0 calories and are now being touted in the US as the miracle no-calorie pasta substitute, although truth be told, those expecting a pasta-like texture will be sadly disappointed. I find the gelatinous texture quite pleasing and clearly the woman in line behind me felt the same way, as her sole purchase was 30 packages of these noodles.
2 packages of single serving Miso soup packets. 1 with tofu and 1 with fried tofu. Some of these will come to work with me. These packages were about $1.75 cheaper than at the Japanese store. It’s a fact.
2 packages of frozen Inarizushi skins (fried tofu pockets). I plan to make Inarizushi, which I have never made before. You can read more about the deliciousness at JustHungry.com. One can also chop up the tofu skins and add to stir fry, which I do on occasion. The tofu skins are a bit sweet and add an interesting flavour to whatever you cook with them.
Quail eggs! I have never had these before, but I am excited. They are cute and are often featured in Charaben Bento. I am anxiously awaiting the delivery of my Christmas bento equipment so I can see these eggs in action.