A summary of recent IMAGE restaurant reviews and food features, plus other advice from our contributors about where to find great food in and around Sandy Hill.
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What a lot of changes to the basic business of obtaining food we have seen in Sandy Hill this winter! The loss of Metro and Safi Fine Foods early in the year set us up for the tableau of long lineups waiting to get into Loblaws when physical distancing became the rule in March. Conversations about the weather were displaced for a while by discussions of how long it was taking to get a delivery through Instacart, and which store might still have flour in stock for the home baker.
Things have simmered down now; the lineups are shorter and we’ve all found a routine that works for us, whether it involves shopping in person or online, picking up our groceries or getting them delivered. One strategy that helps to add some joy to stocking the kitchen is to remember small local businesses which have shown flexibility and creativity about meeting the needs of their clients.
ByWard Fruit, Saslove’s, Lapointe’s and House of Cheese
In March when we had just returned from the U.S., and were self-isolating for two weeks, it was wonderful to discover that some of our favourite ByWard Market businesses were still operating, and were working together to sell their wares in a safe and convenient way. We sent an email to ByWard Fruit with a list of fruits and vegetables we needed, also asking for bacon and cheese. When the order was ready a day or so later, we paid over the phone, and a magnificent box full of great food appeared on our steps a short time later.
Although the Market is increasingly open for in-person shopping, you can still get in touch with any of these businesses to arrange an order from more than one of them; they will work among themselves to fill your order and deliver it to you or have it ready to pick up. It’s worth remembering that ByWard Fruit also stocks a good supply of less-perishable, organic goods like peanut butter, canned beans and mayonnaise.
48 Nelson St.
The best buns in town for a fat sandwich are still waiting for you at this venerable Lowertown shop, which has changed its hours during the COVID-19 crisis, and is now open daily from 12:00 to 5:00. The Syrian Kitchen side of the business is also still in operation, and their falafels, baba ghanouj and baklava are an easy way to create a backyard picnic.
You may have become a fan of Nat’s over the last couple of summers, when their delicious four seed, potato buttermilk and whole wheat sourdough loaves have been a highlight of the ByWard Market stalls. In the winter, their loaves could be found, if you were lucky, at Saslove’s. During the current crisis, Nat’s will deliver to your door on Tuesdays or Fridays. The minimum order for delivery is $25.00, so make room in your freezer for a few loaves, or share an order with a neighbour.
35 Beechwood Ave.
Like so many businesses these days, our New Edinburgh neighbour is closed, but you can order frozen, unbaked scones from them, ready to go into your oven, for a special breakfast or a teatime treat. Order online for delivery on the weekend. They also sell coffee, tea and jam. Scone Witch’s website has detailed baking instructions, along with suggestions on making your own clotted cream.