This past Saturday, I headed out with the intention of going to the Distillery District. I have never been there before and I wanted to see what it was all about. I was walking from Union as per usual. It was a bitterly cold day – the wind had flash-frozen all the puddles. My skate shoes, with their nearly-flat treads, were failing to keep me from slipping on any surface that had recently been iced. As I cautiously stepped along, I found myself in front of the St. Lawrence Market on Front Street. I thought I would go in to warm up and momentarily escape the prospect of a broken ankle.
I ended up staying there for three hours and by the time I left it was too late and too dark (blast this infernal Daylight Savings Time !) to continue onto the Distillery District.
However, I find that unplanned adventures are often the best ones – and I did have a sort of adventure in the Marketplace. There are so many interesting and wonderful and odd things to be found there.
The market has a lot of fresh fish stands, including this one:
You can buy many ….interesting… things at the Seafront Fish Market, including these items:
I wonder what Flying Fish tastes like?!
Or you can procure any of these:
I am not sure I would ever consume the item on the left. It seems a little too…well, cute to be eaten.
Next I found myself pondering …..
I think I would very much like to go on an Adventure in Cheese!
If you want everyone to know you’re Canadian, and make no mistake about it, you can visit this stand…
…and purchase these items.
On the subject of Canadiana, who knew that most of the world’s mustard is grown here and we are home to the oldest mustard mill on the planet? At Kozlik’s Canadian Mustard stand, you can learn all about it.
You can also sample any of their amazing mustards at this tasting station.
I tried this one first:
I really like spicy foods…but I wasn’t prepared for this. It had a tremendous amount of wasabi (Japanese horseradish) in it. This causes a different type of “hot” than the usual type of heat caused by chili peppers/hot peppers. The “wasabi hot” is much more intense. It causes your eyes to first open very wide and then shut tight, your mouth to utter swear words, and your hands to instinctively cover your nose because it has suddenly stopped helping you to breathe and at the same time feels as though it is engulfed in flames.
After the sudden burst of “wasabi hot” has subsided, you find yourself apologizing to the person next to you at the sampling station because of your sudden outburst of profanity.
After apologies were made, I wandered on to the “Everyday Gourmet Coffee Roasters” stand where I found dozens of jars of loose leaf teas. For those who are not familiar with loose leaf teas, they are far far superior in taste to the teabag-variety teas such as Tetley and Lipton. Those teas are ground and processed and thus have already lost most of their flavour by the time you brew them at home. Loose leaf teas are to teabags what an AAA steaks are to ground hamburger.
Loose leaf teas can be bought at many tea boutiques and cafes and markets. To brew the tea leaves, you can either use a tea ball (about $4, available at grocery stores and kitchen shops), or a ceramic mug with a built-in tea leaf basket (about $7, available in Chinatown or at a tea boutique). My personal favourite tea boutique is David’s Tea which is located in the PATH and also on Queen Street West.
Sorry for the little tea rant… but I can’t help trying to persuade more people to buy loose leaf tea! They come in so many flavours and varieties…caffeinated and non-caffeinated…there is one for every taste and time of day. I could go on and on, but instead I will show you which delicious flavours I picked up while at the coffee stand.
I next came across this booth which featured a delicious selection of homemade salsas, hummus, and guacamole.
This little figure welcomed me to the booth.
The booth across the hall, called “A Bisket A Basket,” had two of the most delicious jams I have ever tasted.
The one on the right is marmalade. I don’t even like marmalade, and I loved this one. And the Pina Colada one was one the most unique and delicious jams I have ever tried.
I could go on and on about all the different booths I visited, but I will end by saying that if you haven’t been to the St. Lawrence Market lately, or ever, it is definitely time to go.
This article, which one of the shopkeepers had proudly posted on the outside wall of their booth, sums it up pretty nicely.
It was getting dark as I exited the market.
I will definitely be back soon.