It's official. There are no more corner stores in my neighbourhood (near Dovercourt). When we moved in 9 years ago (9?!) there were 4, all within a 10 minute walk of each other and 3 of the 4 on Churchill. Now there are none.
The first to go was the Daily Convenience at the east side of Churchill near Carling, then the Roosevelt Confectionary closed its doors. Fred's Fine Foods (love the full name though it was definately a misnomer!) was personally our biggest loss last summer. We can't get milk, juice, yard waste bags, flower baskets or pink mints at the new condos that are being constructed. And now the Churchill Groceteria, across from Churchill School near Byron, is gone with the building to be leased to MilkFace.
The Daily Convenienve became Aahar Restaurant (http://www.aahar.ca/) and I don't mind that so much. The convenience store had started selling good Indian food before it closed and simply transitioned into something new. The owners, as far as I know are the same. It's a great little addition and gets excellent foodie reviews. The owners of the Roosevelt Confectionary, as far as I know, retired. Fair enough. I think they still live in the building though presumably they will eventually sell and something new will be built.
Fred's I would have loved to have bought. It, together with the accompanying lot, was the perfect spot for a fabulous food place - maybe a cross between the Piggy Market and Herb & Spice. My kids miss Fred. They still talk about him. He wasn't even particularly friendly to them but they thought of him as a fixture in our neighbourhood. But even those we think of as fixtures leave.
And now the Churchill Groceteria. I rarely shopped there - it was a little far. Convenience stores need to be truly...convenient. But I miss it just the same.
And no I don't count the Shell on the corner of Churchill and Carling - it's too far for a really quick walk and the milk is expensive. So now we drive to Shoppers DrugMart (what a waste) and continue to try to plan more in advance (buy milk whenever you are near a store - we always need it).
Supperworks has been on my list of "Parent Picks" since I first started this blog. My friend Lynn introduced me to them last December and I became a bigger fan with every meal we ate. Thanks Lynn.
Supperworks is a Canadian company started by 2 busy and nutrition-minded moms - Chris Wood and Joni Lien - in 2005. It now has 15 franchise locations across Ontario including Orleans and Kanata. Their slogan is "we take the work out of supper"....and they do.
I've realized that a lot of people don't know who or what Supperworks is.....so here goes my effort at an accurate description. Don't take my word for it though - test it out for yourselves!
In a nutshell, Supperworks is a meal preparation company - a series of modern kitchen stations, stainless steel and very clean, (shown at left) each one with the ingredients for a meal laid out along with the recipe, bowls, appropriate measuring utensils etc. You prepare the meal according to the posted recipe and when you're finished it's ready to take home and put in your freezer for whenever you might choose to use it (the meals are actually made in freezer bags - and they do have a bag recycling program).
The beauty of the process lies in two areas - the meals themselves and the speed with which you make them....as well as the fact that you can do it with friends over a nice glass of wine.
I'd describe the meals as "family friendly". They're made from healthy, fresh ingredients (nutritional information is available on their website). You see exactly what you are putting into your meal. If there's something you don't like you leave it out. The menu changes on a monthly basis and there are some delicious vegetarian dishes. Portions are generous (including meat portions).One meal easily feeds my family of 4 twice. When they say 4-6 portions per meal, for us it's an easy 6 and the kids eat half portions. The meals are not excessively frilly or exotic - they're of the quality home-cooking variety rather than high-gourmet and that's exactly what I need. They make me the cook I wish I was!!
My favorite meals at the moment - Cosmopolitan Quesadillas (black beans, vegetables and cheese, seasoned and in a whole wheat tortilla) and 3B stew (beef, beans and beer) . They have equally yummy pork,, chicken and fish dishes and flavours from Italien to Indian to Mexican to pure comfort food.
Without the recipe search, the shopping, chopping, dicing, dishes etc. you can make between 9-12 meals within 2 hours!! It is a sure-fire way to feel absolutely productive. And I'm not exagerating those numbers. Nine is perfectly reasonable, 12 and you'll have to stay focussed but you'll get it done. And if you want to go at an even more relaxing pace, do 6 - you'll be done in an hour and a half and have time to chat with friends to boot. At the end, everything is in freezer bags, labelled with cooking instructions and ready to pop in your own freezer at home. They almost always give you some free bake-at-home chocolate cookies as a bonus.
When I've done this, I've done it with a friend or friends. We chat, we work, we have a glass of wine - and in the end we all feel super productive! Simply book some friends in at the same time or arrange to host a party. With 8 attendees or more you'll get the place to yourself. Bring some appetizers (nut-free), have a glass of wine, enjoy the company and accomplish something at the same time.
And, whether you know someone or not, chances are you will by the time you leave. Cooking and chatting seem to go together.
The majority of customers are women but there are also men (this is a great way to balance cooking responsibilites in your relationship!) and couples. There are even special sessions designed for you and your child.
My reference point - it's cheaper than eating out (at $5 for a good-size serving its cheaper than a fast-food meal) and many, many times healthier and better tasting! You can make it even more affordable by using coupons (such as the one displayed here), collecting "supperpoints", booking online, prebooking your next session, referring a friend or organizing a party.
For new parents there is a "Stork Special" - If you have a baby between 0-2 months old Supperworks will do the preparation of 6,9 or 12 meals for free and you (or a helper!) can simply pick up the meals, prepared and ready to eat or freeze. Consider this for your next babyshower present! Check the website for other promotions.
So invite a few friends, even host a party if you're so inclined and check out what all this is all about.