On the weekend, I was able to finally take a road trip to Buffalo, NY to do some cross-border shopping. We do live fairly close to a US/Canada border – but that border town only has a Wal-Mart and a grocery store, so it isn’t too terribly exciting. But Buffalo has malls, outlets and
I am totally jealous of everyone who lives in the GTA as Trader Joe’s is less than two hours away. The nearest one to Ottawa is almost 4 hours away. After picking up my race kit in Toronto, I returned to my parent’s house and collected my Mom and Max. We left just after 11am and were in the States by 12:30. There was no one at the border, so we were through in less than five minutes. Because P was not with us, I had a letter just in case the border officer asked where his daddy was. The officer didn’t ask and we were off. We went through Fort Erie and as we were finding the highway, we noticed tons of people with Puerto Rico flags – then we realized that a parade was about to happen. Guess we were not going back that route!
We started our adventure at the Walden Galleria mall. Since it was lunch time, Cheesecake Factory was in order. Cheesecake Factory is one of the few restaurants that has no locations in Canada, so when there is a Cheesecake Factory near wherever I am, I will have a meal there. Max had a grilled cheese with fruit and also made a salt and pepper bowl (he was just playing with it). My Mom and I shared the avocado spring rolls and a quesadilla. We got four slices of cheese cake to go – as we were going to have the slices for dessert. I almost never eat the cheesecake at the restaurant. I’m just too full. Cheesecake Factory also has Sam Adam’s on tap, and the seasonal brew was the Oktoberfest – yay! I may have been a bit too excited about that.
After lunch we went to Dick’s Sporting Goods in the mall. I went to the shoe selection and was amazed by the prices of Mizunos. I was looking either for a new pair of Wave Inspires (in purple) or Wave Riders. I ended up purchasing the Wave Riders – I wore them for the Yorkville Run and really like them. The price was insane – $80 plus only a bit of tax. In Canada-land, I would be paying $155 plus 13% tax. This wasn’t even in an outlet mall. We were on a bit of a timeline, so we didn’t get to see the rest of the mall.
After borrowing some free internet at the McDonald’s, we started driving towards the Trader Joe’s, which was just a few minutes away. I grabbed a cart and started piling in products. Since we were close to home, I was able to pick up some cold/frozen goods. I purchased a insulated bag to keep everything cool, which it did, even for the 5+ hour drive the next day. I picked up almost everything on my wish list, and a few new items. I was disappointed that I couldn’t find any pumpkin items (except yogurt) and they were out of sweet potato tater tots. I also picked up some “adult beverages”.
This time around I bought
– 3 jars of Cookie Butter
– a pint of Cookie Butter ice cream (left at my parents house, and will consume during Thanksgiving)
– Dark chocolate covered pretzels
– Mandarin Orange Chicken
– Pumpkin Yogurt
– Trader Joe’s coffee
– Mango granola
– Cuban Style Black Beans
– Apple snack sticks
– Cocoa spread
– Dark chocolate peanut butter cups
– dark chocolate covered almonds
– other small chocolates
After TJ’s, it was time to go home. We went to the other border crossing this time (there are three in the Buffalo/Niagara Falls area). We added up our receipts and assumed we would have to go into the border office to pay taxes. Many people assume that you have to pay a huge amount of duty, but you don’t. The idea is that you must declare your items and never lie about what you have. For most items, you do not have to pay duty, but have to pay Canadian taxes. You can bring back a certain amount of alcohol regardless of your time in the States without duty (again, taxes may apply). For items not made in US/Canada/Mexico, you may have to pay duty. This time we were cleared to go – no extra charges. Sweet!
A fun time in America-land! Thanks for all the yummy goods!