Friday, October 18, 2019

Planet in Focus - Food on Film

The 20th year of the Planet in Focus International Environmental Film Festival is on this weekend until October 20th, 2019.

I was able to preview 3 of the 4 Food Related Documentaries showing at the festival this year.

I have a soft spot for these documentaries because of my love of all things food and my interest in the sustainability of the food for future generations.

These films are all different but similar in the fact that there is a goal surrounded by what is best for the food industry and the people that are fed by them.

by Josh Murphy
G+ | United States | English | 2019 | 75min | Documentary

This documentary was visually stunning and mezmerizing to watch but also very thought provoking.  It is hard to reconcile the benefits of doing what is good for the environment with feeding people in the future and the battle between the fishermen who know what the costs are to the science and political figures who make the decisions that affect the fishermen and the public.

Setting the Bar: A Craft Chocolate Origin Story
by Tim Shephard
Rated G+/Mexico/English, Spanish/2019/85 min/Documentary

I wasn't able to see this film but I am really looking forward to it because of course anything related to chocolate will be interesting of course.

When Tomatoes Met Wagner
by Marianna Economou
G+ | Greece | English, French, Greek | 2019 | 72min | Documentary

This documentary was a little slower paced on the journey of a small community of people who are trying to produce a product that they want to spread to other countries.  They believed that music affects the quality of their products and they believe their product is superior to others because of the nature of the territory it comes from.  They are very proud of their accomplishment with a few mature women and a determined man with a vision.

by Enrico Parenti, Stefano Liberti
PG+ | Italy | English, Chinese, Portuguese | 2018 | 65min | Documentary

This film speaks to the fight between large scale production and small scale farming practices and what it costs the communities surrounding the areas that take over large scale farming practices have to deal with on a daily basis.  This film makes you think that there must be a better way of communicating the importance of good practices that are sustainable and beneficial to everyone now and for generations to come.  It's very sad at the destruction caused by greed of people who are only concerned with the money that can be made in the Pork industry.

by Louie Psihoyos
PG+ | United States | English | 2018 | 88min | Documentary

I highly recommend this film.  I saw it over a year ago and was blown away by it.  If you are a meat eater and hate your veggies and think that you need protein to be strong then you need to watch this film because it will change your opinion on what a plant based diet can do for someone's body.
The film is smart, funny and informative and there are many surprises that you will love in this gem of a documentary.

check out Planet in Focus this weekend.   You will be entertained and Inspired.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Starving Foodie guide to best places to eat during TIFF19

Guide to good eats near TIFF theatres.

This will be my 19th year doing Tiff and between my festival experience and my foodie life I have picked up a few fav picks for eats close to the festival.  I have been trying to do this list for the past few years and it changes every year especially since King Street West has changed so much because of the King Street Project.  Most of my choices are based on proximity and the food being tried and true.  Most are fairly reasonable and quick because sometimes you just don't have a lot of time to eat between films and sometimes you might have time to kill and want to catch up on the films you like over a decent meal, for myself I start craving a good meal after the first weekend because that's the busiest time.  These places aren't chosen for celeb spotting but more on where me and my fellow film lovers would actually go.

1. TIFF Bell Lightbox
350 King St. W,

Pizzaolo on John Street at Adelaide $5 for a cheap and quick slice
A&W on John Street south of King St. always has special deals so a meal under $10
Luma at the Lightbox 2nd floor- Great place for drinks and an appy between films
Montecito - lots of money and time to kill and get a great meal.  Director Ivan Reitman is one of the owners so you will find Ghostbusters items and lots of photos near the washrooms.

2. Scotiabank Theatre
259 Richmond Street West

Melt 300 Richmond St. W, - Want a grab and go hand held bite?  It takes a few min for the grilled cheese but it's worth it.
Blaze Pizza - Open less than a year but this franchise is spreading around the city.  You can get whatever you want for around $10.

3. Princess of Wales
300 King Street West-
PAI-18 Duncan St. - This place is really popular so there may even be a line to get in.  This Thai resto is a hot spot for foodies in the know in Toronto.
FIGO 295 Adelaide St W -  This place is lovely and has the best zucchini fritti. This is a linger with some wine kind of place.
Montecito - lots of money and time to kill and get a great meal.

4. Roy Thompson Hall
60 Simcoe Street

Ritz Carlton -181 Wellington St.W..   This is where industry meetings happen and a lot of people watching.  I really like the Truffle fries on the back patio.
Elephant & Castle -212 King St. West -  Consistency is key to this long standing successful resto.  This is where you might find my entourage team having dinner while a film is happening at Roy Thompson Hall because the food is good, reasonable and hits the spot.

5. Elgin/Wintergarden
189 Yonge Street

Richmond Station - Richmond St. W. if you have some $ and time this is a great bet for a great meal. Get the burger.
Pusateris - 176 Yonge Street. - Inside the Saks at the Bay is a great place to grab a roast beef sandwich by the inch or my fav Poke bowl or a freshly tossed salad and Greenhouse juice.  You may spot an incognito celeb even because of the Bay and Eaton Centre shopping there.
Sud Forno - 132 Yonge Street. - This is a fancy Italian eat in or take out place.  Not just a slice of pizza but a decent variety of salads and sandwiches and sweets.

6.  AGO - Jackman Hall
317 Dundas St, W.

Pizzaiolo - 289 Dundas St. West.  - I listed this twice because it's fast and cheap.
Village by the Grange Food Court - 109 McCaul St. -Mean Bao, Helene's  Magic Kitchen, Jerk King - a great variety of fast food kiosks.  I eat there during the week a lot.  This is a daytime place though.

7.  Ryerson Theatre
43 Gerrard St. E.

Banh Mi Boys 399 Yonge Street - They have the best $5 fried chicken Bao. and the Banh mi sandwiches are great too.
Hot Star Fried Chicken - 374A Yonge Street - Craving a big hunk of KFC that you can walk down the street or stand in a rush line at Ryerson and eat.  This is a good deal for that but sometimes it takes some time to wait.
Salad King- 340 Yonge Street - This is a Ryerson Student favourite.  Eat in or take out.  

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Asparabus farm tour


I have been trying to find the time to write this blog post for a while and regret that I couldn't find the time to post it while Asparagus season was in it's peak but I wanted to make sure I let you know how great this incredibly short season is.  Asparagus like strawberries has a very short 6 week peak season in the spring/summer.  I love this time of year because the weather is fantastic and my favourite foods are at their best.

I had the pleasure of getting invited to join the #AsparabusTour in June, hosted by the  They are a great team of people that have been hosting this invite only Asparagus Tour.  It's a full day of all things asparagus that begins with hopping on a tour bus in downtown Toronto and on this tour we headed to Welsh Brothers Farms and Bonnieheath Estate Winery and Lavendar Farm.  

The Foodies Group have been doing these tours for the past 5 years and my blogger friends that have gone have told me how much fun they are so I was really excited to get invited this year.

I have been on other farm tours before and they are a lot of fun.  I have also been to Bonnieheath Estate before but it was nice to return and explore a little more.

We began our tour at Welsh Brothers Farms where we got to see the farm workers picking the Asparagus right out of the ground with this large tractor vehicles.  It still looks like back breaking work even though there are now large scale machinery to assist.  I was surprised to see how sparse the asparagus fields were and to find out that it is a large investment in time to produce asparagus.  It's not a yearly harvest but takes many years to get a good harvest of great asparagus.

My blogger buddies and I really enjoyed picking the asparagus right out of the ground and eating it.  You really don't have to cook it to eat them.  It's amazing how sweet they are when they are that fresh.  Some of my friends seemed surprised at how the asparagus grows from the ground.  I guess you never think about it when you pick up a perfect bunch of asparagus from the grocery store but there is a whole lot of work that goes into that perfect little green bunch of spears.

We had a chance to check out their processing plant.  There aren't that many steps but probably more than you would thing to get the bundles of asparagus ready.  The ends need to be chopped, they are sorted and packed into bundles and then wrapped with elastics and of course washed and packed in large boxes for shipping to the food terminal or grocery stores.

After our visit to Welsh Brothers Farms we headed to Bonnieheath Estate Winery where chef Tracey Winkworth who I have seen many times making Chef Chuck Hughes look good at trade show food demos.  Chef Tracey along with Liason College students whipped up an unbelievable spread of Asparagus focused dishes.  It was so amazing and we got to eat it outside at the back of the Bonnieheath Estate with a view of the lavendar fields.

I think my favourite dish was these Asparagus fries.  Crunchy goodness.

The dessert didn't have any asparagus but it had some lavendar wine in it as a nod to the Lavendar estate.  It was a berry bread pudding with the lavendar wine ice cream.

After lunch we did some food trivia and my team won a great prize and we checked out their little market store for some wine and cider sampling and to purchase some goodies.

We had the best day.  I got to hang out with my favourite blogger buddies and enjoy the farm tour and incredible local food and a beautiful day.

You should visit Bonnieheath estate during their lavendar season.  It's so beautiful there.

It may be late in the season and I am sorry I couldn't post this sooner to remind you to pick up local asparagus but I hope that you can still get some at your local farmers markets and also looking at these food pics and take a different look at your asparagus and prepare them in new ways instead of just steaming them because there are so many things you can do with them from the asparagus fries to a creamy soup.

For more info check out these links:

Asparagus Farmers of Ontario
T @onasparagus
I: @ontarioasparagus

Welsh Brothers Farm
T: @WelshBros

Bonnieheath Estate lavendar  & Winery
T: @bonnieheathfarm
I: @bonnieheathestate

Liason College Southcoast
T: @SouthCoastLC
I: liasoncollege

The Foodies Group
T: @thefoodiesgroup
I: @thefoodiesgroup