Thursday, September 19, 2013

My Tiff Diet

I haven't written a blog post in a while because I have been busy volunteering at Tiff (Toronto International Film Festival).  I have been doing this for about 13 years.   I work with elite team of great people that have been hand picked to form our team. It's kind of like fight club but nobody gets punched.  We do such an exclusive job that we can't talk about it.  So I can't say anymore than that except to say that I volunteered for about 8 shifts this year.  Although one was an un scheduled one.  I was in a Rush line and left when I got a text from a friend to come and help out in the theatre, which I did for the Dallas Buyers Club Screening.

My shifts were at Roy Thompson Hall and the Princess of Wales Theatre and because they started at about 5pm and ended around midnight or depending on when people left the building.   The start time of the shift made it difficult to eat dinner before a shift when you have to factor in that it took me an hour on the ttc to get there.  Who wants to eat dinner at 3pm?   Anyway, because of the shift times it is always a scramble to figure out what to do for dinner during Tiff.   Ever wonder why the celebrities are so skinny?  Follow them around for a few days of a film festival and I guarantee they don't have time to eat much.  If they are lucky they may get some popcorn and a drink.    The biggest celebrities went to a restaurant that wasn't even opened yet.   Imagine a celeb trying to go to Milestone's for dinner... yeah it won't ever happen.  They wouldn't be able to eat without stopping for photos and autographs.   So remember that the next time you see a celebrity during Tiff.  They are probably hungry.

Anyway...back to me scrounging for dinner during the 11 days of Tiff.  I have a few regular haunts that I go to because of proximity and time when I am at Roy Thompson Hall and there were a few other places that I hit when running around to other screenings.   Here's is an overview of the places I checked out from cheep and cheerful to fancy but mostly cheap and quick.

Restaurants to grab some grub during Tiff.

1. Elephant and Castle
2. The Ritz patio bar
3. Artisano Bakery
4. Canteen and Luma at the Bell Lightbox
5. New this year the Grolsch Open House Bar
6. Bakery at Bathurst Stn.
7. Burrito Boyz
8. Industry Party
9. Shoeless Joe's
10.  Closing Party food

#1 I don't have any photos except of friends at the Elephant and Castle because the room is pretty dark but we had many Sheppard's Pie's, fries and lot's of other comfort foods there.

#2  The closest place to chill out and grab some food at when you are at Roy Thompson Hall is the Ritz Hotel on Wellington St.  It's where Celebs and celeb stalkers go and tired Tiff Volunteers looking for drinks and good food.  One the best things I had all week was their Tempura Veggies with a great dipping sauce.  They were light and full of flavour with well seasoned tempura batter.  Also enjoyed their truffle fries, although not the cheapest fries they were very good.

#6  If you want fast and cheap and you are going to the Bloor Cinema to see a documentary or other film during Tiff, the quick fixes are either a Jamaican patty from the Bakery at Bathurst Station as I chose or the Bloor favourite that entices you because of the smell is a Schwarma from Ghazale.

#8  I took a couple of nights off to go see some films and to hit a couple of parties.  One of the parties I attended was an Industry Party for the Women in Film and Television.  I am a member so I get an invite to this member only party.  This is pretty typical of Industry Parties.  People are dying to crash these parties but really they are all the same after a while.   Cold little appetizers, sometimes some ok desserts like cupcakes and lot's of people trying to schmooze for work and money.   The first hour was pretty boring for me until some friends started showing up.  By the time I left I saw a bunch of people I wish I had seen when I got there.  The food not very memorable but I appreciate the fact that they host this party.

#4 The night before the Festival I hit up the Patio at Luma at the Bell Lightbox and had some Calamari, Tuna, and Frites.  Expensive but tasty and the patio is great.

#5  New this year was the Grolsch Beer Open House in a Parking Lot behind the Princess of Wales Theatre where they had 2 food trucks every day during the first weekend of the festival.  They also had bands playing and it was so loud that we could hear them inside the back door of the Princess of Wales Theatre.  Jason Sudeikis thought that was pretty funny.   This sandwich was the BBQ Butter Chicken from the Fidel Castros Food Truck.  It was really juicy and a bit on the messy side but really tasty.

#3 Artisano Bakery and Cafe is located across the Street from Roy Thompson Hall and should be a quick grab and go type of place but the service is a bit on the slow side but most of the food is pretty good and fairly reasonable.  I got the Lasagna because I figured it was already ready to go and would probably take less time than the panini's which are good but are a bit of a wait.  The lasagna was good, not great but it hit the spot and the cappuccino was really good.

#7 Burrito Boyz - By the end of the festival you are craving something that kind of has all the food groups in it and really fills you up and for those people that are skipping the films and only hitting the parties it's great hangover food.  Fairly quick and cheap and always tasty, it's closest to the Scotiabank theatre which was Tiff central for media and lot's of volunteers looking to use up their vouchers.   I stopped by on the last weekend after not getting into a screening because it was full.  I got the small chicken burrito and believe me it wasn't small.
Tip: don't wear white if you eat this.
#9 For some late night eats a friend and I hit up Shoeless Joe's while on a break at the Princess of Wales Threatre.  She wanted a drink and I was in the mood for dessert.  I thought this one was a lot smaller and only ate half but it's a great sharing plate for a couple of friends.  I can't even remember what it was called exactly but It think it was a Mexican fried ice cream type of thing.

#10 And then there is the food that you may or may not be lucky to get at a Tiff Party.  At the Closing Night Party they had Chili Cheese Dogs and our favourite pictured below was the Chocolate Fountain Bar.  Good luck if you see a piece of fruit during the festival so this was probably the most appreciated food during the festival.  Before you get too excited about these parties... Generally the food is cold.. not always that tasty and the stuff you like runs out quickly so you often don't even get seconds if any.

And Don't forget about the Starbuck's and Timmies... to get you through the week.  I was really happy when they opened a new one on Wellington behind Roy Thompson Hall.   A regular stop before I start a shift.

1 comment:

  1. Another favourite place to eat during TIFF, for me is the Subway restaurant, right across from TIFF Bell Lightbox. For about the price of a street vendors veggie dog, I'd get the 6" veggie delite "sub" on a flatbread. Good and fast and good for you! I agree, the chocolate fountain at the Closing Night Party was a great treat.


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