Sew Hungry – Hamilton’s Restaurant Food Truck Rally

Attention Ontario Foodies: one of the most anticipated culinary events of the year is only one week away!

Sew Hungry Restaurant and Food Truck Rally will shut down Ottawa Street in Hamilton on Friday May 2, 2014. With over 55 food vendors, the award-winning event brings a large foodie crowd to the Garment District of the city for its 4th year running. This event garners more attention and interest each year, cultivating and preserving the culinary community within Hamilton. Alongside the many vendors that will surely satisfy even the ravenous appetites, chefs will be doing cooking demonstrations throughout the day!

I had the chance to talk with event organizer, Elisha Proietti, who graciously spoke to me about the ways in which Sew Hungry has grown.

FGFS: How did Sew Hungry come about? What drew you to Ottawa Street?

Elisha Proietti: I was hired by the BIA about 4 years ago as the Manager for the Ottawa Street Farmers’ Market as well as the Events Coordinator for the Ottawa Street BIA.  Ottawa Street has been booming for awhile now and the BIA wanted to add more events to the street to bring more attention to its growth.  4 years ago when Sew Hungry started, the food truck scene was just starting to rear its head.  Gorilla Cheese had just hit the streets and El Gastro had really just paved the way for this movement to begin.  We wanted to remind people that Ottawa Street, although famous for it’s textiles, had a lot more to offer!  Including some great restaurants!  Bringing in food trucks was a perfect way to expose foodies to the great eats we have to offer on the street.  Typically people will go out for lunch on a Friday and we wanted to get them thinking about Ottawa Street when they do that!  So, I called in Graeme from Gorilla Cheese and proposed the idea of a Food Truck Rally along Ottawa St to him and he loved it!  We rallied together about 9 trucks (we were begging trucks to come at the first Sew Hungry) and here we are today!

FGFS: Congrats on having such a successful event last year! What makes this year even better?

EP: Thank you! We were blown away by how well received the event was last year!  As an event planner, you are always looking at the event from a different angle than the attendees.  I think sometimes we are our own worst critic, which can be a good thing!  This year there are a lot of new additions to the event that we are excited about.  We have firstly added more trucks to the roster so that we can accommodate the crazy numbers we saw from last year!  We will have 35 trucks this year serving curbside, which is pretty awesome.  We also have Roux Commercial Kitchen and Commissary who is sponsoring and providing what they are calling the Sew Hungry Kitchen Stadium!  The stadium will feature Local Guest Chefs which are being sponsored and provided by Go Cooking of the Hamilton Spectator, who will be doing cooking demonstrations throughout the day!  We will also be shutting down 5 side streets this year to provide additional tables and seating for people.  It is shaping itself up to be the best Sew Hungry yet, and we are constantly making sure that each year outdoes the last.

FGFS: You have so many amazing vendors, how do you pick the participants?

EP: The growth of this event has been pretty surreal to watch.  In the first year we had 9 trucks and it was difficult to get those 9.  This year we have 35 trucks participating and we had 53 trucks apply.  This was just by the deadline, I still have trucks calling me on a daily basis asking if they can be a part of the event.  It is a great thing but it is also makes it that much harder.  The Events Committee agreed one of the best ways to decide, was to taste test all of the new trucks that applied to the event.  OnFebruary 26th, we had 6 judges come in to the BIA office.  They got to meet the new trucks and try all of their food first hand.  It was a really incredible day.  The trucks all brought their A game and it was inspiring to see how passionate they are about food.  They have really taken street food to a whole new level and you could see it in the way they presented the food and in how simply delicious the dishes tasted.  Needless to say, we were all absolutely stuffed at the end of the day.  Maybe next year we will be sure to spread it out over a week.  26 taste tests in 4 hours proved to be very difficult!  I think some of us didn’t eat for days after that!  As the event grows, this aspect is going to get harder and harder, but at 35 trucks we are already maxed out on space and we also want to ensure that our own restaurants have a great business day as well!  We have an incredible lineup of trucks this year and we are so excited for Hamilton to have the chance to try them!

FGFS: Organizing a Food Truck Rally isn’t a small feat! How do you it all?

EP: There is a lot more work that goes into it than what people realize!  We take that as a compliment though.  I have had people in the past ask me if we could do it once a month, or every weekend, which would be impossible!  Part of the fun of the event is that it’s something to look forward to every year.  Planning for Sew Hungry starts in the fall, and each year I seem to try and get things started earlier and earlier.  The BIA has an amazing Executive board and Events committee that always step up and help wherever they can.  Other than that it takes a lot of organization and planning to make sure that every detail is looked after!  Event planning always comes off to people as this whimsical, fun, party job but thats not the case.  It’s a lot of hard work and you have to really love and care about what you are doing in order to do it well.  Just like any other job!

FGFS: Any advice for a Sew Hungry first timer, like myself?

EP: I think my best Sew Hungry advice is to come in a group and divide and conquer.  We have an amazing website that was done by Orbital Studios and there is a great interactive map on the homepage that can help you plan ahead! I also recommend a pair of stretchy pants (jogging pants, Lululemons, Modrobes for the old schoolers). The least busy times are usually 11am – noon and 4pm – 5pm so if you can get here then that will help too!

FGFS: Lastly, favourite place to eat in Hamilton?

EP: Hamilton has become such an incredible place for food so it’s really hard to pick just one. I think my Italian roots always draw me to Café Limoncello. Those pizzas are just so good. Bruno is a fantastic chef and Nancy Leo, who owns the restaurant, is one of the hardest working people I’ve ever met and it shows!

Come out and enjoy this delicious community on Friday May 2, 2014 from
11am – 3pm and 4pm – 8pm. We’ll see you there!

Sew Hungry on the Web:
Website
Twitter
Facebook

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Feminist P*rn Conference 2014

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Words by Carly

I had the chance to check out the 2nd Annual Feminist Porn Conference presented by The Mark S. Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies held at the University of Toronto. The conference was the triumphant ending to week long festivities which included workshops, film viewings, networking parties, and of course, the Feminist Porn Awards. I had the privilege and the honour of being in the presence of such a glorious group of people — from performers to academics, who came together to celebrate the Feminist Porn Industry’s achievements and to tease out the tensions in this diverse movement. 

What is Feminist Porn, one might ask? Put quite simply, “it’s a genre, an industry, and a movement”. It is a certain kind of porn, one that is shot ethically (fair wages and performer treatment) and with a particular framing in mind. The conference explored the relationship that porn has had with certain sides of feminism, as well as the way in which feminist porn has sought to change the way that “mainstream porn” frames sex, race, gender, and even abilities. Feminist porn is multifaceted and diverse, and it utilized the conference as a physical meeting space for pornographers, sex workers and performers, academics and community members to listen to and to discuss with one another what it means to be part of the Feminist Porn Movement.


 

 “Feminist porn has done incredible work in expanding sexual representation across race, gender, ability and more.”  –  Lisa Duggan


 

I attended sessions that literally changed my worldview. It allowed me to see the stakes that I have in body positivity, sex positivity, academia, and community and how to bridge the gap between all of them. I began to see where I fit in the larger conversations about sex workers privacy, the duty to archive Feminist Porn as part of “cultural stewardship”, and the importance of inclusion of POC voices in sex work. I gained a voice at this conference that has been tucked inside me. I felt liberated and inspired, motivated to use my knowledge to effect change.

I am grateful for the opportunity to have been in the presence of sex workers and performers who are on the front lines of producing beautiful work, right next to academics that I followed throughout university. Lisa Duggan, the opening keynote speaker who is the Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis at New York University, put it quite nicely when she said: “The Feminist Porn Movement is open to criticism and self-criticism,” as she traced through Feminist Porn Advocacy and commending the movement for “democratically expanding the possibilities” and exploring its limitations.

 


 

 “We are free to let porn affect feminist and free to let our feminist inform our porn.”  –  Courtney Trouble


 


The highlight of the entire conference was the closing keynote by Courtney Trouble, who is a filmmaker, performer, and artist. Courtney Trouble’s angsty/angry, hopeful, but humble speech brought the entire audience to their feet, and quite literally moved me to tears.

 


“I want you to remember that Fat is a Feminist issue.”  –  Courtney Trouble


Courtney touched every raw nerve in me and challenged the audience to make fierce, radical change in everything they do – from hiring more fat, queer, trans, and racialized bodies to filming a porn with asexuals. It was a fantastic way to close out the evening leaving everyone feeling charged and inspired to make meaningful choices while pushing the boundaries. You can watch Courtney Troubles’ keynote here, filmed by Tobi Hill-Meyer. Thank you Tobi!

Want more information? (FYI — Could lead to come NSFW content!)
Feminist Porn Awards
Good for Her
Feminist Porn Conference
@FemPornCon
#FPCon2

 

Nice to ‘meat’ you: An Interview with Hamilton’s own MeatVentures

Written by Carly McLeodI had an opportunity to sit down with Salar from MeatVentures to talk about their up-coming plans for the summer as they hit the streets of Hamilton with their Meat Wagon! I was also fortunate enough to try their smokey-Sriracha bacon which is fantastic. If you love yourself some unique carnivorous treats, MeatVentures will not disappoint. This is not your average food cart – no hot dog in sight! Watch for MeatVentures Meat Wagon at your local events – trust me, you are going to want to try it out.

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inside — the unbelieveably yummy smokey-Sriracha bacon

FGFS: What do you have planned for this summer?
MV: It has been a busy time for us gearing up for the warming weather. We are starting a food cart, vending on weekends at local events! Look for Persian tacos, Filipino sliders, thick cut house made bacon on a stick, and a BLT with 3 kinds of house made bacon… plus more. We’re aiming to do everything in house and fresh. We are working with Roux Commissary to get our Meat Wagon on the streets. Roux Commissary is doing a cool program, we are going to the first do be doing this kind of thing. It’s a new thing for everyone. Within this community we are constantly learning we helping each other. With Roux’s guidance, we are able to find venues to go to and vend.

We are also a BBQ Competition Team! We started this last year and were quite successful. We enter in 6 competitions and won 3 of them. We came in 2nd in 2 of the competitions. It turned out really well!

FGFS: What inspires your dishes?
MV: My Filipino-Iranian roots. Growing up there wasn’t anything I wouldn’t eat. I really loved cooking. Food was a large part of my family and growing up – it is my passion. I was really good at cooking and computers and kind of went down that route, but now it’s time to change paths. We will be bringing fusion of Filipino-Persian-Canada inspired flavours to the cart and are looking forward sharing our menu with you soon. {Check out the menu for MeatVentures here.}

FGFS: What made you think about bringing your love of food to Hamilton?
MV: My wife, Jeannie and I lived in Downtown Toronto, we planned to move, and moved to Hamilton. We were looking at getting a bigger place in Toronto, but my wife and I both wanted to branch out more. We decided on Hamilton. It gives us the opportunity to work on MeatVentures. There is a great community here – especially working with Roux, they have a licenced kitchen the equipment, and resources to help us get started. Really they are a food incubator and it is wonderful go through this experience with them.

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Brisket Bahn Mi

FGFS: Favourite place to eat in Hamilton?
MV: Memphis Grill in Winona – excellent tasting, large portions!

I was able to catch Meat Ventures in action at the Home and Garden show in Hamilton on March 2nd. They participated in a grilling competition put on by Chadwicks and Hacks. Despite BBQ competition happening in subzero temperatures, Meat Ventures came out on top in the freestyle portion of the competition where teams had to prepare an appetizer, a main course, and dessert. It was awesome to see such passion for food and dedication to creating unique dishes. The cooler temperatures outside meant paying close attention to the temperature and timing, as most competitions take place in the summer! Congrats Salar and Jeannie – you guys rocked it!

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Bacon in the process of becoming part of the Candy Bacon S’mores

Bonus points (from me) go to Pig Shot snack – “sausage and black pepper bacon shooter, filled with a mix of Dawson’s Jalapeno Garlic sauce, cheese mix, and brown sugar for a bit of sweetness”. 

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Pig Shot (left) and Poink Ball (right)

You do not want to wait until the sunshine of summer to get a taste of MeatVentures. Stop by the Roux Commissary Booth at the Food and Drink Festival in Hamilton on March 22, 2014 from 12:00-5:00pm to see MeatVentures. And, to get yourself a Pig Shot – you will not regret it.

MeatVentures can be found online:
Web
Twitter
Facebook
Instagram

[GIVEAWAY] Be Proud – A Interview with Lee Ⅿeszaros

Today on the FGFS, we are featuring a special kind of giveaway. It blends the very best of my favourite worlds – the handmade and a love of food!

Meet Lee Meszaros! A Toronto-based artist with rural roots, currently living and working in the big city with her lovely pup Timber. While going to school, this Canadian artist came to the realization that she wanted to work with her hands and went after her passion. With an interdisciplinary degree in textiles, books, and illustration from NSCAD under her belt, she has developed her craft into two stunning lines – Eau Claire and the BE PROUD merit badges. She combines silkscreened and hand-painted illustrations with delicate embroidery, to bring to life cute idioms that are sure to brighten your day.

Lee was gracious enough to chat with the Fat Girl Food Squad and answer a few questions about her craft!

You can check out Lee‘s BE PROUD merit badge that will be featured in arch issue The Food Network magazine – The Bacon Issue. Congrats Lee!

FG: What does crafting or the handmade mean to you?

LM: I think it’s so so important, maybe too important to me. I love when there are visible signs that hands have been heavily involved in making something, which I think is why I’m drawn to hand embroider most of my work. That look just can’t ever be replicated, it’s so special and human and unique. I think when you own something handmade then that object is instilled with energy from that maker and it makes you feel good when you use or wear it, you think of them, you feel connected, which I think is something everyone craves in these cold modern times.

FG: Your merit badges make me smile — they are awesome! How did they come about?

LM: That makes me so happy, that was absolutely my intent! They came about as my final project in my Textiles undergrad, inspired by old Brownie/Boy Scout sashes complete with all their badges that I’d started collecting from thrift stores. I was confounded that someone would spend so many hours earning all of those badges, but in the end they were meaningless and discarded. I wanted to make badges that honoured more than just skills, but who people actually are deep down, because what means more than that? I wanted to make something that wouldn’t be so easily discarded, something that carried a lot of emotional weight. They started out as more of an art project/performance idea until people in my class started asking to buy my samples, so I just kind of stumbled into having a marketable product and ran with it.

FG: How do you go about making new designs? What does your creative process look like?

LM: It’s hard creating new badges anymore to be honest, I’ve nearly run out of idioms! It’s tricky finding an appropriate saying that also has a good visual that can be paired with it. Earlier on I kept a little note pad with all of the potential sayings people would suggest or I would think of, but that’s long been exhausted. I’ve been making them for quite a while (5+ years!), and have discontinued many designs as time has gone by, and distilled the collection down to the ones people really seem to connect with. The process is first to draw, then make into a silkscreen, print, hand paint all the colour, hand embroider little details on each, machine sew and then finish off with a pin-back and attach it to the certificate.

FG: Where do you find your inspiration for the merit badges? Are any of them made with someone you know in mind?

LM: Inspiration is tricky with them as I’ve been at it for so long that it can often stop feeling creative, and start feeling more just like a process that I’m very, very familiar with. Honestly the best inspiration I get is when I talk to someone who owns one or was given one as a gift. People tell me the most intimate stories and that really blows me away, that the badges create this beautiful connection between me and an absolute stranger. There are definitely a few that were inspired by people in my life, the ‘mother hen’ was an excuse to make one to give to my mom, the ‘being birds of a feather and flocking together’ set of 2 was so I could share a set with my best friend in college, like those BFF broken heart necklaces classed up a bit.

FG: How does it feel to know that your work is gifted and shared with people to recognize them for being awesome? Do you think it is important to share handmade things?

LM: That is my absolute favourite thing about them! A lot of my textile work up until that point was SUPER melancholic, just very sad and sweet, but I didn’t like the feelings that it inspired in the audience, that it would in turn make them sad too. I wanted to make work that would make people happy, make people laugh, because that’s how I wanted my own work to make me feel too. I feel like the badges mark a real shift in my general attitude towards life, realizing that putting positive junk into the universe inevitably brings positive junk right back to you. I think giving a handmade object as a gift is much more personal and special than giving some perfectly constructed thing from a mall, and being able to support and encourage the insanely talented makers I’m lucky to call my peers is the absolute best feeling.

FG: Lastly… What is your favourite dish to eat? From where?

LM: Woof, that’s a tough call. Probably Kimchi Fried Rice (in a Hot Pot) with a fried egg on top at Yummy in Koreatown. It’s completely bonkers and I crave it in my bones.

Lee is lovely enough to have 5 sweet food-related Be Proumerit badges up for grabs to 5 lucky Fat Girl Food Squad readers. There are 5 different designs

Bringing Home the Bacon

Being a Smart Cookie

Having Meat on Your Bones

Being Sweet as Pie

Being the Best Thing Since Sliced Bread

Bringing Home the Bacon
Having Meat on Your Bones
Being a Smart Cookie
Being the Best Thing Since Sliced Bread
Being Sweet as Pie

Heres what you have to do to enter:

1) Like Fat Girl Food Squad on Facebook.

2)  Comment on this post telling us which of the five merit badge you like best (with your @ Twitter handle) and why!

3) This contest will run from Thursday February 20, 2014 until Tuesday February 25, 2014.  We will announce all the giveaway winners via our Twitter and Facebook, so check back there!

 

Dinner x Design

Words and Photos by Aly and Carly

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Carly and Chanry (of the Hungry Gnome)

We stepped into a high energy atmosphere at Link condo and towns Presentation Centre for Dinner X Design.

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People gathered amid dioramas and layouts of soon to be built condos close to Bronte Creek Provincial Park. Tariq and Saud Adi of the Adi Development team were our hosts and combined a sleek modern architectural approach with the allure of walkability and stunning natural views in an attempt to shake up your expectations of dreary, concrete condo living. The event was aimed at building community, joining the chic with contemporary design.

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Needless to say, it worked. There was a buzz of energetic conversation throughout the night. Many people gathered on tables or chairs pouring over large scale promotional material and negotiating with sales associates attempting to purchase their desired condos that night.

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Being 20-something food bloggers, who are not exactly the condo-purchasing type (just yet), we found ourselves a little out of our element. That was of course, until we found the food.

Servers whisked by with platters of beautifully designed appetizers.

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The appetizers themselves looked sleek and modern. Each was created with unexpected combinations inspired by the amenities, architecture and natural surroundings of the development. After having a few tastes of each, it was time to meet the chefs. Chatting and getting up close and personal with Chef Matt Kershaw, watching the precision, thought and dedication that goes into each piece food was exciting.  The merger of design, food, architecture is not an easily pulled off feat. We left the event feeling full, ready with ideas of the spaces we live and how it is connected to the food we consume on a daily basis.

As an overall event, the attention to detail was immense. As people who appreciate good food and good design, witnessing the collaborative spirit between both was inspiring. Unique food for a unique event proved that thinking outside of the box is memorable and above all tasty!

November Home Cooking/Novel Writing

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Words & Photos by Aly

Thousands of people across the globe are challenging themselves to write a novel in November. National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) asks you to give up your excuses, get to your computer, and finally pen at least a rough draft of the novel you’re always (not) writing. The feat to write 50 000 words in a month, or 1667 words per day is daunting. I have been doing this tradition, for better or worse, for four years. November is the busiest time of the year for me and fellow University students, so I have failed more than I have succeeded. This year however I will finish a collection of short stories, and personal essays.

“How did I succeed in future years?” I thought, recalling countless cups of coffee, fast food, and baked good filled afternoons.

Thing is, I just did that in October, so there’d have to be a new strategy. I am a firm believer in doing whatever you need to do to get through a day, week, or month. Food can be a great source of energy, comfort, and celebration. If you need to eat a sad bowl of ice cream, you eat that sad bowl of ice cream.

However, for me, November marks the third month I have moved out of home, and a culinary tipping point. September was “I can cook everything!”, October was “I hate cooking! Instant soup forever!” and November? That could be up for grabs.

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So, in addition to braving the most hectic time of year academically, and writing 1667 words a day, I decided to do the most terrifying thing of all — cook every meal, and only eat things I have bought from the grocery store. The exceptions will be coffee, and social snacks with friends like popcorn at the movies, or a coffeehouse hangout.

With help from this Golden Zucchini Sandwich Recipe  I got to work.

Ingredients:
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, 1 minced, 1 made into paste with 1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large zucchini, grated
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon chopped basil, tarragon, or other fresh herb (optional)
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
4 slices good sourdough bread, lightly toasted
1 cup freshly grated white cheddar (from about 4 ounces cheese)

Makes 2 servings (take one for lunch!)

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Mayonnaise

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You can follow the rest of the recipe on the Big Girls, Small Kitchen site, which is great resource for people trying to get more kitchen handy.

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Tips:

The mayonnaise is what makes it crispy and golden! It might seem weird to use it in place of butter, but it surprisingly works, and it something I might try on grilled cheese!

Experiment with different cheeses and breads. I just used sliced bread I had lying around, and didn’t toast it before use.

It’s a lot easier to assemble your sandwiches in the pan than on a plate especially if you want to avoid a mayonnaise plate. Coat all face up sides of bread with mayonnaise mixture. Put the mayonnaise side down in the pan, cheese, zucchini, cheese, bread with mayonnaise side up and voila!

This makes a tasty, cheesy sandwich that is like a grilled cheese, but more filling, and easy to make.

Now that you’re full, time to head back to that novel!

A Killjoy’s Halloween at the Lesbian Haunted House

Enterance to the Haunted House

Enterance to the Haunted House

I’ll admit that I never really liked Halloween at all, I could never get into the spirit. As a kid I remember enjoying, I don’t really know where my enthusiasm waned, but this year, Halloween ruled thanks to my experience at Killlljoy’s Kastle: A Lesbian Haunted House. If you are in Toronto and have a spare minute to have a little bit of Halloween fun, I highly recommend you head on over and experience it for yourself. It has a relatively short run, Oct 16 – Oct 30, 4:00-8:00pm. It’s free and located in the alley behind 303 Lansdowne.

This interactive installation of filled with satirized “queer nightmares”. With real-life Killjoys as your guide, you are lead through dank caves, lairs, and abandon kitchens. Ball buster and carpet muchas were amongst the humble mix of feminist theories and DIY aspects, which helped the Lesbian Haunted House call attention to the ways in which bodies, gender binaries, sexual preferences are perversely depicted in our society. My sincerest thanks to the Killjoy’s who must have put a lot of time and effort into constructing each and every aspect – it was well put together, and it must have taken you forever. What a blast! Did any of you dare enter the rainbow-filled abyss?

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Allyson Mitchell, the Killjoy artist behind the Haunted House, has been a longtime favourite feminist of mine. Allyson’s work and writing on fat activism, including her involvement with Pretty, Porky, and Pissed off, is what opened my mind to body positivity and pushed me out of my own comfort zone. I began to think more critically about bodies and I am forever grateful for Allyson’s work which has profoundly influenced my own.

From one Killjoy to another, Happy Halloween!

Art Gallery of Hamilton: World Film Festival {Interview & Giveaway}

AGH WFF 2013

The AGH World Film Festival is celebrating its 5 years of showcasing award-winning film in Hamilton. It is an awesome community event that brings critically acclaimed film to Hamilton. The World Film Festival, which runs from September 20th, 2013 – September 29th across the city, give audiences have the opportunity to see wonderfully made film. I have been going to the World Film Festival since it started, and have enjoyed watching it grow and turn into a great night out. I can personally say that it gets better every year. Check out the festival line up and view trailers here.
I had a chance to sit down with the Festival Director, Annette Paiement, and talk about film programming in Hamilton.

FGFS: How did the World Film Festival come to Hamilton?

Annette: It came out of need. Film is and has always been a strong part of the Art Gallery of Hamilton (AGH). Our members and community expressed an interest in the film arts. In the past we had had some film programming, like Photophobia, where it was entry based. The World Film Festival just seemed like the next logical progression for the AGH. We wanted to be venue for to a certain kind of film that the community did not have access to with the closing of theatres in the Hamilton area. We are proud because the festival continues to grow each year, and the audience keep coming back to support it.

FGFS: What is the process like for picking the selections for the film festival?

Annette: I keep my ear to the ground. We are screening films all year round to prepare. I look at selections for film awards and international festivals, what is being noticed in the film world. IMDB is an excellent tool to help us make selections as well. We have our programming committee and we take suggestions from our members and the community. We want to select films that our audience wants to see, to give everyone a chance to have access to these films. However, there have been times when I’m unable to get films that I would really like because of copyright. Now, I have built relationships with filmmakers and film houses to get permission right from the source and bring the films to Hamilton. There are so many strong films out there, it’s often difficult to choose.

FGFS: I have to make a confession, I was delighted to see that you have added a segment to the festival highlighting Food in Film. I feel that our local landscape of food has changed within the past 3 years, and in my opinion, this change was made possible with the encouragement from our strong art community. How did this Food in Film come about this year?

Annette: I have always wanted to include Food in Film in the festival line up. I have been searching for the perfect film that showcases that connection. It was a difficult decision, but both films Hungry for Change and El Bulli are strong films. Definitely, we have seen a change in the food industry in Hamilton and surrounding area. We have seen the creation of a night out in Hamilton – great food and great film. We are situated, closely to many local farms. I feel that people are thinking more and more about where their food comes from. I wanted to choose films that celebrate that intimate part of our lives.

FGFS: It’s been really nice to see the community engagement grow each year. I am looking forward to the special presentation by Chef Wes Lesco (Sarcoa) before the screening of El Bulli. How have been able to create these partnerships with local institutions?

Annette: With the World Film Festival, we have been wanting to engage the community and our audience. I’ve been reaching out to local establishments and have received a great response. I start by asking places if there is a film that they can stand behind; it just goes from there. It just makes sense to have that partnership. We have partner with events like Localicious since day one. This year the Anchor Bar is our official meeting place! Working with theatres and venues within Hamilton to has also allowed us to bring film to different neighbourhoods – bringing film to our audience.

FGFS: It’s been really nice talking with you today! Last question, favourite place to dine in Hamilton?

Annette: Wow, that’s a tough one. I have to admit that I am a sushi fan. I love August 8 – their food is always fresh and it has a great atmosphere! There’s also Work, that has the best pub-style food. I was talking with my friend, and we agreed that the menu at Work is everything you would want in a comfort food!

I am super excited to this share with FGFS readers…

ElBulli

We have partnered with the Film Festival to give 2 tickets away to our readers to the screening of El Bulli on Saturday September 21st, 2013 at 6:00pm at the Hamilton Public Library.

1. a) Like us on Facebook
    b) Like AGH on Facebook
    c) Come back and comment on this post.
OR
2. a) Follow us on Twitter and Tweet: “Hey @FatGrlFoodSquad send me to the #AGHWFF!”

Best of Luck! You have until Friday at midnight EST to enter!

FGFS Does NYC Recap: Delicious Tales from the Big Apple + Interview with Alana Margaret

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New York is one of my favourite cities. My trip this August marked my fourth time to the Big Apple, and every time I go, I am kindly reminded that I should visit more often. It’s not that long of a trip, and it’s a new adventure every time. With each visit, I have become more acquainted with the city and make a point to visit the few places that have become my favourite. This time around was no different. I had a chance to stay for 2 weeks to explore and ultimately relax. Like other Fat Girl Food Squad ladies, I ate some dishes that I couldn’t keep to myself.

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Taco Rey De Oro

This was a gem that we stumbled along on our first trip to the city. One day after a long day of museum going and sight seeing, we walked down from the subway track and smelt the most delicious food cooking below. It was all coming from a food truck under the tracks. We waited through the small crowd, took our chances with some vegetarian tacos, and the rest is history. It’s underneath the subway track on the 7 line, 52nd St Station. They are only open from about 8pm onward if you are taking the trip. Their menu is small and cheaply priced, but the food is exceptional. In 10 minutes, you have unbelievably good food and a little park where you can eat your dinner.

We have gone back every single time.

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Momofuku Milk Bar

New York City is home to 5 Milk Bars. They had been on my wish list to visit since I grasped and flipped through the glossy pages of the Milk cookbook last summer. When I heard that the Momofuku Milk Bar opened a shop in Toronto, I was delighted. Of course I couldn’t wait, and I gave the Toronto location a taste before I headed to New York. The biggest difference between the Canadian shop and the New York locations was the soft serve ice cream. I spelt most of my money that was reserved for souvenirs on soft serve ice cream. Each shop has a unique atmosphere and different flavours of soft serve alongside the permanent cereal milk soft serve. For an extra sweet treat, add cereal crumble. I went to all of them, sometimes hauling my partner across town just for ice cream. Let me tell you, it was worth it.

Pie ‘N’ Thighs

We passed this one night on our way home from the subway. At first, I couldn’t help but laugh, their name was catchy. I jotted it down, looked up their menu online, and found myself in line ordering the very next morning. I really enjoyed had their chicken biscuit, which I had multiple times. They also had a selection of donuts which I grabbed for the plane ride home, solidifying their spot on my “must visit again” list.

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Pizza, Pizza, Pizza

pizza & garlic knots

No other words needed. If you travel to NYC, and don’t have pizza… I would like to know why you made the trip. NYC does the Margherita pizza like no other. I highly recommend an order of garlic knots. You won’t be disappointed.

Phin and Phebes

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As a longtime listener of Design*Sponge’s podcast “After the Jump”, I was thankful for their suggestion (and interview) with Crista and Jess, the creators of Phin and Phebes. Just as promised the ice cream flavours were unique and their packaging was very cute. The perfect cool down from the extreme humidity and crowded subways.

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Toby’s Coffeehouse and Alana (a NYC Pastry Chef)

I had the pleasure of meeting up with a internet friend – or is it e-friend – while I was in Brooklyn. I had been following Alana on twitter for some time now, and Alana had a host of suggestions of where we could meet up and we settled on Toby’s. Tucked away, off the bustling street of Bedford Toby’s was a non-stop blur of people coming and going, and home to the best latte I’ve ever had.

Originally from California, spent her school breaks and summer holidays in New York with her dad and family. Feeling comfortable and at home, Alana decided to take her culinary schooling and live and work there permanently. Alana is a Pastry Chef working with a catering company in NYC. She can be found “feeding the internets”, working for companies like Etsy and Buzzfeed – how cool is that? She also spends her time volunteering with kids, sharing with them her culinary skills like how to use a knife properly (one, I admittedly haven’t been able to nail down myself).

I learned so much about kitchen life and how difficult it can be to find someone you work well with. Communication and trust are key, especially when you are working on intricate and often delicate creations. “It is difficult to find a job in NYC, especially with people you work well with. When you are in a kitchen you spend a lot of your time with people in the kitchen, you aren’t interacting with guests. You see them the most, they are on the same schedule that you are. They understand your lifestyle. I am grateful to work where I do and with a partner who I work well with. We work through things and talk it out. If something doesn’t seem necessary in a recipe, we talk through our reasoning and why it is needed or why it isn’t. Cooking it both an art and science.”

The culinary world is much a place for creativity and art, as it is dedication and patience. It’s about being able to step out of comfort zone, trying new things, yet being able to execute a batch with speed and accuracy. It is laborious work that takes getting used to.

Alana: “When I meet people, they often say ‘You have my dream job’. It’s hard to respond to someone who says that. I think they have a misconception about what a Pastry Chef does. It’s not making one batch of chocolate chip cookies, it’s making 30 batches in a short window of time. It’s moving around 50lb bags of flour and sugar and doing it properly not to hurt yourself. It’s hard, physical work. I love that I have the ability to experiment and work through recipes I’ve never made before.”

You can find Alana online, where writes beautifully raw entries about homesickness, her kitten (who is missing) and other adventures on her blog.

Other highlights from my trip:

Going to tapings of The Daily Show with Jon Oliver and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, catching a couple Broadway plays (Kinky Boots & Book of Mormon), seeing a Tristan Perich performance at the MOMA, a trip to the Fales Library and Special Collections to view the Riot Grrrl Collection, the Grand St. Cat Gang, Brooklyn Brewery tour, and of course people watching on the subway.

Whew, what a trip! I can’t wait to go back soon. Fat Girl Food Squad Road Trip anyone?

Beers and Fat Babes: FGFS Takes to the Toronto Beer Festival

Carly is our Hamilton Squad Leader. Carly is into library science, her dude, and whisky. Her spirit animal is Adele and we love her. We invited her down (or is it up) to Toronto this past weekend to attend Toronto’s Festival of Beer with Lead Photographer Yuli. Here’s her full report!

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There is nothing better than a summery evening of thirst quenching beers, delicious food, and good company. Toronto’s Festival of Beer kicked off its three day event this past weekend with a sold out crowd celebrating the history of brewing in Canada.

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The all mighty Beer Buck

As crowds of beer enthusiasts descended on Bandshell Park in Exhibition Place, Yuli and I (and TFOB goers) each received a glass stein for beer tasting. The mugs were ingenious idea – it not only significantly reduced waste but doubled as a snazzy souvenir! Then we were free to guide ourselves through the exhibitors, using our “beer bucks” to purchase samplings of brews and food.

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We utilized the TFOB app to research different breweries and food vendors to find the places we wanted to try. The interactive map was handy tool to pinpoint exactly where breweries had set up shop. We used the TFOB app to research different breweries and food vendors to find the places we wanted to try. The interactive map was handy tool to pinpoint exactly where breweries had set up shop.

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The dudes from FoodShootr caught us being fat & fabulous.

We got hang out in the media space furnished by Andrew Richard Designs. We snacked on some Neal Brothers chips, snapped some pics, and took in the unique centrepieces by LOLCandy. Hilariously, the poor candied centrepieces were missing some essential parts by the end of the night. We may have snacked on some of the centrepieces ourselves. Glue will not stop us; we only continued what had already been started.

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Crabbie’s Alcoholic Ginger Beer

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Some QT’s who clearly visited Steamwhistle’s arts & crafts table

We made some great choices sampling beers from Goose Island, Brooklyn Brewery, Kensington Brewery, Minhas Brewery (Boxer), & Crabbie’s. Paired these brews with amazing food by Rashers and Blue Goose Pure Foods.

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Boxer Beer Watermelon should come with a Tastes Like Candy warning

The FGFS Squad’s Favourite Beer: Boxer Beer Watermelon.
Verdict: It tasted like a watermelon Jolly Rancher. More along the lines of cider, this beer really packed the punch, clocking in at 8.5% alc. It was the perfect summery drink to sip! We could not get enough.

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Chicken and Trout tacos from Blue Goose Pure Foods.

After soaking up the summer rays, and a few mugs of watermelon beer, we sought out some good eats with Blue Goose Pure Foods. They were serving up their mix and match tacos right out of a shipping container. It was my first experience with Blue Goose and I have to say that I want to make a trip down by the Toronto Waterfront and try out their other carefully crafted delights! Yuli grabbed the trout and chicken, and I had the chicken and beef. Clean and organic ingredients, the tacos totally hit the spot.

Big shout out to the watering stations! Sometimes you just needed to hydrate or wash out your mug!

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I really enjoyed kicking it with Yuli – sharing numerous laughs, talking about body politics, body positivity, personal experiences, food and beer, while taking in the summer sunset. Over the course of the afternoon and evening we shared numerous laughs, discussed body politics, body positivity, personal experiences, food and beer, while taking in the summer sunset. FGFS held it down good & proper at the TFOB.

Until next time – Cheers!

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