Tuesday, November 30, 2010

November 2010 Books and Movies

Fast Food Nation

This is a fictional film based on the book of the same title. I did read it, but before I started blogging my book reviews. I remember I found the facts all at once shocking and fascinating, as this was the first time I learned about factory farming and the horrible conditions for workers in the meat packing plants. The film was not quite as good, although definitely shocking with it's use gory depictions of the kill floor and other goings on inside the plant. The use of so many stars cheapened it for me, although I could appreciate the great acting from the Mexican stars. It's still worth a watch, especially if you're interested in the topic.

Further Under the Duvet
Marian Keyes

This was slow to start, with many of the articles seemingly rehashed from Under the Duvet, but picked up in the end. There was a continuation of the story of Keyes' alcoholism, and how she started writing and a few articles about her charity work in Ethiopia and Russia. The best part was at the end, where she printed some of her previously unpublished short stories, including the one she credits with spear-heading her recovery. So the story goes, while recovering from a particularly spectacular binge, she read a short story in a magazine and though, "I'd like to do that", then proceeded to write her first short story. Eventually she sent it to a publisher, and the rest is history. A bit simplistic, but encouraging, none the less. It made me wonder why I'd let my own writing slide, and hopefully will inspire me to pick it up again. Not to worry, my blog is not an indication of anything, most of the time when I'm writing here, I'm dashing off thoughts as fast as they appear in my brain. I really should take the time to post more thoughtfully, not to mention edit more thoughtfully, as Amy does, but I'm sure she has her post and run moments too! :)

The Social Network

This was a brilliant film. Of course, I love love love Jesse Eisenberg (even if he played a total dinkaballs in the movie) so that was a plus as well. Watching it seriously made me want to disable my FB page, just on principle. The supporting cast was great, Justin Timberlake was a standout. It boggles the mind how huge FB has become, and just how rich Mark Zukerberg must be. A definite must see.

An American in Paris

A classic 50s masterpiece. Gene Kelly is suberb, his French co-star a magnificent dancer. Apparently Gene Kelly choreographed the entire movie. Loosely based on Irving Berlin's tone poem An American in Paris (written when he lived there in the 20s), the story is a bit fantastical (as most musicals are) but really wonderful. A film for the best of list.

Food Inc

Documentary about food production in the US (but can be applied to most industrial nations) and the corporations behind it. There is a whole sections on GMOs, specifically on the very evil corporation, Monsanto. I saw another documentary, The Fight For True Farming that details a prolific case of a Saskatchewan farmer vs. Monsanto. I also want to see the documentary The Corporation, to complete the full circle. There is so much to take in, but I believe we can make small, but important choices, to make sure the food we eat is local, ethical and, most importantly, tasty.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


Saw Wicked at the Cannon Theatre tonight. I had wanted to see it when it came to TO initially, but the show was completely sold out. I was only able to get cheap, cheap seats, actually they were the stools in the very back! The show was very good, exceptional production values and Jackie Burns, who played Elphaba, was absolutely stellar. The two best songs in the show Defying Gravity and No Good Deed were both sung by her. The links here are from the London show, and frankly not sung as well, but still good. As for the rest of the cast, they were a bit underwhelming, with the male leads being quite weak. I found I was a little bored with the acting towards the end of the second act, even though the story is very clever. The book was an overnight sensation, telling the prequel to the Wizard of Oz. I think I'm just a little bored with pop inspired Broadway songs, even though I know it's not going to change anytime soon, because that's what people want, even though so many of them are so cliche. Sigh. I guess that makes me somewhat of a musical snob. Oh well, I liked most of it, and was glad I went, even though my butt was a bit sore from sitting on those weird stools. :)

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Ruby Watch Co.

Hands down, the best
I've been to thus far. Spearheaded by Lynn Crawford of Restaurant makeovers, it's a foodie's delight.

It's kind of a dictatorship, with only one menu, and no substitutions (aside from vegetarianism and allergies) but oh, what a lovely one.

Here's what we ate (except I had pan seared B.C. Salmon instead of the beef):

Maple & Honey Mustard Glazed Bacon, Sleger’s Living Greens, Garden Radishes, Sherry Vinaigrette
Grilled Broccoli with Lemon Butter, Espelette Spiced Butternut Squash, Roasted Thompson Yukon Gold Potatoes
Carron Farm’s Carrot & Orange Marmalade
Candied Pumpkin Seeds, Coffee Caramel Sauce

The best part was the broccoli (I know, what??!) and the way the white was perfectly paired with the salad and the fish. The cheese was particularly delectable, I've got to find some Upper Canada's Niagara Gold at the market this weekend.

The staff were incredible, there were wine recommendations for every course, and K even got her menu signed by Lynn Crawford herself. She was in after a long shoot. Apparently, Pitchin' In has been nominated for a Gemini. I would go back there again and again. Absolutely fabulous!