Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sunday Dinner: Jamie Oliver's Pan-Fried Chicken with a Delicate Pearl Barley, Pea and Lettuce Stew

I didn't go see Jamie Oliver today at Roy Thomson Hall, but we (Darcy actually) coincidentally made an Oliver recipe for dinner. We saw Jamie make it on the Food Network this morning and I couldn't think about anything else. It was called "Pan-Fried Game with a Delicate Pearl Barley, Pea and Lettuce Stew," but we didn't have access to partridges, so we used chicken (legs and breast) and it was amazing. The pan-fried poultry is served on top of a kind of barley and pea risotto with fresh lettuce mixed in at the last minute. So good. You can fin the recipe here.

Friday, November 20, 2009

If You Tweet It, He Will Come

My post about how Toronto comedian Bob Kerr used Twitter and Facebook to convince LA comedian Paul F. Tompkins to perform in Hogtown for the first time ever is up on Torontoist.

This is, without a doubt, my favourite post. I didn't initially plan on writing about this at all. I heard about Bob's campaign to get PFT here, but I thought it wasn't a necessarily "Toronto" story. I attended the show and completely fell in love with Paul within mere seconds. It was one of the best comedy shows I've ever seen, and I would put him right alongside Louis C.K. As the weeks went by after the show, all these new copycat Facebook groups started popping up, trying to do the same thing. At last count there were over thirty cities, mostly in North America, but also some as far as Sweden and Scotland! This was fast turning into something really big and it all started in our little city.

But, more than that, I was so happy for Bob. I feel like it must have taken so much courage to engage Paul, convince him to perform in Toronto, and take on the responsibility of making sure the audience showed up. It turned out better than he could have hoped and he even got to hang out with Paul after the show. I wish both Bob and Paul every success.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Save the Last Deli

Photo by Marcelo Ithurralde.

My post about David Sax's excellent book, Save the Deli finally went up today on Torontoist. I wrote the first draft last week, but my editor rightly asked me to give it another looking over, at which point I realized it was awful. So, I started again from scratch and also asked one of Torontoist's illustrators, Sasha Plotnikova, to do an original illustration, which I think came out beautifully. David Sax himself even found the post just a few hours after it went up and re-posted it on his blog (yay!).

I read this book in one weekend and I was amazed by how much research and legwork went into it. I can't imagine doing that many interviews, let alone ones with people who are running busy delis and don't have much time to talk. His stamina continues to amaze me as I follow his blog, describing his exhausting book tour.

Everyone seems to be fixated on the book as a deli travel guide, but I think the best part of it is the historical details of Jews in North America that lend context to the current situation—the disappearance of traditional Jewish delis. The point that stuck with me was that the source of this cuisine was all but extinguished during the Holocaust. As Sax says in his book, "Delis are cooking from the fading memories of a time and place that no longer exist."