Eat the Oscars: 10 Toronto dishes—one for every best picture nominee
Hosting an Oscars party is going to be tough this year. With 10 nominations for best picture, instead of the usual five, making movie-themed munchies will be twice as hard. To help Toronto hosts get their bearings, we suggest the following dishes from across the city, each inspired by the films hoping for the ultimate Academy prize.
Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire
The soul food at newly re-branded Harlem Underground mixes Cajun influences into hearty southern dishes. Or, for a DIY approach, may we suggest pig’s feet from the Healthy Butcher? Whatever is served, though, we suggest appending the film’s tongue-tripping suffix (i.e., artichoke dip: based on the novel Push by Sapphire).
The aliens, dubbed Prawns, in this critical darling crave cat food like junkies crave a fix, but we suggest bypassing the Friskies and opting instead for a literal interpretation: the juicy prawns in crispy tempura batter with spicy mayo from Guu Izakaya or sushi from Zen.
The Hurt Locker
The film is about an adrenalin-addicted bomb expert in the Iraq war, so hosts could take the easy way out and simply serve Middle Eastern food from Tabule. But why not be counterintuitive? Since this movie is explosive, try any of the spicy dishes at the Indian Rice Factory.
A Serious Man
Go simple, if obvious: a succulent smoked meat sandwich from Caplansky’s, which would reflect the voluminous marijuana smoke in the film and has the added benefit of being kosher (and delicious).
The Blind Side
This gooey film set in Memphis allows you to indulge in some similarly sticky southern barbecue. Bring ribs from either the Stockyards Smokehouse and Larder or Back Alley Woodfire Grill. A jokey potluck contribution could be Taco Bell burritos; they’re as sickeningly cheesy as the film, and the fast food chain is how Sandra Bullock’s character’s husband in the film made his millions.
Because it’s impossible to actually eat heartbreak (ice cream, which makes an appearance here, comes close), we suggest something from South America, which is the destination of the film’s lead character. Any menu item at Caju will do.
Up in the Air
Airplane food? Gross. Something purchased with Aeroplan points? Puh-lease. How about some downsized dishes—tapas? We point to Cava as one of our favourites. Sadly, our other idea of eating George Clooney just isn’t feasible.
Strudel and raw milk, the innocent foods from the film, are rendered intensely creepy by Christophe Waltz’s performance. The strudel at Madeline’s is divine, and thanks to a recent court ruling, raw milk may soon be found everywhere.
James Cameron changed the way we all watched movies with this 3-D sci-fi blockbuster (we know this because he told us so). No restaurant could possibly produce a meal the size of the man’s ego, so the key here is creativity—creativity and blueberries (but we’ll make sure they’re organic; we don’t want the Na’vi on our trail).
Certainly, we could choose to dine at any of the fine French spots in Toronto as a tribute to Jenny Miller, the film’s young protagonist who pines for the excitement of Paris from her home in the London suburbs. Auberge du Pommier would allow us the irony of moving from downtown, but instead we’ll opt for The Chef’s House, the restaurant at George Brown College—the closest thing to an educational experience while dining in Toronto.