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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Tim, a loyal reader, suggested I see this doc Spinning Plates by Joseph Levy, a filmmaker, who first delved into the world of professional kitchens while producing Food Network series "Into the Fire" in 2003.

Spinning Plates introduces us to three vastly different restaurants, and shows us three things these establishments have in common - hard work, team effort and really dedicated individuals running these eating establishments - It's not the type of doc that grabs you instantly - having paid to see it, rather than a press screening, made me a little anxious for it to be engaging immediately.  However, each revisit into the inner workings of these dining places, brought more and more interest and familiarity with the characters.

Molecular gastronomy Chef Grant Achatz  runs ALINEA (1723 N. Halsted St., Chicago, IL) which has once again been given the top honors as a 3 star Michelin rated restaurant in Chicago for 2014.

Grant doesn't so much cook or create food for Alinea, he masterminds it.  It's all about presentation and aroma and atmosphere.  Behind the scenes at Alinea, far more resembles a laboratory than a kitchen.

You've heard of painters going blind, musicians going deaf, surgeons losing a hand and now here's a chef with tongue cancer, a fact that merely spurred Grant on to greater heights of single minded ambitious and art.

The second restaurant featured is LA COCINA de GABBY, a family-owned Mexican restaurant in Tucson Arizona. Francisco & Gabby Martinez are so cute, not in looks, but together with their 3 year-old daughter, you can't help but be moved by this heart-warming little family. I have never wanted a business to become successful more than I wanted to see La Cocina de Gabby do well.  Gabby has such genuine love for preparing authentic Mexican food and Francisco has such genuine love for his wife and daughter.

The Third restaurant is also a family run establishment, BREITBACH'S COUNTRY DINING (563 Balltown Rd, Sherrill, IA) which has been run by a member of the Breitbach family since it's inception in 1852, presently by Mike & Cindy Breitbach, two of their children and a son-in-law.

What makes this restaurant special is not any one recipe, cuisine or creative force, it's just the fact that the whole town congregates at Breitbach's everyday!  They have regulars, really regulars and regulars so regular they have keys to the place.  Breitbach's served something like 3000 meals on Mother's Day.

The other thing that makes this restaurant noteworthy - It has had two major fires that destroyed the place less than 5 years apart.  Miraculously, each time it was reduced to dust and ashes, the whole town pitched in to rebuild, rather like an Amish barn raising. This restaurant more or less serves as the town square of Balltown Iowa.

Around the Web

Saveur: What was the inspiration for this film?

Joseph Levy: In 2008, I was sitting around deciding what restaurant stories I wanted to produce next when the breakfast issue came out. It opens on two farmers sitting at their breakfast table saying grace, just a quiet mediation on food, followed by a waiter with a breakfast tray, then a men’s group in Germany; an amalgam of snapshots around the world but unified by the idea of breakfast, and it suddenly made the whole world collapse into one space that felt familiar and related. I got the idea of taking my Spinning Plates subjects and ultimately crashing them into each other in the same way the photo essay does in that issue... READ MORE Shane Mitchell Saveur

The Hollywood Reporter asked Levy about his favorite eating Destinations

Levy: "Lunch at Franklin Barbecue in Austin. I'm from Texas, and Texas has the only barbecue for me. Dinner at Commander's Palace in New Orleans. Chocolate Table for dessert at Alinea in Chicago." READ MORE Gary Baum THR

I have to say, in my limited dining travels, the very best meal I've ever had was at Commander's Palace.

T &T's LAMB Score: 3 outta 5

During the Philadelphia Film Festival I screened another foodie film -  (click for post).

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Food n Film: CHEF

Food n Film: CHEF
Much of the movie centers around the father/son relationship, and how much they learn from each other. But the real star of the film is all the food preparation, every other scene made me groan with want of everything up on that screen! Particularly the perfectly roasted and rubbed brisket, the crispy fat of the pork belly, sizzling bacon and the much ballyhooed Chocolate Lava Cake. READ POST

Food n Film: CHOCOLAT

Food n Film: CHOCOLAT
If you’re a foodie movie lover who saw Lasse Hallström’s The Hundred Foot Journey (see T&T post), this summer you may be wondering what delicious visual journey might be awaiting you in the theater next. Well, how about a look back at his film Chocolat (2000), which stars French actress Juliette Binoche, Judi Dench and Johnny Depp. Hallström’s has a special talent for turning cooking into a dramatic movie journey...READ MORE

Eater Philly - All


...young Hassan, a soulful-eyed boy with lush, thick eye lashes, places his face into the sea urchin basket, and breathes in the exotic briny scent. He sticks his fingers into the aquatic ooze, takes it to his mouth and is transfixed by the taste. The vendor, oblivious to the thrusting arms of frenzied women, notices the boy and realizes he is the only one worthy of this oceanic prize; he is the one who can “truly taste.” ... READ MORE

Food n Film: JULIE & JULIA

Food n Film: JULIE & JULIA
Personally, I like the unevenness of it, because I fell in love with the post World War II, Parisian sights, sounds, food and romance between Julia and Paul. I always felt a bit jarred back into reality when the scenes returned to Julie's meltdowns and cramped kitchen.READ POST

Food n Film: EAT PRAY LOVE

Food n Film: EAT PRAY LOVE
Six months into my 38th year of this life, I had my first panic attack. I didn't know that's what it was until months later. Symptom after symptom starting piling up on me until there were days I could no longer move my arms or neck. The doctors told me I was suffering from an auto-immune condition that they felt was most likely Lupus. And so began my much deeper journey and exploration into the world of spirit, alternative medicine, yoga, meditation and Eat, Pray, Love. READ POST

Philadelphia Magazine » Blog » Foobooz


With a film like this, food plays a main character in the story and I was lucky enough to get an interview with the film's Food Stylist, Janine Kalesis.READ POST

Food n Film: WAITRESS

Food n Film: WAITRESS
In this 2007 film, Keri Russell stars as Jenna - a desolate diner waitress seeking solace in the art of pie-making. Trapped in an unhappy marriage, she’s eager to escape her husband and her small-town hell and sets about to make a run for it by entering an out of town pie baking contest. READ POST


Those of us in attendance were not only given the opportunity to see Babette's Feast, the Oscar winning, Danish film, considered one of the all-time great "food films"; we also got to taste Babette's menu! READ POST

15 Top Food in Film Flicks

15 Top Food in Film Flicks
Cozy Quilt of Food Movies, we'll add more patches as T &T discovers more films where food plays the biggest "roll"

Tinsel & Tine on

Tinsel & Tine on
Really love this platform, you feature your stuff and other people's stuff you follow, and it all configures like the front page of a newspaper. Click to see what I mean

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Philly Food and Film

Videographer Oliver Gallini 5 min short featuring organic-chemist-turned-chef, Townsend Wentz, who got his start at The Four Seasons Philadelphia.


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About This Blog

is about discovering what I find pleasing in screening & eating - in case you missed it, the name is a play on Tinseltown using the Tines of a Fork.

Feel free to send me info on a film or new restaurant you'd like me to highlight.

Will there ever be a cap on movie prices?

Will we one day pay $20 a pop?

Why don't we pay on a scale?

A crap movie like everything Adam Sandler has ever done should cost about $4.50.
Big action movies like"Lord of the Rings", "Iron Man," "Transformers" are worth $10.
Woody Allen movie or something like "Silver Linings Playbook" $6-$7.
A chick flick or light comedy $5.75 and most Indie Films $5.25.

You could even do it by seasons - all summer block busters from May to August - $10
Sept - November 15th $3.50 - $4
Back to $10 for Thanksgiving and Christmas etc...

Or you can do it by A Actors ($9 - $10), B Actors ($6 - $7) TV actors on the big screen ($3.50 - $4)

Surely I'm not the first person to realize this makes sense. Has it been voted on in the Motion Picture Industry and then vetoed? If so, why?
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