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EVENT: Best Food Films Online

Immigrants with pushcarts try to sell fresh
fruit to people who really need it. Photo
courtesy Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund.


Launching on Sunday. April 22—Earth Day 2012—the Do Something Reel Film Festival affords the opportunity to watch some of the best food-focused documentaries online.

It’s sponsored by Whole Foods Market and partners that include Applegate Organic & Natural Meats, Earthbound Farm Organic and Siggi’s Cultured Dairy Products.

Each year, a number of terrific food films are released but get limited distribution. Even we, who would love to see them for professional reasons, don’t have the time to get to wherever they may be showing.

But stream them online at, and we’ve got a whole month to tune in.

The Do Something Reel Film Festival is a much-needed showcase for provocative films about food and environmental issues. Viewing is on a pay-per-view basis. Ticket sales help to fund filmmaker grants for new projects.


Launching This Sunday

The online film festival opens on April 22, with a live screening of “The Apple Pushers,” narrated by the actor Edward Norton. It will be followed by a panel discussion with the film’s writer/director, producer and other experts.

While there is a charge to watch the film, the panel discussion can be viewed free online from April 22nd to April 30th.

The film follows five immigrant street-cart vendors who sell fruits and vegetables in New York neighborhoods where fresh produce isn’t widely available. The vendors personify what it means to be an American entrepreneur, and their stories shed new light on the nation’s food crisis and skyrocketing obesity rates.


A New Film Each Month

Each month the festival will showcase a different film online. Following “The Apple Pushers,” the films currently slated are:

  • MAY: “Watershed,” which follows a Rocky Mountain National Park fly fishing guide and six others living and working in the Colorado River basin. The film illustrates the river’s struggle to support 30 million people across the western U.S. and Mexico.
  • JUNE: “Queen of the Sun: What Are the Bees Telling Us?,” a profound journey through the catastrophic disappearance of bees around the world, uncovering the long-term causes that could create one of our most urgent food crises.
  • JULY: “King Corn” and “Truck Farm,” the first film spotlighting the tragedy of our country’s corn crops and the second focusing on mobile gardens.

    The struggle of one watershed to support 30 million people. Photo courtesy Kontent Films.


  • AUGUST: “Lunch Line,” a fresh perspective on the politics of food and child-nutrition through an examination of the surprising past, uncertain present and possible future of the National School Lunch Program.
  • So mark your calendar for a monthly movie night with the Do Something Reel Film Festival. It’s your opportunity to connect with these important films and their thought-provoking issues. And you’ll see how your everyday decisions and purchasing power can make a difference.

    For additional information, a complete schedule of events and details about the grant program, please visit



    EVENT: Share Our Strength’s Taste Of The Nation


    Enjoy something spectacular so kids can get
    basic nutrition. Food shown is not part of the
    event, but similar in spirit. Photo courtesy
    Restaurant Tru.

    Even in the world’s wealthiest nation, nearly 17 million children worry about where their next meal will come from. That’s nearly one in four children at risk of hunger, with limited access to the basic nutrition they need to develop to their full potential.

    Last night, Share Our Strength’s Taste Of The Nation tour launched in Charlotte, NC and Manchester, NH. It continues to 25 other cities from now through the end of June.

    Billed as “the nation’s premier event to end childhood hunger in America,” the event raises money by serving affluent food enthusiasts elegant fare from top chefs.

    Food, drink and services are donated, so 100% of ticket sales support Share Our Strength’s programs.

    In Philadelphia, one of the tour cities, 24.5% of residents live below the poverty line and 260,000 people are “at risk for hunger.”

    That’s why those who can afford as much food as they’d like—and who appreciate the best food—are encouraged to take part.

    We won’t list all 25 cities here, but see if your city is on the tour and purchase tickets at Share Our Strength/Taste Of The Nation.

    You can also make a donation directly or in someone’s name. Maybe that’s what Mom would really prefer for Mother’s Day (May 9th).



    EVENT: Cook. Eat. Drink. Live. November 6th-8th.


    There will be a lot to eat and drink at this gala tasting event.

    Take advantage of the fall weather and hotel bargains and head over to the Cook. Eat. Drink. Live. food festival in New York City the weekend of November 6th-8th. Join the lively group of fellow foodies and taste your way through a bustling event that will showcase new food products and cocktails along with presentations from celebrity chefs, cookbook authors and mixologists. There will be plenty of wine and delicious food from popular restaurants, plus the opportunity to do some early holiday shopping.

    Tickets are $65.00 per day and can be purchased at or by calling 1.888.695.0888. A portion of the proceeds from the festival will be donated to one of our favorite causes, Action Against Hunger.

    In addition to all the food, we’re looking forward to the:

    • Coffee & Tea Pavilion. Discover new gourmet favorites and learn about them from the experts.
    • FineWaters Pavillion. Your opportunity to taste rare fine bottled waters from all over the world, assembled by water expert and author Michael Mascha.
    • Robert Mondavi Discover Wine Tour. Stocked with wines from the Robert Mondavi Private Selection and Mondavi Winery portfolios, this pavilion will provides participants with an interactive learning experience through tastings and classes.

    Hope to see you there!



    Gourmet Getaway: American Wine & Food Festival ~ Los Angeles

    During the weekend of October 2nd-4th, the 27th American Wine & Food Festival is serving up a world-class culinary celebration, benefiting Los Angeles Chapters of Meals On Wheels.

    • The weekend kicks off at 7 p.m. on Friday, October 2nd, with an intimate party where philanthropists and foodies mingle over chic eats and innovative libations.
    • On Saturday, October 3rd from 5-11 p.m., there’s a Wolfgang Puck VIP Cooking Demo, followed by a gala on the Universal Studios Back Lot: an unrivaled epicurean feast prepared by world-renowned chefs, with live bands and a luxurious silent auction.
    • On Sunday October 4th, at 6 p.m., there’s a Chef’s Grand Tasting and live auction at Spago Beverly Hills. Celebrity chefs Thomas Keller of Bouchon, Dean Fearing of Fearing’s at The Ritz-Carlton in Dallas, Jereme Leung of Jereme Leung Creative Concepts, Nobu Matsuhisa of Matsuhisa & Ubon and Gina DePalma of Ristorante Babbo will each prepare one course.

    The Saturday evening event at the Universal Studios Back Lot.

    According to a colleague who attends each year, even for $350 a ticket, the Saturday night event is one of the best foodie deals you can find: more than 50 of the best chefs in America personally serving their favorite dishes as top wineries pour fine wines, all in the fabulous ambiance of the Universal Studios back lot. You can read the full list of marquee names on the website, but a sampling of participating chefs includes Tom Colicchio, Larry Forgione, Ilan Hall, Thomas Keller, Nobu Matsushisa, Mark Miller, Mark Peel, Stephen Pyles, Lidya Shire, Joachim Splichal, Jonathan Waxman, Alan Wong and Sherry Yard. For information and tickets, visit


    GOURMET GETAWAY: WhiskyFest, San Francisco


    Whisky “on the rocks.” Photo courtesy of Tullamore Dew.

    Where can you find more than 200 of the world’s rarest and most expensive whiskies in one place? At America’s largest whisky celebration, WhiskyFest, taking place for its third year in San Francisco on October 16th. Attendees can not only sample the revered spirit, but can learn how to identify, sniff, swill and taste it, see how its made, and discover everything else about whisky, through speakers and seminars and from leading industry experts, master blenders and distillery managers.

    “It gives whisky enthusiasts the chance to taste some incredibly rare whiskies and meet the makers behind the barrels,” says John Hansell, Publisher of Malt Advocate magazine, which sponsors the event. The whisky celebration doesn’t start with the festival; the week leading up to it will feature events related to the spirit and promotions at popular nightspots, restaurants and bars.

    For more information on ticket sales or event information, visit

    You may notice the different spelling of “whisky” versus “whiskey.” In Ireland and the United States, the word “whiskey” is spelled with an “e.” The British, Scots and Canadians use “whisky.” Etymologists don’t know why. The best explanation is that the Irish had whiskey first, and when the Scots started to make it, they left out the “e” to point out the difference between their spirit and Irish whiskey.



    The winner: a sushi made of seven
    different treatments of rice. Last year’s
    winner, Golden Shooting Star, was also a
    vegetarian sushi.
    Award-winning chefs from Japan, Russia, Scandinavia, the U.K. and the U.S. competed on October 6th at Sushi Awards 2008 for the Sushi Of The Year Award, a unique creation developed for the event. The “Seven Sushi Samurai” created their selected sushi for 322 sushi connoisseurs, members of the press and a guest panel of British culinary celebrities. The event, held at Bloomsbury’s London House, was sold out (there was a waiting list for the £90 tickets).

    The winner was Mitsunori Kusakabe of Sushi Ran in Sausalito, California. Born in Osaka, Japan in 1970, Kusakabe is a largely self-trained sushi genius who holds the 6th American Sushi Skills trophy. He has carried his skills around the globe before bringing them to his Michelin-starred restaurant, Sushi Ran in California. Born in Osaka, Japan in 1970, Kusakabe is a largely self-trained sushi chef who also won the sixth American Sushi Skills competition. His creation, “Seven ‘Rice’ Samurai,” used only rice (no fish or vegetables, except for the nori wrapper and garnishes such as shiso flowers), and demonstrated his skills as a chef; judge Kyle Connaughton, head chef of The Fat Duck Experimental Kitchen, called it “tecnhically brilliant.”

    Kusakabe utilized used seven different cooking methods—fermentation, frying, toasting, sautéing, roasting, freezing and extraction—to transform rice into an innovative sushi. The inspiration behind this recipe was Kusakabe’s desire to show the world just how delicious and essential rice is, and how versatile rice can be. You can only imagine how good this sushi tastes, but the next time you’re in the neighborhood of Sausalito (right across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco), see if you can get a reservation at Sushi Ran.

    Last year’s winner, Golden Shooting Star, was also a vegetarian sushi. To learn more about the different types of sushi available at most sushi bars, read THE NIBBLE’s Sushi Glossary. And if you’re headed to any of the cities where the rest of the Seven Samurai sushi chefs work, you can be assured you’ll find some exciting sushi there.

    Read more about the Sushi Of The Year competition, and see photos of the runners up.


    NEWS: Polling For America’s Favorite Dessert

    Take a break from the Republicans and Democrats. The Pillsbury Campaign for a Sweeter America has announced that Cake and Brownies have received the people’s nomination to run for the nation’s favorite dessert. The announcement comes after a nine-city primary campaign tour with the Pillsbury Doughboy to Asheville, NC, Baltimore, Boston, Chicato, Columbus, OH, Troy, OH, Indianapolis, Pittsbugh and Washington, DC. Voters have been won over by Cake’s ability to make every occasion a celebration, but the chocolatey irresistibility of Brownies is certainly putting up a fight. You can cast your vote in the online election at And you can read about our favorites in THE NIBBLE’s Cakes & Brownies Section.


    EVENTS: Halloween Star-Studded Spectacular

    The market may be down, but the stars are out. If you have $150, put on your best Halloween costume, get a balcony seat for dinner and rub shoulders at the cocktail reception with food, fashion and Hollywood A-listers at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City. On Friday, October 31, 2008, at the annual Hulaween benefit for Bette Midler’s New York Restoration Project, more than 1,000 guests will be entertained by Gloria Estefan, the Miami Sound Machine and Emmy award-winning comedian Kathy Griffin (on the D-List and proud of it). American designer and “Project Runway” judge Michael Kors will pick winners from the crowd for the annual costume contest. Alice Waters, internationally acclaimed chef from Chez Panisse in Berkeley, will receive the “Wind Beneath My Wings” Award from Bette Middler for her pioneering advocacy for locally grown and sustainably harvested food that has become a model for restaurant and home cooking all over the world.
    A special committee of celebrity chefs will honor Waters by making their signature appetizers for the cocktail party, including: April Bloomfield (The Spotted Pig and The John Dory); David Chang (Momofuku Noodle Bar), Tom Colicchio (Craft); Lisa Fernandes (Mai House); Kurt Gutenbrunner (Wallse, Café Sabarsky and Blaue Gann); Jonathan Waxman (Barbuto); and Andrew Zimmern (SuperTarget Meal Adventure Guide and Host of “Bizarre Foods” on The Travel Channel).

    For tickets and information about Hulaween, call (914) 579-1000 or visit


    FREEBIES: Free Drinks

    It’s over in San Francisco, but if you live in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia or Seattle, you can still catch a free Campari cocktail as The House of Campari and SWINDLE magazine present “The Art of Cocktailing.” At bars and lounges, the project also presents silkscreens by artist David Weidman, as part of Campari’s century-long commitment to the arts. Campari, a bitter aperitif, was invented in Italy by Gaspare Campari in 1860; the original recipe is still in use today, although many countries have shifted to an artificial red colorant from the original natural carmine cochineal coloring derived from insect shells. The chairman of GruppoCampari is the only person in the world who knows the entire formula for the recipe, which includes quinine and other bitter herbs, rhubarb, spices, ginseng, bergamot oil and orange peel. It is often mixed with soda, and two popular Campari-based cocktails, the Negroni and the Americano, have been emjoyed by historical and fictional figures, including Ernest Hemingway and James Bond.


    News: Diet At The Cheesecake Factory

    Our favorite chain restaurant, The Cheesecake Factory, has added to its popular Weight Management menu category with the addition of a Weight Management Grilled Chicken, a lightly-pounded chicken breast, charbroiled and topped with a tomato and arugula salad. The plate is garnished with steamed white rice (tell them to hold the rice—too bad they didn’t make it brown rice, since white rice is largely empty calories) and asparagus. The Grilled Chicken entrée is less than 590 total calories, making it the perfect light summer fare. The piece of limited-edition 30th Anniversary Chocolate Cake Cheesecake you can have for dessert will easily match those calories. The four-layer anniversary cheesecake combines two layers of Original Cheesecake and two layers of Chocolate Fudge Cake, filled with chocolate cream and finished with crunchy pearls of Valrhona chocolate. Share a piece with two or three friends. The first Cheesecake Factory restaurant opened in Beverly Hills, California in 1978.  
    Cheesecake Factory’s limited-edition
    30th Anniversary Chocolate Cake
    Read more about cheesecake in THE NIBBLE‘s Gourmet Cakes & Cupcakes section.


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