Stag­ing a culi­nary ad­ven­ture

Soulpep­per theatre star shares her favourites

Thornhill Post - - Food - by Alana Bridge­wa­ter

Ac­tor Alana Bridge­wa­ter stars in the up­com­ing Soulpep­per pro­duc­tion of Ma Rainey’s Black Bot­tom, the ever-rel­e­vant, award­win­ning 1982 play about race and civil rights. She filled us in on what she ate while re­hears­ing and putting the fin­ish­ing touches on the show. Catch Alana on­stage in her role as Ma Rainey start­ing May 4. Fri­day, April 20: Texas BBQ at Beach Hill Smoke­house In the early part of the week I usu­ally make din­ner, but Fri­day is def­i­nitely a take­out day.

After a long week, I went to Beach Hill Smoke­house (172 Main St.) where I en­joyed the Austin, a ten­der brisket sand­wich driz­zled with a sig­na­ture Texas BBQ sauce and topped with a rib. The brisket is beau­ti­fully smoked. It is so good, in fact, that the BBQ sauce is op­tional.

On the flip side of my meaty ad­ven­ture I picked up a veg­e­tar­ian stew from Nicey’s (2290 Markham Rd.) that same evening as my sis­ter (a pesc­etar­ian) was in town from New Jer­sey. The stew is made from cooked-down soya chunks in a tomato-based gravy with bell pep­pers and onions with Car­ib­bean spices. Satur­day, April 21: Re­hearsals but not be­fore Ac­kee and salt­fish Satur­day was for fam­ily time. Although my re­hearsal started at 10 a.m., I was up mak­ing break­fast for the crew. Ac­kee and salt­fish (cod), fried dumplings and corn­meal por­ridge were on the menu. This is a tra­di­tional Ja­maican break­fast and is re­served for guests stay­ing at our home.

The cast and I had a healthy lunch be­cause we were get­ting revved up to do a full stum­blethrough of our show. Usu­ally halfway through the re­hearsal process we run the whole show to see what needs work or where there are holes.

We all de­scended upon Wildly De­li­cious (11 Tank House Ln.). I had the arugula salad with chicken, a sim­ple-but-tasty light op­tion and On­tarieau sparkling wa­ter. Sun­day, April 22: Er­rands and French onion soup at Cluny Break­fast: Av­o­cado. I teach on Sun­days at Daniels Spec­trum [com­mu­nity cul­tural hub], so I headed to Cluny (35 Tank House Ln.) for a hearty lunch be­fore the stu­dio. My favourite meal there is the French onion soup, sim­ply called “Gruyère” on the menu. The broth is rich and sweet, com­ple­ment­ing the am­ple amount of salty cheese.

Din­ner was care of my friends Steve and Colleen. Steve made a gourmet pasta with gar­lic, feta, olive oil, as­para­gus and sun-dried toma­toes.

The flavours were a treat for the senses and the plate was colour­ful. Mon­day, April 23: My hid­den gem, jerk chicken at Is­land Spice Break­fast was av­o­cado, ba­con and scram­bled eggs.

Back to Wildly De­li­cious for lunch. The beef chili is home­made and is au­then­ti­cally meaty — no filler, just real ground beef topped with a dol­lop of sour cream.

For din­ner I headed back up to my lo­cal haunt for bar­be­cued jerk chicken with rice and peas at Is­land Spice (361 Pit­field Rd.). This hid­den gem is one of the best Car­ib­bean restau­rants in the city. Lo­cals line up for the un­be­liev­able spe­cials and the friendly staff. Tues­day, April 24: a lunchtime steak Cobb salad at Mill Street Brew­ery I was back in the Dis­tillery start­ing my day at Arvo (17 Grist­mill Ln.) with the date latte with soy and the smashed av­o­cado toast. The toast is made with the same sense of artistry that the whole dis­trict con­jures. It was al­most too good-look­ing to eat, but I found the strength. It was ab­so­lutely de­li­cious.

For lunch I went to Mill Street Brew­ery (21 Tank House Ln.) for the steak Cobb salad. It was a hearty of­fer­ing with let­tuce, tomato, cu­cum­ber, blue cheese, av­o­cado, ba­con, eggs and a grilled medium steak.

Then, I started my detox after a week of food de­bauch­ery with din­ner. It was a hearty Greek salad with a chicken breast.

Clock­wise from left: Alana, Beach Hill Smoke­house sam­mie, Arvo toast

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