The day started with an early lunch at a tiny Mexican restaurant called Mi Taco on Queens Street. The Gujarati-American husband was craving tacos and I like a good wife complied.
The lunch experience captured the essence of Toronto and Canada. An Italian lady owns the Mexican restaurant and we were served by a young Bangladeshi student of media studies at the Toronto University. Cultural diversity is the very soul of this city — there are people from all over the world who make this city such a vibrant melting pot.
Afrida even spoke to me in broken Bangladeshi and told me that her mother is a TIFF regular. The tacos here were top class. The owner’s belief is that food should be the way it is served at home — “simple and clean” — and her philosophy reflected on the food.
Sagar ordered a black bean taco and I went with the special, the braised pork belly taco with guacamole and mango salsa that really took me by surprise. It was layered in its flavours and packed a load of flavour; the fresh tangy mango just lifted the taco to a whole new level. Normally, I’m not a fan of sweet in my savoury dishes, but this one just worked. I wish I had taken a picture, but I was so hungry that I forgot.
Lunch done, we went to Scotia theatre and I watched the Scandinavian film The Giant about a man with a deformity who struggles to find social acceptance and creates a fantasy land where he spends most of his time. It’s a beautiful and sad little film.
Then I caught Koji Fukada’s Harmonium that has won the jury prize — Un Certain Regard — at Cannes this year. The film was a chilling depiction of how a wrongdoing will always come back and destroy peace in a middle class life, a theme that was repeated in the Spanish film I saw next, The Fury of a Patient Man. Harmonium was a studied film about the middle class while the Spanish film was more of an inside-the-protagonist’s-head kind of experience.
While, I was watching films, Sagar had an adventure that I was really happy not to be a part of. In an attempt to save a few dollars (12 I think) in parking, he had to rush off the lot he had picked almost 3 kilometres away. In his hurry he ended up locking his keys in the car and spent three hours calling a tow truck and retrieving the key. He had to pay the tow truck $80 to open the car. Moral of the story: Do not try to save money on parking.
While I waited for Sagar to pick me up, I grabbed an ice cream from Sweet Jesus, a shop I had noticed while walking from one theatre to another in the last few days, one which always had a queue outside. I was a bit hesitant as I was feeling quite cold, but I am a glutton for experiences.
I got a campfire S’mores flavour and good lord did I not regret it. I shivered on the pavement and ate the most delicious ice cream I have ever eaten. It had a vanilla and chocolate twist soft serve with graham crackers, marshmallow, chocolate sauce and burnt marshmallow cream. Again, I didn’t take a picture because I started eating it immediately. Anyone, coming to Canada must try something from Sweet Jesus.
Finally, we went to the industry booth to try and wrangle a ticket to the closing party and that was a big fail. Bumped into Anand Gandhi (Ship of Theseus) at the Centre and he said there was one more screening left of An Insignificant Man. He and his gang were debating where to eat when I bumped into them and so I packed them off to Pai, the Thai restaurant I absolutely loved. The director of An Insignificant Man, Khushboo Ranka, gave me a grateful nod as Anand was planning to take them for sandwiches! Good deed for the day, check.
This is my last post from here. The Toronto International Film Festival that showcased almost 400 movies, has reached its fag end and there are just a few more screenings left. The warm familiar faces have disappeared and the cold has descended. The weather predictions are it’s going to rain over the weekend. My prediction is Lion will win something at the end of the festival, as the muscle of the Weinstein brothers is backing it and several screenings have been added.
I am going to spend the weekend here before heading home on some touristy things like visiting museums and shopping. TIFF, thanks for a great time.