Food Diaries: Staging a culinary adventure

Soulpepper theatre star shares her favourites

Actor Alana Bridgewater stars in the upcoming Soulpepper production of Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, the ever-relevant, award-winning 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 stumble-through 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.

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