The Second Annual Chicago Food Film Festival began yesterday at Kendall College (900 N. North Branch).  Their tagline is appropriate - Watch it & Eat it.  Last night was themed Farm to Film to Table.  I was excited by the invitation I received from Concentrated TV's Mark Cwiakala (also the Festival's co-Producer along with David Singer http://concentrated.tv/).  But the event ended being far more than I expected.  It didn’t have the feel of a film festival.  It wasn’t a cerebral energy.  No one was posturing about being an artist or discussing the hidden meaning behind the director’s imagery.  It was a party that showed short films on food.  The people in the films were all interesting characters.  While watching, Kendall College staff came out in swarms serving the items featured in the short films.  It was in fact a ‘multi-sensory’ festival.   Here are my 10 best things that made the night awesome.
  1. The Ojibwe Wild Rice (my favorite)- perfectly healthy, the texture was wonderful and the flavor was clean.
  2. The Beefeater Gin- Cucumber and Dill Drink – gin, white cranberry juice, dill, cucumber and lemon.  The most refreshing mixed drink I have had in along time.  Despite the cranberry juice, it was not sweet at all.
  3. The film- Buttermilk: It Can Help.  Earl Cruze was a delight to watch.
  4. Fannie May’s new – Artisan Fine Chocolates by Norman Love.  I want the gift box for Christmas everyone.
  5. Frontier Grill’s entire spread- pig roast, mac and cheese, hush puppies.  The Mac and Cheese was moved into my top 5 mac and cheeses.
  6. Hoosier Mama Pie Company’s Persimmon Pie.  First time I’ve ever had this.  Odd at first, but it left really nice bold flavors behind, like clover.  I only wish I had a coffee to drink with it.
  7. The interactive aspects of the entire festival.  Of course, the food and drinks facilitated this, but the energy put forth my the host George Motz and Concentrated TV staff made it the right amount of party atmosphere, mixed with fabulous food and drinks.
  8. Cruze Diary Farm Buttermilk Ice Cream – They had an array of flavors.  But the one that popped out was sweet potato.  It was perfect timing, he got my taste buds all prepped for this Thursday’s feast.
  9. Fresh Ginger Ale by Bruce Cost  - This was one of the non-alcoholic beverages offered during the event.  They featured three flavors of really fresh ginger ale.   Although I am not a person who drinks fruit flavored drinks at all, the Pomegranate had the right amount of sweetness with the warm ginger flavor.
  10.   Pleasant Farms Bakery served their bacon pie.  It was a perfect little bite.  I particularly loved the mixture of the bacon pie with the pickled tomatoes.  It wasn’t quite as intrusive as the flavor of other pickled vegetables like kimchi, but it surprised me that the homemade bacon mixed so well with the fresh green tomatoes...