Daily Archives: March 13, 2012

“Saving Face” Reunion

film festivals - movies - restaurant - vegetarian

Reunited…and it feels so good….

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…haven’t been with ALL of my “Saving Face” family in so long!!! Here we are at Sundance 2005. Notice how we’re sitting in the same positions? (I swear that wasn’t planned.)

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Yes, there is a movie called “Saving Face” that just won an Oscar this past year, about women who are victims of acid attack. The one we made was a little bit different.

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I see Michelle constantly and talk to Alice on a pretty regular basis…

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…but I haven’t had face time with Joan in FOREVER….not since I took her to the flagship WeHo Pinkberry (right before it became a froyo phenomenon) which should give you a sense of how much time has passed.

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We started off with an early evening press conference…

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…followed by the screening/Q&A….

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…it was quite emotional – I actually cried all my eye makeup off! Many of us hadn’t seen the film in years – and agreed this was the first time we could watch it as real audience members, rather than analyzing/scrutinizing our work.

And my God, it truly is an amazing, beautiful movie – I’m not just saying that because I’m biased!!! If you haven’t seen it, you can rent/buy it pretty much anywhere.

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Signed many of these – special postcards the festival made – it’s a line I say in the film, but I’m not sure if that’s my eye?!?

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Overwhelmed with the audience response! SO SORRY we couldn’t stick around and take photos with everyone who was waiting…I still feel horrible. There were dinner plans across the street….

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On the Bridge is a small, funky little Japanese restaurant…

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…with everything you can imagine on the menu (but not sushi).

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Truly a mom-n-pop place. The owner is also the chef (and is adorable) but this isn’t a great place for groups, or if you’re a little rushed (like we were). All our dishes came out at different times, starting with Abe’s Agedashi Tofu, which I sampled…

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…also tried a bite of Joan’s Tofu, Mushroom, and Spinach Rice Gratin…

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…and Alice’s Chicken Katsu with fried egg.

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My own order (Curry over Sauteed Pasta) was enormous!

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Wound up eating pretty much all the tofu/veggie/sauce part…

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…and a bunch of the noodles; though it looks like I barely made a dent in what’s leftover:

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If you’ve seen “Saving Face,” you know just how much food was eaten in the movie – everything from hot dogs and Chinese food to cupcakes and fried chicken. So grubbing with this group brought back a lot of great memories….

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…wish we could do it more often.

On the Bridge on Urbanspoon

Guest Blogger: Trevor Algatt

gluten free - guest blogger - Nutrition - vegetarian

Trevor Algatt is a year-round USMS competitive swimmer and actor/creative-type in Los Angeles. He co-hosts and co-produces Inside Acting, a free weekly podcast featuring in-depth, unbiased interviews with industry professionals of all callings. He’s also on Twitter: @trevoralgatt. Here, he writes about the awesomeness of rice and beans.

As both an athlete and young(ish) creative-type in Los Angeles, I’m in the unique position of being both completely unwilling to compromise on diet and lifestyle… and oftentimes simply having to.

It’s the classic paradox: the irresistible force (unpredictable income) meets the immovable object (lifestyle and health standards). And it’s not so much about the pursuit of feeling good… as, well, despising not feeling good.

So, one of my go-to meals — you probably guessed it — is rice and beans. Sounds tedious, I know. But there are a lot of great reasons and science to back this dish, and it meets pretty much every criteria on the athlete/artist list.

Note: I should mention here that I’m talking only about whole grain brown rice — the white fluffy instant stuff and others don’t count, and I avoid them at all costs. More on that in a bit.

THE PROS

1. It’s a complete protein. Animal proteins — chicken, beef, pork, fish — are generally considered to be “complete proteins,” meaning they provide all of the essential amino acids that the human body can’t create on it’s own.

Vegetables and grains, however, typically can’t provide these essential amino acids, which is why many vegetarians and vegans (which I was for two years) have trouble getting adequate nutrition over extended periods of time. The amino profiles of rice and beans, however, complement each other perfectly, and together create a complete protein that’s very easy for the body to digest and use. Translation: you could live off this stuff for years (and millions of people around the world do).

2. It’s gluten-free and energy dense. I’ve never had any gluten-sensitivity issues of which I’m aware, but I have several friends who can hardly go near the stuff. And the more I read about gluten and gluten intolerances, the more I’m convinced I should cut down on it in my own diet. Whole grain brown rice and black beans are an inexpensive, virtually fat-free, energy-potent, and gluten-free meal.

3. It’s hella inexpensive. It’s rice and beans, dude. If you spend more than $10 on a week’s supply, you’re going overboard.

4. It’s easy to make and clean up after. The only thing that needs cooking is the rice — unless you’re adding other stuff that needs it. In the extremely simple recipe below, everything else is rinse and dry (and/or chop).

5. It’s infinitely customizable. Add spices, sauces, seasonings, ketchup (sounds nasty, I know, but don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it), veggies, tofu, chicken… literally, there’s no end to the ways this dish can be made interesting.

6. It keeps well. I’ve been known — from time to time — to dig a tupperware out of the fridge with rice and beans that’s over four or five days old. And it’s still great.

THE CONS

It’s not all flowers and bunnies, unfortunately.

First, both rice and beans are acid-forming foods. When consumed in excess, acid-forming foods basically screw up the body’s ability to do everything well. Don’t worry — we’re not talking about a life-threatening situation here, and when I balance my diet out with other organic veggies, fruits, grains, nuts, and select animal products (turkey and fish a few times a week), I feel and perform just fine.

The whole pH-balance-in-the-bloodstream, acid vs. alkaline foods thing is a whole other topic and probably best suited for it’s own post, but here’s a good primer [ http://www.rense.com/1.mpicons/acidalka.htm ] if you’re interested, along with a chart of most foods and which team they’re on. Just remember: moderation.

Secondly, beans have a reputation for making for room-clearing farts. Personally, beans have never been a problem for me (raw broccoli, however, has been). But if beans jive that way with your chemistry, be sure to schedule your consumption appropriately.

And lastly, I use only whole grain brown rice — typically basmati or jasmine. White and other forms of processed rice typically have most or all of their nutrients stripped so that they’ll keep longer on store shelves. Since processed, nutritionally-vacant foods like white rice are instantly converted to sugar in the body (which in turn triggers the “pleasure” receptors in the brain), people can literally become addicted to “feel good” foods like white rice.

Which is bad news, because white rice also more or less tops the list of high-glycemic processed foods humans eat, and is a common culprit in the development of adult-onset diabetes.

This topic is probably also worth it’s own separate post. But: to avoid automatic fat storage, premature aging, and severe blood sugar spikes (and the requisite “slump” I feel after my body flushes a truckload of insulin into my system to combat them), I avoid white rice — and really any processed “white” food product, including bagels and baguettes and even white semolina pasta.

HOW TO

It should be noted that I’m something of a minimalist with the way I eat, and I have an extremely high tolerance for repetition. I view food mostly as fuel first and a pleasure thing second, so I don’t change things up all that much. But here’s what I chow on a few times a week, and how I make it:

1. The Rice. I know we all know how to make rice, but just in case: I combine 1 cup whole grain Basmati rice from Trader Joe’s and 2 cups filtered water in a saucepan (or a rice cooker, if you have one… which I don’t). I bring it to a boil, then turn it down to a simmer, put the lid on, and hang out for 30 minutes. That’s it. You can do whatever in between — I chop the veggies.

After 30 minutes, take the lid off and remove from heat. The rice should be fluffy and steaming with little to no water in the pan, and unless it’s been overcooked, it shouldn’t stick. Super mega ultra easy.

2. The Beans. I use 1 can of organic black beans from Trader Joe’s, which go for about $1.09 each. I drain and rinse them first to wash off any excess sodium, then dump them in with the rice once it’s done cooking.

3. The Veggies. While the rice is cooking, I chop up 1 raw Hawaiian sweet onion, and 1 raw red bell pepper. These get dumped into the mix after the beans.

4. The Ketchup. This is the part where people always go, “Eww man — ketchup? Really?” But for me, it’s just kinda what needs to happen; doesn’t taste right without it. I dump a pretty liberal amount of All-Natural Organic Trader Joe’s ketchup on the whole pile of stuff (experiment to find your own preferences), then stir it all up.

From there, it’s directly into individual tupperware containers, and then onto clean up duty, which is minimal. The whole batch is good for about three to four servings, and keeps for several days in the fridge.

TAH-DA

That’s it!

One day I’ll do a proper cost-calorie analysis or something (rough estimates put it at about $3 per batch), but I’m pretty sure a better, healthier food bang for my buck doesn’t exist. I’ve been eating this for years, and it’s helped me stay both happily under budget and feeling great.


Are you an actor who wants to do a guest post about food? Leave a comment!