There’s More Than Mushrooms “Up on the Mountain,” A Documentary Review

mountaiunPlaying at Devour! Food Film Festival on Oct 29, 11:00am

Al Whittle Theatre
450 Main St, Wolfville, NS

Olivier Matthon‘s fly on the wall approach to looking at the problems “commercial” mushroom pickers have in Up on the Mountain is very eye-opening. While we as consumers love chanterelles, morels and lion’s mane, we don’t know the story behind how it got to the dinner table, be it in a restaurant or home-made. 

In British Columbia, those mycelium grown in farms most likely follow strict guidelines in terms of when they’re food ready. But to get them from the lands, the Crown posted guidelines for those wanting to pick and sell. But to be a watchdog is impossible; I suspect the issues are the same as it is Stateside. That is, there’s not enough staff in the Forestry department to go around. With this documentary, we follow in the footsteps of three groups who travel on the “mushroom circuit,” and have to fend for themselves against other poachers and local enforcement.

In the official synopsis, “[They travel embark on] a year-round migration that can take them anywhere from Alaska to California, Washington, Oregon, Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming—to harvest wild mushrooms from public forests.

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Blind Ambition, South Africa and Wine-Tasting, A Formula for How to Succeed

blind ambit

Robert Coe and Warwick Ross have developed a documentary that not only looks at the situation faced by many in South Africa concerning black immigration to other nations within this continent, but also shows “Blind Ambition” should set no one back.

Here, it’s about whether four Zimbabwean immigrants can succeed as business people in a very demanding restaurant industry. Here, the focus is on wine. And what Joseph, Tinashe, Pardon, and Marlvin have to learn is if they got the right stuff. They want to enter the 2017 World Blind Wine Tasting Championship and because of the economic situation, they had huge obstacles to face if they were to fly to Burgundy, France, where it was being hosted.

This film focuses on four individuals wanting a better prospect for not only themselves, but the family they’re taking along. What they left behind is important, and the examination is more than dutiful to let us understand what goes on a world away. Back home in Zimbabwe was civil unrest, and unless we understand this social-policital background tableau, what viewers won’t learn aren’t as relatable.

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The Port Angeles Crabfest Experience is Back!

20221009_123140With the world deciding it’s best to live with the pandemic, many annual events have resumed and of the various foodie experiences in my region, I decided to make the Crabfest in Port Angeles my return to form. This event takes traditionally takes place on the first weekend of October.

I’m sorry Victoria, but what I’ve seen and done here is still the same ol’ same ol’, and I craved something new.  Not even the recently announced Maritime Museum’s Crabtober in November, a one day show, can match this Stateside experience. The key difference is that it’s a limited seating event than taking place at a public space (it sold out on the day it was announced) and people can’t wander around to look at arts and crafts vendors. There’s no mention of food trucks, thus making it seem like a closed event than something truly public like Esquimalt’s Ribfest.

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The Candid on Smile Chicken, in a busy Korean Fried Scene…

smile chicken1001 Douglas G12
Victoria, BC

Hours: 11:30 am to 10pm
Phone: (604) 782-8592

Sadly, La Fiesta Café, the Mexican diner at the corner of Douglas and Broughton, is no more. In its place is Smile Chicken. I think the fact we have two new Korean Fried operations (one still coming) downtown is amusing when considering there was a chicken shortage in 2021. One year is more than enough to regrow a population, but are the hens happy? It’s safe to say most likely not.

I’ve been here three times now, and when this operation has corn dogs on the menu, why not? When I’m craving this carnival food staple, it certainly satisfies.

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A Capital City Comic Con 2022 Update on Nearby Places to Dine

capital city comic con

Victoria, BC‘s Capital City Comic Con (Sept 23-25, 2022) is almost here, and after a two-year absence because of a pesky pandemic, everyone (at least local) is excited about it. This city had a handful of other shows throughout the years which did not last long. And the hope from the team of businesses involved with this show is that this fixture is a tourist attraction in the years to come. And hopefully, #Nerdtoria can become a hashtag to use to recognise fandom in this garden city.

For a complete round-up on what to expect, please check out our sister-site’s look at this upcoming show. This September event is exclusive to 2022, and CapCity (not Comic Con as it’s registered to the San Deigo event) is expected to resume in March 2023 as part of the Spring Break tradition.

Getting a bite in between panels or wandering around won’t be easy. The events from the past usually required patrons to the Victoria Conference Centre to buy from their in-house catering service, and outside food was not allowed. Things may change since the pandemic is not over and instead of packing people in, to keep everyone distanced is for the better. Until more news is announced, we offer this updated guide (last one was dated 2018 and a lot has changed since) to eateries nearby that’s worth the visit.

For in-event concession, the organisers reported that it’ll be in the Crystal Gardens venue.

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[Victoria, BC] Post Fringe Festival Thoughts and Upcoming Events Schedule

victoria fringe 2022

The 2022 Victoria Fringe Festival is a wrap, and it’s almost a full return to form. This event ran from August 24 to Sept 4 and was well attended. I passed by many lineups while wandering Downtown Victoria at those venues that hosted, and the one big thing that changed, as a result of the pandemic, was the lack of seeing talents run from venue to venue to pass along flyers of their shows, and saying you must check it out. While there were fewer places hosting, that’s to be expected (assuming if they adhered to indoor health code regulations).

An internal change that not every patron is aware of is to buy tickets in advance (online or at the box office). I observed a few people were unaware, and instead of being turned away, were allowed to purchase at the door. I’m glad Intrepid Theatre was aware this situation may happen, and were prepared. I suspect further revisions will be in store to help streamline future events. And as the world transitions to accepting Covid-19 won’t go away, further tweaks will be made. All anyone can do is to be mindful in how things must now operate to keep everyone healthy and safe.

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