“The Pure Essence of the Good Life” (Chapter Three – Maple Walnut Roulade with Candied Walnut Meringue- Vanilla Bean Creme Anglaise topped with Maple Syrup Ice Cream and the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival) by Gary S. Smolker

“The Pure Essence of the Good Life”  (Chapter Three – Maple Walnut Roulade with Candied Walnut Merigue – Vanilla Bean Creme Anglaise topped with Maple Syrup Ice Cream)

by Gary S. Smolker


From September 7 through September 17, 2011, I attended the Toronto International Film Festival in Toronto, Canada.

By serendipity I found myself  in Terroni at 57a Adelaide Street East, Toronto. Telephone 416-505-1992. http://www.terroni.com

Terroni is located in the City of Toronto’s old Courthouse,  which is no longer used as a courthouse.

Terroni occupies a multi-story building that takes up almost an entire block, including jail cells, that are still in the old courthouse. The jail cells are now wine cellers.

The ceilings  in the entry room are very high, probably more than 30 feet high. Shelves full of bottles of wine run from the floor to the ceiling on one wall.

It strikes my fancy that Terroni publishes a magazine titled “T” Terroni Magazine. For inquiries email: jessie@terroni.ca. It was in that magazine that I found the following witty food questions answered.

Percentage of the Greek population that is overweight: 75. Rankings of Italy, Greece and Canada in obesity rates: 25, 5, 11. Number of scenes in “The Godfather” that feature people eating or drinking: 61. Number of espresso bars in Italy vs. number of Starbucks worldwide: 136,000 vs. 17,000. Starbucks locations in Italy: 0. 

Terroni has a full “DIGESTIVI” menu.  Here are a few of the entries on that menu:

  • Averna: A dark and swarthy Sicilian, your chocolate and coffee in one. 
  • Cynar: The classic, artichoke-derived liqueur with medicinal properties.
  • Liquore Strega: Distilled with 70 different aromatics such as juniper, mint, cinnamon, iris. It’s characteristic bright yellow color comes from saffron, and it is named after the infamous ‘Streghe di Benevento’ (Witches of Benevento). 
  • Ramazzoti: Fennel-Anise scented as you’d expect from this Sambuca maker, full-bodied and bittersweet.
  • Fernet Branca: This is medicine to wake the dead, revive the wilted and perk the perky. The driest and strongest of the amarti family. 
  • La Malvasia, Nonino: Imagine sitting under a wisteria-covered pergola, eating fresh apples and apricots. 
  • La Diciotto Lune, Marzadro: Sweet vanilla alongside flavours of golden raisens. Dried fruit character of apples, oranges and peaches follow an earthy, nutty nose. A blend of 8 grapes aged in 4 types of wood form 18 months to 5 years. To call it  rarity is an understatement.


I had a great dessert at the 360 Restaurant at the CN Tower in Toronto.  The CN Tower is the highest structure in North America.  The great dessert: Maple Walnut Roulade with Candied Walnut Meringue – Vanilla bean creme Anglaise, maple syrup ice cream.   I loved the maple syrup ice cream


I like to be in places that feel right.

I like to be in places that exude positive energy.

I like to be in places where I want to linger.

I value positive energy, charm, and knowledgable fun input from waiters and waitresses, ushers at theaters, bankers, concierges, cab drivers,  book sellers, and people on the street.

I found people exuding positive energy who were fun to talk to and interesting, friendly, knowledgable and worldly  everywhere I went in Toronto – in restaurants, in theaters, in banks, in cabs, in book stores, in subways, while standing in lines, and when talking to strangers on the street.

Toronto is an energetic, cosmopolitan, worldly, clean, booming place with charm and charming friendly helpful pleasant people who exude positive energy.

At Sassafraz (www.sassafraz.ca), waitress Courtney Graham (who had just returned from attending a wedding in Croatia) directed me away from Caramelized Apple Tart, Applewood smoked Quince jam, oatmeal cinnamon ice cream with a 5 year cheddar crisp desert to a peach dessert: brown butter roasted peach, peach strudel with popcorn anglaise, champagne white peach sorbet, black pepper tuille with a glass/sniffer of Taylor 20 year old tawny port.

I was served by great, engaging, memorable and interesting staff at Terroni too.

The female bartender who served me breakfast and espresso at Terroni informed me that she does aerial acrobatics on silks hanging from a ceiling and explained to me why you need to be strong in order to do poses that require flexibility.

The people on the staff at Terroni were incredibly alive, engaging, with it, and fun to be with.

Sassafraz is in a cute single story building with indoor and outdoor seating.  It is a great place to be if you want to watch the glitterary and glamourous walk by. At Sassafraz  I found myself engaged in serious conversation with an educated energetic knowledgable and worldly staff.

Across the street from Sassafraz is a private high rise residential condominium complex (No. 10 Bellair) and the Four Seasons Hotel.

No. 10 Bellair is a luxury high rise condominium that features an indoor swimming pool, a two story gym, game rooms with pool tables, etc., a landscaped outdoor court on the third floor with water features, a team of on-site concierges, attentive security guards and valet parking.

While in Toronto, I stayed in a guest suite at No. 10 Bellair.

In Toronto, some banks are open for personal banking 7 days a week from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

The service staff (bankers, tellers, etc.) at TD Canada Trust Bank were very helpful to me. They converted my U.S. dollars into Canadian dollars and explained personal bank accounts available at TD Canada Trust Bank in Canada.

TD Canada  Trust Bank in Canada has a special account for people over 60 years old.  In addition to “normal” checking and saving accounts it also offers foreign currency accounts to depositors.

Foreign currency accounts are available at the TD Canada Trust Bank in the following currencies in any branch in Canada: Euro (EUR), Pounds Sterling (GBP), Australian Dollars (AUD), Swiss Francs (CHF), New Zealand Dollars (NZD), Hong Kong Dollars (HKD), and Japanese Yen (JPY).

I have been told that the “Economist” rates Toronto as one of the three or four best cities in the world. I wouldn’t disagree.


I have found the best way I can spend 10 days of my time is to attend the TIFF because viewing films at the TIFF changes the way I see the world, broadens my horizons, and helps me understand the world I am living in.

The goal of the TIFF 2011 was to change the way we see the world through film. It did that for me.

More than 300 movies were shown on 33 screens. These movies came from 65 countries.

I went to movie screenings from early in the morning (10:00 a.m.) to late at night.

Each night there was a violent and/or scary movie shown at midnight called a a midnight madness film.

I went to a midnight madness screening. The film I saw (“The Raid” , a Korean film directed by Gareth Huw Evans) won the Midnight Madness Award.

“The Raid” is a very entertaining fast moving martial arts action film (with lots of dramatic tension a moral value message and a surprise ending).

Going to a midnight madness screening is not for the fait of heart.

The audience that came to the screening of “The Raid” did not sit quietly in their seat. Listening to what the audience shouted out and watching what the audience did was as entertaining and engrossing as watching the  film.


At almost every screening, the director/film maker was present and gave a personal presentation before the screening. After each screening the film maker answered questions from the audience.

Often, members of the cast and as well as the producer(s) of each film were present on stage after the screening of their film to answer questions from the audience.

Hearing the film maker and the principal cast member(s) talk before and after each screening added a unique dimension to the festival.

For example, Mohamed Nasheed, the president of the Maldives was present and answered questions from the audience after the screening of “The Island President” which is a documentary of his battles to save his nation from the threat of rising sea levels.  Jon Shenk, the film maker who made the documentary, presented the film to the audience before the screening and came back to the stage and answered questions from the audience after the screening.

The award for best documentary was given to Jon Shenk for “The Island President.”




In the question and answer period that followed the screening of that film:

Mr. Shenk said he read about the Maldives sinking below sea level as the ocean rises.  He then wrote a letter to the President of the Maldives stating he would like to make a documentary about what the President is/was/would be doing about the treat of his islands being submerged by the rising ocean.

President Nasheed said he invited Mr. Shenk to meet him.  He met Mr. Shenk and decided to let Shenk follow him around with a camera because he thought Shenk was an honest man.

President Nasheed described the making of the film as Mr. Shenk sat in on meetings, followed him around and filmed him for more than 600 hours.

President Nasheed said he thinks Mr. Shenk had to be a genius in order to cut those six hundred hours of filming down to to fit into the one hour movie we had just seen. President Nasheed also said had not seen the film before the screening we had all just seen.

President Nasheed told us that  before he consented to being filmed by Mr. Shenk and Shenk’s crew, the Attorney General of the Maldives warned President Nasheed that he couldn’t defend him if he was sued for what he said in the documentary.

President Nasheed then told us he gave Shenk the go ahead because Shenk seemed like an honest man and he trusted Shenk’s discretion.

When asked if he had learned anything from watching the film, President Nasheed answered: He learned that his wife was a great public speaker.





“The President’s Island,” “The Lady,” “Hysteria” and “Restless” each tell the story of incredibly brave women, who are level-headed tenacious, professional, precise, elegant, and pretty and who glow tastily.


The Maldives are 1,200 coral islands off the coast of India, of which 200 are occupied. If the ocean continues to rise, the islands will be submerged like a modern Atlantis.

After a brief biographical sketch of the adult life of President Nasheed, an interviewer asks Mrs. Nasheed if it was difficult staying married to her husband after he had been imprisoned and tortured several times for speaking out against the current regime and after having been forced to flee the country in order to save their lives.

In the movie, President Nasheed is warned before he comes back to the Maldives and when he comes back to the Maldives to run for “President” that he will either be assassinated or win the presidency.

Mrs. Nasheed answered the interviewer: “I realized nothing would stop him.” So, she didn’t leave him. She stuck by his side.

As I watched this documentary film documenting what President Nasheed has done I realized I was watching a finely tuned beautiful intelligent thoughtful mind running at full mental capacity.


“The Lady” is a French film.  It is a love story which documents things that happened in Burma after Burma was taken over by members of the military. In some scenes soldiers are shown shooting people who are peacefully assembled in other scenes soldiers are shooting people in a hospital.

After watching this movie you will have a better appreciation of the difference between living in a country ruled by a military dictator and living in a democracy.  Pictures showing soldiers randomly shooting, imprisoning and torturing people are compelling.

The love story is between Aung San Suu Kyi and her husband. She and her husband have two sons. The four of them were a very close knit family living in London.

Aung was born in Burma.

Her father is considered the liberator of Burma. Her father  was assassinated by the current  military leaders who run Burma.

Her husband was a Caucasian professor at a high prestiges university in England.

Aung came back to Burma from England to care for her dying mother.

While caring for her mother, a delegation of professors from  a local university as Aung to lead a political party which opposes rule by the current military dictatorship. Aung consented to the request.

The movie is about what happened next in her life, in her husband’s life, in her children’s lives and in Burma.

Aung “stays” in Burma after her mother dies an attempt to bring democracy to Burma.

Eventually, Aung has to make a choice between her “country” and her “family” by choosing whether or not to leave Burma to be with her husband and children (who were not allowed to visit her in Burma).

With the full support and encouragement of her husband she chose her country. This resulted in her never seeing her husband or two children again ever though she knew her husband was dying of cancer.

At all times, Aung acted with great dignity, intelligence, compassion, courage and resolve.

While her husband was still alive she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

She did not leave Burma to accept the prize. Her husband and two sons accepted the prize for her. At the award ceremony, her son gave a speech in acceptance the award  on her behalf.

It is a tear jerking story.

The film makers had to make the movie without being  allowed to speak to Aung and without speaking to her.

The story the film maker told at the screening of “how” they made the movie was also a tear jerker.

They film makers, director, cameramen, actors and actresses studied documentary films of speeches Aung had made that were  re-enacted in the film by the actress.

The film maker told the audience that the “soldiers” in the movie were not actors, they were Burmese.

When the actress gave the speeches Aung had given, soldiers [people born in Burma who are not actors] cried and explained to the film maker that they had heard Aung make those speeches when they were children in Burma.


The general press will tell you this movie is about the creation of the vibrator, and it is about that. But, this movie is about much more than that.

This movie is also about the practice of medicine and general conditions in England at a particular time (approximately the late 1800’s 0r early 1900’s).

The movie begins with a scene in a hospital where a young doctor (Dr. Mortimer Granville played by Hugh Dancy) is engaged  in an argument with an old doctor about cleanliness and germs.

The young doctor asks a nurse to change an old discolored bandage on a woman’s foot. The old doctor orders the nurse not to do it. The young doctor is fired.

Next, the handsome young doctor applies for a job working for another doctor whose busy medical practice consists of curing female “hysteria” with an inventive manual massage of their private parts.

The young doctor is hired . The old doctor then trains the young doctor how to give women a manual massage which results in those women having orgasms — which theoretically helps to alleviate their alleged madness/hysteria.

The movie documents a crowded waiting room full of well dressed ladies waiting for their “massage”, the old doctor giving his famous manual massages to well dressed (but not completely dressed) women and the young doctor doing the same.

Eventually, the young doctor gets a cramp in his hand and wrist and arm from giving so many manual massages. He is thus motivated to invent a (medical instrument) machine so that he can continue to give women a “manual massage” without his hand and wrist and arm cramping up and thereby preventing him from touching women.

According to the story told in this movie, this led to the invention of the vibrator that sexually stimulates women to have orgasms.

This movie has several strong messages beyond the refusal of the establishment to embrace new ideas such as the need for cleanliness in hospitals, for doctors to wash their hands, for old bandages to be changed.

The movie makes a great social point about what it takes to sexually satisfy women and what it takes to achieve social justice.

In the movie, the old doctor has two daughters. One daughter helps the father in his medical practice and runs his household.

The other daughter is a self-sustaining social worker who cares for the poor and downtrodden with her own funds and private donations.  The father does not approve of this daughter’s “do-gooder” actions. This daughter does not approve of her father’s medical practice.

The young doctor falls in love with the “do-gooder” daughter and is fired.

The “do-gooder” daughter is criminally prosecuted for having “hysteria.” She hit a police officer while trying to protect a downtrodden woman being man-handled by the policeman.

The young doctor is called by the prosecution as an expert witness to testify that the do-gooder daughter has hysteria.  If she is found guilty she will be sent to jail and sterilized.

It is a very romantic movie.

It is about what “real” women need to be satisfied.

The do-gooder daughter testifies in defense of what she did.

The young doctor testifies that she is a saint.

The judge concludes that the legal definition of  the mental condition of “hysteria” applies to his wife and to all other women he knows. The judge concludes that the law could not possibly command that all women be institutionalized and sterilized.

The judge  never the less finds the do-gooder daughter guilty of striking a police officer while performing an official duty. The judge sentences the do-gooder daughter  to 30 days in jail for striking a police officer.

Men and women who want to have an honest discussion with each other will have a lot to talk about  if they watch this movie together.


“Hysteria” was a cute movie and serious movie, but not as cute as “Peace Love and Misunderstanding” and not as serious as “A Happy Event”.

“Peace Love and Misunderstanding” is an American movie about letting yourself fall in love and misunderstandings.  The story centers on the love life of three generations in one family, a grandmother, a mother a grandson/son and a grand-daugheter/daughter while all are temporarily living together in the grandmother’s house. The mother is an uptight lawyer with a failed marriage who has takns her two children with her to visit her own mother. This  mother and her two children (grandchildren) fall in love under the watchful, encouraging, sexually liberated and helpful eye of their mother/ grandmother. It is an endearing movie.

“A Happy Event” is a foreign film about bringing a child into the world. It ought to be shown and discussed in all high schools.

It is a movie about the consequences of doing something for the wrong reason.

It is about a woman who thought having a child is like having a purse.

It is about what can happen to women who think having a child is an accessory for women required by society.

A Happy Event” explores the life changing event and experiences of many couples’ lives caused by the birth of their first child.

In “A Happy Event”  a beautiful young couple have a baby. The film follows this couple from the time the woman discovers she is pregnant to when their baby is about 19 months old.

The story depicts the woman’s feeling of estrangement and changes happening in her body and lays bare the complexity of pregnancy, labor and postpartum recovery.

The woman and man have no idea what they are getting themselves into when she becomes pregnant.

It is a completely frank movie.

At one point, either the man or the woman commented that he or she does not know any couple who were in love before they had a child who were still in love after they had a child.

After their child is born, taking care of the child makes the woman feel like a prisoner .  Eventually, she leaves the apartment they were all living in together to live by herself, leaving the young child (baby) with the baby’s father.


“Restless” is a tremendously sensitive romantic meaningful serious deep movie.

Only a genius could have thought up such a complicated story and told it so well.

The principal actor (Henry Hopper, the son of Dennis Hopper) and actress (Mia Waikowska) do a superb job of acting.

This is a story about a young woman (played by Mia Waikowska) who wants to live her life to the fullest.  She has cancer and knows she has a limited time to live.

She meets a very disturbed young man (played by Henry Hopper)at a funeral.  He crashes funerals.

Through a series of random meetings at funerals and in a grave yard, they get to know each other and fall in love.

They are incredibly sensitive to each other’s feelings. She is incredibly in love with life. They are incredibly in love  with sharing their lives with each other.

In one scene he comes to her house and finds her on the floor.  He thinks she has died and is dead.

He reaches for a knife to kill himself, because he can not conceive of life without her.

She stops pretending she is dead when she sees he is able to kill himself and chastises him for thinking of killing himself.

She tells him that her death is “her moment” and he has no “right” to upstage her by committing suicide.

During the course of the movie we learn why this young man is so “disturbed.”

Through  being with her while she was dying from cancer and getting weaker day by day the young man blossoms into a highly functional charming gentleman.

This is a movie about why you should tell the people who you love that you love them, why you should let them know you love them and why you should make sure they know that you love them.



I saw at least three movies about clueless unhappy women: “W.E.”from the United Kingdom, the Irish film “Albert Nobbs” and the British film “The Deep Blue Sea.”


The British film “W.E.” deserves mention because it is a “what did you think would happen” story.

“W.E.” tells the story of the unhappy life of divorcee Wallis Simpson before and after she married British King Edward VIII, through the eyes of Wallis Simpson.

There are “shocking” scenes of domestic violence in the film that are well worth talking about.

However, nobody I talked to about the movie mentioned domestic violence.

Everyone I talked to at the festival about the movie talked about the gorgeous jewelry and fabulous clothes worn by Wallis Simpson.

At one level, watching the movie was like looking at a fashion magazine and a book containing  pictures of highly fashionable architecturally significant castles, villas and estates.


“Albert Nobbs” is about the lives of women who disguised themselves as men in order to get jobs.

The main character completely lost her female sense. She didn’t even know how to walk in a dress.

The movie is a study in human happiness becoming impossible when a person does what is expected of them instead of being their “true self.”

It is a movie about a person who has “no” identity, no self, and who has lost her personhood.

This is another movie that high school students and college students should be required to see and talk about with a mature adult who has a strong sense of the importance of being comfortable in your own skin.


“The Deep Blue Sea” is a story about a woman who didn’t know who she was,  a woman who didn’t have any purpose in life ,and the impact she had on the lives of two men (her husband and her lover) who she made miserable.

In this movie, a married woman leaves her husband who adores her, a rich sensitive considerate judge, for a slacking World War II veteran who gives her sexual pleasure but is inconsiderate and mean to her. She makes both men miserable.



Watching “Ides of March” will disgust you, will make you hate and distrust politicians and their top advisors if you are not already in that frame of mind.

Every main character pretended to be best of friends, but they were all only thinking of themselves.

If you identify with any of the main characters in this movie you are a despicable person.


“Butter” is about the same type of dishonesty, phoniness, deceptive and despicable conduct  as “Ides of March”, but tells the story of  the main character’s (a woman’s) despicable conduct in such a way that you will find yourself laughing at her and you will feel good at the end of the movie even through you were cringing all through the film as the story unfolded.

“Butter” is a hilarious movie. It is a satirical parody of American politics and sexless marriages.


“Peace. Love and Misunderstanding” was the most charming movie I saw at the festival.

It is my pick as best movie at the festival.

In this movie one after another hilarious (but believable) thing happens to a mother (an uptight New York City trial attorney) and her teenage daughter and son.

After her marriage falls apart, she takes her two children with her to visit her mother, who is living happily on her own “farmhouse” in Woodstock.

The uptight female lawyer does not approve of her mother’s life style.

She has not seen or spoken to her mother in about 20 years.

As a result of being “there” in Woodstock, the “uptight” trial attorney mother and her teenage daughter are magically transformed into mellow loving females and the teenage son becomes “cool.”

It is a coming of age movie — the uptight mother and her two children “come of age” in Woodstock away from the crazy speed and pressure of living the life of sophisticates in Manhattan.

It is a gladden your heart movie.

If you don’t feel good after watching this movie there is something wrong with you.

At the end of the screening of this film, someone asked the “son” what attracted him to this film.  His answer: I couldn’t resist being in a movie where I would be smoking pot with Jane Fonda.

In one memorable scene the uptight attorney criticizes her mother for being on LSD while she was pregnant.  The mother replies: “You turned out all right! Didn’t you?”

You will smile and have plenty to think about and talk about after seeing this “adorable” and charming film.




Many of the films at the festival were about identity.  Several of those films portrayed people who did what other expected from them instead of having their own identity.

The director/film maker of “Albert Nobbs” told me that “identity” is the underlying idea explored and portraryed in “Albert Nobbs.”

In that film women pretend to be men in order to be employed. The director told me one of the great fun moments for him in making the film was teaching/directing the two women stars (one of whom is Glen Close) how to have male mannerisms, such as “scratching their balls.”

Many of the question and answer periods after the screening of a film were as as interesting or even more interesting than the film itself.

For example: The film maker who made the film “Killer Elite” explained to the audience that “Killer Elite” is his first feature film.

“Killer Elite” has three marque stars.

The film maker explained that “Killer Elite” was to be his third feature film, but he couldn’t raise $4 million to make his first film and was able to raise over $40 million dollars to make “Killer Elite” so killer elite became his first feature film.

He also explained that the most difficult part of making the film was getting past the “main star’s”  agents to ask the “main star” to make the film. He reported that it took two years to get the script to the “main star.” It took the “main star” 36 hours to read the script and get back to him with the answer, “Yes, I want to make this film.” He then flew to attend a one hour meeting with the main star at which the hammered out a deal.

Meeting interesting people at the festival, having spontaneous conversations with them, listening to film makers and cast describe and interpret their films and having conversations with them added to my experience.


I rate many of the movies highly , but each movie I rate highly is rated highly for a different reason.

For example some movies I rate highly, get high rating from me because I like the character of the person the movie is about.

Other movies I rate highly, get a high rating because I like the way the movie illustrates one or more psychological issue.

I rate “Moneyball” highly because the main character had enough courage of conviction to keep “on course” when all was going poorly and it looked like following his plan would be a disaster.

I rate “The Last Gladiators” highly because the main character not only had a “don’t stand down” and “don’t stay down” philosophy of life but was a “team player.”

Both of those movies are about real men who “don’t back down” and “didn’t back down”, REAL leaders, their disappointments, trials, tribulations and internal strength to keep going.

Without being a psychologist you can tell from watching the portrayal of the quality and intensity of their personalities and their character in these movies that you can depend on them to come through when they say they “will.”

Each movie which I viewed at the festival was a story about people who were a prisoner of their mental state with respect to whether they had respect for themself.

In one film (“Summer Games”) a husband blames his wife for him being an abusive husband and abusive father.

The husband/father has no respect for himself .

He takes no responsibility for his own choices.

In the movie, at one point, he tells his wife: “I gave up being a musician to marry you.”

In this movie he, his wife and his son are on a camping vacation.

At the end of the movie his son tries to kill him when the father falls in quicksand in a bog while chasing after the son to give the son a beating.

The wife/mother comes upon her husband sinking in the quicksand, pulls him, out and cleans the dirt off his body.

At the end of the movie you will have to ask yourself: Is the son going to grow up to be an abusive husband and/or an abusive parent?

What will be the impact of the way he saw his parents act and interact on his personality, on his life?  What will be the impact of the genes he inherited from his parents? Is abusive behavior genetically transferred, genetically transferable?

Where and how will he learn how to behave like a loving human being?

You will have hours of things to discuss if you watch this movie.

Each movie I viewed at the festival was a psychological drama of the outward manifestations of the inner workings of the character, personality, values (if any) and mental attitude of each individual.

The personalities, character and actions of each character were skillfully, thoughtfully and artistically presented.

Watching movies at the TIFF was very pleasurable and mentally stimulating and exciting.  Watching the wide variety and types of movies presented at the festival was not like drinking salt water to assuage your thirst.  Watching these movies was the same as being at an intellectual feast.

Each movie plot, each character in each movie, and each director and film maker are will worth psychoanalyzing. Doing so will make you feel vital and glad to be alive.


Toronto hotels were booked during the festival.  You need to make hotel reservations way in advance of the festival.

Tickets to most movies were sold out in advance of the day of screening.

My housing accommodations were arranged for me and the movies I saw were selected for me by my good friend Jason Fane who obtained movie tickets for me before I arrived in Toronto.

Jason is a man of impeccable taste.  He is currently developing a 40 plus story residential condominium project (Chaz on Charles) in the Yorkville section of Toronto.  For a view of this new “current” residential development in Toronto see http://www.chazoncharles.com.

By the way, more people are moving to live in Toronto than leaving Toronto.  Toronto is having a residential real estate boom.

There are many high rise residential condominium projects currently under construction in Toronto.


New Orleans is all about food, and while you are eating a meal, it’s customary to be discussing where to go next and what to eat next.

I will be gathering information on places to eat and things to do in New Orleans for publication in the next chapter  ( Chapter Four )of “The Pure Essence of the Good Life.”

I will be in New Orleans from October 21 through October 24, 2011. The next chapter of “The Pure Essence of the Good Life” should be posted on or before November 6, 2011.


In every city I’ve visited or lived in,  I’ve found a local talented chef, or bigger than life restaurant owner who operates a delightful restaurant, cafe or deli.

For example, who would imagine there could be a delightful cafe to eat breakfast at in Woodland Hills, CA. — a bedroom community where lights are turned off at 10:00 p.m.?

Who can imagine you will be able to find a world class Jewish Deli in Northridge or in Culver City, CA.?

Several times last week,  I ate Shakshuka (slowly cooked tomatoes, peppers, onions and spices topped with a poached egg) at “Leo & Lily” ( a mom and pop cafe that opened in Woodland Hills, California about eight weeks ago). Each breakfast I ate there was a marvelous eating experience, probably as much or more fun than eating at La Grenouille in New York and much better food.

Although “Leo & Lily” is not elegant in the manner that La Grenouille is elegant it has a very tasteful ambience and is quiet enough for people to hear each other without difficulty. Most, if not all, of the tables were occupied by people eating, drinking and talking to each other. They all seemed to be having a good time. “Leo & Lily” is located at 22420 Ventura Blvd., Woodland Hills, CA. 91364. Telephone 818-222-6622. http://www.leonlily.com

There are world class bigger than life Jewish delicatessens in hole-in-the-wall locations in Northridge (Brent’s Delicatessen & Restaurant) and in Culver City (Roll ‘N Rye).

Each of these delicatessens is a one of a kind experience created by  bigger than life hands’-on-management by owner-managers  who grew up in the business.

Brent’s is located at 19565 Parthenia Street, Northridge, CA. 91324-3406  * Telephone (818) 886-5679 * http://www.brentsdeli.com

Brent’s is an over-the-top restaurant and deli.  If you want to impress someone with the “spectacular” presentation of Jewish deli food (Jewish comfort food)  bring them to Brent’s

Brent’s is run by the Peskin family, Ron Peskin (family patriarch), son Brent and son-in-law Marc.

Roll ‘N Rye is located at 10990 Jefferson Blvd., Culver City, CA. 90230-4931. Telephone 310-390-3497. http://www.rollnrye.com

Rita Zide, the owner-manager of Roll ‘N Rye,  is a bigger than life personality.

Her deli-restaurant reflects her down to earth fun bigger than life calm together grounded personality.

I hold business meeting at the Roll ‘N Rye Deli when I have to meet with my clients and/or witnesses who live or work faraway from my office in Encino.  Clients and witnesses drive “up” from  Palos Verdes or Torrance-or Irvine on a regular basis to meet with me at the Roll ‘N Rey deli in Culver City.  It is an extremely clean nice well run deli, where nobody rushes you, that serves excellent food.

I find an abundance of pleasant eating experience and a delightful variety of foods to eat in hole in the wall restaurants everywhere.

Can you imagine boneless pieces of lamb marinated with ginger, garlic, and tomatoes, Indian homemade yogurt, spices and cooked in a tandoor, served in a tomato saffron curry prepared with fenugreek,ginger, coriander and cumin (“Lamb Tikka Masala”)?  That is what I ate at the “Great India Cafe” located at 21926 Ventura Blvd., Woodland Hills for lunch the other — which I went into the other day for lunch after picking up some stuff at a local Rite Aid drug store. I had never eaten there before.  Eating there was a great experience.  “Great India Cafe” is located at 21926 Ventura Blvd., Woodland Hills, CA. 91364 Telephone 818-992-6270. http://www.indiacafewoodland.com. By the way, the owner told me: “Each day this cafe has a chicken curry of the day, a fresh vegetable of the day, a rice of the day, and a lentil of the day.”

Happy eating.


Copyright (c) 2011 by Gary S. Smolker

All Rights Reserved

About Gary S. Smolker

PERSONAL PHILOSOPHY: No enterprise can exist for itself alone. Every successful enterprise ministers to some great need, it performs some great service, not for itself, but for others. Otherwise, it ceases to be profitable and ceases to exist. Imagination, open mindedness and flexibility are the most important factors in unlocking potential. Those who embrace innovation, improvisation, continuous learning, time management, are action oriented, high energy, passionate, creative, purposeful and intense individuals are best equipped to succeed. We all have ideas and the ability to make progress by sharing information and our ideas and also by changing our ideas when appropriate. We should always be on the lookout for teaching and mentoring moments. We hold time like water in our hands; however tightly we clench our fingers, it drips away. But, if it falls on a seed, a seed may grow to become something that will have a positive social impact. PERSONAL INTERESTS: I have a passion to learn, to innovate, to lead, to mentor and to teach. I seek to write things worth reading and want to do things worth writing about. I enjoy (a) driving a fast car, (b) having intense conversations (c) teaching/mentoring, (d) reading and (e) being involved in productive activity. PERSONAL: I believe in cultivating and backing passionate people, innovation, and old fashioned good ideas. I love making human connections and spreading good ideas. I am strongly motivated to achieve in situations in which independence of thought and action are called for. PERSONAL GOALS: I want to live life vibrantly, to be as sharp as a tack until my last breath and to change the world by being me. My personal goal is to be fully engaged in life, to lead by example, to set high standards and to continue to amass firsthand experience and knowledge in all that interests me. PERSONALITY: I love fun and mischief. I relish absurdity. I have an irreverent, facetious and satiric disposition. I dread boredom. I have spent a lifetime reading. I have no bias against people who have lived successful and/or complicated lives. I write to release tension, to get things off my chest. SOCIAL MEDIA: I post articles on the "Gary S. Smolker Idea Exchange" blog at www.garysmolker.wordpress.com, and "Dude's Guide to Women's Shoes" at www.dudesguidetowomensshoes.com. I also post images and comments on Instagram @garyspassion. CONTACT INFORMATION: Gary Smolker, Smolker Law Firm, 16055 Ventura Blvd., Ste 525, Encino, California, 91436-2609, USA. Phone 1-818-788-7290, e-mail GSmolker@aol.com.

Posted on October 6, 2011, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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