This whole week I'm sharing with you my experience as a cast member of the upcoming television show "The Foodie List." On Monday I shared my embarrassing audition tape. Yesterday we chatted all things Glam Squad - the amazing Ali of Alexandra Dale Makeup Artistry, as well as my go-to hair style for special occasions and my panic attack when I thought I couldn't wear black. Today I want to get to the good stuff - filming!
Before we dive into the behind the scenes dirt, let me tell you a little bit about how the location scouting was done. After we had been cast, Bianca
and I were each asked to send our top four dishes in Boston. Not restaurants, individual plates of food.
I found this to be such a tricky request! While some of my favorite Boston restaurants have incredible atmosphere, impeccable service, heavenly cocktails and delectable bites, do those places have one single dish I'd want to call out?
I was scratching my head for how to narrow down this list to just four plates and in the end, I decided I couldn't. I sent the casting coordinator seven dishes (lucky number seven). I told her, "This is like being asked to name your favorite child. I just can't. Here are my choices. Cut off the list wherever you have to, just don't tell me!"
The list I sent was:
1) The eggplant with smoked mozzarella, sun-dried tomatoes and truffle cream sauce at Piattini
on Newbury Street
4) The ricotta-stuffed zucchini flowers at Bricco
in the North End
5) The asparagus with egg and black truffle at Sarma
6) The saffron arancini at Bin 26 Enoteca
on Charles Street in Beacon Hill
When the production coordinator sent us the final schedule, two of my places had made the cut! Piattini on Newbury Street and Highland Kitchen in Somerville.
On the morning of my first shoot date, I was accompanying Fiona to one of her picks, Mike & Patty's
in Bay Village. They are located right at the corner of Church and Fayette Streets.
If you aren't familiar with Bay Village, it's the small neighborhood in between the Theater District and the South End. It's tucked behind the Park Plaza Hotel and the Boston Center for Adult Education.
When I arrived, I met Maude (our director), Sebastian (our cameraman) and Adriana (our production coordinator). They were outside taking what they call "the beauty shot" of the dish we would be eating.
You know how in "Top Chef" they always show a close up of each contestant's dish, perfectly plated, on a solid color background? That's the beauty shot.
Here's Sebastian capturing the perfect morsel:
Once the food had been snapped, it was time for us to start talking about it. Fiona went first since it was her selection. I was grateful I got the chance to watch and listen to her, since I had never been to Mike & Patty's before or tasted the dish we'd be describing (minor freak out).
The menu item Fiona selected is called the Fancy breakfast sandwich. It's two fried eggs, cheddar cheese, bacon, avocado, red onions and house mayo on toasted Iggy's multi-grain bread. I know, you're drooling.
The owner of Mike & Patty's fried up a sandwich for each of us (mine with no bacon) and after Fiona's screen time, it was my turn.
I handed Fiona my phone and asked her to take some action shots and then I took my seat in front of the camera. Since I had never been to Mike & Patty's before, Maude (our director), helped me by asking me questions. Things like, "Why is this a great neighborhood to spend time in?" or "When do you usually treat yourself to a breakfast sandwich?" With her prompting, I didn't feel quite so useless!
Here I am talking about the joys of putting sriracha on your breakfast sandwich:
As you can see, it is very difficult to look cute while talking and eating at the same time.
I am not sure what was going on here, but I clearly didn't like it:
Once the team got all the footage they needed, we headed outside to film our entrances. One at a time Fiona and I walked around the neighborhood and faked walking into the front door. Sebastian (our cameraman) clearly instructed me, "Just walk. Do not look at the camera." I have never had to try so hard at anything! It is much tougher than it sounds. I have a whole new respect for "The Real Housewives."
We wrapped at Mike & Patty's and the team headed to Santarpio's in East Boston for lunch. I was on break until our dinner shoot.
Our evening stop was my pick, Highland Kitchen! If you've never been, I can't say enough about it. They are located in a kind of no man's land of Somerville, but they have a free parking lot, a funky retro vibe, a hoppin' bar scene, a giant chalkboard specials menu (you know how I love that), a killer cocktail program and most importantly, insanely delicious, crave-able grub.
To start the shoot, Maude, Sebastian and I hit the surrounding streets to film my entrance. Since the sun was going down, they wanted to secure that footage before it got dark. Then it was Bianca's turn.
Once both of our entrances were set, Sebastian took the beauty shot of the dish - the buffalo fried Brussels sprouts.
What was cool about our evening shoot was, Highland Kitchen stayed open while we filmed, so we had people all around us. The energy in the room made it even more fun.
Bianca sat down to shoot first. Much like me at Mike & Patty's, Bianca had never been to Highland Kitchen and never tasted the sprouts, so she was relying on the team to coach her.
Unlike the first stop of our day, I actually walked away from the team so I didn't hear what Bianca was saying. I wanted my turn on camera to be totally organic and to say the things I had been thinking about ever since we learned we'd be going there.
When it was my turn to sit in front of the camera I couldn't stop talking! I was so excited to share my love of this dish.
After my ode to the buffalo fried Brussels sprouts, in which I may have called them "the best vegetarian appetizer on the planet," Maude began asking me some additional questions like "Why do Americans love buffalo sauce so much?" Ha! It was particularly funny in her beautiful French accent.
With our plates wiped clean, we wrapped!
Since Bianca had never been to Highland Kitchen before, we actually stayed after and ordered a full dinner. The shrimp and grits and fish cakes for her and the deviled eggs and macaroni and cheese for me.
It was nearly 11:00pm by the time we finished, so I dropped Bianca off and zipped home for some beauty rest. After all, I was expecting Ali again the next morning at 7:00am!
Tomorrow I'll be bringing you behind the scenes of our second shoot day, which included our group meal, filming our "Welcome to Boston!" introduction and me trying to gracefully eat a Boston Cream Pie donut on camera.