Foodie filmmakers find adventure shooting TV pilot in remote Mexico

Filmmaker Misty Tosh and her friends are adventurous souls who also love to eat out in offbeat restaurants and cafes they find in unspoiled locales.

They combined their shared interests and “obsession with food” in a TV pilot “that takes people on a food adventure around the world,” said Tosh, the writer, director and editor of the self-financed show.

The Fatcake film foodies share their secret local restaurant finds with you. Use the Backtalk form to submit your faves.

Katerina’s, 1920 W. Irving Park: A super cool little Greek coffeehouse-restaurant, with live music, movie nights and delicious Greek food.

Fat Willy’s Rib Shack, 2416 W. Schubert: The best BBQ in the city bar none! Super cheap, huge portions and all the food made the true Southern way.

La Mora, 2132 W. Roscoe: Italian, great ambiance, incredible desserts and every night a different special like penny wine, quarter cosmos or free tiramisu for two.

Filippo’s, 2211 N. Clybourn: Another great Italian restaurant. Huge portions, but they’ll give you half-and-half pastas so you can try more than one dish, all at good prices.

Brisku Bistro, 2100 N. Kedzie: A funky little European place that has the best bean soup, tasty little salads and a fantastically diverse wine list.

Sweet Mandy B’s, 1208 W. Webster: Dessert is all they serve and it’s the best in the city. Unfortunately, the blueberry cheesecake is addictive.

Twisted Lizard, 1964 N. Sheffield: An underground Mexican place that has the most lethal margaritas and the best chips and salsa.

Caro Mio, 1825 W. Wilson: Charming BYOB with great prices, delicious country Italian cooking and you can always find parking.

Victory’s Banner, 2100 W. Roscoe: Even people who aren’t vegetarians love this food, especially the omelets, French toast with peach butter and the tofu scramble.

The Breakfast Club, 1381 W. Hubbard: An old school breakfast house that’s the perfect place for fried eggs, greasy bacon, hot coffee and the Sunday paper.

“Stuffed” is the title of a proposed 13-episode series made by Fatcake, Tosh’s all-female production company. It was shot in nine days in the little, remote Mexican village of Yelapa, an hour south of Puerto Vallarta, and a model for their future food journeys.

Tosh was the writer, director and editor of the self-financed pilot, and also serves as show host. Lisa Colangelo and Jamie Biehl are the producers; Janine Menlove the DP and Atlanta-based Edith Scott the B camera operator, and Lee Laster the utility person.

The series’ theme is finding food at its source, such as their catching lobster in the Pacific Ocean, cooking and eating it moments after it was caught, and conveying the indigenous recipe.

The invitation to the midnight lobster expedition was extended by Mexican soap opera star, Alex Ibarra, who was one of the friends they made in Yelapa.

The Mexicans’ lobster preparation is very simple, Tosh explained. “They brush the lobster with melted butter and chopped garlic and throw it on a grill. The lobsters are big, about two kilos, and mostly tail. Not being processed or frozen, they had a fresher, cleaner flavor than we’re used to.”

“Stuffed” pilot location in Yelapa, Mexico

On and off, the “Stuffed” pilot took about a year. It was shot with two Canon GL1 mini DVcams for the best quality and to be as unobtrusive and as natural as possible. Tosh said the GLIs gave them the luxury to always be ready to capture any important impromptu moments.

Tosh edited from the 70 hours of footage on a PowerBook G4 with Final Cut 4. “I was pretty much the only person who could edit, not only because of the time commitment, but because I directed and had the entire story in my head. Musician John McConachie created original Spanish-style music.

Tosh and her associates are seasoned hands at commercials, indie films and TV shows. Tosh was co-producer of critically acclaimed “Lana’s Rain,” now playing in theatres.

Lisa Coangelo was filmmaker on “A Peace of Work” with Amy Morton and Ron Dean, and Jamie Biehl co-produced Sundance entry “Design.”

The three filmmakers united to produce shows under the Fatcake banner “because we want to take everything we had learned on all the shows we’ve worked on and apply them to our love of food, travel and adventure,” said Tosh.

Plans are to seek out 12 little villages similar to Yepala in Suriname, Croatia, Spain, South Africa, and Portugal. “We want to touch down on as many varying cultures as we can, and where we know there are completely different food styles,” Tosh said.

Misty Tosh and Fatcake Productions can be reached at mistyt@mac.com.

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