I mentioned in another thread that we were going to "Dinner and a Movie" last night. I only had the vaguest understanding of how this works before going, but my expectations were high because of the parties involved. And even then, my expectations were exceeded.
The movie was a German film called "Mostly Martha" which many of you might already have seen about an uptight, food-obsessed, perfectionist German lady chef who ends up having to work with a loud, effusive, sloppy Italian chef named Mario at about the same time her sister is killed and she is forced to take in her 8 year old niece, who she doesn't actually want. Martha has no EQ, zip. And no life outside of her restaurant. Mario, of course, is loaded with EQ , and the little girl, who ends up coming to the restaurant with Martha because Martha can't figure out a babysitter, adores him. He's lovable, Martha isn't. At least, Martha isn't until she starts falling for Mario. GREAT movie I've seen before and was thrilled to see again.
But especially in these circumstances. The "Dinner and a Movie" concept is a collaboration between the best chef in this town--and he is outstanding--and this town's best movie theater, a small two-plex called the Pickford dedicated to independent films and documentaries (their motto: "Film is Truth"). Long tables are set up--with full white tablecloth service--in the Pickford's long narrow lobby for approximately 80 guests--the theater could hold more but the lobby can't. Before the movie, we had a white Bordeaux and they served two appetizers--small and delightful pigeon and truffle pastries, and toast points topped with quenelles of chicken liver mousse. Then we all went into the larger of the two theaters for the movie itself. Every other row was taped off for server access.
The movie begins and we see Martha on the couch in her psychiatrist's office. She goes because her employer requires it. But she doesn't speak of herself because there is no self. She just tells him about making food in great loving detail, including laborious lists of ingredients and instructions to cook the liver for a foie gras pate, for instance, at 120C for exactly 20 minutes. She speaks slowly and sensually, with her eyes closed--for her, this is soothing. She also describes a pigeon pie. It dawns on you, then, that these are the foods you have just eaten in the lobby (and as the chef asserted later, he baked the chicken liver at 120C for exactly 20 minutes--every recipe described in the film is spot-on accurate). Then she's at home and making for herself a piece of perfectly poached salmon served on a basil sauce with fennel and thyme. And suddenly a server is crouching in front of you, passing you a little boat containing salmon on a basil sauce. Later came a tiny lobster cake, then a scene where Mario finally gets little Lina to eat something in the restaurant--she won't eat Martha's fussy food, but Mario knew that all kids love spaghetti--and we are handed a little Chinese take out carton of spaghetti. Perhaps my favorite item was the demitasse of an incredibly complex and creamy bisque that showed up during the seduction scene where Mario feeds her a soup he has made and makes her guess the ingredients--blindfolded.
When the movie was over, we moved to the lobby for four more courses, with wine. They were a tomato, arugula and roasted vegetable salad with fresh, perfectly pink duck that roasted outside on the sidewalk while we were all in the movie; fresh mushroom ravioli; rack of lamb with carrots two ways (in several of the movie's scenes, someone in the background was prepping carrots), and finally a twin dessert of vanilla bean creme brulee with a little tuile napoleon. All the food was described or alluded to in some scene in the movie, though some with some license when the descriptions weren't exact.
Anyway, it was SUPERB. Food at a very cerebral level. I'm very proud that something like this happens in our tiny little town.
Unfortunately, more than 80 people wish to attend. This event sold out in about an hour. Attendees for future events (next up: Tampopo) will be decided by lottery.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov