Dinner and a Movie

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Dinner and a Movie

Postby Jenise » Fri Jan 17, 2014 2:25 pm

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
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Re: Dinner and a Movie

Postby Barb Downunder » Sat Jan 18, 2014 12:55 am

Jenise that sounds fantastic, what a great concept. it could have been hobrribly twee but was obviously brilliantly conceived and executed. You live in a great place.
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Re: Dinner and a Movie

Postby James Dietz » Sat Jan 18, 2014 4:05 am

Wow. Just that: wow. Your delight at the evening is palpable. Beautiful description.
Cheers, Jim
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Re: Dinner and a Movie

Postby Howie Hart » Sat Jan 18, 2014 7:34 am

One of our local wineries, Freedom Run, hosted several "movie nights" at their winery this past Summer. They were fun events with popcorn and serving munchoid type foods from their limited kitchen. They also served cocktails related to the movie, such as White Russians for "The Big Lebowski". If the weather permitted, the projection screen was set up on the back patio, overlooking the vineyard. If not, it was set up in the winery, among the barrels.
Along with Jenise's post, I think a great movie to show at a Dinner and Movie event would be Osso Buco, which I loved.
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Re: Dinner and a Movie

Postby James Dietz » Sat Jan 18, 2014 5:01 pm

The American version of this movie is "No Reservations," which is good too.

Not to be crass, but I can't be the only one wondering, how much did this cost?
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Re: Dinner and a Movie

Postby Jenise » Sat Jan 18, 2014 5:32 pm

James Dietz wrote:The American version of this movie is "No Reservations," which is good too.

Not to be crass, but I can't be the only one wondering, how much did this cost?


Don't blame you for wondering. $100 each if you're a Pickford members (we are), or $120. A screaming deal for the quality of the food, the multiplicity of courses and precise timing, and the days of work that went into it. I actually didn't care much for No Reservations. Didn't hate it, but Catherine and Aaron were almost too good looking to be believable (there's no doubt in your head for one second that they're not going to end up together, even if you don't know the plot), and even more simplistic without the delicious clash of the German-Italian stereotypes.

They've already done Babette's Feast (heart be still), Big Night (ditto) and Like Water for Chocolate.

Say, you go to Vegas often (or it seems). Best place for a great late dinner? We're talking 10 or later. I'd be tempted to just head for the Cosmopolitan and take my chances, but I have little or no experience to draw on.
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Re: Dinner and a Movie

Postby James Dietz » Sat Jan 18, 2014 6:18 pm

Amazing price! You are fortunate to have such creativity to enjoy.

Some suggestions: Scarpetta at the Cosmo serves late. I didn't know polenta could be so delicious until eating it there. Last time, nearly every course of the tasting menu came with an additional dish. Crazy good. Plus good bars in the Cosmo. (But don't forget Herbs and Rye for an off-strip experience for drinking.)

Sage at Aria might work. Good bars here too.

Le Cirque at the Bellagio has to be experienced, if you haven't, but not sure it's open that late. I think Olives might be doable. More casual, but still stylish. I like the vibe there.
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Re: Dinner and a Movie

Postby Jenise » Sat Jan 18, 2014 6:24 pm

Scarpetta. Conant's place? DONE DEAL.

Will look up Herbs and Rye, too.

Thanks!! Will report back.
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Re: Dinner and a Movie

Postby James Dietz » Sat Jan 18, 2014 11:47 pm

Jenise wrote:Scarpetta. Conant's place? DONE DEAL.

Will look up Herbs and Rye, too.

Thanks!! Will report back.


When are you going? It seems you pop in and out of LV.
Cheers, Jim
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Re: Dinner and a Movie

Postby Frank Deis » Sun Jan 19, 2014 7:28 pm

That sounds so wonderful!! I love Tampopo -- but I'm not sure I'd want to spend an evening eating variations on Ramen!?!?
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Re: Dinner and a Movie

Postby Jenise » Thu Jan 23, 2014 5:53 pm

James Dietz wrote:
Jenise wrote:Scarpetta. Conant's place? DONE DEAL.

Will look up Herbs and Rye, too.

Thanks!! Will report back.


When are you going? It seems you pop in and out of LV.


Went later in the day in which we were discussing it. Bob and I had to go to Havasu to visit a friend who has been ill, but we packed in a late dinner and Sunday brunch while we were at it. Dinner was Scarpetta. Their last seating was 10:30, and I booked us for that since our flight landed just after 9:00. Not in time for a tasting menu, and the kitchen closed at 11:00, but it worked out just fine. Ordered a pair of piattis (seared scallops with butternut caponata for Bob, raw yellowfish with pickled red onion for me), a pair of pastas (short rib/bone marrow agnolotti for Bob, duck breast/foie gras forme), and a bottle of Rivers Marie PN. All were exceptional. We had a booth facing the water show at the Bellagio which just added to the glam. Great recommendation, thanks so much!

Next day, we headed to Bouchon for lunch (had to be in Havasu for dinner). I'll have to post the pics I took of our meal there.
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Re: Dinner and a Movie

Postby James Dietz » Fri Jan 24, 2014 12:05 am

So glad you enjoyed. I had forgotten to mention that the view was quite nice!
Cheers, Jim
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