In most major cities in the US you can now get dinner and a movie at the same time.
Boutique theaters have started popping up where you don’t have to settle for $5 popcorn and a $7 hot dog that was made 12 hours ago. For the same amount of money you spend on the snacks you can get a full meal.
Depending on the city you live in these theaters can offer pizza, upscale snacks, mixed drinks or craft beers. Now, this is all well and good but how does an independent theater keep pushing the limit?
Simply put: They could take note of the Alamo Drafthouse theaters based in Austin, Texas.
Drafthouse site. These guys are the pioneers of the dinner and movie theater combo. Now there are many great aspects of the Drafthouse I could rave about; the indie movie screenings, The Action Pack that encourages audience participation in sing-alongs, and classic movie screenings just to name a few unique features.
But one of the first experiences the theater offered in its early years is the Feast.
Have you ever been watching a movie and wish you could be eating the same thing that the characters on screen are eating? The Drafthouse brings that fantasy to life.
Not every movie they have a feast for can be a course by course replica of what’s happening on screen. But they take the much harder task of capturing the essence of the theme of the movie and putting it in a five course dinner.
I was lucky enough to snag a ticket for the most recent Feast for the last Harry Potter movie. They had a second one that started at 4:30am, the day of the premiere, a marathon of all the movies ending with the finale. But that is too much awesome for me.
The seating is limited for these special events so that you’re not elbow to elbow with the other moviegoers. I imagine it would be hard to get service to at least 75 people all at the same time. If you’ve seen the last movie, you know there are not a lot of scenes (or any, now that I think of it) of people sitting down and enjoying a magical meal together.
So what’s a chef to do?
Executive Chef John Bullington took inspirations from the film series and from Great Britain’s unique flavors to create a five course meal.
Along with this playful menu was a wine pairing by the Drafthouse sommelier that was pitch perfect with every bite. Some of the flavors were familiar and some were so unique I wasn’t sure if they would work for me (deep fried smoked salmon? What the what?). But it turned out to be all delicious.
Maybe one day I’ll be adventurous enough to try the Feast sample of The Lord of the Rings, but that is quite the undertaking food and film-wise.
Below, you can check out the menu I ate, Everything was as tasty and great as it sounds. The best drink I had that night by far was the unfiltered apple cider from J.K. Scrumpy.
I demand that all bars and liquor stores in the state of Texas now carry this drink. If you don’t live near a Drafthouse I would start a letter writing campaign right now. At the very least, make sure and see a movie there next time you’re in town.
If you can’t make it to a feast (they happen roughly every three months depending on the schedule of events and movies) the regular food is just as good as the specialty food. Try the chips and queso and thank me later.