Dinner and a movie has for many years meant going to separate venues. It wasn’t until vanguard theaters like Alamo Drafthouse in Austin began serving food and alcohol as part of a night out at the movies did the two favorite activities both take place in the comfort of your cinema seat. Now you could watch Casablanca and eat a Moroccan feast too—an actual movie-and-themed-dinner experience at Alamo.
From Arclight to AMC, theater chains with L.A. outposts have been upping the dinner-and-a-movie game as well. The iPic Theaters chain has long been serving food that’s more gourmet than competitors. And with chef Sherry Yard in charge as iPic’s vice president of culinary direction, the food in this dinner-and-a-movie equation has been enhanced even more, with a little help from Yard’s chef friends.
Beginning this month and going through June, Yard is showcasing creations by her chef pals Antonia Lofaso, Jet Tila, and Ben Ford. The star-chef supplemental plates begin with Lofaso’s Ricotta Crostini that’s being served in April.
Lofaso of Top Chef fame and Scopa Italian Roots goes back with Yard to their Spago days. For her Ricotta Crostini, Lofaso includes a house-made Italian sausage, braised kale, and Parmesan cheese. A cocktail with house-infused lemon-zest vodka, passion fruit, pomegranate, blood orange, and basil is the beverage coupling.
In May, Stir Market’s Tila, who occasionally has Yard sub for him as a guest host for his SoCal Restaurant Show radio program, will introduce a Tuna on Crispy Rice Cake that’s made with spicy tuna, scallions, and daikon sprouts, and ratcheted up with Sriracha. To accompany is Tokyo Iced Tea, a colorful cocktail of jasmine tea-infused vodka, balsam, Riesling, and honey-pineapple-yuzu-lychee salsa.
Concluding Yard’s guest celeb-chefs series in June is a sandwich by Ford, who published a cookbook last year and recently relocated Ford’s Filling Station to Downtown’s L.A. Live. Yard has known Ford for a long time. How long? Well, long enough to have made his culinary-school graduation cake as well as his bride and groom cakes for his wedding. Must be nice.
Chef Ford goes full comfort mode and presents a Pulled Pork Grilled Cheese Sandwich. Slapped between Texas toast is BBQ pork, gouda cheese, and pickled peppers. Sip on a bourbon-barrel-rested tequila Firewood Margarita while you’re supping and, maybe, watching Ben’s dad Harrison in his latest flick, and you have the perfect iPic dinner and a movie experience.
iPic, 10840 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood, 310-307-7003; and 42 Miller Alley, Pasadena, 626-639-2260.