I don’t know about you, but I’ve just about had it with the damn movie time schedules. Let’s say I want to go check out the new Matt Damon film. There are showtimes at 5 p.m. (too early), 7:30 p.m. (impossible to eat beforehand unless I’m 70, and don’t want to eat dinner at 10 p.m.) or 10 p.m. (I’ll fall asleep before the credits). Of course those times are only suggested start times, because we all know there are now 15 minutes of commercials, promotions and previews before the flick even starts. What’s a hungry film fan supposed to do?
Apparently, the next wave in movie entertainment is to include the food with the flick. At several locations in the suburbs, and at least one in the city, movie houses have also become restaurants. In Bolingbrook, the Singapore Airlines of theater-dining experiences has opened at the Gold Class Cinemas, in the Promenade Shopping Center. Just like their location in South Barrington, you check in, hang out at the bar, maybe grab a cocktail, and then find your reserved seat in a theater that has maybe a total of 40 cushioned recliners. Press a button and a server comes out to take your order. Put your purse (or man bag) into the side armrest, just like they do in first class. Order a mojito, then peruse the menu created by Levy Restaurants, full of bite-sized finger foods such as chinois chicken salad spring rolls or chocolate-coated caramel corn.
In the city, the ICON Theater (a division of Kerasotes) has brought Jerry Kleiner in to consult on the design and the menu at their new complex in the South Loop (free parking, woo hoo!) The menu leans to pizza margherita and beef tenderloin sliders with escargot butter, but I would have been just as happy with the large platter of fruit, cheese and cured meats. It’s light years away from the hot dogs and nachos you’re typically forced to eat in these kinds of surroundings, and while there is a slight upcharge, it’s well worth saving the time and hassle of running somewhere to gobble down your food and rush to the theater in time for that pesky 7:15 p.m. (I mean 7:30 p.m.) start time. I’ll be showing some video of both places on the 11 a.m. news today, which you can always watch here after the story runs.
Tonight at 10 p.m. I’m tackling the dessert menu at C-House, inside the Affinia Hotel in Streeterville. The restaurant has been on a lot of foodie’s radars because of the connection with New York’s Marcus Samuelsson. But I think Pastry Chef Toni Roberts is also someone worth watching. At just 25, she cooks with confidence, offering five distinctive sections to her menu: plated desserts, ice creams/sorbets, hot chocolates, cheeses and candies. This last section (some of which are pictured, above) is where Roberts really gets to show her stuff: molasses cookie sandwiches, chocolate banana truffles, fudgey brownies and pistachio brittle are just a few of the tasty creations. You can opt for samplers of 3, 5 or even 12 different tiny bites. I think if you bring a crowd, this would be the sweetest way to please everyone at the table.