March 14th, 2008

invisible food

Dinnar an a moooveeee

Went with Brad and Linda to dinner tonight.

Coyote's Bar and Grill, newly opened "night spot" in Hillsboro.
One hopes they are still coming up to speed.

Price point: high to not-worth-it. Decor: black and dark red, almost City of Villains. Staff wears black.
Seating: Narrow benches ELEVATED off the floor by one foot, with very little space between table and spine, OR, high artistic tables with high artistic barstools.

COMPLETELY useless to anyone in a wheelchair, and I do plan to ask them about how they got around the accessibility laws.

NOISY. The walls and ceilings are stark, flat, unadorned, and un-anchored dry-wall, I thumped the one near me and it boomed. The place is actually an AMPLIFIER for noise. The television was on upstairs, and the people in the upstairs bar were shouting to be heard over it; the hall lined with booths was a perfect wave guide.

They apparently had ONE chef on duty, and the place was full of ... no, not 21-31 drinkysomethings.

It was 5:30 and they were FULL.

Families. Kids. Grandparents. Construction workers. Office workers. Curious people.
The menu was for ... well, TGI Fridays without any particular grace. Good IDEAS, but frankly, an eleven buck burger, even a buffalo burger, should be more than a standard bakery burger-bun, one careful leaf of romaine without any rib to provide crunch, no mayo, a quarter-pound pre-cooked burger with a slice of kraft swiss cheese melted on the griddle by spraying water under a pie-tin over the burger as it thorougly, completely cooks into a chewy hockey puck. The sliced sweet white onion was good, the two slices of wet, hydroponic, red-flavored tomato wasn't, but I didn't put it onto the burger because it would have been nasty.

In contrast, earlier in the day, I went to Burgerville, got a Pepper-Bacon Tillamook Cheeseburger, and for nine bucks I subbed yukon gold fries, and got a drink that wasn't an additional buck; the Burgerville burger was more satisfying, because it wasn't cooked into dryness.

The fries (I saw on someone else's plate) were large, "Country Cut" but appeared to have been factory rather than prepared on-site; they might've been good but I wanted the salad.

The salad was pretty good, actually, although mine was smaller than the side-salads that Brad and Linda got as extras instead of subbed - an artifact of them getting theirs on separate plates rather than as a replacement on a plate with something else. They were fresh romaine, machine cut (yeah, bagged salad) but with a decent sauce, not overwhelming, and with fresh parmesan shaved on top. Not reggiano, as far as I could tell, and I can tell. But not bad.

Brad had a bowl of chili. Another seven dollar item, apparently this was a half can of Code chili.
Linda had a quesadilla. It was warm when it was made sometime in the morning but had been in a steam table or warming oven ... when she got it, it was room temperature. Came with generous avocado, salsa, chopped onion, and sour cream.

It took 30 minutes to get our food, and the server remembered that we were hoping to get out in time for a movie, so he rushed to get our ticket. It wasn't our ticket, of course. So 5 minutes later he came back with the right one.

On the 1-10 scale for food, a solid 4
On the 1-10 scale for ambience, a solid 2
Will I recommend it? Eat at your own risk
Will I go back? Probably, but not on a Friday, and the quality on a real day had better be superior to a cross between P.F. Chang's and Fridays, but with more noise, a weaker menu, and no Mandatory Flair.


Movie was The Other Boleyn Girl ... and we had been warned, so we were willing to entertain a Bad Movie.

Actually, it wasn't SO bad. Well, the cinematography was overblown, turgid, cliche'd, and yet, thoughtless. They had dozens of Famous Historical Paintings And Pageants - there were Madam Tusaud moments all through the thing, some Busby Berkeley quotes, a couple overheads of Henry Tudor's castle that resembled exciting moments in The Spiderwick Chronicles and one particularly lengthy, stupid shot of an archway through which the Boleyn family is proceeding, and half the scene is obscured by an unnecessary flapping blue banner in close foreground. COME ON people, where the hell were the editors?

The story was soap opera, yes, but then, so were the real people. Eric Bana made a rather good Henry VIII, and despite the kvetching, I think Natalie Portman did a good job as Anne. Scarlett Johannson was an excellent Mary Boleyn. The script went in a predictable direction, perhaps - there's not much you can do to the well-known story, and it was NOT "Anne of a Thousand Days" really.

The scenes and pacing where one or two people were together worked a lot better, and were a lot more powerful, than the tableaux scenes with talking heads.

And whatever else, I cared about the characters, even though I was mocking the silly cinematography.
It will make an excellent television movie; in fact, it probably WAS made with that in mind.
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