The old “dinner and a movie” combo is nothing new. In fact, it is getting pretty tired.
However, the concept is not a bad one; it is actually brilliant. It just seems humdrum because you need to stop going to the same convenient, nearby theater and stop ordering the same thing at that same place you always go for a quick bite.
Check out a new pairing across town. Push the limits. Here are a few options to get your creative juices flowing!
Theater: The Aero Theatre
1328 Montana Ave., Santa Monica 90403
Restaurant: Blue Plate
1415 Montana Ave., Santa Monica 90403
The Areo Theatre is left over from another time, but that is part of the charm. Operated by American Cinematheque, it boasts older and classic films on the big screen the way they were meant to be seen! There are often special guests from the original production to answer questions and share memories of the film’s creation. Blue Plate is a couple of blocks away and is the perfect pairing as it also offers a new twist on classic fare. We all started with a creamy, satisfying Hummus platter and then tore into some sandwiches. My Montana Club sandwich was piled high with turkey, bacon and Swiss cheese – it really hit the spot with a Passion berry Iced Tea.
Theater: The Fox Westwood Village Theatre
961 Broxton Ave., Los Angeles 90024
Restaurant: Native Foods Café
1114 Gayley Ave., Los Angeles 90024
This is a case of opposites attracting: the tried and true of the Fox Westwood theatre paired with Native Foods Café’s fun and new. The theatre has a limited selection. It isn’t a mega-plex, but when those movies that you have been waiting for show up on its roster, go! The café offers vegan fare (so now you know where to take those friends), and it is fantastic. I had an amazing Chimi Chop Salad drizzled with that Chimichurri sauce we all loved. The Roasted Corn and Basil Polenta Bites were a new flavor for us, and there were no regrets. We debated about dessert but were very happy that we chose to share The Cranberry Orange Cake. It was tangy, sweet and satisfying. Parking is at a premium in Westwood, but the café is around the corner from the theatre and offers an hour of free parking at the lot across the street with a $10-minimum purchase.
Theater: The Laemmle NoHo7
5240 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood 91601
Restaurant: Bow & Truss
11122 Magnolia Blvd., North Hollywood 91601
Be one of the first to experience the new and the newer in an up-and-coming, soon-to-be-trendy neighborhood. The theatre is barley more than a year old, and the restaurant is even younger. The Laemmle chain has a reputation of offering more quirky independent films, but this venue throws a couple mainstream titles on the marquis to satisfy the locals’ tastes. The Bow & Truss offers a full menu of food and drink, but we opted for sharing a few smaller dishes in the classic tapas style. The Button Mushroom Empanadas were literally fought over – they were that good. The Chicken Confit tacos were a surprising success. Rich and tasty, our group ordered a second plate with some extra pickled shallots the second time around. We all nibbled a Charcuterie and cheese platter, sipped some Spanish wine and shared the best Tres Leches Cake I think I have ever had. Bow & Truss’s outdoor patio was the best place to linger and chat after the flick.
Theater: ArcLight Cinemas
6360 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles 90028
Restaurant: Veggie Grill
6374-A Sunset Blvd., Hollywood 90028
You may hear a grumble or two when you suggest The Arclight. It costs a little more than other theatres, but there are perks. Not the least of which is the assigned seating. Purchase tickets online in advance, choose exactly where you want to sit, show up just minutes before show time, and slide right into the perfect seat. They also have that Cinerama Dome! If you want to see that big action-packed flick full of special effects you just have to see it in the dome. There are also cocktail-friendly, 21-and-over screenings as well as many special events to look out for. I paired this visit with some nosh from Veggie Grill as my guest happened to be vegetarian, but there are many affordable, carnivore-friendly establishments nearby. Veggie Grill is in the same complex as the theatre so parking was easy, and there was no need to rush. We loved the Chipotle Ranch drizzled Sweetheart Fries (made from sweet potatoes). I ended my meal with an All Hail Kale Salad and couldn’t have been happier.
-Blue Plate, courtesy of Blue Plate
-Veggie Grill, courtesy of Veggie Grill
-Native Foods Cafe, courtesy of Native Foods Cafe
-Bow & Truss, courtesy of Henry Eshelman