Off-Centered Film Fest Days 2-3: Beer, Bullets, Bullington
It was, to coin a new and necessary word, a gourmandorgy of magnificent proportions. Six courses, six Dog'head samplings, and six-shooters gone wild in the maestro's restored, 195-minute (according to the Alamo's web page) saga of vengeance and vice on the eve of the West's demise via railroad. All that and Lionel Stander, too. What more could a filmfoodie ask for?
How about a fairly tipsy opening intro from Dogfish Head founder Sam Calagione and writer/director/actor/comics Ken Marino (The State, Wet Hot American Summer, Wanderlust), David Wain (The State, WHAS, Wainy Days), and Jo Lo Truglio (Superbad, WHAS)?
"In general," explained Calagione, "the reason we do 30-something different beers is because everybody's palate's different and different people love different-flavored beers. The giant brewers tried to squash that but people responded that they wanted many more varieties.
"It kind of reminds me of what [the Alamo Drafthouse does]. It would be very easy to be like most cinema groups or theaters and just do first-run movies, and so to see something like [Once Upon a Time in the West] on a giant screen in 2012, or Blazing Saddles on a giant screen, while you're drinking good beer is a pretty rare thing."
True enough, and oh our aching bellies, what a feast! We've attended nearly all of the Alamo's food-and-film pairings, and we can say with zero hyperbole that this was Chef Bullington's finest hour. (And to a sold-out house, no less.) Kudos, then, to his battalion of kitchen demigods and the Alamo's overworked servers, who did an amazing job of keeping our forks hitting our plates even when the action onscreen demanded that we dare not look down for even a moment.
The menu? Glad you asked:
1) Beer: Ta Henket and 2010 Burton Baton/ Food: Roasted branzini in fennel broth with leek and tomato
2) Beer: Raison D’etre/ Food: Grilled oyster topped with goat cheese and crushed red pepper and moscato
3) Beer: 2010 Olde School Barley Wine and Indian Brown Ale/ Food: Cured duck breast, cherry white balsamic vinaigrette, grilled fig, gorgonzola on pinenut crisp
4) Beer: 2011 Immort Ale/ Food: Lamb meatballs and semolina-artichoke gnocchi in truffle cream
5) Beer: Bitches Brew/ Food: Spaghetti carbonara - perciatelli with fontina, asiago, parmesan, pancetta, prosciutto, fresh farm egg yolk, crushed pepper, and garlic
6) Beer: 2011 120 Min /Food: Ricotta–rosemary cake with almond meringue and candied strawberries
Ahem. Speaking of expanding waistlines, as Henry Fonda's sublimely taciturn villain Frank says, "How can you trust a man who wears both a belt and suspenders? The man can't even trust his own pants."