food

Food Blogging: Dayton Restaurant Week

I’ve blogged about movies, books, TV, random nonsense, feelings, my cat…why not food?  The time feels right.  I’m reviewing all 4 courses of my Restaurant Week experience and then counting down the days until the next one.

Dayton Restaurant Week happens in January and July every year, and it’s a beautiful thing.  It is the only time of the year when I can afford a 3 or 4 course meal without eating ramen for the rest of the month.

The thing about me is I love food, and regret nothing about choosing Meadowlark for this Restaurant Week, already one of my favorite places to begin with.  Meadowlark is a Dayton establishment, owned locally and operated on the basis of serving new twists on old classics with fresh produce and unexpected flavors.  Even if it sounds like a strange combination on the menu, you know whatever you order will be amazing.  Because it’s Meadowlark.

Please join me and my mother for dinner.  Or, rather, look upon my food pics, ye mighty, and despair.

Course 1:  Beet Borscht with Rye Croutons

20160729_173637.jpg

I’ve got to be honest–say the word “borscht,” and I will probably react with indifference.  Are beets really anyone’s favorite?  And chilled soup is odd as a concept.  However, this soup was amazing; lots of dill so the beet flavor wasn’t overwhelming, and a bit of sour cream to add some richness.  I expected this course to be my least favorite, but it was a strong start to the menu.

Course 2:  Corn Griddle Cakes

20160729_174338.jpg

These were served with a poblano cream sauce, tomatoes, and bacon (which I opted out of).  The cakes themselves were soft, moist, and just a little bit crunchy on the outside.  What stole the show here was the sauce, which brought most of the flavor to this course, and just the tiniest bit of spice.  Though I’m not a vegetarian, I’m really appreciative of Meadowlark’s efforts to offer vegetarian options and adjustments.  My mom opted for the Deconstructed Shrimp Cocktail for this course, but I think this was the better appetizer.

Course 3:  Za’atar Chicken Cooked Under a Brick

20160729_180252.jpg

Truly a highlight of the menu–the couscous was great, veggies were good, and the chicken was some of the best I’ve ever had.  So juicy and tender inside, with a crunchy exterior seasoned with…whatever za’atar is.  I thought chicken cooked under a brick was just a hipster thing, but I stand corrected.  I want to eat only this chicken for the rest of my life.  My sole criticism is the yogurt sauce seemed purely decorative, and I couldn’t really taste it in the dish (OH GOD, have I been watching too much Chopped???).

My mom opted for Cream Cheese and Fresh Corn Enchiladas, which were also delicious.  The accompanying zucchini and squash were amazing too, and I maintain it’s a crime that I don’t have two stomachs.

20160729_180300.jpg

Course 4:  Ina’s Chocolate Blobb with Whipped Dulce de Leche

20160729_183125.jpg

I don’t really get what a chocolate blobb IS.  It was like a very dark chocolate brownie combined with a cookie.  Whatever it was, it was delicious.  The whipped dulce de leche was the standout part of this course, though the flavor was very subtle.  I would’ve preferred for the dulce de leche to come out a bit more because the strongest flavor was really the whipped cream (not that I’m complaining).

My mom opted for Dessert Bruschetta:  pound cake, raspberry ice cream, almonds, and chocolate sauce.  This one was slightly better as a dessert because of the raspberry ice cream; it had so much fruit flavor and struck the perfect balance between being bitter and sweet.  Biggest criticism here was the pound cake seemed overcooked.

20160729_183114.jpg

Overall, we were very happy with the number of choices available and the mix of flavors in each course.  The courses didn’t necessarily go together thematically, but I enjoyed the different elements forming a sort of hodge podge that worked together beautifully.  I tried flavor combinations new to me in every course, and I still salivate Homer Simpson-style thinking about that chicken.  I would expect nothing less from Meadowlark.

God bless Restaurant Week.  It’s probably for the best (in terms of my finances) that it’s only twice a year.

Can someone please pay me to be a food critic now?

Film Reviews

FDR: American Badass

I’m too tired to come up with a clever title for this post (and I know I’ve set the bar really high with my previous titles).  Instead, I will allow FDR to speak for himself as an American badass.

The Film:

FDR:  American Badass

Where to Watch:

Netflix

The Premise:

Near the end of his term as governor of New York, FDR is attacked by a werewolf, contracting polio and uncovering a Nazi plot to take over the world and turn its inhabitants into werewolves as well.

The Uncondensed Version:

This film starts out with a brief narration by FDR, which includes the classic line “Badassery is not born, but often thrust upon you.”  So the movie begins with promise.

The action opens with Governor Roosevelt and a few other politicians hunting in what I’m assuming is Hyde Park (fun fact of the day:  I’ve been there.  Pretty sure this movie was not filmed on location).  The hunters encounter an incredibly low-budget werewolf, who engages FDR in a fistfight.  Ultimately, FDR kills the werewolf using (perhaps my favorite reveal of this movie) a gun called Eleanor’s Eulogy Maker, but he is also bitten, thus contracting polio (WHAT).

Close up of a small handgun with the words "Eleanor's Eulogy Maker"
ELEANOR’S EULOGY MAKER. I can’t get over that.

After the autopsy, it’s discovered the werewolf is a NAZI werewolf.  The last werewolf attack on a public figure happened to Lincoln; what does it all mean???

Upon leaving the hospital, FDR announces his candidacy for president and says some really inappropriate things about his dick.

While on the campaign trail, FDR encounters a really strange Southern gentleman, Cleavon Buford, who will eventually become Vice President.  (This is where I wish I remembered my history a bit better…but he has to be made up, right?  There has never been a VP named Cleavon Buford, right???)

So Buford has a few really disgusting stories about how his hometown, Warm Springs, got its name.  Please don’t make me repeat them.  According to Buford, the springs will cure FDR’s polio (they don’t).

In response, FDR says “cock” a lot.  A LOT.  I suspect because this movie was written by 12-year-old boys.  Further evidence:  FDR refers to himself as “the Delano.”  There is also an ongoing joke about FDR’s adult son shitting in vases.  Yeeeeeeah.

Meanwhile, in Germany, werewolf Hitler calls werewolf Mussolini and werewolf Hirohito to discuss a new plan.  They will send the Italian mafia to the US with werewolf blood booze that will turn everyone into werewolves.

From L to R: Werewolf Hitler, Werewolf Hirohito, Werewolf Mussolini. Not a caption I ever expected to write.

To stop this plan, Dougie Mack (which took me forever to realize was Douglas McArthur) reveals a special armed wheelchair for FDR designed by Einstein (of course).  FDR goes to Baltimore in this wheelchair, the Delano 2,000, to single-handedly stop the import of werewolf blood liquor.

FDR smokes a cigarette and pushes his wheelchair away from a fiery explosion behind him
The Delano 2,000 in action.

Shortly after, WWII begins.  Churchill, who refers to himself as Winnie, asks FDR to intervene, using that classic argument “we’re the only people who speak English in Europe, so you must help us.”

FDR, uncertain of what to do next, turns to Washington for advice.  Or, rather, he opens Washington’s humidor and lights up one of the joints inside.  As a result, he has a conversation with Lincoln.  This is pretty much the only movie I can think of in which Lincoln and FDR light up together.

As part of the sequence, it is revealed that Lincoln can fly (though, sadly, this is all part of a dream sequence).

Abraham Lincoln floats behind FDR in a wheelchair, pushing him through the clouds at night
I was hoping for a Titanic reenactment as well, but that sadly never happened. Though we can always hope for FDR: American Badass 2.

After his trip with Lincoln, FDR decides he must intervene in WWII, which will involve him storming Normandy beach with the help of approximately 6 people.  He goes to DAYTON, where he gives an inspirational speech to the soldiers involved in this top secret mission (including “We have nothing to fear but fear itself”).

A man stands next to another man in a wheelchair. Both are in front of a large fighter plane.
“Dayton, Ohio.” (Again…pretty sure this was not shot on location.)

Then FDR himself flies a plane to Normandy.  For whatever reason, Buford is on the plane, drinking a martini (this is the only thing he does more in the film than over-act).  He jumps out of the plane with no parachute and dies…maybe this is supposed to reference the number of VPs FDR had?

As is to be expected, FDR kills Mussolini and Hitler and brings about VE-Day.  It’s just like a Humphrey Bogart movie except with FDR and considerably more werewolves.

The immortal last line of the movie:  “It’s Franklin Delano Roosevelt, motherfucker!”

The Critique:

I expected this movie to be more entertaining since, initially, the script got most of its humor by present an alternate history with werewolves.  However, it didn’t take long for the dialogue to devolve into middle school-level jokes about polio, bodily functions, and penises.  Would a true badass feel the need to talk about his dick all the time?  I don’t think so, FDR.

Another problem that endures throughout the film is the character of Eleanor Roosevelt.  I KNOW this movie is in no way intended as a serious study of the Roosevelts, but Eleanor is portrayed as a woman who faints at the sight of FDR’s polio-stricken legs and spends the majority of her time nervously knitting.

The only scene in which Eleanor seems more, well, Eleanor-y, occurs after a really uncomfortable not-quite-sex scene where FDR’s secretary licks ketchup and mustard off of his legs.  Eleanor appears, declaring that she’s “going to have to strongarm a bitch.”  That line, along with the Eulogy Maker, make me wish this movie had been Eleanor Roosevelt, American BAMF.

Finally, I know it’s a bit obvious, but I was disappointed the line “The only thing we have to fear is Nazi werewolves” or something similar didn’t appear in the script.

The Rating:

Small Pink PantherSmall Pink PantherSmall Pink Panther3/5 Pink Panther heads

FDR:  American Badass did provide some entertainment, but a movie about FDR fighting Nazi werewolves should’ve been much better.  I would probably give it 2.5, but I’ve decided not to do half points.  A half Pink Panther head is too sad to be used as part of a rating scale.