Halloween @ Cinema Salem

There’s a certain magic in Salem, Massachusetts come All Hallows’ Eve. It may not be the girls in capes, or the homeless folk mumbling in dark alleys, but they’ve at least got the right idea. They can confirm what it’s all about: channeling the inner beast. Pulling out the most untapped and scary version of yourself and celebrating it, in all of it’s weird glory.

Some of our favorite movies do the same thing. So it was fitting that we found our way into the nation’s haunted capital for a comedy/horror show. Our hosts for the evening? A collective of friendly filmmakers lead by director Kevin James. (And maybe a ghoul or two.)

That was our main event this past Monday. I’m ecstatic to offer a bit of feedback and some highlights. But first thing’s first, my lovelies. We are hungry men.

Following a speedy post-work pick-up in Milford, we headed out to our spooky destination. Our freak flags raised high and Dunkin coffees in hand, AJ furiously weaved through rush hour traffic while Spencer dizzily decided dining options. Thanks to a suggestion from sister Paige, an easy choice was made.

Victoria 2013-10-28 19.24.15Station, located a rough 10 minute walk from Cinema Salem, gave us all we wanted and more!

Dinner was served by a light-spirited waitress who made us feel really at home. AJ tends to ask questions of quality in the form of “What’s your favorite item on the menu?” If we have a theme in mind, he corners them to a specific category. The waitress was overjoyed and assisted in selecting our appetizer buffet. She is head over heels about the nacho chicken, so we just had to try it.

We enjoyed nachos with chicken ($16), haddock tacos ($9) and a cup of clam chowder ($5). The chowder could have been a little warmer, but it tasted pretty good. Let’s get to the highlights, my friends. Enjoy, we did. Enjoy, love, savor and nearly beg for more, is the real truth. Juicy, delicious, not-greasy, shredded chicken that was seasoned with perfection. The nachos, due to their introduction were annihilated as they were placed on the table. There are very few foods that entirely silence the two of us, or AJ to be specific, but nachos are usually a sure bet. Please look closely at the picture, click it to enlarge, to see the crisp cheese smothered onto the plate which we were sure to carve off with our butter knifes, leaving not a morsel behind.

Now, the main event, The Haddock Tacos. Before we discuss the taste, seasonings, etc., let’s talk about the plating. They were a sight to be seen, simple and elegant food love displayed on a white plate – joined together on their white square home leaned so tenderly on each other.  The fish was not fried or battered. It seemed to be freshly pan cooked delivering a moist, flaky deliciousness that all of the other accoutrements simply accented. Lastly, the piece of fish was so large that the flour tortilla didn’t close. The tacos have a permanent place in AJ’s heart and will definitely be thought of when the town of Salem is mentioned.

Decorated in the style of the world-famous train station noted by famous singer Johnny Cash and historian Tom Blake, Victoria Station in Salem, Massachusetts was the 99th location of the once famous chain to open its doors. Location number 100 never opened, and currently Salem is the last remaining Victoria Station in the US. The interior is mostly open, but quaint with plenty of glass, beautiful historic rail road antiques and raised dining areas trimmed with wrought iron that make anyone feel the warmth of passing back into time.

For the walk back to the theatre, we treated ourselves to fancy hot drinks from Jaho Coffee & Tea (across from Bunghole’s Liquors). Coconut Chai Latte was the highlight and we learned that they serve some pretty cool lunch options. Next time we’re looking for something light, Jaho’s the place.

Then it was off to the movies! AJ flung his scarf over his shoulder like a golden era diva, strapped on his evening gloves, tapped his ruby-red slippers and welcomed the press. Once the spots from the camera lights faded, we adjusted our eyes and sank into our seats. On with the show!

We were there to see Kevin James’ previously touted The Creed, but this premiere also celebrated a handful of other local shorts. The entire presentation clocked in at about an hour and a half and ranged from the creepy to the campy with a couple of scare-tastic music videos in the mix.

Highlights included:

The Bynars “Every Little Thing You Love” (10 mins, Jean-Paul Disciscio)

A surprisingly effects heavy short form music video with narrative. Its cast was charming (even the bad guys), and its story was oddly sweet. Horror and Sci Fi nerds found much to gush over with this one (we especially dug the Clockwork Orange reference and cartoony filming techniques). As for the music? Delightfully airy and atmospheric. Check it out:

Every Little Thing You Love

Crappy Pasta (3 mins, Ryan Murphy)

The most consistent laughs of the evening were courtesy of our good friend Ryan Murphy. It’s quick, but in its three minute running time, it manages to parody a plethora of horror tropes in signature snappy fashion. Spencer’s always loved this video, but crowd response made it ever better.

Crappy Pasta

And, of course, the movie of the hour: The Creed. (24 mins, Kevin James)

Spencer donated to this project when Kevin and co. started their Indiegogo campaign sometime in April. It was a handful of familiar faces and a few new ones. The result? The next step in every one of their careers.

The quality was there. The acting, the pace, the premise, the surprise sentimentality. But beyond that, the promotion and selling of the project. The pitch. It’s taking these guys to the next level. We were thoroughly amused and proud to see such collective talent band together and make something good. And we can’t wait for the rest of the world to see it.

The Creed Trailer

The Walking Dead: Isolation

In the coming weeks, Ms. Hillary Bauer will be offering Episode-by-Episode reviews and recaps for TV’s most beloved Zombie Apocalypse Thriller: The Walking Dead. As an aside, this blog is in no way endorsed by the corporate fat-cats at AMC… But it probably should be! *Wink!*

Here’s Review #3:

Plot twists can take several forms.  Terrible plot twists are either so obvious that you figure them out forty minutes before the big reveal, or they’re so random that you didn’t see it coming because there’s been zero actual lead up to it and it doesn’t make sense.  Then there’s the type that drops your jaw.  You don’t guess these kinds because, even though the signs are there, they’re subtle and you don’t realize them until after the fact.  This week, The Walking Dead had my jaw on the floor in the best way possible.

However, the cliffhanger of the week did put me in a tricky position.  This recap can go down two roads: a straight recap feigning ignorant bliss, or a look at the foreshadowing leading up to the last two lines.  It’s such a significant game changer, that I can’t UN-know it at this point.  Plus, there wasn’t a lot of plot this week; it was really a character study episode.  So I’m gonna put it on the table:

Carol is a murderer.

There’s really no way around it.  What you really need to look at is the motivation behind her drastic action.  Just last week, I was singing the praises of Carol’s character development and, even though it means Karen’s ghost may come back to haunt me, I stand by this plot decision.  Even if it means breaking Carol for a little while, I’m really interested to see where this twist takes us.  But for now, let’s look at what already has gone down.

As far as I’m concerned, this episode should have been named “Crazy Tyreese is Crazy.”  He is just totally unhinged, and I’m not sure I’m digging it.  I know that Karen and David died a horrible death, but Tyreese is freaking out on three characters that have lost a wife, daughter, and brother between them.  (Carol’s there.  Awkward.)  Tyreese and Karen have only known each other for a couple of months.  Their entire relationship could probably be abbreviated to a minor key version of “Summer Lovin’”.  Not to mention that he doesn’t even know that his sister has death flu yet.  A fact that actually seems to upset him less.

Try to corner the market on depression in this group.

Try to corner the market on depression in this group.

The City Council calls a meeting to figure out a more detailed plan of attack than quarantining people to minimize the spread.  They essentially land on keep quarantining everyone.  Except now we’re locking up the kids too since they’re high risk and fragile.  Glenn takes a jab at his future father-in-law and implies that Hershel should go in time out with the kiddies since he’s old and fragile too.  They also decide that it’s worth hitting up a veterinarian school that’s pretty far out there to look for antibiotics.  For some reason (can vets sense each other?), Hershel knows where the school is and offers to go with the fighters to show them.  Jab #2: Hershel has one leg, womp womp.  Hope his ego can take a hit better than his decrepit old man body.

Rick and Carol are out pumping water to bring to the death flu clinic and realize that it’s clogged up outside the fence.  After Rick decrees that fixing the pipe will have to wait for tomorrow, Carol asks if Carl is upset about being quarantined.  Of course he is, because it’s Carl, but Rick emphasizes the importance of caution.  Carol responds, “Always better to be safe,” while looking at Tyreese in the distance.  Then she sends Rick off to talk to him and rejects an invitation to join him.  Hindsight is 20/20.

Rick goes and apologizes to Crazy Tyreese for bashing his face in, and Tyreese admits that he may share the blame.  Um, duh!  You threw the first psycho punch, bro.  Rick goes into detective mode and admits to not knowing the male burn victim very well.  None of us did.  Did they even cast an actor for him?  Tyreese gets the crazy eyes (I’m assuming the swollen shut eye is being crazy under there too) and says that he’s starting to think that murder is a-okay in Zombieland, and I start to worry about Carol when the truth eventually comes out.

Ya know what, Carl hasn’t been pissy on screen yet this week.  Let’s go do that for a while!  Carl is mad about having to go to quarantine day care, but decides to deal with it as long as he can play Sheriff and shoot sick kids if he has to.  While on patrol in the quarantine, Carl finds Hershel sneaking out the back door alone and unarmed to try and find some herbal remedies in the woods.  Carl realizes he can’t stop the old man and insists on going with him, so now Carl has made one honest to God good decision on this entire show.  Hershel still isn’t too keen on the whole idea though, seeing as Carl killed a teenage boy in cold blood the last time they went for a jaunt.  Luckily, wise ole Hershel manages to keep Carl from shooting anything this time and talks about peace and serenity or something wise like that.

Getting ready to go out on the med run, Daryl and Michonne talk about the good times they’ve had killing zombies and getting the band back together, but decide that they could use some more man power.  Who should we invite?  Glenn and Sascha are dying and Rick is out because he’s sticking close to Carl and Lil’ Ass Kicker.  (I’d like to take a moment to thank Daryl for referring to the baby by her real name.  I never know who they’re talking about when they call her Judith.  I just had to look it up again.)  How about we ask the guy who screwed up the only run he’s been on and the least emotionally stable man in the prison this week!  Seriously, how are any of our original characters still alive?

At first, Tyreese all but laughs in Daryl’s face about going on the run and insists on guarding the death flu clinic.  Then Tyreese has an emotional conversation with Sascha through a window and changes his mind.  Before he and the other road trippers head out, Tyreese tracks down Carol for an intense conversation.  Even if you don’t watch the entire episode again, you should track down this scene.  Tyreese asks Carol to take care of Sascha while he’s gone, and she agrees.  Then Carol stops him and says, “About what happened to Karen… I am so sorry.”  Holy dialogue levels, Batman!

Carol then has the same reaction as I did rewatching this and knocks a bunch of shit over.  The first time I watched this, I thought she was just taking on too much responsibility as the camp caregiver, especially because one of her adopted daughters just had to go into the death flu clinic.  But this is obviously a full on meltdown that is far from over.

After an entire episode of “let’s make grandpa feel useless,” Hershel finds a way that he believes he can help with the crisis.  Unfortunately, it’s by making tea which doesn’t really make him seem any less old.  BUT, Hershel wants to deliver it to the death flu clinic himself and at least gets to up the nobility factor.  Maggie catches him before he does and begs him not to walk into what is starting to feel like his certain death.  Hershel drops one of his “wisest man alive” speeches and forces Maggie to see that he has to do this.

The death flu clinic is actually the most disturbing part of this episode.  It’s dark, dingy, and full of the dead and dying.  Plus, all that echo-y coughing in the background is super annoying.  I can’t complain too much though, I’ve been sick for a week and my cough would definitely have me bunking with the lady who claimed allergies.  Turns out Doc S is in rough shape, so it’s time for Hershel to leap into action with his magic berry tea!  Right after the good doctor coughs blood all over Hershel’s face…  If anyone knows to cover their mouth, shouldn’t it be the medical professional?  Actually, the saddest thing about this is that Hershel takes off his desperado bandana mask.  Adios, outlaw Hershel.

It’s actually been irking me for these first three episodes that The Walking Dead has been leaning on the Red Shirt cliché way too much.  For the non-Trekkies out there, the Red Shirt comes from Star Trek.  It’s a pattern that people noticed that when the away team beams out on a mission, whoever is wearing the red uniform is the one who’s going to die.  Generally, they’re an actor who has never been on the show before and the only one on the team that isn’t a principal character.  The Red Shirt is someone who is introduced for the sole purpose of dying.  Between Karen, Zach, Harry Potter zombie, and now it’s looking like Doc S (not to mention half of Woodbury), this season is already littered with them.  Knock it off, writers!  Now go kill someone I care about so I can mope!

Perhaps our away team looking for meds will deliver.  Daryl et al are driving down a pretty country road listening to Daryl talk.  For a fifty minute drive, he picked literally the three least chatty road trip buddies.  That means it’s time to play with the radio and raid Zach’s CD collection.  But before I can confirm that derpy Zach was totally into Weezer and other dork fodder, a weak voice comes through the radio.  Daryl gets distracted playing with the dial and starts hitting walkers right and left.  There’s a safety lesson here: let the co-pilot fiddle with the jams.

Turns out that we didn’t just run into a few walkers.  It’s the friggin Great Wall of Zombies!  Daryl tries to hightail it out of there in reverse, but gets caught up on a pile of downed walkers.  This would have been a pretty basic sequence of stabbing zombies in the head, if not for Daryl beltsanding off that guy’s head with the rear tire.  Even if he didn’t mean to, I’m still happy that it happened.  Everyone makes a run for it to try and get into the woods.

Everyone except Tyreese, that is.  Whatta ya doin’, man?!  Even awful PTSD man is doing better than you here!  The rest of our fighters decide he’s not coming and they have to soldier on without him.  Before they leave though, they see Tyreese get out of the car and disappear yelling in the middle of a mob of zombies.  Aw, crazy Tyreese was distracting the zombies so the others could get away.  Too bad he could never get out of that mess.  Wrong-o!  He comes stumbling behind them holding nothing else but a freaking hammer.  I’m sorry, is Tyreese post-apocalyptic THOR now?!  OKAY.

403 hammertime

To finish things up, we come back around to Carol.  Still in meltdown mode, she decides to go out and fix the water line by herself.  The zombies mostly seem distracted by the weird bicycle water pump thing that they’ve rigged up (can’t wait for the random engineer to pop up at some point), so she doesn’t look like she’s in too much trouble.  That is, until she starts fixing the nozzle in the loudest friggin way possible.  Rick saves her, presumably just so he can yell at her.  Because that’s how Rick rolls.

Jeezum crow, people.  Between Hershel, Tyreese, and now Carol, it’s like everyone has a death wish this week.  We are still watching a show about survival and not elaborate ways to commit suicide by zombie, right?  Maybe people will feel like trying to stay alive next week.

Check out Hillary’s Previous Posts:

S04 E01: 30 Days Without An Accident Review

S04 E02: Infected Review

The Greenhouse Wood Fired Pub, Mendon, MA

I’m certainly not Anton Ego, which is probably a good thing, yet having a voice that sounds suspiciously close to Peter O’Toole’s would be grand. (.lol.) I think I’ll re-watch Ratatouille, this week.

This past Saturday, Spencer invited me to try a new restaurant. It was featured as one of his bank’s Branch Business(es) of the Month! I knew these people were going to impress me. Starting with the helpful business card gifted to customers offering free dessert that provided well explained directions. Next was the location. Dressed up in partnership with a local landscaper, The Greenhouse Wood Fired Pub has exquisite curb appeal. The theme continues through the entry, into the bar/lounge and through a short hall into the open and bright ‘green house’ dining room. The restaurant takes its name from a prior business and the original purpose of the structure, but the food, space and charm of all in attendance is true to a Pub. Irish, specifically.

It was lunch time and I was already a little tired, so I didn’t want to over eat. However, we did get over-served, which made for a delicious supper. The price to portion ratio was on par, but the deliciousness factor upped the ante to a realm that really impressed this foodie.

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We chose our own table, where we enjoyed the sunshine and the beautiful brick patio view through sparkling clean windows. We marveled over the space and the menu and like two children would burst with joy when we found something to show the other. Whether it be the thing over there, the people across the way or page 5 of the menu that I hadn’t even known existed. We wanted to try so many items on the menu, that:

  • First, we made decisions,
  • then we changed our minds,
  • then we ordered appetizers,
  • then we found more pages in the menu,
  • then I squealed with joy and frustration,
  • we, again, changed our minds,
  • I vacillated for a few minutes,
  • and we were finally saved by Jessica’s arrival with a HUGE plate of hand cut, made to order boneless tenderloins of chicken steaming with love and coated with delicious.

We had to place our entree order…our brains were quickly checking out. We were also being continually distracted by the interior of the dining room.

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2013-10-26 14.00.462013-10-26 14.01.08 These are a few shots of the space. The dining room is large and open. The decor is simple, clean and beautiful. The space is also comfortable. The furniture is well-suited to the experience. Both the modestly designed dark wooden chairs and the slightly larger table allowed me and my companion to sit comfortably and share our appetizer with it in between us, rather than on the side or over there or requiring one of us to serve the other. There’s a thoughtfulness that I felt in the layout, design and decor choices in this establishment.

The plate of wings – 12 all together – were enough of a meal for both of us, but we’re champions-in-our minds. We ordered sandwiches, too. Back to the wings, they were large strips of chicken, obviously prepared fresh, delicately dipped and crumbed. The pieces of chicken all were the size of chicken tenderloins. BIG, juicy and individually cared for in preparation. The two flavors you see above are BBQ (a house made BBQ sauce that is not sweet or spicy, but drinkable, if you know what I mean) and garlic parmesan. (JUST SCRUMPTIOUS) These wings were savored with every bite and near the end we divided the last two so that we could finish with the two flavors dancing together in our mouths. You won’t be seeing these wings on a 50 cent wing menu any time soon. [$13.99]

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Spencer chose the The Greenhouse Cutlet [A hand pounded pork cutlet, marinated in buttermilk and our buffalo sauce, breaded & fried- then topped with lettuce, tomato, pickles & our homemade Ranch dressing. $8.99] Let’s just say that next time Spencer will be ordering a glass of the homemade Ranch Dressing. HOLY CRAP, I hate Ranch Dressing and I will admit, I dipped every bite of wings into this stuff and also dipped a few fries into it. Hell, if I hadn’t become so full, I would have been dipping a friend into it. The sandwich was very large and more delicious than it’s size. To explain this, I must relate an important fact: Spencer comes from a genetic lineage that doesn’t have a ‘fill line’ when eating. He never has take out from a restaurant. Never. The Greenhouse Cutlet showed him a thing or two, he ate around the roll having his fill for lunch and then finished the rest for supper with about 1/3rd of my sandwich.

I ordered a Brisket Sandwich [A generous portion of our own tender, slow smoked brisket, topped with in-house smoked cheddar cheese. $8.99] I chose the hand cut fries. The sumptuous smell of the fries was so overwhelming that I grabbed the ketchup bottle, filled the corner of my plate and didn’t raise my head or say more than a few words until they were gone. I ate two bites of brisket. The two that were hanging off the bun, shown in the picture, here. The sandwich and a side of BBQ Sauce came home with me mostly untouched. The brisket was very lean, filled with flavor without being salty and taunted me as I struggled to hold back.

To quote the great Anton Ego: “I will be returning to The Greenhouse, soon. HUNGRY for more!!!

5 Scary Movies That Weren’t Meant to Be Scary

Halloween’s a-coming! The time of year when fear’s the fashion. Sometimes we channel that through schlocky slasher flicks, but sometimes, it’s a dose of reality that really rattles our bones. Here are 5 that hit a nerve:

1. Food, Inc

People are processes. All living things are. Parts of us that we never think about work in congruence all the time so we can function. We’re not breathing because of magic, we’re doing it because there’s an ongoing system to make breaths happen.

To keep the gears greased, we help our bodies out. We go for jogs, avoid walking through heavy traffic, and eat the right stuff. Hence why we check Nutrition Facts on every cereal box and only visit McDanks’ once a week (twice tops). If we learned anything from Supersize Me, it’s that fast food is junk, so we’ll just eat a lot less of it, right? Problem solved.

foodinc2

Or not. Food, Inc gets to the bottom of the dirty side of the food industry. How money influences the way food is processed and distributed. What chemical treatments make organic foods mostly synthetic. The deplorable treatment of livestock.

Ultimately, we learn that everything we eat is slowly killing us. Great, now I’m sad. No worries, Disney will make it better…

2. Wall-E

Ah! Here we go! Pixar will uplift me about the state of the human condition… Woah. Ok. Not so much.

The fate of humans in Wall-E isn’t exactly a stretch. Gone are the days of valuable in-person contact. Being “linked in” overrides experiencing the external world. And because of that, we sit on our asses now more than ever.

Our minds are already dependent on lightning-quick information oracles (smartphones). And that instant gratification is problematic when it comes to honest thought. Who among us can sincerely say they don’t have Google-brains? Who waits to access a meaningless text, Netflix stream, Youtube video, or the latest unflattering celebrity photo meme? Why would you if it’s all in your pocket?

It’s only a matter of time before our bodies and minds become over-sized jelly-filled donutholes… Caked in a glaze of thickly settled chub-sweat… Our bones reduced to a deliciously soft, flaky dough. But there’s still time, my friends. If we can just give up the things that make us insta-happy. No? Eh, at least I tried.

3. American Movie

American_Movie-main

Passion. Sure, it sounds great. When harnessed, it’s a compass. But that doesn’t make it risk-free.

Having it doesn’t put success in the bag. For that, you need tenacity, talent, and thick skin. Timing too. And whatever you do has to be accessible. If people don’t get it, you might as well be that smelly middle school kid sitting in the corner with a gnarly cowlick and stained sweatpants.

See: Mark Borchardt, the hapless hero of American Movie. He’s an aspiring filmmaker, but he’s a bit “out there,” a bit volatile, and very broke. There’s a sidekick, but he’s not the sharpest tool. The more we see, the more we start to fear for this guy. Because if there’s anything scarier than drifting aimlessly through life, it’s having a singular focus that you’re not very good at.

We do get a happy ending though. SPOILER ALERT: He finishes his movie. And a quick IMDB search reveals that he’s been keeping pretty busy since. So maybe, just maybe, it pays to dream.

4. Dogtooth

We’ve all probably felt the need to critique our mom and dad’s parenting. It’s only natural, right?

But if we ever start to nit-pick, it might pay to watch Dogtooth. Think your ‘rents are awful? At least they didn’t pick your sex partners and permanently confine you to their house. Then, when you tried to escape for various midnight romps and sexcapades, at least you could effectively communicate with the outside world. Not these kids. Part of their homeschool lessons was pairing everyday words with bizarre meanings, thereby alienating them from normies (ie. they call small yellow flowers “zombies”). It’s not exactly the kind of background that breeds doctorate degrees, and the outcome is predictably bleak..

Oh, did I mention that they’ve got an imaginary dead sibling to illustrate the consequences of their misbehaviors? And that they’re also told that cats eat people’s faces? So yeah, we got some crazy Village-esque scare tactics goin’ on. Only, in Dogtooth, there’s far less visible boom mic.

5. Liar Liar

Sure, it was meant to be a morality tale about the value of truth. And its tone was decidedly light. But think about how alienating it would be if you really COULD NOT lie. Your family would disown you. Your friends wouldn’t exist. I’d be out of a gig, because even irony and fiction are grown off branches of the lying tree. Not to mention I’d just be really boring and mean all the time. In short, I’d be Lars Ulrich… Or that lunatic from the Clear Eyes commercials. For real, that guy’s an actual nutjob. Don’t let his charming blandness fool you.

Liar-Liar-liar-liar-30842100-853-4804

One of the most underrated movies of the past 5 years, The Invention of Lying, flipped that premise. It asked, what if the whole world couldn’t lie? The takeaway: Life ain’t so fab without fiction. Not only does it curb conflict in key places (at work, at home, at the RMV), it also adds a shimmer to the every day. Would you want to live in a world in which Ziggy Stardust wasn’t a thing? How about moonwalking? Planes? Cars? Skittles?! I think not.

See you next week, my lovelies!

Read More Halloween-Inspired Movie Posts, Here:

Scary Fiction to Celebrate the Season from Ruined Chapel

Jenna Jaxon’s Favorite Scary Movies

Recommendations for Halloween-Style Fun From Neal Steichen

Horror Chic from Noelle, Really

Mysteristas’ Excellent List of Horror Classics

Overcoming Your Fears From This Is Afterword

Food so good, you can always hear the Pinz drop!

Milford, MA has a hidden secret, On the right-hand side of their huge bowling alley/arcade/laser tag place, there is a restaurant that is extremely good. The Blue Dog Sports Bar and Grille presents a menu that is a grand slam in this guy’s opinion. I’ve eaten there twice and not been disappointed. The restaurant is a large space with a long list of menu options for both lunch and dinner. It’s a hole-in-one with every stroke.

There are a few things that I recommend:

2013-10-14 14.24.47The Quesadillas: this is the Larry Bird ($9) Grillled pesto chicken and baby spinach. 

One quarter of this quesadilla was enough to satisfy me for the meal. It was packed with chicken and veggies.

2013-10-14 14.24.56The appetizers: Spencer and I think that two or three appetizers is the perfect meal for two. This is the Cajun Shrimp Stuffed Potato Skins ($9) Served with a green onion sour cream.

Before I go much further, I must add a disclaimer. There are always take-out containers for leftovers leaving the Blue Dog with both Spencer and me. The food is so good that it reheats beautifully and is always good a day or two later.

2013-10-14 14.24.32The sandwiches: this is the Dom DiMaggio ($10) BBQ pulled pork, melted spinach and smoked gouda cheese. There is a BBQ genius that works in the kitchen at Pinz. We had the ribs appetizer on our first visit and OMG!! Enough said.

Yes, Yes, YES!! Those are house made chips and they are often warm – like freshly cooked warm – with a little bit of chewy-ness and a lot of crunch.

Being a multi-venue entertainment complex is not an easy task. Pinz is a family business and they don’t bunt. The entire establishment has a cleanliness and quality of service that is far reaching from a corporate branded-don’t ask for anything special type of place that we may have experienced in the past. The Pinz family is gettin-in-done. No prisoners taken.

Go. Bowl. Play. Sit. Eat. Enjoy.

The Walking Dead: Infected

In the coming weeks, Ms. Hillary Bauer will be offering Episode-by-Episode reviews and recaps for TV’s most beloved Zombie Apocalypse Thriller: The Walking Dead. As an aside, this blog is in no way endorsed by the corporate fat-cats at AMC… But it probably should be! *Wink!*

Here’s Review #2:

Time for episode two!  I was a little wary of this episode going in after I saw the title.  I know it can’t be all walker killing all the time, but sometimes in the past, it’s felt like there aren’t a lot of zombies on my zombie show at all.  Remember when we just hung out and did laundry in a pretty comfy farmhouse for a season?  So, if this was just going to turn into an episode about a non-zombie health crisis…  But how wrong I was!  This was a downright gory episode.  Throw in a little animal cruelty and the squeem factor got pretty high.

Is it just me, or is The Walking Dead the darkest show on television?  Yes, the content is dark, but visually, I feel like I was squinting at the screen for the first ten minutes of this episode.  To their credit though, this show has successfully trained me to the point that I am completely freaked out by flashlights.  Especially when that flashlight is pointed at a rat getting its head cut off.  For what reason?  We don’t have nearly all the puzzle pieces yet, but this scene did immediately prompt me to burst into song.  Listen all ya’ll, IT’S SABOTAGE.  It’s purely speculation at this point, but this level of sneakiness smacks of the Governor.  Just working on how still…

Inside, Tyreese and Karen are canoodling (still in the dark) and honoring Zach.  Ok, pause for a second to remember who Zach is, realize we didn’t really care about him that much, and now it’s bed time.  Karen turns down Tyreese’s invitation back to his place and instead decides to wander around in the dark by herself with a flickering flashlight.

I take issue with this scene.  I know that they all feel complacent behind the prison walls, but I feel like all security protocol shouldn’t be thrown out the window.  First of all, how about a buddy system?  Even if Karen wasn’t feeling frisky, big burly man singing “I’ve got you” isn’t a bad roommate/bathroom escort to have in Zombieland.  Plus, are these guys serious with the shower curtains LITERALLY all over the place?  Modesty be damned!  I don’t want anything sneaking up on me Psycho-style.  And why is nobody locking their jail cells at night?  Even if you’re not worried about zombies getting through the fence, what if someone, oh I don’t know, dies of natural causes in the shower and comes back undead?  No sympathy for you, random sleeping man.  Enjoy your emptied out torso. (How sweet was it when he stood up though, right?)

A moment of philosophical quandary:  is Harry Potter zombie still Harry Potter zombie if he lost his glasses?  Welp, he’s dead now so I’m not learning his real name.  I am kind of curious about him though.  HP seems to be moving differently than the other zombies.  He’s faster and a little more deliberate.  Plus, he spends a long time eating the same person rather than getting distracted and moving on.  This might be my imagination, so I’ll leave it for now.

402 harry potter

Manners first.

Morning breaks, and Glenn and Maggie are being adorable in the honeymoon suite.  Except, how much film does Maggie think is left in the world that she can be throwing away pictures?  Polaroid film was impossible to come by even before the apocalypse.

Michonne is also being adorable as she’s getting ready to go out on another run and trading jabs with Carl about comic books and stale M&M’s.  This new, less guarded Michonne could potentially be getting a little heavy handed.  But I like the idea of characters like Michonne and Daryl going through positive growth, instead of just watching Rick swing through character transformations like a ballistic pendulum.  Somebody pointed out to me though, that giving Carl a new mother figure, could lead down the slippery slope of a potential Michonne/Rick hookup.  Please God, no!  It makes no sense.  Plus, I always shipped the subtext between Michonne and Andrea.

(Side note:  Are gay people really bad at fighting zombies?!  Thinking about Andrea and Michonne made me realize that I can’t come up with a single out character that’s been on this show.  I’m gonna pretend it’s because we’re in the South and all the queers are up in Massachusetts rebuilding society.)

Anyway, just as I start verbally begging Michonne not to go, I luck out and everyone starts dying!  We hear gunshots and Michonne turns around to come back, but at kind of a leisurely pace.  She practically stops to fix her outfit.  As punishment, she twists her ankle while flipping a walker onto the pointy fence.  In my head, I’m secretly pumped because now she can’t leave me for a while!  Maggie saves her and all of a sudden, I realize that I want nothing more in my life than for them to become best friends.

402 mag mich

Can we make this ship happen, pretty please?

Inside the cell block, things are pretty gruesome.  The Trojan Horse zombies have claimed more people and the number of bite victims is increasing exponentially.  Rick starts doing a pretty good job of evacuating people, but is crap when it comes to actual zombie killing.  He even gives away a gun that someone hands to him.  Luckily, Daryl picks up the slack and goes into ultimate fighter mode.  He even saves a couple of kids, because obviously Daryl is the post-apocalypse version of a St. Jude cancer researcher.

Carol is right behind him, cementing her place as the secret hero of The Walking Dead.  Sure, she’ll run Café Zombé and volunteer for story time.  But don’t get it twisted, she will cut your freaking arm off at the drop of a hat if it means saving your life.  Unfortunately for the man she tries to save in this battle, amputating neck wounds doesn’t generally work out so well and she realizes he’s a goner.  This man’s dying wish is that Carol watch after his two soon to be orphaned daughters, “like they’re [her] own,” which obviously strikes a nerve.  Carol accepts the responsibility and immediately starts dropping some knowledge bombs on these girls about life and death decisions and how sometimes that means stabbing daddy in the head.  No time for grieving in Zombieland.

What’s really interesting about this scene is the difference between meek, battered Carol from Seasons 1 and 2 interacting with her own daughter and how she speaks to her two new charges.  She clearly has no intention of letting these girls meet the same end as her Sophia.  As far as I’m concerned, Carol has had the most consistent and delicately handled character transformation of anyone on this show.  Hey, writers room for The Walking Dead!  More of this, please.

After the last of the bitten residents have died, there’s a very eerie scene that really brings home how messed up this massacre really was.  As they prevent all of the infected corpses from coming back as walkers, it has obviously hit everyone that these aren’t anonymous zombies that they ran into in the woods; these are the people of their community.  Glenn had to stomp on the skull of a woman that he may have had breakfast plans with that morning.  After real life tragedies, people always say, “You never think it will happen to you.”  This scene really has that feel to it.

While investigating what actually happened, Rick determines, after approximately 30 seconds of investigation, that some of the sick walkers don’t have any bite marks.  But how can this be?!  Thank goodness, a doctor that we had no idea existed is here to explain.  He uses a lot of biology words, but then pulls the classic sci-fi trick of breaking down terribly complex science to an easy to understand metaphor.  This dead guy is a shaken up can of soda that blew his top!

Turns out that the infection is actually an aggressive flu that was around before the zombies came.  If I was iffy at all about getting a flu shot this year, I’m officially shelling out the $25 now.  Now that we know what our contagion is, the City Council assembles to process the shit storm that has just occurred.  They decide that anyone who was in the cell block should be taken out of Gen Pop, and then a conveniently timed cough makes everyone freak the eff out.  It’s Karen.  Womp, womp.  Let this be a lesson, never be too happy at the beginning of an episode of The Walking Dead.

Daryl goes to take care of the dead and even though we literally just talked about how contagious the Death Flu is, he wears the worst possible gloves and mask available to bury them.  Also, I’ve got quite a bit of dystopian fiction under my belt, and I’m pretty sure that they should burning those bodies someplace off site instead of burying them next to the food supply.  Why isn’t our new doctor friend chiming in on this?!  Well, at least Carl has something to do with the crosses that he’s making in creepy, remedial shop class.

The worst funeral ever is interrupted by a mob of zombies that were attracted by all the hubbub and are now joining the effort to take down the already questionable fence.  Catching up on your reading and redecorating your jail cell are all well and good, but why has nobody thought about reinforcing that fence in the whole time they’ve been there?  Now all our main players are looking supremely boned.  Except, it is essentially all of our main players, so of course Rick is gonna get the crazy glimmer in his eye and save the day.

EXCEPT THIS SOLUTION IS NOT OKAY, RICK.  For real, this scene makes me the most upset that I have ever been watching this show.  He slices those poor little piggies so slowly and then throws them to be killed so terribly and it’s tearing me apart from the inside.  I don’t even care that they probably brought Death Flu to the prison.  I say the people should have died and the animals should have lived.  I would watch a show about adorable pigs frolicking with zombies.

I’m so worked up, I don’t even want to see the cliffhanger of the week.  Except it looks kind of interesting and confusing, so I’m back in.  Tyreese goes to bring Karen some flowers in the totally unprotected quarantine area, and finds a trail of blood.  He obviously follows the blood super duper slowly, because there’s probably nothing to be alarmed about.  Just your girlfriend’s smoldering body.

Or is it?!  I’m always wary of unrecognizable burn victims when there’s a saboteur on the loose.  It’s one of my mottos in life.

Check out Hillary’s Previous Post:

S04 E01: 30 Days Without An Accident Review

Super Lux, Showcase, Chestnut Hill

This Sunday, we were invited to a birthday celebration at The Showcase Superlux Cinema in Chestnut Hill, MA. Because it was such a cool experience with great people, we’ve decided to do yet another collaborative post!

Ever the early-birds, we were the first to arrive in the upscale lobby that we were quick to adapt as our own. Our expected guests? Old friends Kathryn and Tim, who had planned this venture with two more soon-to-be friends: TJ and birthday girl Sarah.

As they made their entrance, we greeted them with hugs and took a quick detour to the bar. Spencer ordered an (allegedly) delicious Pumpkinhead Draft Beer with Cinnamon Sugar on the rim. The ever-behaved AJ ordered water in a glass that put all others to shame.

Then we were off – Six (6) kids walking into a small version of an adult (child-restricting) Disney-esque-movie-land.

Our loyal readers know that, two weeks ago, we met the Cinema Pub, who was born of a hungry movie theatre. Showcase Superlux is a decadent creation of a movie theatre plastic surgeon/cyborg scientist without a budget. Seriously, folks, imagine Frankenstein as a female and created by Dr. Christian Troy (Yeah, the guy from Nip/Tuck – Spencer had to Google it).

What was the movie?  Carrie: The 2013 remake. It basically follows the original story-line. Key difference: this time around, the bullies have cellphones.

What were the opinions? AJ: They’ve got YouTube! So why aren’t the high school mean girls perseverating over Facebook and all the other online tools of modern day bullying? Did they really think they would get away with that oversight?

Spencer: Agreed. Bullying is a hot topic. Cyber-bullying especially. Why not take it a step further? On the upside, Julianne Moore gives her typical 110%. Kathryn and I agreed that Chloe Moretz is a bit too pretty, but adequately awkward in the lead role. I wasn’t a huge fan of the coddling gym teacher. Especially when she said things like:

Don't worry, Carrie. There may be a horrible video of you floating around on Youtube that's inexplicably getting ZERO national attention, but luckily there are absolutely no other social media sites for said video to be shared or liked or retweeted.

It’s ok, Carrie. That horrible video of you floating around on Youtube is inexplicably getting ZERO national attention. Probably because no one’s sharing or liking or retweeting it.

Let’s face it – it’s hard merging modern elements with a classic story. I’ll admit that nothing about the movie was bad, but it wasn’t terribly satisfying either. Luckily, we had the food for that.

What did we think of the theatre? Well, there’s so much to say about the space. After all, it’s quite a novel concept. A brand-new spin on the traditional movie-going experience. There’s a lot to cover. So here’s a hybrid of three checklists:

First Impressions:

  1. Lobby Decor – Were we on the set of Star Trek or Austin Powers? Either way, AJ loved the red chair and readily claimed it as his own.
  2. Restrooms’ Condition – VERY clean and everything was motion sensor’d EXCEPT for the paper towel dispenser – much to Spencer’s chagrin. 

Presentation Room/Theatre:

  1. Condition/Cleanliness – kinda felt like we were the first to use the theatre. It’s that well cared for.
  2. Soundproofing – we were in theatre #2 and we didn’t hear anything from the neighboring theatres, which isn’t always the case in Showcase locations. 
  3. Décor  – you see the lobby, the rest of the space is in the same theme. 
  4. Ceiling Height  – So high that we could barely see the can lighting in our peripheral vision. 
  5. Lighting – we were kinda eating in the dark. Probably won’t choose last row seats next time. 
  6. Heating/Ventilation  – very comfortable. We usually freeze at the movies. 
  7. Sound System  – very good. 
  8. Equipment (e.g. tables, chairs)  – the chairs were comfy motorized recliners. The swing over tray tables were a little too small for big meals. 

How was the food? 

That's right - Swanky as this place was, they even had AJ's popcorn. And assorted candies!

That’s right – Swanky as this place was, they even had AJ’s popcorn. AND assorted candies!

  1. Presentation  – We went for dinner in a movie theatre, yet the waitress was dressed like the doorman at a fancy hotel and the food was served on real dishes with metal flatware and the iced water was in a beautiful glass. It was nearly white glove. The waitress was sweet and took polite advantage of AJ’s personality and had a little fun with us, too.
  2. Menu Selections, Prices  Fair and very tasty.
    1. Chicken Parmesan Spring Rolls ($11) With homemade marinara and shaved parmesan cheese. A unique twist on a simple concept.
    2. Shrimp & Watermelon Salad ($15) With Cajun bacon, ripe avocado, red onion, citrus vinaigrette and a light balsamic glaze. Spencer’s choice. The shrimp was exquisite.
    3. Roasted Turkey Club ($12) Our oven-roasted turkey with bacon, Vermont cheddar, lettuce, tomato and mayo served with hand-cut fries. AJ’s dish. Can’t wait to feast on the other half tomorrow!
  3. Creativity – Who’da thunk…build a fancy shmansey theatre and people will come. Ticket price is $28 which includes a $5 food and beverage voucher and unlimited, free popcorn. We got our money’s worth and we are planning another visit. 
  4. Willing to Divert from Menu – Yes, AJ wanted add-ons to his sandwich and the answer was “Yes.” and there was no up-charge.
  5. Service – Each chair came with it’s own service button for crying out loud! With the exception of the beginning and end of the film, we were attended to only by request. It made for a really positive movie-watching experience.

In the end, though, this event was about connecting with old friends and making new ones. While brief, it gave us an opportunity to relive the past and add some surprise elements. An idea that served as a theme for the night. Though something tells me we were more successful living it than the movie was at portraying it.

Not like we can help that. Mediating tradition and progress has always been our style. Oh well, at least our friends can keep up!

Photos courtesy of www.showcasesuperlux.com and Spencer Hensel.