If you're unfamiliar, here's why the Alamo beats your average movie theater: not only do all theaters have extensive drink and food menus, but theater-goers also enjoy seatside waiter service. Further, Alamo carries the air of a business started and run by people who are truly passionate about film, not just passionate about making money by showing films. Alamo is the only large/chain cinema I can ever recall patronizing where they tell audience members, in no uncertain terms, to turn their damn phones off, already. I'm not talking about those polite PSAs shoehorned inbetween Coca-Cola product placements, either- they will kick you the fuck out without a refund if you insist on using your phone during a screening. In short, my kind of people.
So, I'm excited. Or I was, until I saw the menu they've created for San Francisco. It's... well, it's very San Francisco:
This menu would be worthy of eyerolls in a small cafe, but at a movie theater is absurdly overwrought. Don't come at me with your ten types of salt and your "smashed" avocado. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy a fine dining experience as much as the next person- but is a darkened theater really the ideal setting to be eating ribs? Is your average filmgoer really thinking "I hope to Christ there's arugula" when they're headed down to the Ernest canon retrospective? Is goat cheese really what's been missing from the AMCs, the Cinemarks, and the Regals of America?
As a vegan, it's hard to say if I would have been more insulted by the complete omission of options than I am by the chef's belief that I want squash and broccoli on a pizza. Being vegan means I love the animals, not that I hate myself. Where are my boozy milkshakes? If you can offer a "chicken liver mousse" with huckleberry jam, surely some soy ice cream isn't too arcane or exotic an item to source (hint: try Trader Joe's)?
Which brings us back to The Shining. I am reminded of a moment I had while watching Room 237, a documentary about the insane theories and hidden meaning various fans have wheedled out of the film over the years. One interpretation, involving the genocide of American Indians, focuses heavily on the seemingly random placement of Calumet-brand baking powder in the kitchen of the Overlook Hotel. After five minutes of talking heads discussing this point, I found myself blurting "sometimes a can of baking powder is just a fucking can of baking powder!"
Sometimes a movie theater is just a fucking movie theater. Certainly, the Alamo is the highest caliber of theater that the average slob like myself can enjoy, and I truly appreciate that experience. But what makes the Alamo novel and exciting is the very experience of drinking and dining in the theater: you don't need to overthink the food because it's already fun at the most basic level. By fussing the menu up to State Bird Provisions-level hautery and omitting the prices, the Alamo New Mission truly lives up to its name: this is the New Mission, playground for speculative millionaires developing "disruptive" content.
Can I just get some fries?