an mcu journey: an al dente dinner with modern vibes

the delicious eats and fun flicks are still a-comin’, and although i feel like we still have a good chunk to get through, we’ve come so far! you know what’s up. we’ve had the good, the bad, the better, the worse, and if i had to describe everything for this week of adventure, i’d say everything was solidly solid. wait, is it grammatically acceptable to use an adjective to describe itself? sure, why not!

first up is dinner, and one food group we had not yet enjoyed together for marvel night was italian. i mean, we’ve had pizza, but i’m talking pastas and marinaras and garlicky goodness.

phillip and i were super ready to recommend we order dinner from nearby alessio’s. we had tried them for his birthday dinner last year via delivery during the pandemic, and they just might be one of my favorite italian places in town. if i were force fed the tortellii cardinal every day for a week, i would gladly welcome the challenge. phillip tried the ravioli, which i admit was divine. dave and jenn both had parmigiana, dave the veal and jenn the chicken. dave had never had veal before and commented that the texture seemed a little off. could it be because it was delivered? would it be better fresh out of the oven, tableside? is it possible that veal simply is not for him? i guess we’ll just need to eat at the restaurant soon to settle it!

so, dinner was a hit, as far as my dish was concerned. can we say the same for the movie? well, i don’t know that i’d give black panther the highest marks, but it definitely is not at the back of the pack. i feel like it was quite a hit when it first released in 2018, and i’ll admit i was looking forward to seeing it for myself. and now thinking back on it, i first was a huge fan of the fact that this movie takes place in a completely different setting from all the other movies i have seen so far. although most of the scenery is probably computer-generated, it was a nice change. i also appreciate that the start of the movie is very straightforward and explains the history of wakanda; it was helpful to get some direct insight right upfront!

from the vibranium thieves to n’jadaka’s thirst for revenge, i liked the multi-layered conflict throughout the film. the soundtrack was pretty awesome, too, and i was especially glad that at the end t’challa chose to open an outreach center. i really don’t know that there was a better way to conclude the movie.

you know, as i sit here thinking and writing about the restaurant and the movie, i think they both get higher ratings that i originally planned. it’s anybody’s game at this point!

EATS

  1. sweet octopus
  2. alessio’s
  3. gordo’s pizza
  4. alebrije mexican restaurant
  5. jim’n’nick’s
  6. burger 21
  7. jerusalem bakery
  8. armando’s caribe
  9. honeypig
  10. cue barbecue
  11. lon u
  12. rose and olive
  13. wayback burger
  14. 2 nyers pizza
  15. tokyo shokudo

MOVIES

  1. iron man
  2. ant-man
  3. spider-man: homecoming
  4. guardians of the galaxy
  5. captain america: the first avenger
  6. black panther
  7. thor: the dark world
  8. captain america: civil war
  9. thor
  10. avengers: age of ultron
  11. captain america: the winter soldier
  12. doctor strange
  13. iron man 3
  14. the avengers
  15. iron man 2

an mcu journey: meat & magic

oh man, where do i start? if i sound exasperated, it’s because i am! this journey has come to feel more like a saga, but i’ve put in this much time so far. just gotta finish the drill!

a couple weeks ago phillip and dave were out and about for some quality bro time and drove right to our next restaurant pick, honeypig. korean bbq? right up my alley! i wasted no time ordering the bulgogi bowl (which phillip had, too), and jenn ordered the be be bop with chicken. the brothy soup was a great start, and i nearly scarfed down the bulgogi, fitting in bites of rice and kimchi, too. however, everything else in my to-go container was, unfortunately, forgettable. from what i recall, jenn’s chicken dish was just okay, and i couldn’t even tell you what dave had. i guess that says it all, doesn’t it? maybe it’s a better experience at the restaurant than at home…i mean, who doesn’t love that k-pop/grilling atmosphere?

like our meal, this week’s movie was mostly mediocre with hints of harry potter and inception in the wild world of doctor strange. i was warned ahead of time that this movie is very unlike the others in the mcu and am glad i had a head’s up so that i could brace myself for the weird experience i was about to have. despite some killer cast members (who can ever have enough benjamin bratt or chiwetel ejiofor?), i had a hard time really connecting with stephen strange’s character. i mean, we all know he was a huge jerk at the start of the movie, and even as he started gaining his powers (which happened awfully quickly), he still seemed to be selfishly focused on only what was in it all for him. it wasn’t until he just happened to be around as the sanctums started to collapse that he really cared to consider how he could help others with what he had learned. there was the slightest glimmer of redemption when he apologized to christine, but that still only came when he needed something from her.

now, enough of that critique, let’s focus on others! the out-of-body astral fights had me rolling my eyes, and the absurdly pathetic security protocols were disappointing. i mean, why didn’t that special book have a few more locks or guards around!? and as i rewatched the movie earlier this morning to refresh my memory, a big question finally dawned on me: why are all these other beings from other universes and worlds wanting to always destroy earth? there aren’t other uninhabited planets to conquer? guess that wouldn’t make for a very entertaining movie franchise.

i did like the special effects and appreciated the comic relief doctor strange’s cape relic brought in a couple fight scenes. other than that, i’m not sure there was much for me to love here. oh well, gotta have the bad to appreciate the good i guess.

both picks this time around were very middle of the pack-ish. cannot wait to see if the rankings get mixed up a bit as things progress!

EATS

  1. sweet octopus
  2. gordo’s pizza
  3. alebrije mexican restaurant
  4. jim’n’nick’s
  5. burger 21
  6. jerusalem bakery
  7. armando’s caribe
  8. honeypig
  9. cue barbecue
  10. lon u
  11. rose and olive
  12. wayback burger
  13. 2 nyers pizza
  14. tokyo shokudo

MOVIES

  1. iron man
  2. ant-man
  3. spider-man: homecoming
  4. guardians of the galaxy
  5. captain america: the first avenger
  6. thor: the dark world
  7. captain america: civil war
  8. thor
  9. avengers: age of ultron
  10. captain america: the winter soldier
  11. doctor strange
  12. iron man 3
  13. the avengers
  14. iron man 2

an mcu journey: comfort food & fight scenes

this next leg on our journey was, ooh, a doozie. the food hit the spot, and the movie was a turning point for me, i think in a good way. more on that shortly, so let’s talk the nomsies first. dave was craving more bbq, so we picked up some jim’n’nick’s, and i’m not sure i am able to get jim’n’nick’s a fair review. not because i don’t like the place. rather, they were founded in my hometown of birmingham, al, so i’ve been eating here for years! this time i still loved it like i always have, and even though i usually go with a dinner plate or sometimes a salad, tonight was all about just ordering good food. so, i had the loaded mac & cheese all to myself. this plate was heavy and gooey and savory, everything i was wanting. the collards were the perfect southern side, and you know there’s never enough cheese biscuits. jim’n’nick’s, you’re welcome at our table anytime.

now, let’s talk about the movie. next up was captain america: civil war, and after my first watch of it, i thought, “what a waste of time.” this movie is absurdly long in my opinion and continues to recycle the generic storyline of someone seeking revenge and marvel taking hours to get to the point. seriously, i thought this movie was going straight to the bottom of the list. but, a few weeks went by after first seeing it, and i watched it again to refresh my memory and give it a fair shake for the rankings.

i think i have come to the realization that if i am going to make it through the rest of the mcu movies, i need to come to terms with the fact that the general plotline will always include a devious bad guy and the avengers battling them for the good of the world. if i can see past that, i think i’ll be able to get through the rest of the films just fine. so, instead of dwelling on what i didn’t like about the movie (of which my biggest gripes were the super-extra airport fight scene and the super unnecessary wanda-vision love affair that is beginning), let’s talk the good parts:

  • i love that we got introduced to blank panther and spider-man in this film. cannot wait to hear more about them.
  • the fight scenes were pretty kick-ass in this movie. i think my favorite was captain america and bucky taking on the authorities in the apartment complex. oh, and the fight at the end between captain america and iron man was pretty legit and raw, too.
  • finally, i really appreciated the true conflict going on among the avengers. i’d been struggling with all the trouble the avengers were causing for the human race and am glad this film addressed their accountability. deep stuff, am i right?

so, we’re making progress, slowly but surely. i look forward to getting to know some new characters, soon, and continuing to see more stories weave together.

EATS

  1. gordo’s pizza
  2. alebrije mexican restaurant
  3. jim’n’nick’s
  4. burger 21
  5. jerusalem bakery
  6. armando’s caribe
  7. cue barbecue
  8. lon u
  9. rose and olive
  10. wayback burger
  11. 2 nyers pizza
  12. tokyo shokudo

MOVIES

  1. iron man
  2. ant-man
  3. guardians of the galaxy
  4. captain america: the first avenger
  5. thor: the dark world
  6. captain america: civil war
  7. thor
  8. avengers: age of ultron
  9. captain america: the winter soldier
  10. iron man 3
  11. the avengers
  12. iron man 2

an mcu journey: mega ships & raw fish

well, last week i mentioned to you that i was ready to mix things up. i felt like we were getting in a character and food rut, so we definitely got a taste of something different this week. we’ll get the bad news out of the way first, not that there’s particularly stellar news to share afterwards…

i told dave that burgers and pizza were out of the question, so he suggested we do japanese for dinner. it’s been a while since i’ve had a good roll of sushi, so i was game. we did some searching online and decided to give tokyo shokudo a chance. looking back, there were plenty of red flags and, in hindsight, we should have run in the other direction. no, not just run. we should have sprinted away.

first, i’m not saying that every restaurant needs to have a fancy website, but the only way to view their menu is through three pictures on their google maps profile. i get that sometimes the best places to eat are those that aren’t glitzy and are those hole-in-the-wall type of joints, but in viewing the menu, i was already questioning our choice. not wanting to be a debbie downer, though, i went with the flow and let phillip know what i wanted so that he could call and place the order.

jenn and i stayed at home with grace and gwen while the boys went to go get dinner. conversation was pleasant (as always), the weather outside was lovely, and the dogs were getting in some good zoomies, but we both started wondering what was taking so long. i wouldn’t say we were hangry, but tokyo shokudo is right down the street, and it’s not like we ordered one of everything. no sooner were those thoughts in our mind than they returned, shaking their heads. we knew there was a story to tell!

the guys arrived at tokyo shokudo, and it sounds like no one greeted them at all. not a good start. the sushi chef asked who they were, they replied, and he said it would be 20 minutes before the food was ready. the guys decided to go on a quick white claw run while waiting, and upon returning to the restaurant, the food still was not ready. the chef gestured to phillip and dave to have a seat, and although it sounds like he meant to come across nicely, his demeanor was just plain prickly. finally, everything was ready and packed up and we sat down at the dinner table to chow down. dave’s sashimi bowl looked very appetizing, and the sushi rolls phillip and i ordered were bright and colorful and just what i was in the mood for. i eagerly snapped apart my chopsticks, poured myself a little soy sauce, and grabbed a piece of the spicy tuna roll. i’ll say it was perfectly spicy and perfectly tasty. i always love getting tuna with my sushi. i then went to grab a piece of the yummy yummy roll but frowned as i discovered a nice little piece of plastic wrap clinging to the top of the salmon slice. if the service had been impeccable and speedy, i would have been able to forgive what was probably an honest oversight. however, the experience overall was pretty disappointing, and it is hard to come back from plastic wrap on your sushi. i think it’s safe to say we’ll be looking for another sushi spot in town to satisfy our raw fish craving.

i wish i could say things with the movie improved greatly, but at least the evening didn’t deteriorate into anything worse than plastic wrap covered sushi. dave had suggested we watch captain america: the winter soldier next, so that is exactly what we did. i feel like i am generally inclined to like captain america simply because he seems to be the most grounded of all the marvel heroes, and even though his characterization proved to be true throughout this movie, i feel like the plot took some eye roll-inducing turns when that creepy-ass zola consciousness started talking, when bucky barnes (whom i didn’t recognize at all) made a “dramatic” reappearance, and when the super-critical controller chips on these humongous ships were being guarded by no one. again, whatever makes the storyline work…

if there is anything i liked about this movie, it was getting to know a little bit more about sam wilson (falcon) and seeing more of black widow. i wasn’t so sure about her during our first encounter, but she’s starting to grow on me. let’s see how it affects the rankings!

EATS

  1. gordo’s pizza
  2. burger 21
  3. jerusalem bakery
  4. armando’s caribe
  5. lon u
  6. wayback burger
  7. 2 nyers pizza
  8. tokyo shokudo

MOVIES

  1. iron man
  2. ant-man
  3. captain america: the first avenger
  4. thor
  5. captain america: the winter soldier
  6. iron man 3
  7. the avengers
  8. iron man 2