I CANNOT BELIEVE WE FINALLY DID IT. I’M SO AMPED UP THAT I THINK I’LL DO THIS POST IN ALL UPPERCASE, IT’S THAT EXCITING! IT’S SO UNBELIEVABLE I ALMOST DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH MYSELF.
just kidding. i know exactly what to do with myself, give you all the final mcu review you’ve been waiting to read for MONTHS. and i mean months. you guys have held on through the good, the bad, and the ugly, and we now get to wrap things up with my review of avengers: endgame. but first, for one time more, let’s talk food.
i saw this final night as a celebration, and we deserved to do it up big. sure, we could have easily gone to a fancy steakhouse for dinner, but since we had a few special guests joining us for the evening, we decided to stay in and go all out on ultimate charcuterie. i mean, it was just perfect. we had hard cheeses, soft cheeses, salamis, prosciuttos, olives, nuts, fruits, gherkins, crackers, baguette slices, thor hammers, infinity stones, hummus, spreads, and champagne, of course! it was a roaring success, and i’m not sure anything can top cheese and champagne. except perhaps cheetos and champagne. 🙂
we all loaded up our plates and settled into our spots. i mentioned we had some special guests joining us, and it was so great having kyle, kyle, liz, and dom with us for the big finale. even grace and gwen didn’t mind their company. so, with the lights dimmed and everyone set with food and drink, dave clicked play.
as we gathered for marvel night last week, i realized we had started this journey one year ago. i do not know which stuns me more: that another year has passed or that we are now just two movies away from the end of the infinity saga! both are pretty unbelievable, and it’s incredible what you can accomplish in 12 months’ time. i mean, i promise i did more in 2021 than just watch a bunch of superhero movies, but even that is time well spent!
we all were glowing with that new year energy and excitedly gathered around the table for cuban. i was pretty unsure what i was in the mood for, but trusty yelp suggested sandwiches and then directed us to tortugas cuban grill. jenn and i both went for the media noche, and i scarfed that thing down with minimal hesitation and even less manners. i mean, i’m not sure i was taking a breath between bites, only pausing to declare how delicious my dinner was. it had the right amount of zippy mustard with crunchy, briny pickles, all atop perfectly soft, fresh sweet cuban bread. i usually have leftovers during marvel night but left nothing in my box this time. even phillip was jealous of my meal, and that hardly ever happens! that’s not to say his pan con bistec sandwich wasn’t good, too, but this media noche really was a step above.
i also ordered a side of tostones for the group and will say it was a huge serving for only $4.25. the tostones were big (there were about 12 of them), and that green dressing/sauce that came on the side was heavenly. i only wish there had been more of that to go around!
dave was craving something a little more substantial and tried the pescado a la tortuga. to be honest, i’m still not sure how he felt about it, lol. the fish portion was generous, and there were lots of shrimp hiding in the secret sauce, but it seems it was a little underwhelming. perhaps it needed more flavor? perhaps it would be better in the restaurant? we may never know. all i will say is that if you said, “hey, kelsey, let’s meet at tortugas,” i’d be in the car before even replying to your message.
after washing up and refilling our drinks, we settled into our regular spots, this time to watch captain marvel. before i get into the details, i’ll say i thought this movie was fine and hope that marvel is going to play a key role in endgame, otherwise, what was the point? even before we clicked play, it confused me that they would introduce a new character so late in the game. but hey, what do i know?
well, for starters i know what i liked about this film, which includes…
all the 90s references
learning more about nick fury
getting to see agent coulson again (if you don’t love agent coulson, i’m uncertain if we can be friends)
goose the cat
the soundtrack (i’m always happy when no doubt comes on)
and there are the things i didn’t so much care for, like…
the fact that it took me a while to unravel exactly what was going on and who was really who (that may be more on me, but perhaps it is due to confusing storytelling)
all of the unclear flashbacks with lawson
that they found lawson’s space lab so quickly
how fury loses his eye (really, they couldn’t think of anything else?)
all feelings aside, though, we are somehow just about done! will i be emotional when we watch endgame next week? will our next meal dethrone tortugas? will i wonder what to do with myself now that we are done? how will 2022 possibly live up to all i saw in 2021? we are only one 3-hour movie away from finding out, and i am excited to see how things end.
after a casual social hangout down the street at social fox brewing, we picked up dinner from james beard award-winning masterpiece. this spot was recommended by our friend liz, and this time around i followed her advice and ordered the double cooked pork. a bite of pork with a bite of white rice was perfectly balanced and flavorful. i also had several dumplings and pot stickers, which alone were just okay but with that red sauce were quite scrumptious. philip, who only fully finishes a meal when he really loves it, cleared his whole container of chicken fried rice in record time, and jenn said her stir fried diced chicken with broccoli wasn’t bad at all.
although there will always be plenty of new restaurants for us to try, we are rounding third and heading home with our mcu journey, and this week we fired up avengers: infinity war on disney+. now, many folks have told me how much they love this movie, and i vowed to stay awake the whole time to see if i could appreciate it like my friends. well, with so much happening in this film, i decided i needed to watch it a second time before i could give it a proper review, and instead of providing a semi-high-level review, i decided to blog about it while watching it again. there’s just so much that happened in those 2.5 hours! with a lot going on, i decided to categorize my thoughts into four general groupings. i hope you enjoy this approach!
badass things that helped me appreciate the mcu
thor getting his new hammer
tony being perceptive enough to understand that if the time stone is the avengers’ greatest weapon then it can be thanos’ greatest weapon, too
the 678 area code in steve rogers’ number
dr. strange showing off his powers
spider-man’s new suit from tony
the scene when iron man and spider-man free dr. strange
iron man understanding that they need to take the fight to thanos (even though thanos ends up on earth anyway)
strange understanding he needed to keep tony alive for the end game
thor getting a new eye 🙂
spider-man officially becoming an avenger
confusing/annoying things that made me go “whatever”
trying to understanding why they never just chopped off thanos’ arm rather than trying to pull the gauntlet off
captain america’s unnecessary facial hair
no other bad guys on that ship that took dr. strange, but hey, i’ll take it
quill not controlling himself after he hears about gamora’s death and wanda leaving vision’s side during the fight in wakanda – you had one job! although, i am also human and cannot say i would have done any different
thanos’ minions finding the time stone and mind stone on earth awfully fast
thor being able to breathe regardless of the atmosphere (but i guess he is a god, so sure)
funny things that made me lol
quill imitating thor
mantis asking if the avengers are mighty heroes like kevin bacon
the ben & jerry’s flavors named after bruce and tony
spider-man’s friend causing a distraction on the bus
thor referring to rocket as rabbit
everyone admiring thor’s muscles
drax creeping on quill and gamora
no one following quill’s directions during their attacks
rhodey telling bruce to bow when they arrive at wakanda
all of spider-man’s pop culture references
just about anything drax says
angsty, teenage groot
rocket wanting to buy bucky’s arm
oh damn things that made me go, well, “oh, damn”
thanos overall being a freaking lunatic
thanos killing loki
vision getting stabbed
finding out more about gamora’s past and what thanos did to her planet
poor nebula’s punishment
redskull making a reappearance on vormir
everything about the soul stone, including gamora dying (i actually went “oh, shit” on this one)
those nasty-ass creatures that attack wakanda
when thanos shows up on earth
thanos reversing time to take the mind stone – yikes!
realizing that thanos snapped his fingers to destroy half of all life; they were freaking ruthless with that
at the end of the day, though, here’s what i might like most about this film: that for me iron man and thor have solidified themselves as my favorite avengers and that the avengers finally met their match. i mean, my heart was beating plenty throughout, and i truly look forward to seeing how things go down from here. i feel like the stakes are higher than ever now!
although we are well over halfway through the original mcu films, i finally hit my point after this last one that i am very ready to be done. i don’t think it’s that i’m not having fun; rather, it’s the knowledge that after we finish these originals that there is still so much more we can watch. like loki’s series! seriously, that’s most of what i’m living for right now, lol. but, we’ve come this far, and i think i can power through the rest.
like always, let’s start with the food. we went for bbq (yes, again), and when i say it was forgettable, that might be more on me than the food. we did this latest movie night several weeks ago, and since the food was not mind-blowing, it simply has faded to the background for me. we picked up dinner from sonny’s bbq. i feel like i have been on a bowl/casserole kick lately because that night i ordered the loaded tots. i mean, it’s kind of hard to turn down tots and queso and bbq. was it worth the calories? meh. but you know what i would happily order again? the okra. oof, that was especially good because it came with a side of ranch for dipping which only made it better. phillip went for the chopped, marbled beef brisket and definitely had leftovers. because it was so much food? possibly. because it wasn’t that good? also possibly. at the end of the day, i simply have had better bbq.
i don’t know that this week’s movie probably should be categorized as a comedy/funny, however, now that i’ve watched it a few times since, i appreciate all the small jokes and jabs throughout the film. which movie? thor: ragnarok. i understand the overarching story line is pretty perilous with hela’s unmatched strength and seething rage, but didn’t you chuckle when thor was strapped to that chair on his way to meet the grandmaster? i know we were all having flashbacks to that boat scene in willy wonka & the chocolate factory.
the snake story thor tells about loki made me smile, and the valkyrie (scrapper 142) helped keep things light, too. and even i must admit that thor getting his thunder power without his hammer was pretty dope. but let me ask this, does he get his eye back in a later film? please tell me the answer is yes! i’m finding that although my initial reaction to the movie the first time was “it was fine,” the more i watch the movie, the more i like it.
sometimes first impressions aren’t always accurate, but sometimes they are. let’s see how sonny’s and thor stack up to the competition.
i am torn on how to rate this week’s movie and restaurant. on both i was initially extremely critical; i’d had a long week, i was tired, we didn’t start the movie until very late. all factors perfectly poised to set me up for disappointment. however, after a little further consideration, i think we may come out with a better, more accurate rating overall. i wouldn’t say either skyrocketed themselves to first place, but both were worth a second take.
there’s a new-ish spot in town called rose & olives, and since we had a coupon (who doesn’t love a good coupon?), we decided to give them our business. i’ll be honest, it felt like we ordered the entire menu, which is saying something because their menu is HUGE. i mean it. if you go online to view their menu, you’ll be scrolling for hours. we went all in on appetizers, entrees, and dessert. of everything we ate, i’ll go ahead and declare the feta dip was my favorite and could easily have eaten the whole thing myself with no shame at all. the caprese salad was mediocre at best, and i wish we’d simply done two orders of feta dip instead.
as for the entrees, phillip’s gyro was delicious (i may have snagged a bite or two), and jenn’s tabbouleh salad with grilled salmon looked very satisfying. on the other hand, the restaurant forgot to pack dave’s cornish hen kabob plate, and my chicken kabob platter felt a little on the dry side. the dessert sampler tried to make up for things, and the chocolate truffle did a decent job. part of me wants to give them another chance (perhaps eat in the restaurant instead of picking up), and another part of me really thinks life’s too short for restaurants that don’t spin your spurs. if we ever go back, i’ll let you know.
with full bellies that were semi-satisfied, we settled into our movie-watching spots for avengers: age of ultron. again, my initial review of this movie was that it was one of the worse ones in the universe. i felt like it dragged on for so long and required a lot of information from other movies about other characters that it was at times difficult and un-fun to stay engaged. it probably doesn’t help that i nodded off a time or two, likely during parts critical to the storyline. like some of the other movies, some things here just seemed too convenient or too predictable. ultron, with no prior knowledge of anything, suddenly has a huge grudge against all mankind and wants to destroy everyone. poor bruce banner gets riled up by his teammates to unleash a power he cannot control but must use for the greater good. and nick fury suddenly appears right at the right time at the end with his big ship full of perfectly sized smaller ships that have just enough seats for all sokovian citizens. i’m sensing a theme…
the good news is i think were a handful of redeeming moments throughout, such as towards the start when everyone tries to pick up thor’s hammer at the party or thor’s weird but amusing mindwarp scene. i wasn’t thrilled when jarvis died but understand not all the heroes can survive, and the fight scenes in this film were pretty legit. i think more than anything, though, i appreciate that this movie sets us up for whatever may be next. someone’s on the hunt for the infinity stones, and it’s up to the avengers to assemble and find out.
so, here we are, easily halfway through the journey and countless other restaurants to try. how did the avengers place this time around?
another mcu night called for another sequel, this time for the one and only thor. and like chris hemsworth, our dinner that evening was beefy. we were craving some barbecue and ordered from nearby cue. on the verge of becoming unpleasantly hangry, i only had time to snap a couple photos of my meal, the fresh garden salad with shredded pork on top. did this salad change my life? not quite, but with enough chipotle ranch and bbq sauce slathered on top of that generous mound of meat, it was a pretty enjoyable bite. dave also had a salad but went for the southwestern barbecue chicken salad, and jenn and phillip both had platters. i’d be lying if i said phillip’s brisket and jenn’s side of mac’n’cheese didn’t make me a little jealous. good thing i can always hop in the car and go get some for myself!
but what about thor: the dark world? was it as mildly enjoyable as our dinner? i’d actually say it was better than expected. generally i feel like thor’s films have gotten sour reviews, but after watching the movie and catching it a couple more times on tv, i came to really like it. i was pleased to see that thor was much less self-involved this time around, and i don’t know that i’ll ever be able to get enough tom hiddleston. despite some selfish motives, the brothers came together to set aside their differences for the greater good, giving us plenty reason to root for them both. i was glad that jane generally wasn’t the center of the story, as she’s never been my favorite, but her rag-tag team of scientists are always a joy to watch.
our commitment to new movies and new restaurants is stronger than ever, so bring on the rankings!
we’ve been chugging right along through the restaurants in our city and the films of the marvel cinematic universe, and after winter solider we decided to take to lighten the mood a bit with guardians. before the movie, though, came dinner, and before dinner came a shot of tequila to get the party goin’. ole!
everybody that night was on board for mexican, so we ordered from a spot new to all of us, alebrije mexican restaurant. i don’t think any mexican meal is complete without a queso appetizer, so we ordered two bowlfuls and ate every last melty drop. you know how sometimes when you order dip there aren’t enough chips? definitely not the case here; we had plenty of chips for the queso and then some to spare! our entrees were just as satisfying as the queso, from the taco combo dinner to the shredded lettuce salad dinner to the steak ancho pepper fajita dinner and the pollo yucateco dinner, everything was so delicious that there were hardly any leftovers to box up. can you ask for more?
yes, you can ask for more. you can ask for a movie that ticks just about all the boxes for what a fun movie should be. guardians of the galaxy felt like the perfect balance of heavy (i like how all the misfits had their own backstory) and comedy (“bunch of jackasses, standing in a circle.”). i do think i saw the movie ages ago after it first came out and all the hype had built it up, but i remember not loving it then. the good news is that tastes change, and i thoroughly enjoyed the film this second time around. the soundtrack, yes, was refreshing, and that jail breakout scene was a joy to watch. the guardians are an unexpected bunch, which i guess is part of their draw, and i’d gladly sit through the film again any time. 🙂
with all that, how have alebrije and the guardians shook up the ratings? let’s see!
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!
we decided it was time to keep on with iron man’s personal saga and forged ahead through iron man 3. as most of these movies have started, people who were insecure decided to use good technology and science for less than good motives, manipulate others to rise to “power,” and then take out their grudges on the innocent. sound familiar? i think my favorite parts were when tony stark crossed paths with harley in his garage and then gary in the news van. gotta love a good boy crush. oh, and happy getting better. 🙂 that was a nice touch. my less favorite parts? killian shooting hansen, pepper just having to survive her extremis treatment so that she can perfectly intervene to save tony, and all the suits blowing up. again, necessary? no. a little “forced” to make the storyline work? probably.
something else that felt forced that night was our dinner. we picked up a couple of pizzas from the local pizza place up the street, 2 nyers pizza. now, i have had their pizza before, and the first time we tried them was via delivery. it was okay, in all honesty. then, i thought we should give them another chance and we ate at the restaurant, and it was like a whole different experience. the bianca and meat lovers pizzas are hands down our favorites, and the staff is so friendly! but this night the pies weren’t as flavorful as they usually are, the dough was very chewy and not light and slightly crisp like i’d come to expect. it definitely was not their best performance, and i think i’ve determined they are one of the places that is best to enjoy at the restaurant.
i think at this point in the journey, i am ready to meet some new heroes and try some new types of food. we need to mix it up a little bit!
after a brief hiatus, we are back on our mcu journey, and this weekend phillip picked the eats while dave and jenn picked the flick. as always, let’s start with dinner.
phillip said he was in the mood for burgers, so we decided to try wayback burgers. when the boys brought dinner home and we unwrapped our meals, i was at first very excited. the double patty burger was loaded with all the classic burger toppings and even real strips of bacon. i chomped down on my double bacon everything in ravenous fashion and at first thought, “wow, this is what a classic burger should be!” dave and phillip had the same, and even though we all three ate our entire meals, we decided at the end they weren’t as satisfying as we had hoped. jenn was also underwhelmed, not even finishing her classic burger. the bacon on both the burgers and the bacon cheese fries was not nearly crispy enough, and overall it was as though it was too much of a good thing. if there is a saving grace here, it was the mac’n’cheese bites. those were pretty fun. oh, and dave’s watermelon-pineapple frozen margaritas. those kinda saved the day.
the better news from this mcu evening is that the movie was a hit! we dove into the world of ant-man, a new mcu movie to me, and i really do not think i could have been more pleased. paul rudd? love him. michael pena? never seen him in a movie i didn’t like. the super extra shrinking and enlarging and honestly ridiculously silly parts towards the end? totally okay with it all in this film! i feel like this movie embraced its quirky side and could not have cast the characters better, in my expert mcu opinion. although it felt like it dragged there a little in the middle, it was worth the two hours to watch that gigantic thomas the tank engine and his googly eyes at the end. am i right?
despite the polar opposites between the meal and the movie, the rankings are now a little shook up and getting interesting!