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.
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.
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?
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!
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!
movie three in our journey was thor. similar to iron man, i had seen thor once before, but that was forever ago, and all i remembered was lovesick natalie portman and that big robot thing that shot a big laser thing out of its face. so, yes, it was time to rewatch it and actually absorb the story and understand how it fits into the bigger picture.
my honest review? thor left much to be desired, and even though chris hemsworth is unbelievably ripped, here are my biggest gripes:
thor’s storyline felt incredibly basic: spoiled son doesn’t get his way, so he starts a fight he can’t finish and gets put in timeout to learn a lesson. that’s it.
loki’s “origin story” was quite interesting, and he could have risen above his past but decides instead to also be selfish and cranky and take it out on everyone else. come on, loki.
the camera angles. why were so many of the camera angles at an awkward, tilted angle? do you want me paying attention to the movie or my easily triggered nausea?
once the movie finished and i gave my honest review, dave actually pulled up this video from the honest trailer series on youtube that perfectly sums up the movie and my feelings about it.
the good news is that our dinner was leaps and bounds better than the movie. phillip was in the mood for pizza, so dave and jenn picked up a couple pies from gordo’s pizza up the street. we had a supreme and then something with chicken, bacon, and pineapple. now, i’ve never been one to crave pineapple pizza. in fact, i’m probably one of those folks who never gave it much thought, but after those couple of slices, i just might be a believer! there’s something almost indescribable about warmed, sweet pineapple next to salty chicken and bacon and gobs of cheese. seriously!
so, let’s get to the rankings, shall we? after three movies and three restaurants, here’s where things stand. see you next time!