Anal Vice

Rule 11: Do not bother children when they are skateboarding
—-Jordan Peterson, 12 Rules for Life – An Antidote to Chaos

Back a few months, with Mother’s Day approaching, I was struggling with figuring out what to do.

I checked the Alamo Drafthouse app on my phone and discovered they were having a Mother’s Day brunch along with a showing of “The Sound of Music.” I remembered that Candy had said once, years ago, that this was one of her favorite musicals. It seemed a little pricey (at first) but I went ahead and bought three tickets. Nick would be up from Houston to visit and that would be a nice mother’s day.

I told Candy (couldn’t really keep it a surprise) and she was worried about Nick.
“I don’t think he’ll like the movie,” she said.

She reminded of one time, years ago, when She, Lee, and I were watching The Sound of Music on TV and Nick walked through the living room.

“What are you watching? What kind of sick stuff is this? What are they singing about? Anal Vice?” he said.

The song, of course, was not “Anal Vice,” but “Edelweiss.”

Alamo Drafthouse is the only movie theater chain we will frequent. The food (and drafts) are good, I love the bits they show before the films, but the real attraction are their policies. One, if they catch you talking or using your phone during the film, they throw you out. Two, and the big one for me, is they do not allow anyone to arrive late. It drives me nuts how, at a regular movie theater, people keep streaming in, searching for their seat, twenty minutes after the show starts. Assigned seats and these policies are the only way to make movie-going worthwhile.

I texted Nick to ask if it was OK for him to see The Sound of Music.

“Y’all paint me as some uncultured brute,” he replied. So he was good to go.

As it turned out, the thing was fantastic. It had seemed pricey at first – but the food was amazing and way more than worth the cost all by itself. The staff came out before the film and explained how hard they had worked on the menu (Austrian themed) and hoped we enjoyed ourselves. The film was sold out and the logistics of getting four courses of food (and wine) out to all those seats in the dark, during a film was incredible.

One good thing is that the film had an intermission and that was when they brought out the main course (Schnitzel, poached eggs, asparagus, tomato) so we could eat that with the house lights up a little. Of course, the movie was fantastic. Your forget how much these classic films were designed to be seen in a theater, on a big screen, and not on a television. Really enjoyable.

So, I’m going to keep an eye on the Alamo Drafthouse to see when they will do something like this again. A close eye – this one sold out in hours. It’s a really special special treat.

Just don’t forget to turn your phone off.

Smoke

One restaurant that everyone in Dallas has to eat at is Smoke in the Belmont Hotel. It has been the vanguard of the revitalization of Oak Cliff – about to come to fruition with the impending opening of the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge (unfortunately I will be out of town for the grand opening festivities). The Bar at the Belmont is one of my favorite places and the restaurant next door is not far behind.

Smoke is an upscale Bar-B-Que sort of place – a very non-traditional Texas Bar-B-Que – no serving line where greasy slabs of meat are slopped onto your foam plate and you choose the green beans on the side (not that there is anything wrong with that). You do get the seductive smell from the smokehouse out back and the piles of wood are carefully displayed to make sure you know where the goodness is coming from.

Smoke works hard to serve selections of local, handmade, and artisanal ingredients. It is a popular and crowded restaurant. Usually I don’t like to wait very long for a table (I don’t do well with the packed, chatty crowd), but they enter your phone into an iPad and you can sneak next door to the Bar Belmont to enjoy the skyline while you wait. They’ll send you a text when your spot is ready.

The brunch menu was up when we ordered. It was all good. I had the eggs florentine – with smoked salmon and collard greens (instead of spinach). I know this sounds odd – but it was the greens that made the dish. The slightly wild and bitter flavor of the collard greens added a bit of texture.

I appreciate the effort and thought that the chefs at Smoke put into their menu and the risk they took a few years ago to move into an area that seemed to be forever moribund. Luckily, it looks like their foresight, courage, and hard work is paying off and will continue into the future.

The view of the Belmont from the porch at Smoke - Dallas skyline in the background.

The porch and entrance at Smoke

Eggs Florentine at Smoke

Dallas Art Deco Architecture

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Smoke for Brunch 2012

Brunch at Smoke

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Smoke (Oak Cliff, Dallas, Tx)

Smoke restaurant in Oak Cliff

Smoke: a down to earth kind of place