Dinner and a movie is a timeless combination. And while you might not be leaving your house at the moment, you don’t really have to - there’s plenty to watch at home, and even more to order for delivery or takeout (how’s that for optimism?). Below, you’ll find our picks for great takeout and delivery, and which movie you should pair it with - 10 combinations to keep your quarantine nights feeling fun, and hopefully, just a bit more normal.
Movie Pairing: Casino Royale (HBO)
There are very few things in this world more “James Bond” than a martini - Aston Martins, submarine cars, and laser watches, maybe. But chances are high that you don’t have any of those. The martini kits at Jeffrey’s make five drinks, so by the end you’ll at least think that you’re ready to parkour your way through a construction site. And Casino Royale largely takes place in a casino, as you may have guessed, focused around a high-stakes poker game. We took that as an opportunity to dress up a little on a Friday night in, and ordered some food in addition to the martinis (Bond might never need to eat, but we do). If it fits your budget, go for the 32-day dry-aged steaks, or grab the dry-aged prime wagyu burger for something a little friendlier on the wallet.
Movie Pairing: Dazed and Confused (Amazon)
Alright, alright, alright - this one might be a little on the nose, but as soon as you see the glowing Top Notch sign at the beginning of Dazed and Confused, you’ll immediately get nostalgic for a time you may or may not have lived through. The best part is that not much about this place has changed - they still have the same delicious charcoal-grilled burgers that they’ve been cooking up for almost 60 years, and they just started their car hop service back up, so you can really feel like you’re living in Austin in the 70s. Grab a burger and make sure to throw in some onion rings. And we’re not saying you have to add on a milkshake, but it’d be a lot cooler if you did.
Movie Pairing: Tampopo (Google Play)
This 1985 cult-classic describes itself as a “ramen western,” and while it’s absurd at times, it still manages to act as a tribute to Japanese cuisine and culture, without ever taking itself too seriously. A few things you can expect to see: lessons from a ramen master, training montages with kitchen utensils, and an etiquette class on how to eat spaghetti properly. Warning - you will want ramen when this is done. And our favorite spot when that hits is Ramen Tatsu-Ya. We can’t really suggest a favorite bowl because they’re all beautiful in their own way.
Habana Restaurant & Bar
Movie Pairing: Chef (Amazon)
Chef was one of our favorite feel-good movies of 2014 - a quality we were very much in search of when we decided to revisit it recently. It’s a movie about a professional chef who just wants to cook what he’s passionate about - think montages of beautifully shot food, and a fun cross-country, father-son adventure that plays tributes to regional cuisines all along the way. When you inevitably find yourself craving a Cuban sandwich after (or during), we found the one from Habana really managed to hit the spot.
Movie Pairing: Paddington 2 (HBO)
Paddington 2 is the sequel to a film about a talking bear that loves orange marmalade. Not sold? Neither were we. But look past its cute, family-friendly mask, and you might be as surprised as us. The cinematography feels like a tribute to Wes Anderson, and the story is sincere enough to make up for that entire season of Too Hot To Handle that you just binged. Throw in some great performances by Brendan Gleeson, Sally Hawkins, and Hugh Grant and you’ve got yourself the highest rated movie on Rotten Tomatoes. The first movie is a lot of fun as well, if you find yourself suddenly invested in the Paddington Cinematic Universe, but not a necessary prerequisite. We laughed, we cried, and we wanted orange marmalade when it was all done. Fortunately the folks over at Swedish Hill make a great one, so you can keep the smiles going all weekend.
Movie Pairing: The World’s End (Amazon)
The third installment in the Cornetto Trilogy (a very loosely-related anthology series starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost), The World’s End finds a group of old friends reuniting to complete an epic pub crawl, only to make an important discovery. We won’t give anything else away, but we will say you’re going to want a nice cold pint and maybe a burger to get you through the journey. And Crown & Anchor is a favorite of ours for both. We usually go with the classic cheeseburger and fries, but the Crown BLT is just as great. Grab a growler to go and buckle in.
Movie Pairing: Sideways (Amazon)
“Sideways has to be one of the best wine movies ever made” - us, sometime last month. We just rewatched it for the first time in years, and it certainly holds up. Sideways will ignite your love for pinot noir, suddenly make you look down on merlot, and possibly start narrating your life in Paul Giamatti’s voice. And if you’re staring into a pantry full of Franzia, give the folks at Bufalina a call. They’ve got a great wine list with a big emphasis on natural wines - bottles start at around $20. And of course, they have some of the best Neapolitan pizza in town. We’re big fans of the classic Margherita, but toppings, after all, are a personal choice.
Movie Pairing: Lost In Translation (Amazon)
This is the movie that made us really want to travel to Japan. Lost In Translation features Bill Murray as an aging movie star and Scarlett Johansson as a recent college-graduate who cross paths while staying at the same hotel in Tokyo. It explores ideas of loneliness, isolation (sound familiar?), and culture shock as they explore the country and form a friendship based on their shared experiences and existential outlooks. They share a number of scenes navigating the world of Japanese cuisine, and at one point joke about dining at a restaurant that makes them cook their own food. So why not pick up a DIY sushi hand roll set from Uroko to keep your fingers busy while you watch? You may have to assemble your meal, but don’t worry, you won’t have to cook anything.
Movie Pairing: Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle (Amazon)
The title of this movie is easily the most succinct summary that we could have provided. It tells you everything that happens, but nothing about the film. It’s a classic 2004 stoner-comedy about two friends on a journey to get some burgers. Along the way they end up performing surgery, riding a cheetah, and getting their car stolen by Neil Patrick Harris. By the end you’ll definitely want a few sliders. And since there isn’t a single White Castle anywhere in Texas, the next closest thing is probably the slider at Delray Cafe - just small enough that you can crush a few of them if you want that same movie experience, or grab a double with cheese (our favorite). Get some wings or tater tots while you’re at it.
Movie Pairing: Big Night (Amazon)
Big Night is a 1996 comedy-drama about two Italian immigrant brothers that decide to open up a restaurant in New Jersey in the 1950s. There’s drama, there’s scandal, there’s contempt for the Americanization of Italian food (don’t even ask them to make spaghetti with meatballs). The business struggles, but sees a chance for rejuvenation with a rumored celebrity appearance. So the brothers decide to go all out for one…big night. And when you inevitably find yourself craving Italian, we’re fans of the pasta at Patrizi’s - made daily, from scratch. Our favorite is the Carbonara Alexandra (pancetta, egg, cheese), but the Patrizi’s Red is great if you’re in the mood for something with a little more sauce. And you can also add a giant meatball to any of the orders, no matter what Tony Shalhoub and Stanley Tucci say.