Christmas 2012 is over. And the relatives who came home for the holidays are planning to stay until New Years. The dilemma: What to do to keep your visitors entertained beyond shopping after holidays sales and touring neighborhood light displays. How about taking your guests for dinner and a show?
For 30 years, the Fabulous Fox Theatre, renown for bringing the best Broadway shows to its stage, have paired its shows with a dining experience. It’s an option often overlooked according to Fox Food and Beverage Director Thom Johnson, who says there’s nothing else like the Fox’s dinner and show package anywhere.
As Johnson explained, the Fox's dinner and show duo isn't a perk reserved for season ticket subscribers. General theater patrons can dine on an all-you-can-eat prime rib buffet that often includes culinary additions reflecting the show. Those noshing on the buffet can expect to see a few more added “greens” from the Emerald City for the holiday production of Wicked, which runs through Jan. 6. Buffet cost is under $30 with an advanced purchase of dinner tickets required. They're available online or at the box office.
Looking to catch the latest film release with something more than a bag of popcorn? Check out Wehrenberg’s Five Star Lounges at its Des Peres 14 or Galaxy 14 Cines. The menus involves more than popcorn and a hot dog. These ultra plush dine-in screening rooms offer oversized recliners equipped with comfort controls and call-buttons for servers who provide full service menus.
The menus feature appetizers, entrees and desserts of non-traditional movie fare choices, such as portabella mushrooms, artichoke and spinach rangoon, and butterfly shrimp baskets. But fear not, moviegoers: hot dogs, popcorn and candy have not been abandoned on the menu.
Considering movie attendance is at its highest during the holiday season, it's easy to see why Wehrenberg has added the upscale dining option and expanded menu choices.
“Every now and then, we all deserve to pamper ourselves whether it’s enjoying fine dining or spending a day at the movies," said Ronald P. Krueger, chairman and co-CEO of Wehrenberg Theatres. "Our Five Star Lounge is a way to pamper yourself at the movies, and for far less expense than other options.”
If and when snow hits St. Louis, many may opt to do dinner and a movie at home. Thanks to Red Box and movie-on-demand options on cable, one can plan a menu around the theme of a movie. Fans of Mama Mia may enjoy a Greek-style supper of pita bread and Greek salad. I would serve up southern fried chicken and chocolate pie for a showing of The Help. However, I have a taste for an Italian dinner, so this year it's going to be spaghetti and caesar salad served up with The Godfather.
For those choosing to dine-in, consider one of the following recipes. Each could help inspire a home dinner and movie party.
Fabulous Fox Chocolate Espresso Cherry Bread Pudding
(Recipe courtesy Fox Executive Chef Stephen Proctor)
4 each Companion espresso chocolate cherry rolls (1/2 package)
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
2 tablespoons dark cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons Meyer’s dark rum
2 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
Preheat oven to 35O and grease an 8x4 loaf pan. Cut the bread into 1-inch cubes approximately, place in large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, combine remaining ingredients, using a whisk to combine until completely incorporated and all sugar has dissolved. Strain this mixture into the same bowl as the bread (straining will insure a smooth custard) using a fine mesh strainer.
Gently press the bread into the custard mixture and allow the bread to sit for 10-15 minutes to absorb as much custard as possible.
Pour the bread mixture (and again, gently press) into the greased loaf pan, dot with the cubed butter. Cover with aluminum foil. Bake for about 35 minutes until a toothpick comes out nearly clean. Remove aluminum foil and return to oven for an additional 10 minutes to “crisp” and brown the top of the pudding. Remove pudding from oven; allow it to cool for 30 minutes. Unmold and slice into desired serving pieces. Serve with a dollop of flavored mascarpone cream. Recipe serves 10.
1 cup heavy cream
2/3 cup powdered sugar
¼ teaspoon cherry extract
2 teaspoons Godiva chocolate liqueur
8-ounce package mascarpone cheese, room temperature
Combine cream and sugar using electric stand or hand mixer (if using stand mixer, use whip attachment), beat until slightly thickened. Add the extract, liqueur and softened mascarpone; continue beating until the cream mixture is smooth and thick.
Caesar Salad with Parmesan Wafers
(Recipe By Suzanne Corbett featured at Dierberg’s School of Cooking)
For the dressing:
1 tablespoon prepared mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon capers
2 tablespoons of anchovy paste
5 cloves garlic
1 cup olive oil
2 tablespoon red wine vinegar
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 heads baby romaine leaves, washed and cut into bite sized pieces
Parmesan wafers (about 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese)
Put all ingredients, except the oil and vinegar, in a food processor and process until blended. Slowly mix in the oil, and then mix in the vinegar. If too thick, add a little water. Place romaine in a large serving bowl or on serving plates. Draizzle with dressing and top with Parmesan wafers. Makes four large to eight small servings.
To make Parmesan wafers
Preheat oven to 400. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Sprinkle a scant 3 tablespoons of the Parmesan cheese onto the parchment, making an oval about 4 by 2-inches. Bake until the cheese melts and is golden brown, about five minutes. Remove from oven and cool. Serve as a garnish on top salad.
Artichoke Spinach Rangoon
(Recipe by Suzanne Corbett, inspired by Wehrenberg’s Five Star Lounge)
1 (10-ounce package) frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry
1 (13-3/4-ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and minced
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
1 package won ton wrappers
egg white, lightly beaten
Mix together spinach, artichokes and cheeses until smooth. Season the filling with salt and pepper to taste. Place a tablespoon of filling into the center of a won ton wrapper. Moisten edges of wrapper with egg white; fold over to form a triangle and pinch shut.
Deep-fry rangoon in hot oil (375 degrees) until crisp and brown. Drain well and serve warm, garnished with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. Serves 8