Food Flix Cinema designs meals to match movie scenes
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By David J. Criblez firstname.lastname@example.org
"Re-Imagining the 'TV Dinner' Experience"
Clockwise from left, David Jarmula from East Patchogue, Victor and Deborah Urbach from Huntington and Kara Sdraley from East Patchogue enjoy dinner and a movie, Food Flix dinner and movie night, Cyrus Chai & Coffee Company, Bayshore, Sept. 24, 2016. (Credit: Yvonne Albinowski)
Dinner and a movie — it’s a classic way to spend an evening, but watching a film while eating food designed to match key scenes is a new twist. Food Flix Cinema, held monthly at Cyrus Chai and Coffee Co. in Bay Shore, takes the movie experience to the next level.
“The food is inspired by characters or events from each film,” says owner Cyrus Kabir. “Every movie and meal is entirely different. But it always makes complete sense when you watch.”
HOW IT BEGAN
The series was born when Kabir decided to do something different with his shop after closing at 6 p.m.
“We wanted to use the space for more than just a coffee shop,” says Kabir. “In the evenings, we let the community use the space. It opens a lot of avenues to do something productive.”
Alicia Randolph-Lucchesi of Islip, who runs her own internationally themed plant-based food delivery service and provides wraps for Cyrus, pitched the idea of a film-themed dinner.
“My husband, Rob, picks the movies, then gives me cues on where a meal could be tied in,” says Randolph-Lucchesi. “We bounce ideas back and forth.”
WHAT TO EXPECT
Up to 20 guests are seated at a table in front of an 80-inch drop-down screen. Five-course prix-fixe menus are printed on a laminated place mat, which serves as a take-home souvenir along with an event button. Servings are plated in an old-school TV dinner tray and a course comes every 15 to 20 minutes. Homemade popcorn dressed in vegan butter and spices garnishes each table, as does Cyrus’ freshly brewed herbal tea.
“Rob will say, ‘This is a great scene. Can you do something with this?’ ” says Randolph-Lucchesi. “Then I will go through cookbooks and match it.”
Last month, the couple showed the film “They Live,” and in the scene where the late Roddy Piper eats stew, the crowd was served vegetable Hobo Stew. During Keith David’s fight scene, the chef followed with Frank’s Back Alley Kidney Punch Salad.
The evening is very social, not hush-hush like a regular movie screening.
“Everybody can see and hear the film, but it’s not so loud that you can’t have a conversation,” Randolph-Lucchesi says.
Past screenings include “The Breakfast Club,” where breakfast food (a tofu scramble and roasted potato hash) was served, while “Jaws” featured Hooper’s Fish Tacos. During “Clue,” people ate Mrs. Peacock’s Monkey Brains (roasted cauliflower in Alfredo sauce), and “The Goonies” concluded with Chunk’s Rocky Road Bar for dessert.
This month’s flick is John Carpenter’s “Halloween,” where creamy spinach-artichoke dip with bread will be served when Nancy Kyes gets choked in the car by horror icon Michael Myers.
“We like to push them a little bit with the food and the movies,” says Randolph-Lucchesi. “People seem to like the originality of it.”
Melissa Sgambati, 27, of West Islip, has attended every Food Flix Cinema night except one, when she had to work. But Sgambati is such a fan of the event, she ordered the food as takeout and watched the film at home while eating the courses at the appropriate times.
“Alicia’s a great cook, and Rob has great taste in movies, so it’s a magical combination,” Sgambati says. “Each event is very curated, and they think of everything. I put it on my calendar every month.”