Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Dinner and a Movie

On Saturday Larry and I got to enjoy our delayed night out on the town. Our birthdays are the 3rd and 7th of December, so we like to celebrate them together on the most convenient date. This year Larry’s birthday fell on a Saturday so we made plans last weekend. Life, however, intervened, and I spent Saturday night in the hospital with Max. Luckily Meryl was still willing to watch the kids this weekend, so we were able to have dinner, a movie and not worry about keeping up the sitter.

We had a 7:30 reservation at an Italian place that was conveniently located near a multi-death theater. Since we were sans-entourage, we were a few minutes early. It was a nice change from our usual frantic dash from the house.

The restaurant, Pasta Luna, is the second location (and relatively new) of a fairly well regarded Northern Italian eatery of the same name that is in Richmond’s far west end. When we arrived we were promptly seated in the main dinning room. The lighting was soft, the ambiance was somewhat upscale and our waiter was attentive. However there were a few incongruities with our dining service. The atmosphere cried out for a waiter with a pepper-mill for the salad, but none was offered. The oddest note was when the wait-staff cleared the table of our salad course, they were very careful to tell us to hold onto our utensils. What?! Utensils are such a precious commodity that we don’t get a separate salad fork? At that point the place seemed more like a diner, but the food arrived and it was very tasty. My only complaint about my meal was that it was swimming with a sauce that, in the soft lighting, looked oddly like cheese-wiz, but tasted nothing like it. We were able to linger over dinner and I opted to have the crème breule for dessert. Then we were done and it was off to the movies.

We arrived at the theater and we surveyed our options. We decided that we would see “Walk the Line.” It had good reviews and it was not a kid’s movie. Unfortunately we were at least an hour too early. So we bought our tickets and piled back into the car. There was a Target further down the strip mall and we could do a little Christmahanuka shopping for the kids. It was nice to be able to confer with each other as we shopped without the children. In the end we got a bunch of Yu-Gi-Oh cards, a dinosaur, some ponies and a couple of shirts. We schlepped our bags out to the car and drove back to the theater and scored an excellent parking space. It was positively thrilling!

Then back to the muti-plex, we found our theater and settled in. The movie is terrific. Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon did a bang up job. Joaquin had a wonderful smoky intensity that built up as the movie progressed. By the end of the movie he was a very believable Man in Black. Reese as June Carter was a lovely counterpoint to Joaquin’s Cash. Together they had a very noticeable on screen chemistry. They both did a nice job with their vocals which was a relief for me. I find lip syncing to be a very jarring experience and I prefer to hear the actors own voice singing than someone else dubbed in (and yes this does mean I prefer subtitles to dubbing in foreign language films). The movie itself is about Johnny Cash’s life up to his engagement with June Carter. A large part of it was about their relationship and it made for a great date movie.

So thank you once again Meryl for making it possible for us to have our birthday night out.

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