Mmmm ... Simpsons Feast ...

At the Alamo Kwik-E-Mart

We're big fans of The Simpsons TV show around here, or at least the earlier seasons. Somewhere around Season 7 or 8 the episodes became less interesting to us, and we have a horror of "New Simpsons." So we approached The Simpsons Movie with trepidation, and decided the best way to ensure our enjoyment was to splurge on Alamo Drafthouse's multi-course Simpsons Feast. Afrer all, even if the movie turned out to suck, at least we'd be enjoying bacon-wrapped pork chops. My husband and I have never tried one of the full-fledged feasts at Alamo, although I've enjoyed some of the smaller movie-and-food events. It would be a challenge for us; the event didn't start until after 8:30, and we tend to be early diners, so we had snacks after work and tried to stay strong until the event. After all, there was that Ultimate Donut dessert to look forward to, even if it did sound a bit scary.

Alamo Drafthouse on South Lamar was decorated beautifully for The Simpsons Movie. We didn't see a lot of it on our way into the theater, because the lobby was so crowded. Even on a Wednesday night, Alamo on South Lamar is very popular. But to set the mood, I'll show you the photos we took in the lobby after the movie. The counter where you can buy drinks, etc. was set up to look like a Kwik-E-Mart. Since Austin didn't get one of the Kwik-E-Marts transformed from 7-Eleven, we were happy to see an appromixation in the lobby (photo after the jump):

At the Alamo Kwik-E-Mart

I particularly liked the Squishee machine, as you can see in the photo at the very top of this article. Apparently it was a real working machine and Alamo was offering Squishees on the weekends. I also heard that if you went to a regular screening of The Simpsons Movie at Alamo, you could get a Ribwich. I'm not sure I would have wanted a Ribwich; weren't they made from some endangered species?

 The Simpsons Feast As we picked up our tickets, we received the menu for the evening, as shown on the left. (Click the menu for a larger, readable version.) I noticed a slight change from the advertised menu, one that wasn't entirely unexpected: Beer pairings! I knew that the fake 7-Eleven Kwik-E-Marts weren't allowed to offer Duff beer because it was considered a promotion of alcohol to underage kids, and perhaps wary of this, Alamo didn't advertise the beer pairings. But there they were, and since you have to be 21 to go to nighttime Alamo movies anyway, no problem there. Except that I hadn't had a beer in months, on the grounds that it might be a migraine trigger, and now I was going to get -- how many? Wow. (And if you think I even considered the anti-migraine diet for one minute during the Simpsons Feast ... hah, no way.)

The pre-show for The Simpsons Movie naturally consisted of great clips from Simpsons episodes. We knew we were in a theater full of hardcore fans of the show, because you could hear people anticipating some of the best quotes. Best. Pre-show. Ever. Before the movie started, though, the pre-show ended and the South Lamar chef, John Bullington, walked out to talk to us about the Simpsons Feast. He said he's a huge Simpsons fan and had been planning the meal ever since he heard there would be a movie. When trying to decide whether to trim the fat from the pork chop, or what the portion sizes would be, he followed a single guiding principle: "What Would Homer Do?" You could tell the audience was excited.

Alamo showed one more set of Simpsons clips before the movie: a special set that showed where all of the menu items had come from. For example, for Chief Wiggum's Chili, we saw Wiggum offering Homer the hottest chili ever, made from "the merciless peppers of Quetzlzacatenango!" And speaking of Chief Wiggum's chili, here it was in front of us as the amuse bouche of the feast, although the peppers were not grown by the inmates of a Guatemalan insane asylum:

 Chief Wiggum's Chili

The chili was served with a small glass of "Duff Ice," which I could not quite identify as a beer I knew. I didn't think the chili was terribly spicy, although my husband disagrees ... maybe his had more pepper in it, because I am usually a chili wimp.

The first beer pairing appeared after we finished our chili, and just as the movie itself was about to start: a frosty bottle of Duff beer. Mmmm.

Duff Beer at The Simpsons Feast

I suspect the Duff beer was really Shiner Bock, but that was fine with me. We started enjoying the movie from the moment when the 20th Century Fox logo included little Ralphie Wiggum singing along, with his finger in his nose. Delightful. The second course soon followed: Blinky (the three-eyed fish) in a sauce made from tomacco (Homer's magical crop that resulted from planting tomatoes, tobacco, and uranium from the nuclear power plant). I admit I was a little wary of the tomacco, but apparently it was really smoked tomato sauce.

 Blinky in Tomacco Sauce

Blinky turned out to be a most appropriate choice to accompany The Simpsons Movie, but I'll let you see the film to figure out why. His eyes were made from white asparagus and caviar. He was a very tasty three-eyed fish.

Unfortunately, at this point the theater really became too dark to take photos in a polite way with no flash (at least not with my tiny camera), so you'll have to read descriptions of the food instead. The next course was a soup: "Pinchy in a bathtub broth." You may remember Pinchy as Homer's pet lobster, who met his demise when Homer decided to give him a nice hot bath. So we enjoyed a clear soup with lobster in it, which was a nice palate cleanser to prepare us for the big entree.

The soup was paired with Düff, the special import version of Duff beer which Moe actually creates by drawing an umlaut on a regular bottle of Duff. Our server went down the row bringing us each a bottle that looked exactly like the first bottle of Duff ... and then she went back down the row, picked up the new bottles, and dotted each one with an umlaut. It was a very nice touch. I don't know which beer the Düff actually was, but it didn't taste like the first one. (I am not a beer expert, sadly.)

It was somewhere around this point that I questioned the decision to watch a movie I hadn't seen before while drinking what was, for me, a lot of beer, plus a fair amount of water during the chili course. I was tempted to slip out of the theater for a moment, but I hated the idea of missing a single bit of the movie or the food, so I summoned all of my film-geek powers and remained steady.

The entree was next, and it was a surprise to me because it was HUGE. The other courses were fairly small, more like a tasting course than a big meal, and I hadn't realized that this was because we were about to receive a pork chop the size of, well, the size of a giant pork chop. The bacon-wrapped chop was accompanied by "Moe's birthday fries" (which I hoped hadn't been on anyone's head), a half-ear of roast corn, and a small caramel apple. This plate was accompanied by a glass of Duff Stout, which I had a few sips from before deciding that I'd really had enough beer for the moment. Everything was delicious; I am one of those people who likes to eat all the crunchy fat bits on a pork chop, so I was pleased that Chef Bullington followed the WWHD principle. The apple went quite well with the pork chop, too.

The only problem with the entree was that I probably should have eaten about half of it. Boy, there's nothing like knowing you really ought to stop eating, but continuing on anyway, determined to have just one more bite of that juicy pork or those yummy fries. Normally I feel a little weird about eating corn on the cob in a public dining place but since it was dark, hey, no one could see if it was messy.

That really should have been enough for me to eat -- more than enough. But the plates were cleared and small glasses of Duff Raspberry were distributed. I suspected this was a raspberry framboise and it was so good, again, I couldn't resist. Shortly after, the dessert appeared: an "ultimate donut" made from a casserole of compressed donuts and cream, and of course topped with pink icing and sprinkles. It was dark but I did try to take a photo anyway:

 Ultimate Donut

The two donut layers were separated by raspberry filling. The pink icing wasn't strictly faithful to the kind of pink icing you get on donuts, that tastes slightly of food coloring and mostly of old sugar. This was more like a whipped-cream frosting with a little raspberry. It was irresistable. I didn't finish it, because I didn't want to end up like the fat man in Monty Python's Meaning of Life, but I did eat more of it than I probably should have. You can see the Duff Raspberry on the right; I think that's the stout on the left.

I could barely move out of my theater seat after the movie ended, I was so full. (I did eat one of the mints they brought by, though. After all, it was wafer-thin.) Before the feast started, I was easily able to duck under the little counter-table to get to my seat; afterwards, I had to walk to the end of the aisle to leave, as ducking seemed impossible.

On the way back to the lobby, I noticed a little table in the corner. I had read on the Texas Observer blog that the Sierra Club had been at Alamo on the opening weekend of The Simpsons Movie, handing out flyers with info about the dangers at Texas nuclear power plants. Looks like Alamo let them set up a display in the theater with their handouts, complete with a giant Blinky.

Sierra Club setup at Alamo

The next day, we were still recuperating from the huge feast, and could not resist a groan when hearing the word "donut." It was 24 hours before I could even think about desserts again. Thanks to Chef Bullington and all the Alamo staff for providing us with an unforgettable experience. Did it enhance our viewing of The Simpsons Movie? Yes and no. The movie has so many delightful little details and I know we missed a few because we were distracted by the meal. On the other hand, eating Blinky while hearing about the pollution in Springfield Lake was just about perfect. I think the feasts probably work best if you've seen (and liked) the movie already, but I know this won't be the last feast we enjoy at Alamo.

[For more Simpson-y goodness at Alamo, check out this Flickr set from someone who attended the opening weekend festivities.]