Welcome to Dinner and a Movie, a new OnMilwaukee Dining Month series where dining editor Lori Fredrich and culture editor Matt Mueller serve up the perfect menu for your upcoming night-in with scrumptuous local eats paired with splendid streamable cinema. Let OnMilwaukee take over the planning; all you have to do is enjoy the food and the entertainment.
Ditch the tacos and delve into regional dishes that expand your definition of Mexican fare – then follow that up with a good movie that expands your definition of film.
La Dama Mexican Kitchen showcases an ever-changing menu of beautifully presented regional Mexican cuisine from stuffed poblano peppers to lamb shank birria and tender duck served with traditional mole. Be sure to ask about carry-out cocktails.
This tiny family owned spot on the West Side is serving up some exceptional food that maintains a solid nod to tradition, but presents itself in a beautiful way. You’ll find fragrant housemade mole and ultra-fresh guacamole (get the Azteca, topped with poblano peppers and corn, served with plantain chips) along with excellent dishes like al pastor served in a half pineapple. Ask about margaritas for the road.
Visionary director Alfonso Cuaron ("Children of Men," "Gravity") brings his usual breathtakingly immersive visual approach from out-of-this-world blockbusters to profoundly grounded character dramas with this gorgeously intimate three-time Oscar winner about a family maid dealing with her employer's family drama while also coping with her own struggles. (Available to stream on Netflix)
Speaking of feasts, the Milwaukee Film Festival runs through Oct. 29 with an endless meal of movies to chew through – including several options from its Cine Sin Fronteras category, shining a spotlight on the often ignored stories from the Latinx community. There's a number of compelling options – from "Landfall," a documentary about Puerto Rico and the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, to "La Mami," a doc exploring the world of a famed Mexican cabaret through the dancers' dressing room interactions – but the most intriguing option is "Identifying Features," a tense slow-burning fuse of a drama about a mother whose quest to find her missing son takes her across the U.S./Mexico border. For more Milwaukee Film Festival options, click here. (Available to stream via the Milwaukee Film Festival)
Pixar movies are beloved for their ability to invent and enrich fantastical worlds – whether it's a world of monsters, your own mind or even just your toybox – as well as their gorgeous cutting-edge animation. Oh, and their ability to make you sob your own body weight in tears is worthy of mention. "Coco" delivers on all of that, telling a beautifully tuneful and warmly soulful story of a young boy who travels to the Land of the Dead to uncover the secrets of his singing great-great-grandfather. (Available to stream on Disney+)
Remember last week when I recommended Ang Lee's sumptuous "Eat, Drink, Man, Woman"? Well, here's the equally tasty remake, using the same effective recipe – a beloved chef tries to bond with his three free-thinking daughters over the course of several scrumptuous meals – but with a bright and spirited flavor all its own. Plus, in the lead, it's got the great Hector Elizondo, an on-screen presence as comfortingly warm as the movie's titular dish. (Available to stream on Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Kanopy)