September 3rd, 2007


Eat At Joe's Part I

The Agony Of The Perfect Pizza

Back in February, I discovered Joe's Chicago Pizza down by Rivertown Crossings Mall. Not only did they make real Chicago Stuffed Pizza -- and not that Pizzeria Uno's Chicago deep dish stuff -- but they'd been in business for four years and I didn't know it! Arrgh!

So slowly we began to remedy that situation. Then one day, when we wanted to take a friend from Northwestern also devoted to Edwardo's and the cult of the stuffed pizza, we found out they closed suddenly on 1 July 2007. Aiyeee!

There I Was, Minding My Own Business

So on Saturday I was making my way through the Grand Rapids Press' Thursday Weekend pullout section, when I spotted a small ad announcing the GRAND RE-OPENING of Joe Chicago's Pizza. YAY!

We'd talked of going out to dinner on Saturday night, so there was no question where we were going. Ate in, had a small stuffed spinach, roasted red peppers, mushrooms and fresh garlic pizza. Mmmmm.

Didn't Get A Big One

... because I'll be back on Tuesday evening after work to pick up another pizza. There'd be brats from a lovely German-Polish meat market, Sobie's, on Labor Day. Wouldn't want the leftover pizza to go bad...

We'd almost broken down and mail ordered stuffed pizza, either from Edwardo's or Giordano's, even though the shipping is rather steep.

Now we don't have to.


Dr. Phil
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Eat At Joe's Part II

Cheap Movies Again

A couple of years ago the Cinemark movie chain put up two movieplexes in Grand Rapids. One was built into the new Rivertown Crossings Mall. The other was next to Woodland Mall, the fine but older and recently rebuilt mall on the other side of town. There'd been two cinemas at Woodland before. One on the mall property, which closed. And another nearby, which had switched to a extended/second-run "cheap" cinema. It, too, closed. Both were torn down prior to Cinemark.

Well, the Jack Loek's people who own our favorite Studio 28 bought out the two Cinemark theatres this summer. We've been to the one at Rivertown Crossings a couple of times, but we've never been to the one at Woodland. Time to remedy that. Rather nice to have a brand new 18-plex where all shows all times are just $3.50.

Waitress [PG-13]

This quirky little film came out in May, and quickly became famous for the names of the pies, such as "I Don't Want Earl's Baby" pie and the sensuous mixing of the ingredients. Keri Russell stars as a young woman married to an abusive bully who finds herself pregnant and figuring she'll never be free of Earl. This is one of those movies like Fried Green Tomatoes which becomes hard to classify -- there's humor so maybe it's a comedy, there's the abusive husband so maybe it's a tragedy, and there's complications so maybe it's a drama. At times it plays like a sitcom or even a farce, at other times, such as the delivery scene, where it strives to be totally realistic.

They do make the most of the ensemble cast. The two other waitresses, each with their own problems. The cook, who turns out to be a good guy. The gynecologist, a replacement for the old woman she'd been going to, played by Firefly's Nathan Fillion. And a fine performance by an aging Andy Griffith as Joe, the old curmudgeon who owns Joe's Pie Shop and tries to be unreasonable -- but our heroine sees through all that.

I heard early reviews talk about Waitress as the next Mystic Pizza, but frankly, that film left me underwhelmed, as I didn't care about the waitresses in the same way.

Now, we're not quite sure all those pies would really work they way they say they do. And Mrs. Dr. Phil, who makes wonderful fruit pies, chides them for not making a proper lattice crust, weaving the pieces together, but those are quibbles. It's fine summer movie, probably blasted by others as a chick flick, and goes in nicely with the Summer of 2007's Food Theme -- with Ratatouille and No Reservation.


Dr. Phil
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