While Chicago’s useless city rag Redeye gave the movie a horrendous review, the movie is clearly intended to serve as a study tool for 511“>USCCA 500-level class. Why must there be some contiguous and valid comparison between the three restaurants for the film to work? Why can’t Levy simply tell three stories that bear little relevance to each other?
Each substory stands alone on its own merits, the merit of portraying restaurant ownership, or, as the new-gen instagramming kiddies would say: “#cheflife“. Three distinct restaurants are covered: La Cocina de Gabby, Breitbach’s Country Dining, and Alinea. To summarize my reactions: Heart broken by Cocina de Gabby’s story, grossed out by Breitlach and everything that kitchen stands for, and Achatz’s segment is mostly a retelling of his book with some video food porn tossed in for good measure. The food porn (including the famous dessert table plating) is seen above.
I’ve been to another Iowan restaurant similar to Breitbach’s, though I never made it to Breitbach’s itself. Country Junction in Dyersville, IA is basically a younger, less busy, less famous version of Breitbach’s. They’re only about 30 minutes apart. From a post in 2006, it seems I barely enjoyed the place, despite its own root-beer bottled on the premises, and bottomly iced tea in mason jars. Breitbach’s reminds me of Country Junction; both are feeding the obesity and big agra crisis in Midwest America. They make me sick to my stomach, and down to my rectum, these days.
Cocina de Gabby, on the other hand, is what I celebrate daily in my Los Angeles grubbings. Cocina is Arizona’s Sarape, El Coraloense, and Rocio’s. They make the tastiest food that costs hardly anything. These ethnic dives, be it Mexican, or Vietnamese, or Thai, make LA (and in turn, America) great. That’s the real take-home story of Spinning Plates, not the Alinea food porn, not the huge portions of pork served in Iowa.
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