28 March, 2011

Blue, Burgatory, and Sucker Punch

This weekend I went to two restaurants and saw a movie, so here's my feedback on those. Warning: SPOILER HEAVY, both for the restaurants AND the movie. ;)

Blue is a vodka bar and restaurant north of Pittsburgh on Duncan Ave. The atmosphere is very nice - not too loud, low lighting, fireplace, candles on the tables. Aside from the basketball on the bar TVs, it was great. They have a decent menu - the standard "nice" restaurant features of appetizers, salads and soup, main plates, and desserts. Nothing especially unusual there. I had the Shrimp & Corn Fritters ($8) - they were good, a little more breading than shrimp, but there were only four, which was a little disappointing.
For my main dish, I had the Marinated Hanger Steak ($26), and the steak was excellent. Well prepared and marinated, so I really enjoyed it. However, the Chinese Long Beans were over-sauced and a little squishy, so it was not really the best choice for any intention of having healthy vegetables. The Jasmine Rice was really great, especially with the two pieces of Lotus Root on top, but I was really disappointed at how small the portion was. It was quite a bummer.
TGW had the Filet Mignon ($32), and while he said it was good, he said it wasn't anything exceptional (and my small bite confirmed that). Standard fare. The fingerling potatoes were good, but still a super small portion.
For drinks, TGW had the Dogfish Head IPA that they had on tap, and he said it just wasn't hoppy enough for him (it burned my mouth with the flavor, so I have no judgement on that!), but my Perfect Pear martini was excellent and I'd definitely drink it again.
For dessert, we had the Cobbler Tasting, and it was great! The portions were appropriately sized and I did really enjoy that.

All in all - was the food good? Yes. Was it exceptional? Not really, but the martini was. Was it worth the cost? No. If we hadn't had a gift card for it, I'd have been very bothered by paying that much for the food we had. I had been really looking forward to Blue, but the bang for your buck just isn't enough for my tastes. I will, however, consider going back to try their martinis!

Burgatory is a burger & shake bar/restaurant in Waterworks Plaza. This place is seriously awesome. I was expecting pretty good results when we went, but I was very satisfied with how it lived up to my expectations!
First off, the atmosphere was casual - there was plenty of seating even in what originally appeared to be a small place, and the smell of beefy goodness in the air certainly helped.
Our server was awesome - he was very nice and kept up with our orders well.
We had the Bankok Steak Fries ($7) - tempura fried portobellos - and they were fantastic. I never thought I'd like mushroom fries, but the flavor and texture was surprisingly pleasing!

Their hard shakes are amazing. I had the Grand-Dad's Secret ($7.5) and oh lordy, it was good. It was bursting with bourbon and caramel flavor, and it went down easy. Smokey and sweet - I loved it. One of my fellow diners had the Espresso Love ($7.5) which she said might be "the best shake [she] ever had" (similar to my sentiments about my shake!), and Michael had their Apple Pancakes & Bacon ($7.5), and to me, it tasted great, but the concept just wigged me out. It even had bacon pieces throughout and was topped off with whipped cream and a big piece of bacon. Michael loved it! He was also the only one to finish both his shake and burger.
TGW & Trae had the Campfire S'mores ($5.5) which came to the table topped with a MASSIVE marshmallow, and it was pretty tasty, too. A little filling, though!

On to the burgers: TGW & I both had the Standard Deluxe (his without tomato). I got the rosemary fries (to die for!) and he got the sweet & russet potato chips. This burger was delicious - cooked to the right temperature, juicy and smokey, and the toppings were just enough to accent the burger but not too much to overpower it.
Trae had the Buffaloed Bison, but I didn't manage to get her comments - she seemed to be enjoying it, and while I am pretty sure Michael had the Morty's Steakhouse, I can't recall because he finished his plate before I'd had three bites of my burger. Must have been pretty damn good!

I had a great time at Burgatory, and we are looking forward to going back.

Now, onto Sucker Punch. I will warn everyone who wants to see this movie that it is RIDDLED with triggers of pretty much any variation you can imagine. Be aware! As a reminder - SPOILERS.
Sucker Punch was a visually stunning movie, but fell short for me in many ways. While I loved the epic action sequences and found the sets and costuming intriguing, I was unprepared for the storyline. It reminded me why I so often look up information on movies beforehand - this movie was marketed as kind of a chick action flick, so I was excited to see it. I was not prepared for mental institutions or rapey under/overtones.
The plot is convoluted, and it falls into a dream-within-a-dream category. Once Baby Doll (the main character) is in the mental hospital, she starts imagining it as a brothel/gentleman's club, and from there, imagines these otherworldly action fights inside that. The "dreams" reflect what's really going on in the mental hospital, and it is, in some parts, a really good idea for a story.
However, I hate movies with mental hospitals. I really do, especially ones that are like this - corrupt, unclean, twisted and brutal. It is one of those things that leaves me riddled with nightmares and a general feeling of unease for weeks after.
I also am really fed up with the use of sexual abuse and molestation and harassment and rape in so many movies. This movie appeared to be marketed toward women - and I think in a lot of cases, it was still appealing as a woman - but can't women agree that it's about time we stopped using rape as some cheap trick to make people feel sympathy for a character? The characters were sympathetic without any of the negative sexual implications and honestly, I think they would have been better for it - or if it had only been a couple times in the film, instead of repeatedly, repeatedly. Women do not ONLY fear rape. There are other things which frighten us, other things which we triumph over! Beating the bad guy who wants to take advantage of us isn't the only way to show that a woman has strength.
I was disappointed with the fact that *SPOILERS* only one character out of the quintet really lived, and it was the character I liked least. I hate stories where no one really wins, they just scoot by with one or two survivors of the horror they battled. If even two people had lived, it would have been better, but just Sweet Pea getting away was disappointing and left me frustrated.
I think I would have just been happier if it had been a movie about a ragtag group of female soldiers out to fight dragons and mechanical monsters, instead of a movie full of emotionally distressing, triggering, and frustrating experiences. It was a pretty movie, and while a part of me wishes I could see it again, I kind of wish I could just rewatch the cool dream-within-a-dream scenes. Zach Snyder has a lot of talent with making things pretty, and this story was close to being good, but just went too far with a few things for me. Maybe his next one will be better - well, I hope so, because he's supposed to be doing the new Superman, and you can bet your bottom I'll be waiting to see it.



  1. I skipped the movie review because I don't like to be spoiled.

    So now you make me want to go Burgatory. Isn't that where you suggested NA-YGN go for our exec outing?

  2. Yes, it is. It is really an excellent place - I really enjoyed it.