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What To Eat While Watching Holiday Blockbusters, Decoded

Unbroken, The Hunger Games, Exodus... Eater pairs them all with their menu equivalent at D.C. metro area's fanciest new theaters.

Inside City Perch, a new restaurant above iPic movie theater in Bethesda.
Inside City Perch, a new restaurant above iPic movie theater in Bethesda.
R. Lopez

Holiday time is movie time.

The Hollywood studios know it and so do cinema-goers. This year the D.C. area has a few new fancy theaters to call home for a more chic film experience. Arclight Cinemas and iPic are the latest additions in Maryland, while the Angelika Film Center in Mosaic is now part of the Virginia movie scene.

But what to scarf down when glimpsing the blockbusters at these primo venues? Here are some hints, by movie:

Ipic Bethesda Interior


The theater: iPic, 11830 Grand Park Avenue, Bethesda

Venue basics: iPic is a luxury movie theater chain, boasting reclining plush seats and in-theater touch-screen ordering. Locally, iPic is now part of the Pike & Rose development and shows mainly first-run films with classics and documentaries thrown in. Along with in-theater food choices, the restaurant City Perch by James Beard Award-winning chef Sherry Yard opened in November. And nearby there's Del Frisco's Grille within Pike & Rose.

Movies and culinary pairings:

Annie - Have the honey-dipped cornbread starter from City Perch for a golden reminder that the sun'll come out tomorrow followed by an adult milkshake; Annie's hard-knock life certainly merits some booze in a beverage.

Interstellar - Explorers travel through a wormhole in space. There's no space food persee at iPic but how about a triply high shellfish tower from City Perch that feels like it reaches up to space?

Horrible Bosses 2 - Get The Grille Prime Cheeseburger from Del Frisco's, which boasts not one, but two burgers for some reason and whose sauce, like the movie characters' schemes, are, well, sloppy.

Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 - For the games component, order some kale lollipops. And to signify the villainous President Snow, deviled eggs from Del Frisco's will do.

Top 5 - Chris Rock's character, in the movie, is a comedian trying to cross over into dramatic roles. In other words, fun trying to masquerade as a bit more sophistication. In food terms this means order cheesesteak eggrolls off of Del Frisco's app menu. Is it a Philly classic or an Asian rolled-up treat? Who's to say.

The Gambler - Opening on Christmas, the movie is about an English professor who also becomes a high stakes gambler. Mark Wahlberg reportedly dropped 60 pounds for the role by restricting his diet to liquids and fruits and veggies. Pay tribute with a bowl of apple soup.

Unbroken - Angelina Jolie's film is about an Olympic athlete who joins the armed forces during World War II and is captured by the Japanese Navy. Because of his prolonged experience on a raft, snag an order of potato boats from iPic's in-theater dining menu, which also has smoked salmon and creme fraiche.

Into the Woods - Hen of the woods mushrooms, goat cheese and a mushroom marmalade form the basis for City Perch's mushroom tartine. Thick in the forest the components might just reverse a witch's spell.

Arclight Bethesda Yelp

Yelp/Gail R.

The theater: Arclight Cinemas, 7101 Democracy Blvd, Bethesda, MD

Venue basics: Located at the Westfield Montgomery Mall, this Los Angeles-based set of theaters touts no box office or wait; just in-theater eating, modern decor and a slate of independent flicks to see. The Bethesda location also has 16 screens.

Movies and culinary pairings:

Big Hero 6 - A movie all about robots and the future would only be right while chomping on Dippin' Dots, the supposed ice cream of the future.

Horrible Bosses 2 - For what might amount to a horrible hangover on day two, pack in the drinks. The cafe has signature martinis to get customers buzzed.

Night at the Museum 3 - A hummus trio to remember that somehow three of these Night at the Museum movies have been released to the world.

The Hobbit - Elsewhere in the mall, head to Bobby's Burger Palace for a brunch burger which can be a hobbit's second breakfast and lunch rolled into one sandwich, featuring bacon, fried egg and American cheese.

Penguins of Madagascar - A frozen themed movie deserves frozen yummies in the form of Yogi frozen yogurt, situated near the theater in the mall.

The Gambler - What's a bigger gamble, at a movie theater, than ordering seafood? So try ahi tuna poke or a lobster roll from the cinema's cafe.

Into the Woods - Order a mixed berry tartlet and hope that the berries don't cause a trance or spell.

Unbroken - For Louis Zamperini, the inspiration for the story, there's a crab louis salad.

Fairfax Angelika Exterior

The theater: Angelika Film Center, Fairfax

Venue basics: Angelika is a chain that show independent and foreign films for the most part. Next year one will open in D.C. near Union Market. The Fairfax version has a gourmet cafe and lounge with a small bites menu.

Movies and culinary pairings:

It's a Wonderful Life - Score a giant cookie and milk like the one left for Santa for a decidedly Christmas-y movie. It's on Angelika's sweet bites menu.

The Imitation Game - This film requires imitation cheese in nacho form. Make nacho cheese one of the two toppings on your Nachos Especiale. The other toppings, by the way, are guacamole, black bean salsa, pico de gallo and sour cream.

Exodus: Gods and Kings - Only a special dish can satisfy kings and queens, so order the Angelika Signature Salad with apple, goat cheese, walnuts and a shallot vinaigrette. Besides, a salad is light enough that Moses could finish the whole plate and still lead the Israelites out of Egypt.

Wild - What's wilder than a dish called The Junk, mixing potato chips, Rice Krispie treats, pretzels and popcorn and adding on drizzled chocolate and salted caramel. It's like the trail mix Reese Witherspoon's character used to sustain herself, only way more decadent.

The Hunger Games - As a tribute to Josh Hutcherson, eat a short rib panini and to symbolize Jennifer Lawrence's fiery personality on and off camera, a wasabi chicken sandwich.

Foxcatcher - How does an out-of-shape fighter start out? As a mushy cream puff trying to transform into a hard body. That's why only creamed puffs will do while watching Mark Ruffalo and Channing Tatum in this wrestling tale.

The Theory of Everything - Get a hot dog that seems to have a little bit of everything thrown on top and around the meat and bun. The kimchi dog is filled with crispy shallots, kimchi slaw and green onions. It's almost too much.