Soul Kitchen on DVD + German Take-Out = Hot Date Night In

Zenos in Soul Kitchen.jpg
Adam Bousdoukos's Zenos is a hot mess, and that's why we love him.
The Dinner: A take-out schnitzel sandwich and bratwurst with sauerkraut from Feierabend (422 Yale Ave. N.).

The Movie: Soul Kitchen, recently released on DVD.

The Screenplate: This is the crappiest time of the year for movies--that lull before the Oscar noms when it's painfully clear you've already seen all the good stuff that came out over the holidays. (Loved True Grit, The Fighter, Black Swan, and Yogi Bear. OK, just kidding about that last one.)

Plus, the weather sucks even more than usual. So what better excuse to hunker down, grab some take-out, and fire up the DVD player?

I saw Soul Kitchen last spring at the Seattle International Film Festival, and have been chomping at the bit for another viewing ever since. Officially, Fatih Akin's 2009 movie, set near Hamburg, is "about family and friends, about love, trust, and loyalty, and about the struggle to protect a place called home in an increasingly unpredictable world."

I thought it was a brilliant stew, a blend of the best qualities of a comedy, a chick flick, and a taut thriller. "Will the evil real-estate developer get his evil way? Will our hero get the girl back? Will customers revolt when the slop they've been served is replaced by gourmet meals?" Just wait and see the twists and turns this one takes.

The film stars the adorable Adam Bousdoukos as Zenos, a lazy cook who cranks out bad food while spinning decent music in his dump-y cafe. When he shows up early in the story at a fancy-pants restaurant--stinking like grease after his shift--for his hot girlfriend's going-away party, he witnesses the crazy-genius chef throw the mother of all hissy fits in the dining room. He's fired and Zenos offers him a job. The gorgeous girlfriend flies off to China after showing her man how to use Skype so they can have long-distance sex. One of Soul Kitchen's best scenes involves a botched attempt at just that, an accidental voyeur, and some bashed-up blinds.

In the meantime, Zenos' deadbeat brother shows up on furlough from prison, and sparks fly with the moody waitress who slings the rank hash at the cafe. And the shifty real-estate developer, Zenos' childhood buddy, sets his sights on the warehouse in the gentrifying neighborhood. Chaos and hilarity ensue. There's some incredible physical comedy in this fast-paced film.

While watching these yarns spin, the hubs and I chowed down on schnitzel and bratwurst from Feierabend. I like the vibe in this pub, especially after sampling its solid selection of suds from Germany. The menu is better-than-average bar food, primarily because it features sausages from the uber-fabulous Bavarian Meats. So I was delighted to learn that everything on the menu is also available to go. Nothing gets a stay-at-home movie night steamier than eating a plate of sausage and sauerkraut. JA!

It occurs to me that it's almost impossible to describe how entertaining and funny Soul Kitchen is. It's like one of those you-had-to-be-there scenarios. So see it! If you don't like it, I'll buy you a pretzel. Oh, and don't fast forward through the end credits. They're the coolest.

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