Chow Bella

The Hobbit and Dinner at Cornish Pasty Co. in Tempe

While a jumbo tub of hot buttered popcorn is one of our most frequently indulged guilty pleasures, we think a good movie deserves a little better company than junk food. Try out our movie and meal pairings for yourself or feel free to suggest one of your own favorites in the comments.

The Movie: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey The Meal: Cornish Pasty Co.

See Also: - Lincoln and Mrs. White's Golden Rule Café: Our First "Dinner and a Movie" Pairing - Cornish Pasty Co.: Happy Hour Report Card

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkein's classic tale of a hobbit named Bilbo Baggins' journey with a wizard and thirteen dwarves to fight a dragon and reclaim lost lands and treasure, received a bit of a lashing by critics and we're sure all the Tolkeinites are up in a rage over random additions to the plot line of the beloved children's book, but in the end it is just that: a children's book. The goofy quips, incessant singing and fumbling antics of Bilbo's dwarf company don't seem so out of place if you keep that in mind, rather than expecting the bleakness that shrouds most of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Besides, if you recall Gimli's "that one counts as mine" gag throughout Two Towers, you'll see that dwarves were always used as comic relief, The Hobbit simply has more of them.

And yes, Peter Jackson did take the liberty of adding some Fellowship material into The Hobbit. He even added some elements that (GASP) conflict subtly with the Fellowship movie itself. We had to defend Zak Snyder's choice to eliminate a story line ending in an octopus monster in his rendition of Alan Moore's The Watchmen, so we're used to nerd rage.

At the same time, we also feel like this movie might be kind of boring and confusing for someone who hasn't read the book (but shame on them). The plotline of The Hobbit movie zips from far past to near future to past present, introducing characters and ideas like a machine gun. But for someone fully obsessed with Tolkein's world, it's totally exhilarating to see all of your favorite characters come to life in ways that make us feel like our creativity when reading the book was totally lacking.

In the end, like any classic book turned movie, we don't feel there's going to be any consensus reached. For fans, it's a sensory overload, jumping from one moment of sheer joy to the next. For obsessive fans, it's one disappointment and quibbling fact after another. For critics, it's too heavy on the cheese--despite the fact that everyone knows it's adapted from a book written for children. For Hobbit virgins, who may or may not exist, it's a confusing ride of new and old faces. For us, we can't wait for the conclusion of The Hobbit series of movies, but we would also totally see a Silmarillion movie (or three) if Jackson would make it for us.

Cornish Pasty Co. After about three hours of sheer joy in the movie theatre, we were ready for a dwarf-sized feast with hobbit sensibilities. Marching into the dimly lit, large-boothed room of the newly remodeled Cornish Pasty Co. in Tempe, you could almost pretend you're going into The Green Dragon.

Sit down and grab a Franziskaner in either hobbit, human or goblin king size. We went for human, though our meal would prove to need another round. First off, we ordered a bangers and mash pasty with a side of oven chips. The sage sausage is the ideally herby and hearty companion to the creamy mash inside the pasty. As always, the pasty crust was flakey, crunchy and golden brown. Although we had mashed potatoes in our pasty, we couldn't help getting oven fries as well. The lightly seasoned, highly potatoey flavor of these babies are an incomparable flavor experience to fries and chips elsewhere.

To finish it all off, and as if we needed any more, we got Pasty's take on sticky toffee pudding called the Shirley Temple's Pudding. The subtly savory and slightly smokey cakelike treacle pudding is cooked in a small cast iron pot until a crunchy layer forms on the top. Then you douse it is sweet crème anglaise and try to battle your companions' spoons out of the way to get your fill. After our three-course hobbit feast (if you count chips a course, and we always do), it was definitely time for a most unexpected nap.

Follow Chow Bella on Facebook and Twitter and Pinterest.

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Heather Hoch is a music, food, and arts writer based in Tucson. She enjoys soup, scotch, Electric Light Orchestra, and walking her dog, Frodo.
Contact: Heather Hoch