Best Movie Snacks - 2003
"CinemaLit Film Series" at the Mechanics' Institute Library
San Francisco, CA 94104
Every Friday night, the Mechanics' Institute Library hosts a classic movie in an intimate salon setting complete with cinéastes and chitchat, but what's especially noteworthy is the high quality of grub served up from the little back bar. No economy-size Mountain Dews or Formica-flavored popcorn here; snack instead upon rounds of sourdough topped with cream cheese and smoked salmon or a lusty pesto, a slice of nutty Gruyère with red grapes, a selection of candies, and, yes, popcorn -- perfectly fluffy, lightly salted popcorn in a tiny paper sack. Between mouthfuls you can wash it all down with a cab, a chardonnay, or an Anchor Steam. The library's makeshift cinema takes up two adjacent rooms; the one in the back has six small candlelit tables ideal for show-time noshing and post-film discourse. The movies are shown in large-screen DVD, and in-person speakers might include author David Thomson, noir expert Eddie Muller, or critic Terrance Gelenter. Admission is only $5, but the top-grade, small-portion snacks are on the pricey side. Reservations required.