25 ways to celebrate films set in the West

Pay homage to our favorite movies set in the diverse landscapes of the West

Chinatown: Chinese Scallops

Photo by Lisa Romerein; written by Jessica Mordo

15 favorite films to honor

For your Oscars party or just a movie night at home, cook up a dish that elicits an iconic film of the West.

Chinatown: Chinese Scallops

Roman Polanski’s multi-layered, neo-noir mystery explores corruption in early 20th-century California politics and dysfunctional family dynamics, with classic performances by Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway, and John Huston.

Savor this tasty dish as you do your best imitation of the film’s famous last line: “Forget it, Jake. It’s Chinatown.”

Recipe: Chinese Scallops

The Shining: Pumpkin Bourbon Shakes

Photo by Annabelle Breakey; written by Jessica Mordo

The Shining: Pumpkin Bourbon Shakes

Stanley Kubrick’s creep-tastic adaptation of the Stephen King novel features Jack Nicholson in the unforgettable role of a Colorado hotel caretaker driven to madness by the spirits haunting the place. All work and no play make Jack go crazy, so he occasionally takes a break at the hotel bar, where his chats with the (ghostly) bartender lead him to murderous violence (um, worst bartender ever!).

Our bourbon-laced milkshake provides sweet solace during those harrowing scenes.

Recipe: Pumpkin Bourbon Shakes

City Slickers: Sausage and Bean Dutch-Oven Stew

Photo by Thomas J. Story; written by Jessica Mordo

City Slickers: Sausage and Bean Dutch-Oven Stew

In this proto-bromantic comedy, a trio of New Yorkers goes on a New Mexico dude ranch vacation, hilarious hijinks and touching moments ensue, and they emerge (what else?) transformed. Plus we get to see Billy Crystal deliver a calf.

This hearty campfire stew is just the kind of dish they would’ve eaten after a long day of trying to rope cattle.

Recipe:  Sausage and Bean Dutch-Oven Stew 

There Will Be Blood: Roasted Garlic Toasts with Olio Nuovo

Photo by Annabelle Breakey; written by Jessica Mordo

There Will Be Blood: Roasted Garlic Toasts with Olio Nuovo

Daniel Day Lewis plays an oil prospector in turn-of-the-century California. His ascension to power sheds light on man’s ruthless ambition, as well as the early days of the industry.

Pay homage with this simple yet elegant appetizer using olio nuovo, the first and freshest pressing of extra virgin olive oil. 

Recipe: Roasted Garlic Toasts With Olio Nuovo

 

 

The Hangover: Marmalade Sours

Photo by Annabelle Breakey; written by Jessica Mordo

The Hangover: Marmalade Sours

The raunchy comedy follows a Vegas bachelor party gone horribly, horribly wrong. A few drinks get spiked, the dudes black out, and then have to race against the clock to find the missing groom before his impeding nuptials.

Say bottoms up with our updated (and unlaced) version of the classic whiskey sour, and know that you’ll always be a part of our wolf pack.

Recipe:  Marmalade Sours

127 Hours: Devilish Chorizo Chili with Hominy

Photo by Leigh Beisch; written by Jessica Mordo

127 Hours: Devilish Chorizo Chili with Hominy

Inspired by a true story, the film follows mountain climber Aron Ralston’s doomed adventure in the canyons of southern Utah.

If Ralston had packed enough rations, he would have enjoyed classic campfire grub like this flavorful chili, whose rich color also pays homage to the film’s red-rock landscape.

Recipe:  Devilish Chorizo Chili with Hominy

The Proposal: Cedar-planked Salmon

Written by Jessica Mordo

The Proposal: Cedar-planked Salmon

Sandra Bullock fakes an engagement to her underling, Ryan Reynolds, to avoid deportation. He takes her to Alaska for his grandma’s 90th (hello, Betty White!), and she plays the Manhattanite-out-of-water to perfection.

Celebrate Alaska’s signature ingredient with this classic salmon preparation.

Recipe: Cedar-planked Salmon

Brokeback Mountain: Grilled Trout Fillets with Crunchy Pine-nut Lemon Topping

Photo by Annabelle Breakey; written by Jessica Mordo

Brokeback Mountain: Grilled Trout Fillets with Crunchy Pine-nut Lemon Topping

Ang Lee’s memorable drama follows the complex romance between Wyoming ranch hands Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal.

Cook up this rustic grilled fish dish in honor of the characters’ rendezvouses masked as “fishing trips” and the local trout found in Wyoming and Montana streams.

 

Recipe: Grilled Trout Fillets with Crunchy Pine-nut Lemon Topping

The Goonies: Bite-size Honey Popcorn Balls

Photo by Annabelle Breakey; written by Jessica Mordo

The Goonies: Bite-size Honey Popcorn Balls

Every child of the ‘80s has a soft spot for this adventure comedy set in a coastal Oregon town, where a ragtag crew of local youth search for a legendary pirate’s treasure to save their homes from being razed for redevelopment.

Make this souped-up version of the ultimate movie snack, which resembles the gold and other “rich stuff” the kids find in One-Eyed Willie’s ship.

Recipe:  Bite-size Honey Popcorn Balls

The Social Network: Quick Cheese Fondue

Photo by Thomas J. Story; written by Jessica Mordo

The Social Network: Quick Cheese Fondue

In Hollywood’s spin on Silicon Valley, we witness the rise of Facebook—and the irony of the creator of the web’s biggest social site alienating his only friends along the way.

This crowd-pleasing, easy-to-make appetizer is a surefire way to win over your friends. Status update: 10-minute fondue—practically a miracle!

Recipe: Quick Cheese Fondue

 

 

Twilight: Bloody Scary

Photo by Thomas J. Story; written by Jessica Mordo

Twilight: Bloody Scary

The teen romantic saga set the hearts of millions of twi-hard fans aflutter. However, we think the real star is the setting of Forks, Washington—of course vampires would be hanging out in the mystical, gray and drizzly, densely thicketed rainforest of the Pacific Northwest.

Mix up this blood-red cocktail in honor of Edward Cullen and co.

Recipe: Bloody Scary

 

 

Napoleon Dynamite: Yuca Sticks

Photo by Annabelle Breakey; written by Jessica Mordo

Napoleon Dynamite: Yuca Sticks

The quirky indie comedy set in suburban Idaho put a new spin on the high-school geek. Napoleon’s look—afro, “Vote Pedro” T-shirt, and all—was one of the mid-2000’s top Halloween costumes; the film’s cult status lives on in an animated TV series.

This tasty side dish puts a grown-up twist on the cafeteria tater tots Napoleon loved to stash in his pants pockets for class-time snacking.

Recipe: Yuca Sticks

 

 

Thelma & Louise: Dates with Bacon

Photo by Thomas J. Story; written by Jessica Mordo

Thelma & Louise: Dates with Bacon

This late-‘80s film featured unlikely fugitives on the road and gave feminism a tough new look and feel—no more powerfully than in the iconic Grand Canyon-set finale.

The sinfully good sweet-and-salty appetizer is a nod to the odd-couple heroines, a naïve Geena Davis and world-weary Susan Sarandon.

Recipe: Dates with Bacon

 

 

Close Encounters of the Third Kind: Chipotle-Corn Mashed Potatoes

Photo by Leigh Beisch; written by Jessica Mordo

Close Encounters of the Third Kind: Chipotle-Corn Mashed Potatoes

Before E.T. phoned home, Spielberg first explored aliens in America via a Wyoming line worker who’s drawn to them in mysterious ways. In one classic scene, he excitedly brings his recurring vision of a mountain to life out of mashed potatoes on his dinner plate, much to his family’s horror.

Celebrate that moment with these spicy mashers.

Recipe:  Chipotle-Corn Mashed Potatoes

Sideways: Wine Soiree

Photo by Lisa Romerein; written by Jessica Mordo

Sideways: Wine Soiree

We couldn’t honor films set in the West without at least one dedicated to wine, and what better choice than Alexander Payne’s smart buddy comedy? Two guys pushing middle age set off on a tasting spree in Santa Barbara’s wine country and learn a lot about relationships in the process.

Our menu of classy bites (from caviar to Asian-flavored scallops) paired with the perfect wines hits all the right notes.

Menu: Wine Soiree

 

 

Disney and "Hollywood North"

Plus: Where to honor Western filmmaking

Disney and "Hollywood North"

May the Force be in S.F. Get an inside look at the movie-maker’s craft at the Walt Disney Family Museum (pictured). Its exhibit The Magic Behind Stop Motion Animation features a replica of a Star Wars AT-AT. $20; through Apr 28; waltdisney.org

“Hollywood North”. Vancouver, B.C., earned this moniker for all the movies shot here. On Location’s tours shuttle through Gastown and Yaletown for a peek at film sets, which could include the new Godzilla. $100 U.S.; onlocationtoursvancouver.com

 

Stanley Kubrick, Deadwood, and the anti-Sundance

Stanley Kubrick, Deadwood, and the anti-Sundance

Here’s Stanley! At L.A. County Museum of Art (pictured), the Stanley Kubrick exhibit includes his photography from his Look magazine days, production sketches, screenplays, and an angry letter from a pastor condemning Lolita. Through Jun 30; $20; lacma.org

Deadwood lives. In the oak-dotted hills of Santa Clarita, about 40 minutes northwest of Hollywood, movie ranches provide the backdrop for westerns old and new. At Melody Ranch Studio’s museum, you can see cool memorabilia from Wyatt Earp to the more recent Deadwood. melodyranchstudio.com

The anti-Sundance. At the Telluride Film Festival, aka the Show, you won’t see red carpets—though you’ll see plenty of stars. The nearby campsites fill up with die-hard movie purists, and organizers keep the lineup top secret to avoid pre-fest industry frenzy. Pass from $390; Aug 29–Sep 2; telluridefilmfestival.org

Glaciers and Westerns

Courtesy Montana Office of Tourism

Glaciers and Westerns

Moviemaking, Montana-style. Add Glacier National Park (pictured) to your summer road-trip itinerary so you can catch two of the glaciers tracked for the Oscar-buzzy doc Chasing Ice ... before they melt. nps.gov/glac

Classic Western. Experience the Tetons’ movie-worthy winter grandeur at Triangle X Ranch; the 87-year-old guest ranch lies within Grand Teton National Park and is the only park lodging open in winter. From $140; 2-night min.; trianglex.com

A new Wild West. This summer, Johnny Depp’s Lone Ranger stirs up clouds of dust in Cimarron Canyon State Park. Strike out from Taos; the park is an hour east along scenic U.S. 64. nmparks.com

Don Corleone and David Sedaris

Photo by David Fenton

Don Corleone and David Sedaris

The Godfather in wine country. The movie gallery at the Francis Ford Coppola Winery in Geyserville, California (pictured), includes two floors of relics like Don Corleone’s desk from The Godfather and Coppola’s Oscar for the 1972 film. franciscoppolawinery.com

Portlandia on the big screen. In this year’s C.O.G., the first big-screen adaptation of David Sedaris’s essays, Sedaris’s character hawks Oregon-shaped clocks at a Portland craft fair. You won’t find those at the city’s Crafty Wonderland shop, but you will find Oregon-shaped pillows among the handmade goods. craftywonderland.com

 

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