The cost of being a rule-abiding moviegoer conforming to "no outside food" policies can be as tough to swallow as a box of stale gummi worms, and coughing up $3.50 for a box of Sugar Babies during summer blockbuster season can make you feel like an extortion victim (see our review of this weekend's headliner The Dark Knight). Whether you're craving a movie treat that's outside the Whopper box or you're simply looking for the biggest candy bang for your buck, here's how the munchies stack up at five Portland movie houses.
REGAL CINEMA PIONEER PLACE(700 SW 5th Ave., 228-5800)
CANDY: Reese's Peanut Butter Cups 3-Pack ($3), Sour Patch Kids ($4). Most of the basics except Hot Tamales.
TASTING NOTES: Despite the fact that Reese's Cups are hands-down one of the best treats ever invented, they're not good movie candy. Your body temperature melts the cup in no time, leaving way too much of the chocolate in your hair, hands and lap. A better bet is Sour Patch Kids; suck the sweet-tart, mouth-puckering coating and then bite into the squishy, fruity bodies!
MCMENAMINS KENNEDY SCHOOL(5736 NE 33rd Ave., 249-3983)
CANDY: Junior Mints ($3.25), Dots ($3.25). Plus, pizza and beer.
TASTING NOTES: There ought to be a law saying you can't charge more for the candy than the price of admission. Spending $3.25 for a 3-ounce box of Junior Mints? This innovative movie theater-pub offers nothing unexpected, with prices that are on par with Regal. Sure, the Junior Mints were soft and creamy, and the Dots...are a box of Dots. But for your money, you're better off heading straight for the pizza and beer.
LIVING ROOM THEATER
(341 SW 10th Ave., 971-222-2010)
CANDY: Violet Crumble ($2). Lemonheads (mini box, $1).
TASTING NOTES: Living Room's menu is in a class of its own (you can toss back caviar-topped deviled eggs while taking in a showing of Superman), but the sugar section is meager. Luckily, the Violet Crumble, an Australian chocolate-covered honeycomb candy bar, held up nicely. And Living Room's "Hawaiian Punch" ($8) —Southern Comfort, amaretto, raspberry vodka and fruit juices—is candy-sweet enough.
LAURELHURST THEATER(2735 E Burnside St., 232-5511)
CANDY: Dagoba Organic Dark Chocolate 59% Cacao ($3), Hot Tamales ($1.50).
TASTING NOTES: They were sold out of the chile-infused dark Dagoba Xocolatl bar at this theater pub, but the absence sparked a brilliant solution: Along with each rich, smooth bite of a regular Dagoba bar, we popped a Hot Tamale! Milk Duds and other usual suspects are priced between $1.50 and $2.50. Good chocolate, doughnuts from Staccato Gelato ($1.50) and gracious pricing earns Laurelhurst big points.
CENTURY 16 EASTPORT
(4040 SE 82nd Ave., 772-1111)
CANDY: Red Vines ($3.50); Goobers ($3.50).
TASTING NOTES: As part of the Cinemark chain, Eastport's sweets selection is as standard as the blockbusters it screens. A huge island of candy and popcorn beckons moviegoers—they've even got peanut-and-chocolate Goobers. Want an economical treat? Go for classic Red Vines. Chewy and sweet, the licorice twists do double duty: gobble 'em as candy, or use as an impromptu straw for a fountain cola. Score!
WEDNESDAY JULY 16
[MUSIC] ALL GIRL SUMMER FUN BAND, DIRTY MITTENS
Fact: AGSFB is composed entirely of girls. Fact: I've only ever seen AGSFB shows in the summer. Fact: This show's outside and 100 percent free. Outside the Portland Center for the Performing Arts, 1111 SW Broadway. 5 pm. Free. All ages.
THURSDAY JULY 17
[SPORTS] GORGE GAMES
Extreme water sports on the Columbia River Gorge. It's worth puttin' the hurt on your gas tank. 1000 E Port Marina Drive, Hood River. July 17-20. $35. Visit gorgegames.net for info.
FRIDAY JULY 18
[DRINK] PORTLAND INTERNATIONAL BEERFEST
Get your beer passport stamped by breweries from four continents. North Park Blocks, between West Burnside and Glisan streets at Northwest 8th Avenue, 722-9017. 4-10 pm Friday, noon-10 pm Saturday, noon-7 pm Sunday. $20 for a tasting glass and 10 sample tickets.
[STAGE] JAW 2008: COMMISSION! COMMISSION!
At Portland Center Stage's annual fundraiser, playwrights are auctioned off and forced to write for the highest bidder. The plays are produced the same evening, and this year the performance is free and open to the public. Gerding Theater, 128 NW 11th Ave., 445-3700. 9 pm Friday, July 18. Free.
[MUSIC] RAY DAVIES
Ray Davies (pronounced "Davis"; did you know that?) was songwriter for the Kinks, for chrissakes. And with recent and very satisfying solo effort Working Man's Cafe on the streets, there's really no reason not to see this legend play your hometown. Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside St., 225-0047. 8 pm. $47.50 advance, $52.50 day of show. All ages.
SATURDAY JULY 19
This celebration of land, light and wind involves 30 performers, from dance and pedestrian movement ensembles to a bike brigade that will sound off as part of the score. South Waterfront, Southwest Moody Avenue and Curry Street, 971-998-4810. One hour before sunset, Saturday, July 19. Free.
TUESDAY JULY 22
[MUSIC] EMMYLOU HARRIS
With songwriting now another arrow in her quiver—alongside that hummingbird-quavering voice—this icon's latest album is fittingly titled All I Intended to Be. Oregon Zoo, 4001 SW Canyon Road, 226-1561. 7 pm. $24. All ages.