Wednesday, July 20, 2011

On Adventure Wednesday... who ya gonna call? Plus a recipe to haunt you.

Have you heard about Hollywood Forever? It's a cemetery in our neighborhood, where stone monuments commemorate those who've passed.

Some famous....

Photo via Mental Floss


Photo via Bridge and Tunnel Club

Some, not so much.

Photo via L.A. Kompany

Where peacocks roam free during the day.

Photo via Danica Waters

And where, on Saturday nights, you'll find hordes of Angelenos bearing picnic boxes on their way to the mausoleum to watch a movie.

Photo via Cinespia

Hold the phone - hang out in a cemetery? After dark? You betcha.

The Cinespia organization hosts films at Hollywood Forever each summer weekend.  What began as a way to help fund the restoration of a broken-down cemetery has become a Los Angeles institution.  People from all over the city gather to dine al fresco, and snuggle in with a blanket to watch the film projected on the mausoleum wall after dark.  It doesn't have a creepy vibe (well, maybe a little after dark) - graves are respected and the audience sits in a wide open field nowhere anyone's burial plot. When I'm there, I actually feel a sense of community, peace and relaxation.  Especially at dusk - swaying palm trees, gentle breezes and the calm dimming of natural light.

When they announced a screening of Ghostbusters, my gang of cinema nerds gathered together for the occasion.

And what's a nerd-outing without themed food?  I came up with a recipe for mini tarts, to which I would add a little neon food color.  I called them... ectoplasm tarts.

They're just the color of Slimer!

But you can call them Key Lime.  They're not the world's healthiest, but one serving is perfectly good in moderation: this batch is for sharing. Just don't let them haunt you, or you'll rack up calories like Venkman racks up bad pick-up lines.

Key Lime "Ectoplasm" Tarts
24 Nilla Wafers
5 egg yolks
14 oz sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup key lime juice (best if fresh)
2 drops of neon yellow food color gel (optional)
1 drop of green food color gel (optional)

Line a mini-muffin tin with disposable liners, and lay a Nilla Wafer in each.  You'll need to "crunch" the wafer down to make it fit the tins, but if you push down on the center with a finger, it will maintain most of its shape.  Even if not, it'll work OK as the crust.

Mix together the yolks, milk, and lime juice until fully combined.  Add the food color (if desired) and pour over the Nilla Wafers.

 Bake at 350 for 10 minutes. Cool and then chill in the fridge before eating.

You can see both poured (pre-baked) and Nilla crust in this photo.

Serving size is 1 tart - and the batch makes 24.

 Cinespia's screenings had gotten pretty crazy in the past, with lines for blocks, in which you had to wait for hours with no guarantee of getting in until you made it up to the gate.  Fortunately, this summer they're trying pre-sale tickets and guaranteed on-site parking.  And this made all of the difference for us.  We'd given up on getting in after a disastrous attempt last year, but knowing that no matter how long we had to wait in the parking line, that we'd all be guaranteed admission... it was so much better that I think we'll be going back again this year!

It was our first picnic since our weight loss journey began, so we brought a great healthy picnic with us.

Tom enjoys his eggplant salad pita.

Our contribution to the shared spread included the finished tarts,
plus curried chickpeas, a light veggie-orzo salad, and crunchy veg with hummus.
Here's to Rena for bringing her collapsible picnic table!

A shot of the mausoleum, where the film is projected.
Photo courtesy of our friend Erik

As the sun goes down, everyone settles in for the movie.
Photo courtesy of our friend Erik

And... showtime!

Photo courtesy of our friend Brendan

I highly recommend a trip to a Cinespia film if you're in the Los Angeles area (or if you're visiting!)  The films are announced about a week or two in advance, and pre-sale tickets and parking (which I HIGHLY recommend) can be purchased for $10 about 5 days in advance, through the Cinespia website.

And if you aren't in the area... there are a ton of summer outdoor movies.  Be sure to check out your area listings, and give it a try!  There's nothing quite like gathering with friends to share a beloved movie - or one you haven't seen before - in an unusual location.

I'll be back tomorrow with another recipe for you to try, and until then, take care of you!


  1. Ah, damn. I can't believe I missed Ghostbusters. I haven't been to Hollywood Forever to see a movie in a few years. I should have checked the Cinespia website to see what they were showing this summer, but I stopped last summer because I was kind of disappointed with the stuff they were showing. I think the last movie I saw there was Fast Times at Ridgemont High. It's definitely a lot of fun, and I like the relaxed vibe. Looks like you guys figured out how to do it in style with the little picnic table.

  2. I'm hoping a few people can be convinced to attend the campfest Flash in a couple of weeks. I'm a little over the Cemetery Screenings since they got so popular and crowded, but I can't imagine a summer without at least one or two.

  3. It's for events like these that I was excited to make the move to LA. Is the crowd kid friendly?

    We go to the drive-in at Pomona because I can keep Holly contained in the bed of the truck and she loves being outside and seeing all the people.


  4. I am so making those tarts.

    I really enjoy how your recipes favor reducing sugar and using natural sweeteners rather than resorting to artificial sweeteners. I'd rather eat a small dessert made with sugar than a big dessert made with aspartame. :P I can just look at your ingredient list and know what you made tastes awesome. :3

  5. I love the cemetery screenings! I wish I could have gone to Ghostbusters... Maybe we can go to another one together :)

  6. This sounds so fun! There are several places in my area that show outdoor movies. I haven't gone because I don't like sitting on the floor for too long (my back), but maybe if I find a comfy lawn chair... Once again, you've inspired me to get out and about and take advantage of the fun offerings in my city.