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LV Recommends: Bingeworthy shows and food pairings from area restaurants


Illustration by Glen Lowry

Nothing goes better with an evening in than Netflix and takeout. You don’t have to default to the nearest pizza chain or Chinese restaurant, though; pair these tasty local offerings with your favorite Netflix original for a satisfying binge experience.

The show: Master of None

Few Netflix series will stir your food cravings like Master of None. While Nashville barbeque and Italian pasta are integral to Dev’s quest for love and identity, one of the show’s most memorable food adventures comes when Dev searches the interwebs with the deftness of a Russian hacker to locate the best taco joint in New York City.

The food: El Banditos

NYC be damned — Iowa City has no shortage of its own tasty tacos. Northside Mexican restaurant El Banditos is a stand-out, offering breakfast, shrimp, free-range pork and even portabella mushroom tacos. Available for carry-out and delivery through Chomp. elbanditosiowacity.com.

The show: Stranger Things

There is no greater love story than Eleven’s devotion to Eggo waffles. Whether served to her in hiding by Mike or Hopper, or swiped from a local grocery store and eaten frozen while on the run from the shadow government, El’s feats of telekinesis are fueled by toaster waffles.

The food: Bluebird Diner

Iowa City’s finest waffles are found outside of the frozen food section. Go ahead and order an adult-sized serving with your favorite topping, including fruit, walnuts, pecans, chocolate chips and whipped cream. They will perfectly pair with a binge-session of Stranger Things or even Parks and Recreation, which features another waffle-obsessed protagonist. Available for carry-out and delivery through Chomp. thebluebirddiner.com

The show: Santa Clarita Diet

This blood- and vomit-splattered comedy about an undead real estate agent and her horrified but supportive family is perhaps Netflix’s most stomach-churning series. Still, Drew Barrymore’s insatiable appetite for human flesh (and the occasional rooster) may bring out your carnivorous side.

The food: Mosley’s

Sink your teeth into St. Louis-style ribs, sausage links, pulled pork, half a chicken and other meaty delights from one of Iowa City’s favorite barbeque joints. Don’t forget to complement your entrée with a side of pickled vegetables, cornbread or a jar of bacon. You heard that right. Available for carry-out and delivery through Chomp. mosleysiowacity.com

The show: The Crown

While the royals of Netflix’s lush costume drama are too busy smoking and stressing over the fate of the empire to grab a bite to eat, viewers can only be expected to take in so many shots of London landmarks before they start craving fish and chips.

The food: Wig & Pen

Apart from having a killer fish and chips — served with coleslaw and tartar sauce — the Wig and Pen offers some of the most celebrated pizza in Eastern Iowa, featuring titles so British Queen Elizabeth II would be proud. There’s the East Sider, Twickenham and Piccadilly Circus, but The Union Jack (with Italian sausage, pepperoni, mushrooms, onions and red peppers) is their most popular pie. Available for carry-out and delivery through Chomp. wigandpenpizza.com

The show: Grace and Frankie

Grace is a high-class martini enthusiast and Frankie a hippie with a Ben and Jerry’s weakness, but when their kitchen isn’t churning out vodka-infused watermelon, peyote tea or yam-based lube, Grace and Frankie can usually agree on light and healthy morsels.

The food: Trumpet Blossom Cafe

Enjoy lunch, dinner or snacking options fit for an awkward family gathering at your beach house. Trumpet Blossom offers an array of vegan dishes, including white bean hummus, herb-marinated Greek olives, maple-ginger tofu, cumin tempeh, cashew alfredo pasta, beet salad and gluten-free nachos. Available for carry-out and delivery through Chomp. trumpetblossom.com

The show: Orange is the New Black

Litchfield Prison rarely serves an edible dish, but that doesn’t stop the inmates from making the best of their culinary situation. This may mean sprinkling Ramen flavor packets on bland food, faking a Jewish faith to score the superior kosher meals, concocting “Frito fritters” in the microwave or using a hostage situation to secure Cheetos and Takis for the whole prison.

The food: Dumpling Darling

These dumplings and bao buns transform a mix of flavor backgrounds — Korean, Chinese, Indian, Eastern European, Midwestern and more—into flavorful morsels Piper and her fellow inmates can only dream of. From potato pierogies to bison momos to cheeseburger and mac and cheese dumplings, there are at least many combinations as there are Orange Is The New Black characters. Available for carry-out or delivery through GrubHub. dumplingdarling.com

The show: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

When Lillian, Titus and Kimmy’s dingy New York neighborhood is invaded by hipsters looking to install artisanal sneaker shops in beloved local dive restaurants, they fight back — with knives and fake beards alike — against gentrification. Hashbrown #hilarity ensues.

The food: Vivian’s Soul Food

Though the fictional Mabel’s (featured in the episode “Kimmy Drives a Car!”) is an F-rated soul food restaurant, it holds special significance for the residents of East Dogmouth, New York City. Vivian’s Soul Food of Cedar Rapids is equally endearing but exponentially safer, serving comfort foods such as fried chicken and catfish, pot roast, meat loaf, collard greens and banana pudding. Pair with a nice pinot noir for the ultimate Titus-approved experience. Available for carry-out or delivery through Feed Now. vivianssouldfoodcr.com

The show: Marvel’s The Defenders

By the fourth episode of Netflix’s superhero all-star series, Jessica Jones, Daredevil, Luke Cage and Iron Fist barricade themselves in a Chinese restaurant called the Royal Dragon while on the run from a criminal organization. The newly-united Defenders trade suspicions, chat strategy — and snack on some fried pork and pot stickers.

The food: Pei’s Mandarin

Sit down to a more relaxing meal than the New York City heroes. Pei’s has been open in Cedar Rapids for 30 years, serving an array of Chinese chicken, beef, pork, vegetable and seafood dishes as well as Japanese and Korean offerings. Grab a pair of chopsticks and watch the epic Royal Dragon standoff without having to fight Chinese food cravings. Available for carry-out or delivery through Feed Now. peismandarin.wixsite.com


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