Jackie Brown is director Quentin Tarantino’s third film, and since we are going in order, is also the third Tarantino film to be featured here on food & a film (→ first & second). In addition to the fact that it might be my favorite Tarantino film, Jackie Brown, like all Tarantino films, is filled with a trunkload of food moments. (See what I did there?)
Released in 1997, Jackie Brown centers around flight attendant, Jackie Brown (Pam Grier), who in addition to working for Cabo Air, smuggles money across the boarder for her arms dealer boss, Ordell Robbie (Samuel L. Jackson). When Jackie is busted following a return flight from Mexico, she must figure out a way to cooperate with the feds to avoid jail time, while still remaining loyal to Ordell in order to keep herself alive.
Five minutes in and we see Ordell and Louis (Robert De Niro) having a couple of cocktails (a screwdriver for Ordell and a dark liquor on the rocks for Louis), while Melanie (Bridget Fonda) twirls herself a forkful of angel hair pasta. This is the first of many screwdrivers for Ordell throughout the film, and it appears that Absolut is his preferred brand of vodka since he is shown refilling his glass later in this initial scene.
The second scene featuring Ordell’s cocktail of choice takes place at Jackie’s apartment where Ordell asks Jackie, “Why don’t you be a good hostess and hook a brother up with a screwdriver?” before attempting to low-key strangle her. The next appearance of a screwdriver is a scene between Jackie and Ordell at the Cockatoo Inn, where Ordell orders his signature cocktail while Jackie has a glass of wine and snacks on a bowl of popcorn. Following his conversation with Jackie, Ordell meets with Louis at the Cockatoo Inn and has—you guessed it!—another screwdriver. Finally, the last screwdriver appearance takes place at Melanie’s Hermosa Beach apartment where Jackie and Ordell conclude their meeting by toasting with screwdrivers.
In addition to the multitude of scenes featuring screwdrivers, there are a couple of scenes that take place at The Del Amo Mall Food Court. The first is between Jackie and Ordell and features the fictional fast casual chain, Teriyaki Donut. Both Jackie and Ordell have drinks from Teriyaki Donut; however, Jackie is the only one with a food tray, which contains a bowl and a set of chopsticks. I should point out that there is an airplane bottle of liquor on their table so it is quite possible that Ordell is drinking yet another screwdriver in his Teriyaki Donut cup.
The second scene at The Del Amo Mall Food Court takes place between Jackie and Sheronda, who also works for Ordell. Jackie once again has chosen to get food from Teriyaki Donut; however, Sheronda has food from the also fictional Acuña Boys, which is a Tex-Mex chain. Despite not being able to see once again what Jackie has ordered from Teriyaki Donut, we can see that Sheronda’s tray from Acuña Boys is carrying a hard-shell taco, an enchilada, Mexican rice & refried beans, a side of salsa and a drink.
Another scene in the film where food is featured prominently is the steakhouse dinner between Jackie and Ray Nicolette (Michael Keaton), where we learn that the two are both fans of steak sauce.
Additionally, other notable food moments include the large jar of Cherryheads on Max Cherry (Robert Forster)’s desk, Melanie’s MET-Rx meal, Jackie & Max’s morning coffee, and Ordell proposing that after Beaumont Livingston (Chris Tucker) helps him out with a job, the two of them go to Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles on him. He tells Beaumont, “think about it now, that ‘scoe’s Special, smothered in gravy and onions, side of red beans and rice, some greens. That’s some good eatin’.”
Ultimately when it came time to decide on what my vegan pairing for Jackie Brown would be, I knew I had to go with a meal from Teriyaki Donut. Since Teriyaki Donut is a fictional restaurant, and since we never actually see what Jackie orders on her two documented trips there, I tried to imagine what she would have ordered. I figured the real world equivalent to Teriyaki Donut would be Panda Express, and so I decided to go with a vegan version of orange chicken, an acclaimed dish at Panda Express. To round out the dish, I decided to accompany the vegan orange chicken with the classic sides of white rice and steamed broccoli.
Now I could have stopped there since Jackie only has a single bowl in front of her for both of her meals from Teriyaki Donut; however, I was not going to create a meal from a place called Teriyaki Donut and not include an actual donut. Now, do they have donuts at Teriyaki Donut? Probably not. But seeing as we do not know for sure, am I going to take the opportunity to prepare a donut and try to make it look like the one in the Teriyaki Donut logo? You bet I am. (For anyone interested in creating their own vegan Teriyaki Donut donut, I used this recipe for the donut, and this recipe for the glaze.)
For the table setting I used a blue fabric for the tablecloth, inspired by Jackie’s flight attendant uniform, and created my own Teriyaki Donut placemat, napkin, and cup, which you can fill with fountain soda or a screwdriver—your choice!
And that does it for this week’s installment of food & a film! Thank you so much for reading. Until next Wednesday!