Medieval Times - Buena Park
It was OC Restaurant Week last week, and what discount did I take advantage of? Medieval Times at $30...practically half price.
Half price to get into the Kingdom of Kitsch. Half price to watch actors/stuntmen in shiny armor clang swords and charge towards each other atop galloping horses with bolsa wood lances that splinter into a million pieces.
Half price to see a dirt patch become the stage for pseudo-Shakespearean prose with words like "doth" and "sire", all of it unintelligible because of the poor acoustics and an antiquated sound system. Half price to have "wenches" serve you food out of troughs and that you eat sans cutlery while wearing a colored paper crown on your noggin.
Yes, it's been a while, and I am not ashamed to say I loved every corny, hokey, hammy, hollerin'-for-your-knight thrill of it: pro-wrestling for the geeky, Renaissance-fair-going, Lord-of-the-Ring fanboy set, and you get a meal with it.
I remembered fondly how I sold bags upon bags of Blow Pops for some high school club all those years ago, just to raise enough funds to cover our year-end dinner there. Medieval Times, like Sizzler, back then, was a special treat. Only The Velvet Turtle carried more panache.
These days, it's easy to get cynical about it. It has been, and probably always will be, a tourist trap--a side trip for the Disneyland-bound out-of-towner who happens to be from a metropolitan area that doesn't already have a Medieval Times in it.
The bill of fare hasn't changed much. Soup, a thin tomatoey thing with bits of veggies cut down to grain-size, is poured from a jug into a metal bowl which will sap the heat from the liquid and be too hot to handle for the better part of 10 minutes.
Next comes a butter-soaked garlic bread, and then the roasted chicken (something they called a "buzzard"), which is larger than I remember. It's followed by a teensy piece of tender pork rib, half of a skin-on baked potato basted with the same sauce as the ribs, and a warm apple turnover for dessert.
Drink was Pepsi, poured into our mugs from jugs similar to the ones they used for the soup, and already flat.
So did I enjoy the meal? Yes, especially at half price where most of money ($25 of it, as the receipt broke it down) paid for the show, which saw our Fabio-like Red Knight become the evening's champion, besting the evil and sneering Green Knight.
And to our Fabio-like Red Knight: We're sorry to have doubted you, and for mocking your striking resemblance to the oft-ridiculed male model. You deserved every bit of your staged victory!
Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament
7662 Beach Blvd.
Buena Park, CA 90620
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Seasons 52 - Costa Mesa