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One of the pleasures of the holiday season is going to see big, loud, explosion-filled action movies. So John and I headed up to Del Mar to see Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol at Cinepolis Luxury Cinema in the Del Mar Highlands Shopping Center. Yes, yes, I know...Tom Cruise. But he's managed to keep his mouth shut lately, and Jeremy Renner's in it, so off we went.

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Cinepolis is a terrific concept - reserved stadium seating, big, comfortable, reclining easy chairs, full bar, dinner service, and the usual popcorn, candy and snack movie items. Tickets run from around $15 - $22 for adults, depending on the movie and showtime.

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We had gotten there a little early, and tried to order food in the lobby restaurant, but were told that we had to order inside the theatre. No problem. We look over the menu, the movie starts, and we settle in. There's nobody coming around, so we push the service button. Still nobody. In fact, we notice that no one else is getting any service either. Well, we figure, we don't know their system, so we watch the movie and kind of forget about it. An hour into the movie, a young man comes over and tells me, "We don't have any food. Our truck didn't come yet. But we'll bring you a soft drink on the house." I asked if we could at least get some popcorn, but no, they didn't have that either.

The whole thing sounded bogus, so John went out to the lobby to check. Sure enough, it was. He ordered food from there and was told it would be brought right away. Four minutes before the movie ended (running time for MI: GP is 133 minutes) our food arrived.

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These are John's short rib sliders ($13). Nice job on those onions. The meat, what little there is of it, is as tough and chewy as it looks.

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I had asked for a prosciutto panini ($11), but got a mayonnaise sandwich with a side of turkey and a slice of provolone.

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Our dessert selection is Xangos Caramel Banana ($8) which is supposed to be cheesecake, bananas, caramel and a "flaky tortilla pastry". At least they got the caramel part right. I almost never throw food away, but made an exception in this case.

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We enjoyed seeing the movie here and would go back for that. The reclining seats are very comfy, the middle armrest can be raised so it becomes a little sofa, and the sound system is good. But eat somewhere else first.

Cinepolis Del Mar

12905 El Camino Real

San Diego CA 92130

858-794-4045

Hours: Vary according to show times.

Movie tickets can be ordered online.

Need to know: Alcohol is not served at all movies, check online for details.

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