Dining in the Dark

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Dining in the Dark

Postby Bill Spohn » Fri Dec 14, 2012 1:28 pm

No, I don't mean eating in thick headed hebetation, I mean those dinners planned to be eaten in total darkness that began to be in vogue a few years ago. I even read of some where the waitstaff were blind (wouldn't make any difference to them, right?)

The idea is that when you have no visual clues you must rely on smell and taste alone when assessing and enjoying the food and wine (not to mention perhaps groping your neighbour while her husband sits in blissful ignorance on the other side?). Much like the idea of using black glasses to eliminate visual clues in a blind wine tasting (very embarrassing if you identify a white wine as a red varietal, I should think, but certainly a risk).

Has anyone participated in this sort of dinner? Aside from the obvious risk of knocking over glasses and having to feel your food out before impaling it (and hopefully only it) on your fork, the idea seems like it would be one of those things you might want to experience - once.

I'd be interested to hear from any participants.
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Re: Dining in the Dark

Postby Dale Williams » Fri Dec 14, 2012 4:08 pm

After reading about these dinners, a friend suggested we do our own. Rather than attempt in total darkness, we modified to use blindfolds (so cook/waiters could circulate).
It was interesting, and a couple of times I didn't get totally obvious ingredients. But it's one of those things where in retrospect I wish I had concentrated more on enjoying and less on being most correct guesser.
I'll also say things that one spears with a fork are damn hard to eat blind (chunky stuff is ok, but things like salad greens are very difficult). And best to use stemless glasses (or do like I did and "finger crawl" till one reaches stem.


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Re: Dining in the Dark

Postby Bill Spohn » Fri Dec 14, 2012 4:17 pm

Thanks - looks like you had a fun time.

I guess the only wine you wouldn't want to serve at this sort of 'blind' tasting would be Chapoutier, right?
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Re: Dining in the Dark

Postby Dale Williams » Fri Dec 14, 2012 4:26 pm

well, luckily our "waitstaff" pours, so the Braille label wouldn't be a clue!
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Re: Dining in the Dark

Postby Frank Deis » Fri Dec 14, 2012 4:51 pm

I have been put into this situation involuntarily a few times, and didn't like it.

Our friends have a deck, which they love, and a nice all metal dining table and chairs that they can leave out there.

So in good weather they like to have supper outside. And when the sun goes down while we are still eating, they think their lighting is "too harsh" so we generally grope around in the dark. Under those circumstances it's simply annoying not to be able to find the food on your plate.

Another instance -- when we were in Granada we went to a nice fish restaurant in the old Arab part of town -- you can see the hills of that neighborhood from the walls of the Alhambra but it escapes me right now what it's called. The Albaicin, thanks Google! At any rate we chose an outdoor table and halfway through our (bony) fish it got dark, and once again the lighting was "romantic" enough that it was hard to tell the fish from the bones. Of course at neighboring tables there were little girls showing off their flamenco dance moves which was entertaining and pleasantly distracting. But the eating in the dark part just sorta sucked.

What was worse -- we had walked there, and had assumed we could get a cab back to our hotel downtown (just under the Alhambra), but no cabs, no buses, nothing. So we had to walk back through the twisty streets at a rather late hour. Guide books suggest not doing that, since there have been muggings etc. but we were lucky.
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Re: Dining in the Dark

Postby Karen/NoCA » Fri Dec 14, 2012 5:06 pm

No, and nor would I want to. Gene and I went to Monterey CA once to visit a friends castle. We knew he would not be there but had free reign to enjoy the castle, walk around, etc. A bad storm had gone through the property recently, the pool was drained and damaged, trees were still down and some windows were broken. Naturally, the first thing I wanted to see was the kitchen, Gene said he was heading for the huge garage.
While there, he saw the main circuit breakers and thought it would be fun to turn off all the lights. So he did. The house was totally black, mainly because the windows had very heavy drapes and they were all pulled. I was terrified. I kept calling to him, no answer and finally just sat down and waited. I could not see a speck of anything. We had only been married one month and at that point I carefully considered my decision. In June it will be 50 years for us, and I can tell you he never pulled anything like that again. I never want to be in total darkness again. I carry a purse size flashlight with me always, plus two small back up lights on my key chain. Our home has night lights all over, and if the power goes out, they all have a small battery backup, and can also be used for flashlights.
It happened again on Orcas Island, a part of the San Juan Islands in the Pacific Northwest. The entire island lost power, we were in our room in an old hotel. My trusty flashlight kept me comfortable until I finally fell asleep, because no one was really worried about it until morning.
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Re: Dining in the Dark

Postby Fred Sipe » Fri Dec 14, 2012 9:39 pm

Never could really understand the appeal. Other than as an empathetic exercise to try to understand what the blind experience and learn to deal with, why would anyone even want to?

Doesn't even sound like an adventurous good time. Thank the Lord I DON'T have to deal with that!

Especially if the food were really GOOD food.
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Re: Dining in the Dark

Postby Jeff Grossman/NYC » Sat Dec 15, 2012 1:39 am

I see the appeal but I see no need to actually do it. :lol:
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Re: Dining in the Dark

Postby Ian Sutton » Sat Dec 15, 2012 1:40 pm

Some friends went to one of those restaurants in Frankfurt. Their view was that it was an interesting experience, but the quality of the food and the overall dining experience was pretty average.
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Re: Dining in the Dark

Postby Jenise » Sat Dec 15, 2012 4:16 pm

No desire. Wouldn't turn down the experience if an adventurous host offered, but I wouldn't enjoy not being able to see what I was eating before I took that first bite.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: Dining in the Dark

Postby Mike Filigenzi » Mon Dec 17, 2012 12:11 am

This sort of thing sounds like fun to me, but I think you'd need a menu that was put together with the darkness in mind.

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