This one’s worth keeping an eye on. For the last decade or so a growing trend is dining in the dark. Dining in the dark is exactly like dining in the light except you can’t see the food, the utensils, the crockery or the bus staff.
You also can’t see your date, which could be a good or bad thing, depending on your date. The lights are off and windows and doorways from the outside world are opaque. Or you are wearing a comfy set of blindfolds, which will have you tittering the second you slip the fuzzy felt over your face.
Winter Park needs this, a place where we can really focus on the food rather than be distracted by all the lovelies in their glittering finery and surgical enhancements. Here in the resort people will pay a fortune to nibble boneless tidbits in the blackness. At least once.
There are potential pitfalls, though. Customers could get burned. Restaurants could easily serve sub-par garnishments and vegetables. Small portions could be chalked up to some of the entrée not making it into the intended target. And who’s the wiser when your server resorts to taking hearty swigs right off the bottle when no one’s looking? Who pays the cleaning bills when the puree of spinach ends up all over that new jumpsuit cape designed by Stephanie Rolland?
That’s actually one of the selling points for me. Truth is, every time I go out to eat I end up covered in the sauces, spices and beverages put before me. And that’s with my eyes open in the light! If you look through the sweaters in my closet you will find roadmaps to Pepe Osaka’s, Sharkey’s, Fraser Valley Hot Dogs and Moe’s. My mom has given up and no longer buys me nice things to wear.
With dining in the dark, and I mean pitch-black dark, my wardrobe takes on a new sophistication with it’s built in bibs and napkin sleeves. My options in the closet go way up as soon as the lights go out. Now I can wear the cashmere sweater with the off color soy sauce spillage on the front.
Why not try a little experiment right now? Wherever you are, close your eyes for what you think is five minutes. Of course if you are driving this is not a good idea. But if you are over at the Rocky Mountain Roastery, Deno’s, Fontenot’s, Randy’s or even McDonalds and you are bored enough to still be reading, close those eyes tight. Okay, sip that coffee. Fork up some of that scrambled egg with onion and lox. Put some jam on that toast. Go for that Chicago dog with everything while you listen to the world around you.
Are you having fun yet? Wouldn’t you pay extra for it? This is just a taste, though. I’ve had a lot of darkroom experience. It’s downright freaky to be in utter darkness with your eyes wide open, so let’s start slow and use caution when removing blindfolds.
Paying for exotic stimulation (or depravation) is often what resort life is all about.
Apparently, some people can’t handle the dark. They head for the restroom and never come back. Others, they say, giggle uncontrollably and play footsie with anything that moves. I’m for this. People don’t have as much fun in restaurants as they used to.
We’ve all seen theme restaurants come and go and if a dark restaurant doesn’t become the place to be not seen quickly it can go out in a flash. That’s why a place like Strip ‘n’ Tail might be the perfect venue for a once a month all dark experience. They’re established and can always turn the lights back on if things don’t go well.
Our resort may be too small to pull off an all-dark meat experience but if you go to Vegas, “Blackout” serves lunch and dinner in the pitch dark.
Don’t take my word for it. An online review of “Opaque Restaurant” in Santa Monica, CA says, “if you enjoy eating in complete darkness, poking yourself in the face with a fork, spending $100 per person, and are also an idiot, then you should make a reservation for Opaque. I tried the chicken and the fish and they tasted exactly the same, but maybe it was because i couldn’t see the food. They could have both been chicken … or fish … hmmm …”
That guy doesn’t know fun when it hits him in the face. They probably don’t allow smart phones and that can be a real problem for some folks.
Steve Skinner hears that your other senses are heightened when you are deprived of your sight. Help name the new nightspot (I like “Fraser Valley Nights”) and write email@example.com.