Friday, November 5, 2010

Dining in the Dark

Sometimes, its what you can't see that makes you appreciate everything that you DO see.

Hubs and I went out last night for another fabulous dinner....

The food was fantastic! And to give you a tease of what we dined on, here's a photo of our entree:

Oh, you can't see it?

Well, guess what?

We couldn't see it either!!!

We went to "Dining in the Dark", where the tagline says, "What happens at Dining in the Dark? That’s between you, yourself
and you. And maybe the person next to you. Please join us for food, drink and whatever else you can imagine. In complete darkness."

I had discovered this unique fundraiser, which benefits Alphapointe Association for the Blind, from a friend on Facebook, Jeff. I quickly made reservations, as I knew this would be a very "eye-opening" experience.

Hubs and I arrived at Crown Center around 5:40 p.m., in time to enjoy some delicious cocktails and conversation.

Here's a "self-portrait" of us at the pre-dinner cocktail hour:

We met up with my friend, Jeff and his wife, Cindy, and then eventually sat down at a table with these two fabulous young ladies:

Meet Chrishanna and Latasha, two very up-and-coming young business women who are doing fantastic things in our community, and who SO impressed me, that they will be getting their own blog entry tomorrow! So - don't miss that, as it is truly an amazing and inspiring story! And a God moment, if there ever was one!

Anywho, we were eventually given aprons to put on, so we wouldn't ruin our dresses and suits. Our aprons were adorned as such:

Then, it was time to be taken into the dining room, which was completely dark. In order to go in, we had to line up like this:

The eight of us at our table followed Jamal, our waiter, into the dining room, which looked like this:

It was quite an adventure trying to find my chair and get myself seated. I couldn't see ANYTHING!

I cautiously put my hands up on the table, so I could find my water glass, and found myself touching something mushy.

EWWWW!!! What IS it??!!

Oh. It's butter. I must have found my bread plate. After twice putting my fingers in my butter, I got smart and turned the bread plate around, so to put the butter far, far away from my prying fingers. Duh.

I found my water glass, and placed it in the 1:00 o-clock that I wouldn't knock it over every time I'd reach for it.

With my exploring fingers, I managed to find a napkin...don't know if it was my neighbor's or not - but it was mine now, and so I grabbed it and put in my lap. Whew. Passed the napkin test with no casualties or spilled water or butter on my fingers.

The eight of us at our table introduced ourselves - in total darkness - as we all tried to navigate the table. We realized we had a salad in front of us - my fingers could feel lettuce....

So, picking up my fork, I stabbed my salad and lifted it to my mouth. GIANT piece of fruit!!! Yuck!!! I don't like fruit!!!

It's very off-putting when you put one thing in your mouth, when you're expecting another. I had been expecting lettuce. Not fruit.

As we all valiantly made efforts at eating our salads, Jamal came around with our wine glasses.

I proposed a toast, which, for some reason, was thought amusing by my tablemates.

My toast was, "Here's to us - and to a unique dining experience. Remember - what happens in the dark...."

"STAYS IN THE DARK!!!" fellow diners are SO onboard with this!

Unfortunately, during the toast, Hubs knocked over his water glass - which went in my direction. We sopped up water, as best we could, in complete darkness. Fun!

Eating a salad in the dark is very strange. I had no idea I was eating a dried cranberry...all I could tell, it was chewy and sticky. It took Hubs to identify it as a cranberry. I had no idea how much of the salad I eventually ate - I couldn't tell if my plate was clean or not, and there was NO WAY I was running my fingers over a sticky plate. Ew. Not worth having sticky fingers so early in the meal, so I just set my fork down and let it go.

We eventually got our salad plates cleared - in the dark - and then Jamal came in with our entrees. We had been given no clue as to what we would be eating.

I stabbed my fork into my plate, brought it up to my mouth, and tasted....nothing. I had an empty fork. Missed. Oops.

Tried again.

Got a nibble of something....creamy....rice? Sauce? Not sure at this point.

I started stabbing again, and managed to "snag" something big. Took my other hand to gingerly feel what was on my fork, and realized it was meat, of some sort.

I set the "mystery meat" back on my plate, found my knive, and attempted to cut off a bite.

No way was this going to work. I couldn't tell if I had a small, manageable bite - or a huge, honkin' I just set the silverware down, used my fingers, and ate the meat, which turned out to be a delicious chicken. Yum. And no one even knew I was using my fingers, because we were ALL blind, so there. No gettin' after me on my bad table manners.

I found potatoes on my plate at one point - woot! Those were good, too.

And then, when I thought I had finished everything, I picked my fork back up and made several scraping motions across the plate and tested the fork for food...empty. I must be done. Right?

I thought I would test the plate one more, I cautiously put my finger on my plate and poked around - and found...a tree???

Broccoli! How did I miss this earlier???! Yum.

As we dined, we chatted...made jokes...but gained a whole new appreciation for people who are visually impaired.

Both Hubs and I said that we felt almost claustrophobic in the was oppressive and weighty, and a little intimidating. Things we take for granted - reaching for a water glass, cutting meat, knowing if you've cleaned your plate - became major actions on our part during this dining experience.

How do I know if this is salt? Or pepper? How do I know if my water glass is empty? If I've cut my food into small enough pieces? If I have enough butter on my bread?

Eventually, the lights came back on...both for dessert and for the presentation afterwards...and we all agreed, that this experience had been SO worth it.


Truly eye-opening, in every way.

There were photos on our tables of what we had eaten, and so this is a photo of a photo of the salad we had:

And a photo of the photo of our entree:

(And you tell me, how did I miss that "tree" until the end of my meal??!!??!!)

If you EVER get an opportunity to do this, please, do it.

Because, as we learned, it is a terrible thing to see and yet, have no vision.




David said...

Wow, I've never heard of that, but it's a cool idea! Thanks for taking us along!

McTriplet Mommy said...

Awesome! I've though about doing this - but I am so picky, I wouldn't have eaten half of that even if I could see what it was! LOL

Scott and I did Dialogue in the Dark a few years ago when it came through - very "cool" experience.


lacochran's evil twin said...

The pictures won't load for me so I am still "in the dark" but it sounds like you had a really interesting time. Kudos!

Jeff said...

Great post. You really captured the evening. I can't wait to hear about the two women you met. The story from Chad, the scholarship recipient, was incredible. Here a young man is out enjoying a ride with his buds on a 4-wheeler and his life is changed in a moment. He took his new challenge and he's doing wonderful things. Great story.

MA Fat Woman said...

I'm not sure either how you missed the big tree.

Mental P Mama said...

We have a restaurant in NYC that does this. It scares me to think about it. Maybe that's the point....