Thursday, July 2, 2009

My new favorite TV show

Who wants to open a restaurant with me?!?! I just heard about a fascinating new concept in restauranteuring on the Travel channel. Weirdly enough, although I LOVE travel and love to learn about and see new places, I rarely watch this channel - I blame this on the fact that our tv is usually tuned to SportsCenter!

I flipped on the Travel Channel because it was a show called "Extreme Restaurants", which sounded interesting to me.

This show is bizarre/cool/hilarious/odd/interesting, depending on which restaurant they talk about, such as a ninja restaurant in NYC, a haunted restaurant, a TOILET RESTAURANT in Japan (yes I'm serious, they eat out of mini toilets)...

But the coolest part of all was about Dark Dining!!

Apparently this concept began in California, but as far as I can tell there is nowhere in Chicago that does this yet. Basically, as you would imagine, the diners eat in complete darkness. Waiters use night-vision goggles to serve the food. At the restaurant that was featured on the show, all of the guests are served the same thing and they are not told what it is, which sparks great dinner table conversation while everyone is guessing what is on their plate.

Supposedly, taking away our sense of sight not only intensifies some flavors,but also ALTERS other flavors. Basically, kinda like I learned in Psychology 101, if something looks gross, we will think it tastes gross no matter what. Similarly, I'm sure all of us have had times where we take a bit of a delicious-looking cookie and keep eating it, even though it doesn't taste that great, because we think that it should taste good!

Also, it was said that people's conversations become very, very different too, whether they are dining with strangers or friends. I can imagine that when you can't see one's body language and facial expressions, you rely more on tone of voice, so you have to be more careful about how you say something - kind of like talking via email or AIM (or Twitter for you young kids, I'm aging myself!)

While I was watching the show, I was in the middle of eating some spinach hummus straight out of the jar, mindlessly, spoonful after spoonful. I tried closing my eyes momentarily, and it was amazing how slowly I ate the biteful, and how much more I savored the hummus, rather than just shoving it down my throat like I was previously doing!

Has anyone - especially all you hipsters on the west coast with cool stuff like this - experienced Dark Dining before?? And does anyone know if we have this in Chicago?


  1. The NY Times has an article about it here:
    And here's a post by Maki on her experience eating in Blinde Kuh (the first pitch-black restaurant):
    Very interesting indeed.

  2. That sound craaazzy! I'd totally love to check out a place like that - I want to say I saw something similar on a tv show or movie...