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Saturday, May 30th, 2009

Cru d'etat

blindfold1I'm a student of sensuality, and am familiar how "taking away" one sense can have the wonderful effect of enhancing the others in our fine five: taste, touch, sight, smell and sound.

So I was interested a week ago, to be invited by two close friends to dine in the dark at a local San Francisco restaurant, Opaque. We would be served in complete darkness, by legally blind servers – and fine fare would complete this strange and fascinating experience.

We were led down twisting, velvet-lined corridors to our table, and managed to find our places without either upsetting the table nor knocking even a plate or piece of silverware off. When food began to arrive, we coordinated between our server and us four, to put it all within groping reach. Our first trick was to pry a piece of bread out of the napkined basket and dip it (rather than our fists) into the butter. So far so good. And plus, if you didn't put your bread on it's assigned bread plate, who could tell anyway?

After an "aumse bouche" – my favorite term in the world for an appetizer before an appetizer, literally meaning, to amuse or tease the mouth, but hey, I'm all for amusing a bush! – came a plate of cut up veggies with three sauces. Our server announced, here is your cru d'etat.

Speaking enough french to order in a restaurant and have a conversation about love while keeping myself out of jail, I know that what he meant was, crudite – meaning raw cut up vegetables.

Without knowing it or meaning it, I'm pretty sure, he put "crudite" and "coup d'etat" (meaning revolution or overturning the current regime) in a blender, pressed "whirl" and got "cru d'etat."

I have to say, his slip of the toungue was the best thing about the night. We all found our eyes strained for sight, giving us slight headaches, not at all enhancing the flavors of the food. Likewise, it hard to really feel and get into what each other were saying, without being able to see body language and facial cues.

Grateful for our sightedness, we all commented how the visuals of food – it's shapes, presentation and variety – all add to the experience of eating. At least during this night, taking sight away didn't add to the taste, texture, sound and smells of our meals. The food was fine, but not worth the whopping price tag, attached to the novelty of blind dining.

As we exited the restaurant, back into the twilight of the street, we realized Opaque had gotten away with quite a "coup" indeed. Somehow, we'd paid twice as much for mediocre food, and helped them save on their electric bill!

Cru – raw
d'etat – of the house

Opaque: Raw Deal on the House!

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Posted by LiYana at 6:05 pm

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