When I turned 50 years old, my eldest daughter was half my age. When I recently turned 75, she had gained on me and is now two thirds my age. When I turn 100 she’ll be three quarters my age. I haven’t done the math, but I’m pretty sure by the time I’m 125, she’ll be older than me.
But I digress. In my 75th year, the two-thirds-my-age daughter invited me to spend time with her at her home in Santa Monica, with the visit highlighted by a “dining in the dark” experience at the Opaque Restaurant.
Just imagine, that you cannot see for an hour or two, that you are abandoning vision in exchange for a new, multi-sensual dining experience. Opaque is enhancing our senses of taste, smell, touch, and hearing by abandoning one that we often take for granted – this is “Dining in the Dark.”
Many years ago she had taken her mother and me to The House of Blues. Opaque is “the House of Black.” I was delighted and we had a wonderful time; first walking Venice Beach in the bright sunshine, then dining in the dark. What is Opaque? Just imagine that you can not see for an hour or two, that you are abandoning vision in exchange for a new, multi-sensual dining experience. Opaque is enhancing our senses of taste, smell, touch, and hearing by abandoning one that we often take for granted - this is "Dining in the... more
We were warmly welcomed in a lighted lounge area where I ordered a mixed green salad, filet mignon (rare) and warm chocolate lava cake (we were celebrating my birthday after all). My lovely girl opted for salmon instead of filet.
We were introduced to Mike, a blind waiter, and musician; our personal guide, who took my hands while Two-Thirds put hers on my shoulders. We were then led from subdued light into the pitch dark dining room. We were alone in the dark, the first customers, and it was as quiet as Sarah Palin's elocution coach. Mike moved my hand to a chair, then the corner of a table. He did the same with Two-Thirds and we were easily seated.
The chefs are sighted (I didn’t hold that against them) and the food and service were exceptional. Minus sight, the aromas, tastes and textures combined with the incomparable service rendered the dinner unforgettable.
70 year old memories surfaced. From the time I was 5 years old, I watched my mother operate a noisy, clunky, XXL Braillewriter, transcribing words to dots so the blind could read. I became acquainted with many blind people she assisted and I developed an admiration for their adaptability (which I was sure I could never achieve). The dining-in-the-dark experience deepened that appreciation even more.
We ate everything, although sharing proved to be a bit of a challenge (an incomplete pass of a small plate landed on a water glass, confirming my doubts about my adaptablility). Mike efficiently came to our rescue and we were quickly reseated. A few minutes later, we were served the sensational chocolate lava cake.
It was then we learned others had joined us in the dining room; a chorale of voices began singing Happy Birthday. We joined in, until they sang, “Happy Birthday Dear David” which was when I realized that Mike (or someone) had put the word out about my daughter turning two-thirds my age. Somebody yelled, “Speech!”
“Thank you,” I said. “It’s nice to hear all of you.”