Is this food a little dark?

To celebrate the ninth anniversary of meeting my curious, intelligent, sophisticated, beautiful, hilarious, and inventive wife, we decided to have dinner at Dans Le Noir, Barcelona. It was certainly a unique experience.

Our view throughout the meal

We were greeted at the door by Christoph (the guy in charge) who was very enthusiastic about the concept for the dinner. For those who haven’t yet heard of the concept, you are served a meal in pitch darkness. The servers are visually impaired or blind.

Also, you are served a secret menu. The only two things you specify before eating are any food allergies you have and how much of a meal you want (ranging from a main dish with dessert up to three courses with wine pairings.)

There are a couple of interesting things about the experience. You really get an appreciation for how much you rely on your eyes to identify the food you are eating. Many of the preparations were somewhat unexpected or unusual for the ingredients. Some things were obvious (asparagus with a truffled mayonnaise sauce, for example.) Others were more difficult to figure out. “What is this fried fibrous food? Sort of bland, but definitely not potatoes.” It turned out to be fried carrots.

Like many other groups, ours had trouble distinguishing reliably between two varieties of red wines and a rosé.

It was also cool to have the blind leading the blind. Our server, José, was charming in at least Spanish and English. It was interesting to realize how much the situation really made us rely on his assistance. He would tell us when he was putting the plate down and how many different items were on the plate. He would always put beverages in our hands instead of on the table so that we knew where they were and could avoid spilling them.

One of the things that struck me as strange was how I wasn’t able to rely on facial expressions for any part of the communication. I mean, it makes perfect sense. The way Sarah put it was, “It’s jut like a phone call.” But, for some reason, I guess just knowing that she was right across the table from me, we could hold hands, made it feel like I should be able to pick up more information about her reactions to the surroundings than I was actually able to. I admit, I did once respond to a question Sarah asked me by nodding. It took me probably 3 seconds to realize I had not communicated my reply.

I found the experience very refreshing. It’s fun to do something novel, and I thought it was a great way to celebrate our ninth “date-iversary,” as we call them.

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