We made it to our first anniversary. The dinner we had planned was something special – Dinner in the dark at the Dark Table in Vancouver.
The plan… to eat completely in the dark. No light from a cell phone. From a watch. From my brilliant wit. Nothing. Complete and utter pit-of-doom darkness.
Being me, I began to imagine the worst. What if I knock over my water glass? What if I cut off my finger while trying to slice my steak? What if I eat the spoon by mistake? What if, when feeling around for The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World to make sure she didn’t bolt, that I felt up someone’s grandmother.
So, I decided to practice. I ate a cookie without looking. Then another. And 10 more. Sure I couldn’t see where the crumbs were falling, but it was all good. I felt ready for this place. Plus, you know, I got to eat 10 cookies.
We arrived a bit early and took the most amazing walk around Kits. The weather was perfect, warm in the sunshine, chilly in the shade, the sea glistening with evening light, most of the drug addicts trucking towards their nightly abodes.
A lot of joggers jogged past us, the bastards. Quite a few kids rolled by in strollers (the mom’s jogging, damn them). People sat and watched the sun slowly set. Couples held hands. We passed a guy dressed in a Sgt Peppers uniform selling watermelon of all things.
So pretty typical Kits, really.
Then the fun began. We arrived at the Dark Table. We chose our food in the light, but the appetizer and dessert would remain a surprise. The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World was excited to begin but I wondered, what if this was all some mad joke. Yeah, we fed them the hair from my chia pet, something bob ran over this morning and a part that fell off my bike.
I mean, would I know? My palette is tuned to KFC and McDs. (Hmmm, yes, that’s original spicy white meat with a dash of salt and someone’s hair), so I wasn’t sure I could taste the difference between chicken schnitzel or breaded veal
But I didn’t back out. Like the zipline, I had to go on.
Inside, it was dark. Not a big surprise. But it was, like, bottom-of-a-mineshaft dark. Like shut-your-eyes-stand-in-the-windowless-basement-at-night dark.
It’s disorienting. My senses didn’t kick into uber mode. I didn’t hear better. I didn’t smell better (despite a good cologne) and I certainly didn’t feel any better.
We were guided to our seats, the server placing our hands on the back of the chair, then on the table so we could orient ourselves. After we sat, we were guided to the knife and fork, the placemat and told to keep things next to the edges. Knife and fork to the right of the placemat, drink to the upper left.
After we ordered, we tried to talk. It was hard to hear The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World as she is soft spoken and I rely not a little bit on lip reading. So she had to shout things like, yes, my butt found the chair. No, I haven’t stuck the fork in my eye. Is that you touching my leg?
When our drinks came, I found it hard for me to find my mouth. You wouldn’t think that would be a thing, but yes, yes it was. I poured a gulp off my chin and down the front of my shirt.
It wasn’t a good start, but luckily no one could see me.
Then the first dish arrived. It had something I had to spear. A stuffed cockroach or mushroom, I’m not sure. But I couldn’t spear the thing, it kept sliding away. Fearing if I stabbed too hard I would shoot it into The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World’s eye, I did what any man in a cave of utter darkness would do. I used my finger. I grabbed the little buttery bastard and stuffed them in my mouth.
The main course tasted equally good AND they had cut up the meat for me – Like what’ll happen when I’m put in a home a few years from now. The food was delicious. I figured out a potato-like thing was a potato, that I ate some cauliflower, some squash, and likely a sweet potato.
The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World announced she has stuck a ravioli to her face, but was otherwise having a good time. It could be that she was felt up the waiter a few times but I can’t be sure.
Either way, she had fun. I had fun. We didn’t knock anything over (or didn’t admit it if we did), and we even came close to figuring out what we had for dessert.
“It tastes green,” I said. “Like lime or something cheesecakie, but with lime.”
“It’s matcha green tea cheesecake!” The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World said. “With a graham cracker crust and a light topping of yummy.”
Sounds about right.
To be honest, I ate a lot with my eyes closed. I don’t know why. I guess in some part of my lizard brain I was still in control of my light that way. I did, however, open my eyes to pay the bill, (I opened them really wide) and then, again, outside so I could, you know, find the car.
It was a cool experience.
I would recommend it to anyone.
But first, try to drink in the dark. Trust me, your lips aren’t as reliable as you think they are.