Help me find recipes that are interesting to eat with your eyes closed.
October 17, 2012 10:16 PM   Subscribe

I want to treat my girlfriend to an unusual dinner.

There are restaurants that serve food in complete darkness.
I want to replicate this experience at home. I am looking for some recipe ideas that would work well when eaten while blindfolded. Dishes that engage the senses of smell and touch (and maybe sound!) in interesting ways. So far I have come up with falafel for the texture and maybe something with cinnamon for dessert (for the smell). She doesn't like foods with creamy texture, and I think things fried in breadcrumbs sadly will not be a hit. Meat is ok.
posted by Mayhembob to Food & Drink (14 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
chilled gazpacho, i'd say chilled avocado soup w crunchy pepitas too but maybe that's a little creamy.

sounds like fun!
posted by Under the Sea at 10:32 PM on October 17, 2012

Poprock rimmed fru-fru "martini"? I'm unable to link, but it'd cover your sound aspect. They're actually pretty fun as far as sugary drinks go, and should be easy enough to make.
posted by piedmont at 11:11 PM on October 17, 2012

Tempura would be especially lovely for this purpose.
posted by mochapickle at 11:13 PM on October 17, 2012 [1 favorite]

I once saw a tv show that featured a restaurant that served a dish in a bowl placed on some rocks in a much larger platter. The platter was full of local pine branches and needles, and other inedible aromatics. As the dish was served, the server poured boiling water over the things in the platter, making a really fragrant steam that intermingled with the interior dish as it was eaten (which was something like a roasted local seafood that had been caught near to where the pine branches had been cut). You could do something in a similar spirit. Maybe dried rose and lavender petals, or some pungent whole herbs (cardamom, clove, star anise?) in a big dish with a ramekin of, maybe a savory custard or risotto? Something subtle enough that the scented steam will really be noticeable, and the scent should be something not typically associated with being edible, but still yummy.
posted by Mizu at 11:48 PM on October 17, 2012 [3 favorites]

Deep fried ice cream could be fun on the temperature/texture front.

You could play with sound a little - waves breaking on shore with seafood, etc.
posted by twirlypen at 11:57 PM on October 17, 2012 [1 favorite]

Sample menus for Dans Le Noir London, New York (1, 2) and Paris.
posted by MuffinMan at 1:09 AM on October 18, 2012

I went to the original Blindekuh in Zurich, and found the menus to be startlingly normal. It seems to me we had a choice between beef, chicken and pasta for the dish. The experience you get from dining in the dark is truly in having a new experience with the mundane.

But I like your moxie, of taking it one step further and suggest for sound: anything with Pop Rocks. You can melt them into chococlate or find pop rocks ice cream (not sure if that violates the creamy texture rule). Otherwsie, I would go with something very crunchy. Maybe a nacho or taco appetizer?
posted by whatzit at 2:55 AM on October 18, 2012

I have eaten at a restaurant like this (Dans Le Noir in London) and also organised a meal in which one of the courses was served like this. Some ideas based on that:

Part of the fun is guessing what the food is, so foods that are difficult to guess may be interesting - in our case we ended up confusing beef and duck, which was quite embarrassing. It might also be interesting to mix the smell of one sort of food with the taste of another and see if the result is still identifiable - e. g. the trick with apples/onions/potatoes.

Seafood was good because of the variety of textures and shapes. I had a seafood platter which had small and large squid tentacles. Easily guessable, but entertaining.

The course in the meal I organised was ice cream and hot chocolate pudding - rather like the deep fried ice cream above. Another dessert idea might be glow in the dark jelly.

If you are serving drinks with this meal, be prepared to accidentally knock them over! Similarly, you will probably drop food, and you might want to avoid anything that needs complicated knife and fork work to eat. Washable surfaces are definitely the way to go here. We also found that complete darkness was difficult to obtain - we ended up taping bedclothes over the windows.

Good luck!
posted by gnimmel at 3:06 AM on October 18, 2012 [3 favorites]

If pop rocks are unappealing, see if you can work flying fish roe into one of your dishes. I recently ate at Ming Tsai's Blue Ginger, and my sablefish was topped with 2 forms of wasabi-flavored sauce, one perfectly creamy (as in French haut cuisine creamy) and the other visually identical (i know, not the point here), but startlingly crunchy. And spicy.
posted by mr vino at 4:53 AM on October 18, 2012

I also ate at Blindekuh. The best part was the antipasto tray featuring a range of meats, cheeses, olives, etc. It's harder to tell what you are eating than you might imagine. After a few errors of dexterity you realize it's OK to pick up an oil-soaked sweet pepper with your fingers because nobody can see.

On another note: make sure to cover up every last crack that might let in light. Our eyes adjust a whole lot over the duration of a meal. The experience wouldn't be the same if you could even see the tiniest reflection off the rim of your glass.
posted by scose at 7:04 AM on October 18, 2012

Fresh mango for texture, smell and taste.

Asparagus in butter.

Liver for texture, if she'd eat it.

Things in aspic or unflavored jello for savory items or you could say put a crunchy piece of fruit in the middle of a jello square, so when you pick it up you don't know the item inside is in there until you bite down.

If you can't fry in breadcrumbs could you wrap things in pastry and cook them. The crunch of pastry or a vol u vent with a creamy filling could be fun, and messy.
posted by wwax at 8:39 AM on October 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

I love unexpectedly savory cold things, like gazpacho and chilled carrot soup--there's a bit of an element of surprise, since you generally expect cold things to be sweet. That could be amplified with the blindfolded/in-the-dark experience.
posted by rhiannonstone at 11:21 AM on October 18, 2012

Kelp noodles have an unusual texture and not much taste.
posted by The corpse in the library at 12:14 PM on October 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

Thank you for all the suggestions!
posted by Mayhembob at 11:02 PM on October 18, 2012

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