My birthday was Saturday (June 9th).
Here’s the thing about birthdays: as a child, you flip your lid about your birthday…. You get so amped up! Back when I was a kid, my mom threw me the best birthday parties with bounce-houses, cake, presents—the works! (thanks mama)
As an adult, however, you say goodbye to the bounce-houses and rely on yourself for your birthday festivities. Instead of Disney Princess-themed ice cream cakes with plastic forks, it’s bittersweet chocolate layer cake with espresso gelato and candied mint leaves. Not bad for an upgrade in my eyes.
So I tend to be a bit lazy for my birthday. Normally I end up just calling a few friends last minute to grab dinner together. But not this year. No. No way.
This year my fabulous, handsome, awesome, ridiculously thoughtful boyfriend planned the best day ever for my 23rd birthday.
First, we woke up late (yessssssss), while I sat groggily in bed, he brought me this:
Coffee and all. Hurrah!
THEEEENNN we ran out to San Francisco, where the weather was just crazy great. It was warm, sunny, a little breezy. Geez. It was nuts.
Next up, hit the Ferry Building Farmers Market for lunch:
Have you ever had Roli Roti? Do you know what it is?
Roli Roti is a gourmet rotisserie, and they’ve got a famous Porchetta sandwich that will knock you off your feet. If you’re in the city on a Saturday, if you like sandwiches (who doesn’t?!), if you’re looking for something stupidly delicious, hop in line at the Roli Roti stand at the Ferry Building farmers market and getchurself a crazy good sandwich. I demolished mine.
Next we went to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Admittedly, this part of the day appealed to the designer/artist in me rather than the foodie. But it was fantastic, and you know what was one of the best parts was? The Blue Bottle Coffee café on the top level. That’s right. So the foodie in me wasn’t sleeping throught the WHOLE museum :P
Would anyone like an affogato (a scoop of ice cream with espresso) with BOURBON AND CORNFLAKE ICE CREAM?!!?!! Yeah. We went there. We did that.
After we’d had a moment to let the caffeine kick in, we headed out for the most magnificent part of my very foodie birthday: Opaque.
Ever heard of it? I think I saw it on TV at some point, that’s how I heard about it.
Opaque is a restaurant that specializes in “dining in the dark”. What’s that? Well, exactly what it sounds like. You eat a three course gourmet meal in complete darkness. And I’m not talking just a little dim, I’m talkin’ so-dark-you-can’t-see-your-own-hand-in-front-of-your-face.
You walk into a lit lobby area, where a host helps you check your bags and coats, and hands you a menu. At that point, while you can still see, you order what three courses you’d like to enjoy in pitch black. I was nervous, REALLY nervous! I was hoping that I wouldn’t totally wig out in there… but we were introduced to our server, Katie, who was perfectly equipped for the daunting task of serving us because she is vision impaired. All of the servers at Opaque are legally blind. As we stepped into the dark dining room, Katie very calmly explained to us that since she is vision impaired, what we saw in the dining room (well… nothing) is what she sees every day. She sat us down at our table as I clawed randomly into the darkness trying to feel things out. A fork here, a bread dish there… hm.. linen table cloth? Or is that my napkin.. hm.
Once we had gotten situated, they brought us some bread and butter… Tyler put almost all of the butter on his bread… I put maybe 1/16 of a teaspoon of butter on my bread. Geesh. This dining in the dark this is hard! Then they brought us a teensy little bite, a single cucumber slice with all sorts of magical deliciousness on top. It was easy enough to just pick up and eat.
For an appetizer, we had tuna tartar with taro chips. It was magnificent. When you’re eating without any use of your vision, the textures, the smells, the sounds absolutely sing. The moment Katie approached with food, I could immediately smell what it was before she even put it down. I fumbled with the tartar… I pretty much ate all of my taro chips and then had a big pile of tartar left. Tyler thoroughly enjoyed stealing it off of my plate. I would have never known if he hadn’t told me!
Then they brought us a plate full of sliced veggies and several dips. The point was to guess what each veggie and each dip was. Unfortunately, this was the most difficult task of the whole dinner. I kept just dunking my hand in the dips. Yeesh. They were delicious though…
Next came our entrees, Tyler got steak with mashed potatoes, and I got grilled salmon with sweet potatoes and green lentils. At this point I pretty much abandoned all hope of eating with my utensils. There I was, eating a gourmet meal with. My. Hands. It was all together ridiculous. But, nobody could see me at all! SO WHO CARES!? The serving size was generous so I ended up being able to take some home with me to sneak a peak (it looked as good as it tasted!).
Last was chocolate cake. I was determined to use my spoon. I absolutely used my spoon. But I did cheat now and again when I kept putting the empty spoon in my mouth. The moment Katie came with my cake, I didn’t even need to hear her to know she was there. The smells if bittersweet chocolate, of the sweet strawberries, of the candied mint leaves were practically shouting at me. I ate that cake. I ate it like crazy.
Normally, I would include photos of such magnificent food, but if I were to do that, we’d be left with a blog post full of black photos. Ha!
So listen to me, Opaque.
You in the San Francisco Bay Area? You looking for a dinner that will blow your mind? Hit up Opaque. Just. Do. It. It is straight up YUMMMMM foodie foodie.
Man. It was such a good birthday, my boyfriend is amazing. It was a day I’ll never forget!
Yum Foodie Foodie!