The Blind Cafe.

Austinites, are you going on a date tonight?
If so, I’m about to give you the coolest Date Night idea ever.  Really. 
the blind cafe.
But what is it?  you ask.
The Blind Cafe is a concept that has a brief history in Europe, where diners eat in pitch black darkness.  And, your servers are blind.

Whether you’re an audience member, a part of the blind/sighted staff or a volunteer, The Blind Cafe is designed to help you feel more alive, awake, present and connected to your world. 
That’s from the website — which I’ll link you to here in a moment.
As you walk in, you’re taken to a completely “light-proofed” space:
You will be led into a pitch dark room by your blind wait staff and seated at your table where you will discover what it’s like to eat ‘Family Style,’ with your friends and other guests in the pitch dark. You will be working together with your old and new friends at your table to make sure everyone gets some delicious food on their plate. Your meal will be prepared with love and attention to delight your senses.
There’s also a concert at The Blind Cafe.
You will experience a full concert of viola, cello, violins, guitar and vocals without the distraction of your vision, social etiquette or your cell phone.
Are you intrigued?  Yeah?
The Blind Cafe started here in the U.S. in Denver, Colorado, has been to Portland, Boulder, Seattle and Cincinnati, and is coming to Austin this weekend.
The dinner happens both tonight and Saturday night, and is a fund raising event for a two-week workshop for Austin blind kids to learn Braille.
Here is the website!
And here is a short documentary about The Blind Cafe and its founder, Rosh Rocheleau. If you’re viewing this post on an RSS reader, mosey on out, come to the blog and watch this video.  You will love it.

People, is this not blowing your mind? 
Here is a link for tickets, and here are the details:
Tonight and Saturday // March 25th & 26th 2011
St. Martin’s Lutheran Church
606 West 15th Street
6:30PM Check In / 7PM Seating
A gluten-free and vegan meal
With a dark chocolate dessert.
Right, so — my man is gone tonight.  We are in turbo savings mode right now (because we are closing on a HOUSE, our first house, and basically subsisting on cereal and a bottle of mustard until further notice). 
But I am going to try so hard to get tickets for tomorrow night.  
Because this really does sound like one of those events you’ll never forget.  Precisely because you’ll never see it.

* * *

(PS: If you attend this event, I would genuinely love to hear your feedback.  Leave a comment or email me, austineavesdropper [a], and I will update this post with your thoughts).

UPDATE 3/30/11: Here are three amazing stories from those involved with The Blind Cafe.

“I am a violinist for The Blind Cafe and also the wife of the head chef.  I have enjoyed watching this project unfold as the weeks have gone on, through the joys of finding volunteers to the stresses of finding food donations!  I feel honored to be a part of it and seeing it come together these past two nights has been fantastic.”
“I went to the Blind Cafe last night. It was tremendous, and exceeded my expectations.  I felt a little nervous as our blind guide had my friends and I form a train by putting one hand on the shoulder for the person in front of us and then led us into the dark room. Inside, people were chatting away and eating, but you could not see a thing. We all figured out how to eat and how to serve up the food (family style) on our table.  I even refilled my water!  The food was wonderful, and the music was so great (singer-songwriter stuff with a string quartet).  The first song was written and performed by our blind guide, and it was called, “You’re Not Alone in the Dark.”  After feeling so vulnerable in that setting (“Where am I? How big is this room? Am I going to trip? What’s around me?”) it was pretty poignant.”
“I am a volunteer chef for The Blind Cafe, this has been so to speak an eye-opening experience.  Chef Asha did a great job on the menu, working with a very small budget. Getting to know Rosh and all the others that travel with him has been fantastic.  At first I had problems sitting in the dark, but when I finally relaxed and started to get used to my surroundings, words can’t explain how it was.  The music was so amazing, listening with none of the distractions you normally have (lights, watching the musicians and other distractions in the room).  I truly felt the music in a way I never have before. 
Also, talking to the blind servers and learning a bit about their life experiences and problems made me look at a lot of things in a new way. Volunteering for this was something I will never forget and hope to be in another one very soon. If you cant make it tonight, I have a feeling there will be another chance in the future.”