The Ecotrust organization and Edible Portland have been hosting an awesome event series the past few months called Blind-Tasting Bingo. Every month, they have a different local chef come in to prepare a multi-course dinner that everyone eats blindfolded, then guesses what the dish was, based off their bingo board options.
Last week, I attended the dinner with Cathy Whims of Nostrana and Oven + Shaker. It was such a fun, weird experience, with of course delicious food.
Since we had to eat everything blindfolded, I wasn’t able to take photos of the food. So you’ll have to just use your imagination, kind of like what I had to do when figuring out what in the world I was eating.
Here’s basically how the night went down:
We grabbed some great New Deal Distillery drinks and our seats and began checking out the bingo board we were given. On it included 4 free spaces, 15 real dishes we would be served and 17 “decoys.”
Once the food was ready to be served, it was “Masks Down!” time. No peeking was allowed. You had to eat completely blind-folded. Servers came by with one or two-bite dishes in little paper cups, bowls or plates. As we were handed the dishes, we also realized we didn’t get utensils so it was all eating with your hands, without seeing what you were eating.
That made things interesting and creepy all at the same time. The weirdest was definitely the Tomato Aspic, a chilled tomato gelatin dish. It was slimy and gooey, and you weren’t really sure what you were going to be putting in your mouth. Fortunately it was really good.
As graceful as we tried to be, I’m sure we looked ridiculous eating. Especially when we had a pasta dish. I’m surprised I didn’t end up with food all over myself.
After everyone had eaten that course, we got to take off our blindfolds and assess the bingo board. You had to use all your intuition, sense of smell and taste to figure out what item it was. Remember, there were a ton of decoys made to trick you. Think you were eating blood orange? Well, it could be grapefruit. Our tastebuds seemed to deceive us without our sense of sight.
Once you thought you had a bingo and yelled it out of course, your board was whisked away for judging. Sure enough, mine was terribly wrong despite my best attempts.
At the end of the night, Chef Cathy Whims came out and announced what each course was. It was surprising to see how off we were on some of them. Both Lauren and my favorite two dishes from the night were a total shocker. The first was a fabulous bruschetta with what seemed like bean spread on top. Turns out, it was actually buttered clams. Definitely wouldn’t have gotten that.
The incredibly delicious, rich pasta that I was sure was tomato butter sauce? Turned out, it was “melon spaghetti” made with a sauce of cantaloupe. I didn’t even know that existed!
It was really fun and interesting to see how your different senses will kick in and occasionally play tricks on you. I definitely encourage everyone to experience this for themselves.
Check out Edible Portland’s page for their other great events: http://edibleportland.com/events/month/