I've done my share of speed dating in New York City (for research purposes, ahem), so I know the drill. I'll spit the usual, "Oh, you're a graphic artist? Two dogs? You like Miles Davis, too?" and in return, I'll get the inevitable "Great nose ring. Oh, you're Indian? I love a good naan." GONG. Time to switch. It's always fun, albeit a bit predictable, which is why I think adding a little spice with actual "date" elements shook up the process in a very good way.
Speed Plating, celebrity chef Danny Boome's brainchild, is a little shindig at a restaurant where each participant noshes on every course with a different date—four in all, at 20 minutes each. SpeedDate, a virtual speed dating site, recently invited me to test out this newfangled dating concept at a hip downtown NYC restaurant.
The combination of creative, aphrodisiac-conscious yet unpretentious food and the unlimited bubbly had me at hello. Honestly, I could have been sitting at the table by myself for all four courses and been fine. But the company—I must admit—was a delight. Especially during the third course, where each person was blindfolded for a few minutes while their dates fed them. Way to bank off the whole "other senses heightened" thing, Boome. The man's no newbie to the psychology of food, as I learned after basking in the ambience of a candle-lit garden dining area and tickling my tongue with a mélange of sweet and savory. And the well-played "no cell phones on the table" rule was a pleasant little reminder of what dating should still be like in 2010. Pretty please—be clever and funny with me, not your Facebook status. Speed Dating Dos and Don'ts
"Yum. What spice is on the mootzarell?" I asked, flaunting my pronunciation skills to my very Italian date #3. I actually caught myself batting my eyelashes (under the blindfold, thank goodness) at some point, like a little culinary coquette.
At a hundred bucks, it's a good deal for everything you get; and not to be classist (trust me, I'm light years away from a position where I can be classist) but charging more than $35 does sieve out the non-serious, player-iffic and those who still live in mom's basement with no intention of vacating. When all was said, done and eaten, tables were cleared out of the way and there was a little reception that provided a chance to mingle, since there are about 40 singles at each event. There was even a charming little Belgian dude with a wicked sexy accent playing matchmaker. Not a bad touch for the shy ones. Matchmakers' Inside Secrets
Overall, Speed Plating was a pleasurable experience. My sagacious advice—take it easy on the champagne cocktails. They taste like heaven but beer goggles will not help when deciphering whom you're actually interested in at the end of the night.
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