Monday, March 29, 2010

That's What She Fed goes to minibar: Part 1

The Anticipation has Mounted

Tomorrow That’s What She Fed will join the exclusive guild of people who've eaten at minibar. For those of you who do not know, minibar is chef Jose Andres’ forward thinking 6 seat bar where you get to watch chefs serve food as art in 30 or so small courses: dinner theater. Minibar, is defiantly near the top of every DC food enthusiasts bucket list. Its been on No Reservations how could it not be good?

As anyone who is anyone in DC knows, minibar is one of the hardest reservations to get. They seat only 12 people per night and take reservations exactly one month in advance. It’s probably easier to wander into the White House grab some dinner and get on Real Housewives of DC than it is to get a stool at Jose Andre’s minibar.

I wanted to make a solid bf move and score a reservation for the other blogger’s birthday (it was on Sunday). I began calling a month and a week before my counterpart’s birthday, after two days of calling promptly at 10am, listening to a busy tone/hold music for 20 minutes, and being placed on a wait list I quickly realized that I was in over my head and decided to abandon any hopes of a birthday surprise and tell her about my plan so she could pitch in.

After 6 days of calling, minibar was living up to its reputation as a tough get. The lady who answers the phone was very nice. She recognized my name and would offer advice and encouragement. She genuinely seemed sad every time she put me on the wait list (but she more likely faked it for my benefit, wouldn't be the first time). Her best piece of advice was to call on Sunday, Feb 28. Why is this day so important? Because march has 31 days in it, meaning that on February 28 they take 3 days worth of reservations for March 28, 30 and 31(the 29th is a Monday and they are closed Mondays). This tripled our chances of getting reservations. So if you are trying to get a reservation, you might find slightly better luck on the last day of February, April, June, September, and November.

Sure enough on Sunday we lucked out. Instead of the annoyingly catchy Café Atlantico theme song / hold music, there was an actual ring. Success! We were ecstatic (although the reservation came after her birthday, she was able to get another meal out of me). The reality of the situation didn’t sink in until a couple of days later when they sent a confirmation email containing a CONTRACT for me to sign. Who ever heard of signing a contract for a dinner reservation? They’re not messing around. I’m no expert in food law, but I’ve seen enough Law and Orders to consider the document to be on the legal up and up.

A month is a long time to wait for a night out at a restaurant. Making this reservation felt like getting Kelly Kapowski to go to prom with me. The night can either be one of the best of my life or (I fear more likely) a bit of a letdown. How can it possibly live up to the expectations? We have spent a month looking at every link Google could produce on minibar. By all accounts it is the ultimate combination of high quality food and chef showmanship. I haven’t been to dinner theater since Medieval Times in the third grade and that was pretty awesome.  I’m confident minibar won’t disappoint.

Check out That's What She Fed goes to minibar: Part 2 later this week.

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