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Hell! - Qualified Perceptions
shumashi organized a little mob to go see/eat "O.N.C.E. in Hell: Dante's Inferno in Ten Courses" at Oberon (which used to be the Zero Arrow theater). Short version: yummy food, spectacle varying from disturbing to funny. There's one more dinner Thursday night, it's definitely worth it.

In more longness:

Pretty much everything is local food; that's O.N.C.E (One Night Culinary Event)'s shtick - http://www.cuisineenlocale.com/

After it was all over, shumashi asked if there was anyone from the food side of things who could talk to us about the food (kelkyag was particularly curious about why things were chosen and what other possibilities were), and we ended up talking to kitchen crew, assistant chef, and then the original menu-deigning chef. That was great, and I've included a couple of things below that she told us later, that we didn't realize at the time.

Bread and water. (And good wine, which wasn't really limbo-ish). We did have to stand out in the cold a little while before being let in, which somehow seemed appropriate. If chilly.
Oyster shooter, green apple mignonette. I have never been very much of an oyster person, but have grown a little more willing to test. This was probably my favorite oyster yet - not scary-slimy, with some taste in addition to the sea. And the mignonette was very yummy, quite peppery hot. harrock even tried it, and agreed that it was not too horrible, which is mostly the best one can hope for from an oyster for him. (This was, unfortunately, a dinner with a lot of That's Not Food for him.) There was an Argentinian tango here; not as strong as some of the later dancing, but interesting to watch. The waitress/hellion took away our plates with Lustful Sighs.
Okay, it's (associated with) the ART, so here was the first of the requisite writhing on the floor, in the person of Cerebus and his bowl of food. Baked beans and pork ribs in apple cider glaze. The ribs were amazing; the beans were not as exciting. Served in plastic bowls with HUGE ENORMOUS SPOONS. Nice shtick, especially with the gnawing on bones. The plates here were removed with greedy snatchings - this is also when our table started playing back to the waitress, with Jerry not letting her take the leftover rib away at first.
The play was the Squander or Hoard game show, which was funny. There was the guy smashing up the... things... over on the side, which was the first bit we found truly inexplicable, and we might have done better to have quickly skimmed the Inferno before going. The food was a turnip and maple flan, which sounds weird but was awesome, and mashed celeriac (mashed because of the weights smashing, we later heard) and taza chocolate, which went together surprisingly well. It was my turn to be troublesome to the waitress; I hoarded my wetnap from the ribs.
This was the Sullen sort of wrath, as portrayed by the servers and dancers, and they were hilarious. "I'll get your damn fork. Hmf." Food was jasmine kale salad, with "grapes of wrath vinaigrette", served in mismatched coffee cups. It did come across as "You can have some leaves, I don't care. In coffee cups, that's what was clean in the dishwasher." so that was pretty dead on for sullen wrath. And the salad was tasty, despite looking like "grunge". I'm not sure I've had uncooked kale as anything other than a garnish before, but it worked. mjperson won a staring contest with the waiter, for extra bonus fun points.
Lobster Salad in coffin-shaped pastry ("coffin shaped" is something we didn't realize at the time - heretics are trapped in flaming tombs) with flamey swirls of chili pumpkin sauce around it. The dancers were (first) sexy nuns in miniskirts, and this was clearly the voluptuary sort of heresy (see also "lobster"); later they segued into being the Furies, and this was probably the dancing that impressed me most. I spent a lot of time chasing up the last of the sauce with the pastry bits. Yum. Oh, and the waiters all had black cloths covering their mouths here.
(Huh. The people I would think of as violent are only in the outer ring. Suicides and profligates (why is that different than squanderers?) in the middle, and blasphemers / sodomites / usurers in the inner ring ("violence against God / nature / order")). This had a dance with the Minotaur with violence against beets, which was rather disturbing, and then there was the beet soup, with the whispering waiters pouring the extra beet broth on. This was actually really creepy to eat. Tasty but seriously disturbing. This was probably the high point of the Experience As Art for me, rather than Experience with Yummy Food and Odd Goings On.
All the waiters had outrageous Franch accents and false Moustaches. Jr unq n zrah gung jr jrer sbyybjvat nybat jvgu. Guvf pbhefr cebzvfrq hf Orrs Jryyvatgba jvgu Ebnfgrq Oehffryf Fcebhgf naq Cnefavcf, Fznfurq Erq Cbgngbrf, naq Zhfuebbz Tenil. Nyy gehr, rkprcg gung vg jnf Gbsh Jryyvatgba. Hee hee hee.
This involved singing and dancing about fast food, and a mini-burder in a bag with a Family Fun Game Sheet about the environmental effects of the beef industry. The burger was actually really good and was no doubt local beef (and we actually heard later about the pickling of the pickles), but we all felt kind of guilty for eating it.
Beatrice is a silk dancer! Pavlova, creme anglaise, and basil blueberry preserves. Also very very yummy.
7 comments or Leave a comment
lillibet From: lillibet Date: December 17th, 2009 04:41 am (UTC) (Link)
Nifty! Thank you for sharing.
merastra From: merastra Date: December 17th, 2009 06:27 am (UTC) (Link)
>>with the whispering waiters pouring the extra beet broth on. This was actually really creepy to eat. Tasty but seriously disturbing

Oh, very cool. I am impressed by people that can do "creepy" at will, never mind creepy as a food-performance art.
navrins From: navrins Date: December 17th, 2009 08:20 am (UTC) (Link)
Reading this post probably gave me 80% of the enjoyment I would have gotten from attending the event, while avoiding Things That Aren't Food for me. (I can read about it being Food, though.)

So, thanks!

(Plus it made me start up emacs for the first time in weeks, for rot13'ing. And a minute later, to try using an emacs command in Firefox. Sigh.)
readsalot From: readsalot Date: December 18th, 2009 12:34 am (UTC) (Link)
Do you know about the LeetKey plugin for Firefox? It lets you ROT13 at will, plus lots of other stuff.
navrins From: navrins Date: December 18th, 2009 02:28 am (UTC) (Link)
I didn't, but I really only need that functionality once in a blue moon, and I have emacs.

Not surprising it exists, I suppose.
rifmeister From: rifmeister Date: December 17th, 2009 09:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
This sounds delightful. I'm sorry tonight is the last night.
readsalot From: readsalot Date: December 18th, 2009 12:33 am (UTC) (Link)
Sounds like a lot of fun. I will hope that their next event is timed such that I can get to it.
7 comments or Leave a comment