Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Amazing Race of Reservations!

Nineteen thousand people signed up to receive notices about purchasing tickets to Next Restaurant before early registration closed.  This turbo-hyped restaurant was accidentally named to Bon Appetite's list of top 10 celebration restaurants several months before it even opened! I wrote about my excitement over the opening of Next more than a year ago and. after signing up on the website, made plans to secure a table with friends.  Today tickets went on sale to the dedicated few who signed up early enough to receive an invitation to make a purchase on day one and I believed I could count myself among them.  There were several snafus and a substantial delay in the release of tickets, but the following video inspired me to stay in front of my computer for as long as it took to get tickets to:
Paris 1906, Escoffier at the Ritz.

I opened the Next Restaurant web page first thing and saw the beta for ticket purchasing right away.  I opened a second window for my email account and a third for Facebook.  You see, I had a plan of attack!  I sat and sat and sat, hit refresh, refresh refresh on my email inbox, and checked and checked and checked my spam filter, and toggled, and toggled, and toggled between the Next Facebook page for updates and my email to make sure I didn't miss anything.  I did not leave my desk to eat, use the rest room, or put on a bra.  I did, however, manage to clean the shelves in the surrounding area and spare 30 seconds to snag a little ham and wheat bread from the kitchen.  At a point I had to ask myself, 'Am I really willing to sit cross-legged and bra-less while repeatedly clicking a button with lemon scented pledge in one hand and an embarrassingly dry sandwich in the other all in the name of winning the amazing race of reservations?'  The answer was a resounding, 'YES! Because I am a foodie!'

I started this process at 9am (ticket releases were schedule to start at 10am, but I was afraid I was going to miss it) and around 1:45 I considered abandoning my post in order to meet Finn at school.  After a moment, I called the school and asked Finn to walk home with a friend.  After all, I had already come so far and realized child neglect was just going to have to become part of this process.  So yeah...I had officially started to lose it.

Ironically, at the EXACT moment I would have been meeting Finn at school my email from Next arrived containing my coveted password to login to the site and purchase tickets.  I toggled to the Next Website page I had opened earlier in the morning and entered my information.  My hands were shaking the entire time I was logging in, but the site seemed to be working perfectly and when I realized we could get exactly what we wanted on the date we wanted it I started to laugh and cry and cheer all at the same time!  I clicked purchase just as Finn walked through the front door.

So...after five hours of reservation devotion...what's next for us?
We didn't get just any table folks, we got the coveted kitchen table for six with an expanded sixteen course menu and reserve wine pairings...and they only offer one seating of this kind each night.  That means our group will be one of sixty in the world to claim this experience!

I even got messages on Facebook from total strangers offering to pay me a premium to secure them a table with my second reservation option (I said no and did it for a friend instead) and tickets are already selling like hot cakes on Craig's List.  I have heard that of the 7,500 seats very few are left and I am pretty sure there are bunch of people who will be disappointed in the end; I am just glad I am not one of them.  

After making my purchase today, I swear I experienced an honest to goodness foodie adrenalin rush and posted the following on Next Restaurant's wall...
...and received the following heartwarming response...
I have no doubt they will.

8 comments:

Angela said...

OMG, amazing!

Bronwyn said...

Wow- that's totally worth the braless-ness and the dried out sandwich!! I can't wait to hear about your night out :)

Ali said...

Awesome!!!!!!!! Congratulations!

Mary said...

just in case the world hasn't caught on yet that Im not a foodie because I'm completely clueless about food...what does "kitchen table" really mean...is it in the kitchen? I get that it is special, but I need the particulars...while I am outing myself completely "do chefs really drip sweat in everyone's food?" cause they sure did on Top chef Allstars

Mary said...

oh and congratulations on your ticket score!

Mel said...

Mary you are so funny! Yes the kitchen table is in the kitchen and the chefs serve you table side. The standard diner will have less courses and no access to the behind the scenes action. I've never sat at a kitchen table before, but I am thrilled beyond words about this.

Chefs do sweat and sometimes into the food, but at restaurants like Alinea and Next I'd say it would be basically intolerable to allow that to happen.

Penny said...

Too funny...thanks for the mental shots!

English Grader 1 said...

Wow! Congrats!! After watching that YouTube piece I am drooling on my sweatshirt sleeve. I saw a closeup of a delicate white anchovy oooh and then, was that sea salt on the corner of a piece of home made candy? aahhh

I cannot wait to read your review!
Deb Fallahay

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