I went to a Michelin star restaurant – and didn’t know it!

When I was sixteen, I spent a year in Strasbourg, France as a Rotary Club exchange student. Due to a mix-up at the Rotary office (!), I lived with four different families during the time I was there. While it was a little stressful to move four different times, it was also really interesting: I lived in the suburbs, a 200-year-old farmhouse, a penthouse apartment in the city, and a house in the middle of town. All of the families I stayed with were very wealthy (one of the families actually had a medieval tapestry hanging in their living room!), and took me along on various adventures. However, because I was sixteen, I didn’t realize how amazing some of these adventures actually were.

Like the time one of my host families went on a casual jaunt to L’Auberge de L’Ill for dinner. It seems almost like a dream at this point. Looking back, I was a little like Cinderella at the ball – my host mother’s brother drove his Ferrari, and I rode in the passenger seat. We went in the winter, so by the time we arrived, the air was crisp and the sky was pitch-black. I don’t think I had ever heard of a Michelin star, and no one said anything at the time, so I just thought we were having a really good meal – a meal that included multiple courses, wine pairings, and both cheese and dessert carts.

The food was delicious. Even as a naive sixteen-year-old with no idea that I was dining at one of the best restaurants in the world, I could feel that I was experiencing something special; even the air felt different.

I always wonder: if I had known what a unique evening I was having, would it have been as magical? I now think it was better NOT to know, and to experience the situation with fresh eyes, an open mind, and zero expectations.

I ask because I’m planning a special day for someone that includes a very nice restaurant reservation. I’m torn between whether I should reveal the depth of fabulousness that awaits us, or if I should keep it a surprise, complete with blindfold until we are seated.

What would you do?


  1. Surprise!

  2. Beverly says:

    If it were me, I’d love to know! The anticipation is a big part of the excitement of leading up to any event, especially being a foodie. I love to check out the menu and read reviews; favorite dishes etc…all beforehand!

  3. Pat King says:

    Yes, surprise for sure.

  4. Surprise for the guys but for girls better let them know ahead.

  5. Can you reveal a signature dish only? Is there a main or appetizer that is especially interesting? Or, although a recent foodie, I’m still impressed by amouse bouches! I like that I can look at a menu ahead of time, but that there are still lots of little surprises at a nice restaurant. Have fun.

  6. I would just let the lucky person to prepare their stomach. Tell them to eat just enough during the day so that they are ready to do some damage (in the most pinky-finger-up way possible)…. to that credit card. And, if you think about it, this essentially means that the lucky person is actually helping you rack up more points.
    Winner winner chicken dinner…. Or , I mean…whatever could it be??!!!!

    • Points Pixie says:

      Laura – I like the idea of giving the person a tiny bit of information…just enough to whet their appetite. Nice! Smartypants. 😉

  7. Rebecca says:

    I’d definitely want to know. Pouring over menus in advance is something I love to do, especially since I have dietary restrictions. Could be the nicest restaurant in the world, but if they don’t have enough veg food for me, I’d be disappointed.

  8. Laura W. says:

    My parents surprised me with a few cool destinations/events over the years, and though the anticipation and mystery drove me a little nuts, I was ultimately thrilled by the surprise. I realized the thought and planning that had gone into getting me there, and that someone took the time to do that was even more meaningful than the actual event (or close, at least).
    So my vote is to say nothing but reveal a block away or at the door.
    My two cents.
    Have fun!!

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