Tapes Mixedplates—an El Paso-based company dedicated to bringing people together through a series of blogs—will be hosting a new dining experience just in time for Valentine’s Day. Couples may choose to be swept up by a limo, be handed a bottle of champagne and be taken to an unknown yet exclusive underground restaurant.
These underground eating establishments—usually advertised by word of mouth, blogs or social networks—are usually closed-door and are often operated out of someone’s home or at an undisclosed location.
Pop-up restaurants have gained popularity across larger cities in the United States, and now this concept will provide El Pasoans with the experience.
While some may think of this as a thrilling and mysterious dining experience, others are wary of being taken someplace they don’t know in advance for Valentine’s Day.
“It’s a little weird,” said Aaron Rye, senior advertising major. “I wouldn’t be comfortable. I like knowing where I’m going.”
Christopher Lee Diaz, owner and founder of Tapes Mixedplates, said he decided to start this business in 2013 because he found the national food touring company, for which he previously worked for, limited him.
“I decided it was better to develop a concept of my own,” Diaz said.“I really kept this idea going because I felt it was important to build strong ties with the local community and restaurants.”
To become part of this exclusive Valentine’s Day dinner, attendees must first reserve a space online at the Tapes Mixedplates website, since this one night event has the capacity to only seat 30 people. Tickets are $70 and include transportation provided by L3 Coach, a local party bus company, along with a six to nine-course meal served by a secret chef.
“Participants will be picked up by L3 Coach and served champagne at a designated area. We will be transported to an undisclosed location, where will we start the night off with a cocktail hour and note this event is BYOB,” Diaz said. “We will then move on to the fun part of the night, where attendees will enjoy their meal. From there, we will enjoy the rest of the night at the venue where participants can just relax and enjoy music with their date or meet the other couples.”
Attendees will be transported back to the drop off location.
“It sounds like it might be kind of fun if you’re into adventurous dates,” said Lea Tellez, junior graphic design major. “Just the fact that you don’t know where you’re going is kinda scary, but other than that, it sounds interesting. I think it would make an interesting Valentine’s Day date.”
Alejandra Yerena, senior art major, said that being a guest of the pop-up restaurant experience sounds like fun.
“I think it’s a really good deal because a limo alone is pretty expensive,” Yerena said. “I would love to go.
It sounds exclusive and exciting, and bigger cities have pop-up restaurants too. I’m surprised they aren’t charging more per plate, it’s a great deal!”
Diaz said that although it’s the first time Tapes Mixedplates tries this in El Paso, he is planning on a city-wide food tour with L3 Coach.
“I am still going to be running monthly food tours and would love to coordinate something with the El Paso Chihuahuas once the season begins,” Diaz said. “Underground dining will be a monthly event as well, with different themes and chefs each time they are held. I’m planning cooking challenges and cocktail challenges as well. I am also getting ready to start bringing in music acts and eventually plan to mix everything together to make a music festival.”
Tapes Mixedplates is striving to change the way people view their dining experience in El Paso.
“I really feel the local chefs in El Paso need to be highlighted both at a local level and national. I am looking forward to building a strong networks of followers on my blog and showing readers and fans the kind of caliber of chefs we have in El Paso,” Diaz said. “The kind of events I put on help local residents and tourists to experience the food scene differently, especially when they ask: “What’s a good place to eat?”
To reserve your spot, visit tapesmixedplates.com. For more information about their events, visit facebook.com/TapesMixedplates.
Lesly Limon may be reached at [email protected]