On Friday night, Steve and I went on a "Mystery" date that I had purchased for him as a Christmas gift. Don't worry I was still his date, that part was not the mystery, but we had no idea where we were going. We didn't do any planning whatsoever. I just answered a few questions about our level of adventure, noise preferences, degree of alcoholism, food preferences, and budget and followed the real-time instructions that the Mystery app provided. Yes, this requires a leap of faith, but one you'll likely be thankful for, if you take it.
We received a text on Tuesday reminding us that Friday was our Mystery date. And then a text again on Friday with the one hour countdown. Our directions were to meet at the Evergreen Park & Ride in Medina where our Lyft will be waiting for us at 6:15 pm to take us to our first destination. How exciting! There's something totally freeing about not being responsible for figuring out a plan or making a reservation. We could just show up. I can do that. And there's no possibility that we would change our minds and just watch Netflix with some Thai take-out because we had confirmed, and the curiosity factor was running high.
Our Lyft was waiting for us when we arrived at 6:10 and it immediately zipped us toward the 520 bridge with, miraculously, no traffic. As the car was winding towards Fremont and Steve and I are giggling and guessing where it might be taking us, an alert from the Mystery app pops up on our phones. "Your destination is 2 minutes away. Are you ready for it to be revealed?" Yes, of course, secrets drive me bananas. And it was.... a private salsa dancing lesson for two at Salsa Con Todo! But since we arrived a bit early we were able to squeeze in a martini a few doors down, which we felt would greatly prepare us for our upcoming dance lesson. Casey from Mystery was communicating with us via the app during each step of the evening, so if we had questions, we could get an answer immediately. I'm not going to lie, when that reveal for salsa dancing popped up I thought it was a super fun idea, but then Steve sort of mumbled an 'oohhhh boy.' The location was a place that I once walked past with girlfriends months ago and we had ogled at all of the dancers having a blast on the dance floor, so for me this was like a dream come true. Steve, however......his parents were both Arthur Murray dance instructors (that's how they met) which was pretty hot back before Dancing with the Stars, and it's clear that Steve opted for playing basketball in the street with his buddies instead of yielding any dance guidance from his pros at home. The guy has definitely fot rhythm, but there's always an air of regret or unfulfilled potential when dancing comes up. But we had a BLAST! Our instructor was patient and funny and she gave great guidance as we hysterically laughed at ourselves. This delightful hour is possibly the longest amount of time I have seen my husbands eyes not looking at his phone in the past few months. This is why I have no pics from our date, because we were too busy enjoying the moment and wondering what was about to happen next. Brilliant.
As our lesson ended at 8pm, our app alerted us that our Lyft was 4 mins away and would take us to our next destination.. We scurried down the stairs and outside to find the gray Prius and awesome driver named Sara that awaited us. She had no idea we were on a Mystery Date but thoroughly enjoyed hearing about our evening and being part of the adventure. We wove through neighborhoods of stoic close-knit Seattle homes with streets packed with cars and our simple little vanilla Eastside brains were laughing aloud, "where are we? near UW? heading north? Where is she taking us?" And at last, the reveal from the app, a few minutes before arrival told us we'd be eating at Frank's Oyster House & Champagne Parlor. We checked in and they had a cozy table in the front window waiting for us. Deviled eggs, shrimp, fried chicken (their signature dish), wine and even the banana split for dessert. The food was excellent and the vibe was that same cool dark delicious Seattle feel that reminds me we should try to get there more often. Never in a million years would we have found that place and gone there on our own. After licking our plates clean we clicked the link in the app that would beckon our Lyft home, sad to have our series of surprises come to an end.
I asked Mystery if they did any Eastside adventures and right now they only do that upon request so they can maximize the chances of sending people to experience new places. This was a fun video of another couple documenting their Mystery experience. This local company just had their one year anniversary and loves when people are willing to dive in head-first and just let the experience happen with an open mind. The pricing works like this- you tell them a per person price range ($50-100) ($100-150) and they work within that. Remember the Lyft rides will eat some of that budget too (if you plan to indulge in drinks). Mystery billed us for the Lyfts and the dancing but the dinner we paid for directly (the app told us this ahead of time). The total amount came in under right under budget. FREEBIE ALERT: There is typically a $20 planning fee, which is WAIVED if you use this link for your first experience. YAY! They also now do single-stop options for either a meal or activity that don't have additional fees. I hate to send you out of Kirkland, but this was FUN. And different. A change of scenery is always good-push outside your comfort zone. Surprise your date, enjoy some family time, go on a group/team outing, or give this experience as a gift. What a great way to appreciate the moment you are in. Even if someone else put you there. ~j