Alice in Wonderland pop-up restaurant opens in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

And, you probably thought Alice in Wonderland was just a fairytale. Not anymore, as Swallowtail Canada presents their pop-up restaurant, Down the Rabbit Hole, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, from November 24-December 17, 2011.

Diners will not just enjoy delicious cuisine, but will actually experience the world of Alice in Wonderland. The night begins just outside an enchanted forest where guests will be greeted by a frantic rabbit who will lead them “down the rabbit hole”. Does this sound familiar?

Once they reach their destination, attendees will get to interact with their favorite Alice in Wonderland characters, such as being served tea by the Mad Hatter, and have unique experiences like enjoying soup from a bottle that is labeled either “Big” or “Small”. Choose wisely, because the bottle you pick determines what you’re next course is.

The pop-up restaurant is predicted to be so bizarre that it has even caught the attention of Celebrity Chef and Food Network Star, Bob Blumer, who is currently on the hunt for the “World’s Weirdest Restaurant”.

From what it sounds like, Down the Rabbit Hole has a great chance of winning.

Tickets are $129 per person and include five Wonderland-themed courses, a cocktail creation by Swallowtail, and the interactive show, which is performed by actors from In the House Festival. The location of the venue will not be disclosed until a week before the reserved date. Dates and times that still have tickets available include:

  • Saturday, November 26: 4PM and 8PM
  • Saturday, December 3: 4PM and 8PM
  • Saturday, December 17: 4PM and 8PM

To reserve your spot, e-mail or call 778-319-9453.

10 restaurants that let diners pay as much as they wish

Hate searching around for the perfect restaurant to fit your budget? What if you could eat somewhere that allowed you choose how much you paid for your meal? If you eat at one of these ten restaurants, you can.

Denver, Colorado

SAME Café is a unique restaurant that came to be from community service. After spending time volunteering at food banks and shelters, the Birkys, the creators of SAME Café, decided they wanted to create a place that could assist those who were having financial trouble. Not only are there no set prices at the restaurant, there is no set menu, with daily selections being made with fresh, organic ingredients and being funded by patron donations. There is no cash register, but instead a donation box where people can pay what they feel is fair. If a person cannot pay, they are encouraged to volunteer for an hour at the eatery.Karma Kitchen
Berkley, California; Chicago, Illinois; Washington, D.C.

Karma Kitchen doesn’t put a price on their bills, but instead a message: “Your meal was a gift from someone who came before you. To keep the chain of gifts alive, we invite you to pay it forward for those who dine after you”. The eatery serves lunch on Sundays (each restaurant schedule varies) and is run completely by volunteers (anyone is welcome to give some of their time), and sustains itself through the generosity of others.

A Better World Café
Highland Park, New Jersey

A Better World Café serves seasonal and sustainable fare, offering patrons an array of payment options for their meals. Diners can choose to:

  • Pay the suggested price (or give a bit more to help feed someone else)
  • Volunteer an hour of their time instead of giving a monetary payment
  • Enjoy the complimentary meal of the day if payment and volunteering cannot be done

With a focus on eating locally, patrons can expect fresh, healthy ingredients and meals such as soups, breads, salads, sandwiches, and desserts.

Jon Bon Jovi Soul Kitchen
Red Bank, New Jersey

Jon Bon Jovi Soul Kitchen is run by the Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation, which aims to combat issues that force individuals and families into economic crisis. Patrons can expect a 3-course, American-style meal beginning with a soup or salad and followed by an entree and a dessert. Ingredients are fresh and locally produced, and diners are encouraged to socialize with the people sitting next to them as they eat. While diners can pay what they please, donations of $10 cover the meal. If a patron cannot pay, they are allowed to donate some of their time to helping out at the restaurant in exchange for the meal.

Comfort Cafe
Denver, Colorado

The Comfort Cafe is a not-for-profit gourmet restaurant serving local, fresh, organic cuisine as well as vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free items. The menu is all about simplicity, with few items containing more than six ingredients. Patrons choose the food they want to eat, with sampler plates also available. While all food is free, donations are appreciated.

Vienna, Austria

DER WIENER DEEWAN is a Pakistani restaurant that allows patrons to eat as much as they want while paying whatever they please. The buffet includes daily choices such as lamb, chicken, curry, vegetarian dishes, and delicious desserts such as mango-semolina pudding.

Pay As You Please
Killarney, Ireland

Pay As You Please is a laid-back restaurant offering patrons free Wi-Fi and modern approaches to classical fare created by a trained chef. Delicious dishes include vegetarian, vegan, soul food, and pizza, and at the end of the meal diners can pay what they please. It is a good idea to make a reservation here, as it can get crowded.

Seva Café
Ahmedabad, India

Seva Café thrives on the belief that the people who dine there are not customers but guests and family members. While the menu changes daily, diners can expect vegetarian Indian and continental cuisine. After eating there is no bill, but instead an invitation to become part of the Circle of Giving, meaning that someone before you paid for your meal and it is nice to return the favor.

Indus Valley
Auroville Puducherry, India

Indus Valley is an open-air cafe set amongst the trees that runs on a gift economy philosophy. There are no prices listed, but instead patrons are asked to make donations to keep the eatery up and running. The restaurant offers simple Indian cuisine and even allows diners to place takeaway orders. On the weekends, there is also a bazaar at the cafe that sells local products including batik art, handmade soaps, naturally dyed fabrics, and more.

Lentil As Anything
Melbourne, Australia

Lentil as Anything has various locations in Melbourne and is a not-for-profit community organization. Their restaurants offer hearty and healthy vegetarian cuisine and ask that patrons donate what they think their experience was worth, from the food to the company’s philosphy and community.

The king of the food trucks in Los Angeles, California

As the food truck craze continues to grow in Los Angeles, California, it can be difficult for business owners to stand out from the swarm of the moveable eateries. This challenge was taken literally by Travis Schmidt and Jason Freeman, owners of World Fare busTAURANT, who bought a Vintage Double Decker bus to house their mobile restaurant. While the bottom level of the bus holds the kitchen, the top deck is filled with tables so diners can relax and take in the view of L.A.

Patrons can enjoy cuisine prepared by culinary masters, such as Executive Chef Andi Van Willigan, who has worked with the likes of Gordon Ramsey and Michael Mina. Some busTAURANT fare favorites include Truffle Mac and Cheese Balls, Red Velvet Cheesecake Bunnies, and Braised Short Ribs.

For a better idea of this unique concept, check out this video:

Enjoy art and brunch in the same place in Berlin, Germany

What do you get when you mix an American editor and art curator and a French chef? Heroes, a venue in the Neukölln district of Berlin, that is equal parts food and art. In fact, there is an exhibition space in the back of the restaurant.

This small cafe has a funky, laid back vibe with flashes of bold colors against white walls. A bright red lamp sits next to a navy blue vase, while a red, green, yellow, and purple stripe pattern form rainbow-esque slants on the walls. And, the kitchen actually looks like a real home kitchen.

While the menu depends on who is working, some usual items include crepes, salads, quiches, fruity French toast, cookies and chocolate cake. Some of the specials you are likely to encounter combine American and French fare and include stewed chicken, meatloaf, or French beef stew. On Sundays, patrons can enjoy Heroes famous brunch, which includes an array of options such as eggs, toast, pancakes, French toast, and more.

In terms of art, Heroes showcases different exhibitions every month or so, with the current one being “Big Face and Friends” by Emily Ritchie, a series of unusual and abstract images that are also interesting and thought-provoking. Book exchanges, film viewings, and concerts are also part of the experience at Heroes.

To see a full list of events, click here.