‘Nerd Girl’ seeks perfect date for Noma dinner

Copenhagen restaurant Noma's limited residency in Tokyo has hundreds of men vying to be the chosen birthday date of a self-professed San Francisco 'nerd'.

'Nerd Girl' seeks perfect date for Noma dinner
Stephanie Robesky will be dining at Noma in Tokyo on her birthday. The big question is who will join her. Photos: Sarah Ackerman/Flickr,
Scoring a table at the Tokyo pop-up of the world's finest restaurant for your 39th birthday is hard. Finding the perfect date to join you can be even harder.
Mobile tech entrepreneur Stephanie Robesky was among the lucky few to get a reservation at Noma, open only until Valentine's Day in the Japanese capital, out of 60,000 who applied.
Even better, it's on her birthday, during the last week of January.
But with no one special in her life right now, the San Francisco single gal posted a date-wanted notice on her blog with a demanding set of criteria.
Single. Male. Between 28 and 46 years of age. Good conversational skills. "Easy on the eye," in her words, and capable of using a fork and knife correctly.
"I was thinking, if I got 10 people who applied, that would be nice," she told AFP by telephone on Tuesday. "And then it just got crazy."
As of Tuesday, more than 300 applications had come through, and Robesky expects still more to trickle in before she calls a group of friends over to help her come up with a short-list.
She'll then invite the three most interesting prospects out for coffee — hence the stipulation they must all be from the San Francisco Bay area — before making a final decision by Friday.
The winner must pay his own way to Japan, and get his own accommodation. But Robesky will pick up the tab at Noma, which runs at 64,900 yen (nearly 3,500 kroner or $550) for the multi-course meal with wine pairings — before tax and tip.
So heated is the competition that 82 friends of one hopeful, software engineer Kyle VanderBeek, have signed an online petition at urging Robesky to pick him.
"If you ask the undersigned, 'Who would you want to break bread and sup deadly hornet larvae with?,' we the undersigned would unanimously choose. Kyle," they said. "Kyle's your guy."
Likes: reading, movies and good food
Robesky's quest got an unexpected boost when Noma's 37-year-old chef Rene Redzepi — who founded Noma in 2003 in Copenhagen — gave it a shout out on his Twitter feed on Sunday:
"Single 'Nerd Girl' wants Bay area dude for epic Tokyo Dinner," the Danish champion of New Nordic cuisine wrote.
Crowned the world's best restaurant by Britain's Restaurant magazine for four of the past five years, including 2014, Noma is at Tokyo's Mandarin Oriental hotel from January 9 until February 14.
It welcomes no more than 44 guests for lunch and dinner, with a set menu and wine pairings, and Redzepi himself in the kitchen with his 50-strong team brought over from Copenhagen.
Robesky, whose big circle of friends mostly consists of gay men and married couples, and who gave up on her online dating accounts on New Year Day, concedes her approach is bold.
"I know what I want and I'm successful at what I do, and if that is seen as a bad quality for women, which I think it is sometimes, I don't care," she said.
On her blog, she describes herself as five-foot-six and "slim shady." She enjoys reading, movies and "bad TV," scuba diving, playing the ukelele, bald cats and eating "good food."
But on her mission to find the right companion, ready to cross the Pacific for her one-of-a-kind birthday dinner, she's learned that "there are a lot of interesting people out there."
"This has renewed my faith in dating in the Bay area."

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Danish Michelin restaurant Noma to open burger bar after pop-up success

Two-starred Michelin restaurant Noma is to open a burger bar in Copenhagen's Christianshavn neighbourhood.

Danish Michelin restaurant Noma to open burger bar after pop-up success
The team at Noma's new burger bar counterpart, Popl. Photo: Popl

The famous Danish restaurant ran a pop-up burger bar earlier this year, after its normal operations were closed down due to coronavirus restrictions. The concept was popular and is now returning for good.

The burger bar, Popl, is pitched as a burger restaurant with a simple menu, inspired by Noma’s pop-up from the summer. The name comes from the Latin, populus, meaning people.

The restaurant’s owner, René Redzepi, told newspaper Politiken that the initial expectation of 300 customers per day for the pop-up burger bar was increased to 1,200 at the last moment.

“We realised how fantastic it was to make something for everyone,” Redzepi said.

The permanent restaurant will have seating as well as offer takeaway, with meat, vegetarian and vegan offerings on the menu.

“Fine dining and Michelin felt a bit dated and wrong once we were able to re-open [after coronavirus lockdown, ed.]. We wanted to make something for everyone. And what does everyone like? Burgers,” the head chef and restaurant owner told Politiken.

The new restaurant will be located at Strandgade 108, the former home of Restaurant 108, which closed this year. It will be staffed by “Noma veterans (from) both front and back of house,” the new restaurant said in a press release.

“This year we have faced some of the biggest challenges ever in our seventeen years of operating Noma, dealing with the effects of the pandemic both at the restaurant and sadly the resulting closure of Restaurant 108, but it also came with a few major highlights. Above all, our summer burger season, when our doors were open for everyone to stop by,” Popl’s statement also read.

The new burger bar is scheduled to open on December 3rd.

READ ALSO: Michelin stars return to re-opened Copenhagen restaurant