Comic courtesy Natalie Dee
You sit there with your friend, enjoying great conversation and a cocktail. The lights are low, people around you are enjoying their dinners with family and friends. You pour over the menu, “Should I get the oxtail ragu or braised beef short ribs? They both sound incredible.” You revel in the pleasure that is dining in the restaurant at that place and time.
Your food arrives. First, the apple and goat cheese salad. Beautiful presentation. Then, your entree. You went with the short ribs. Good choice, by the look and smell of it.
You reach into your pocket, uneasily, apologizing to your friend ahead of time… and pull out a camera to photograph it. You feel awkward, people around you look at you and make a face.
“The pictures would have come out grainy and dark anyway”, you say. God forbid you use a flash and really piss some people off.
You put your camera away, forgoing the picture.
I have been confronted with a conundrum: I would love to share my experiences dining out in restaurants, the ambiance, the service, the food — but how to do this all the while enjoying your evening out, and while not disturbing the people around you.
There are some incredible restaurants in the greater Seattle area, all that I aspire to visit, taste and experience and share my thoughts here on this blog.
But I can’t quite reconcile with myself that the whole point of a great dining experience is to enjoy your time in this little cocoon of the restaurant, eating and drinking and having conversation — and why ruin it with documenting each nuance — “What was in that sauce again?” “What kind of vegetables are in this?”
Why even ask those questions, photograph your food and note how your service is? Because I care, and it is interesting to me. And, if I can, I’d like to share it with you.
I have yet to figure out how to go about this in a manner that is sensitive to my and my dining partner’s experience, as well as the experiences of others around me.
If you have any advice, please feel free to share.
Until then, I will continue to awkwardly ask too many questions and take pictures mid-bite. Damn, there’s got to be a better way to do this.
UPDATE: Apparently I am not alone in the controversy of restaurant blogging. Check out the LA Times article “Dinner is the theater as food paparazzi converge“