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ArJewTino

“Latins are tenderly enthusiastic. In Brazil, they throw flowers at you. In Argentina, they throw themselves." -- Marlene Dietrich

Watch where you point that thing

In celebrating our anniversary last month, The Princess and I got all dolled up and patronized Restaurant Eve, a high-end place in Alexandria where we feasted on wine, a dirty martini (for me) and Bloody Mary (for her), and an amazing five-course tasting menu (all to the tune of $305, including tip). The wine I ordered was served in the biggest glass I had ever seen so, natch, I decided to take a photo of it to illustrate the hilarity of its size. As I took out my digital camera, the following conversation took place:

The Princess: Careful taking pictures in here.
Arjewtino: Why?
TP: Because some restaurants don’t like you taking pictures inside.
AJT: Why?
TP: Because some chefs can be sensitive about people spying on their food or putting photos of the food online.
AJT: That’s bullshit.

I understand that some chefs feel their culinary creations are works of art, but since when does taking photos of this “art” become some sort of infringement and not what it is intended to be: a compliment?

The San Francisco Chronicle last week ran this story about the etiquette of snapping away in restaurants. Many restaurants will ask patrons who take photos to stop and may even kick them out. It is their private property and they can do as they wish, but why (1) alienate someone who will then dissuade friends to not eat there and (2) miss out on some free advertising?

The potential for espionage is too great, I suppose. Still, according to the SF Chronicle story, restaurant managers have little recourse to stopping shutterbugs unless they flat-out ban cameras from their premises.

A couple of years ago, Blue and I visited a fancy-shmancy NYC coffee shop in Union Square and the hostess asked me to stop taking photos of my friend Blue because it was against restaurant “policy”. When I questioned her logic, she said the chef was afraid people would steal his décor ideas. I was too hungry to leave so I stayed and ate; but I showed my disdain for their “policy” by whining about it to Blue.
At Restaurant Eve, I took just a few shots of the wine and food and our amazingly knowledgeable server even took a photo of us at the end of the evening. The general manager, who saw me taking photos, didn’t take me for a culinary spy or a food blogger. He was gracious and furtively slipped me a pass that would get us into their semi-secret speakeasy, which, if you know me at all, totally made my night.

So what are your thoughts on this? Is it inappropriate to photograph the food and décor inside a restaurant? Or is it a complimentary act that shouldn’t be banned?

UPDATE: Thanks to Express for the online mention.
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