Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Food Photography

There's an article in this week's Dining section of the New York Times that pretty much sums up my life as of late - taking photographs of food both at restaurants and at home. I don't take photos of every single thing I eat - pictures of my daily breakfast of Kashi Go Lean Crunch would get boring pretty quickly - but I do photograph everything I cook and try to take pictures at most of the restaurants I visit. It's one thing when it's just Peter and I at dinner, or my sister or my parents...but when the group is big and extends to people beyond my closest family and friends it can get a little awkward. I also haven't been to a super fancy restaurant since I started this blog...I mean, it's a special occasion kind of thing so no surprise...but Peter and I are already toying with the idea of going to Le Bernardin to celebrate our first anniversary in September and I'm already wondering if I should take pictures. Not sure if I would want to because it's such a nice place (but I could be discrete and not use a flash)...also not sure if I would want to because I will just want to enjoy the meal. But how could I go to Le Bern and not document every tasty piece of seafood I might eat? I'll cross that bridge when, and if I get there.

All this thinking about fancy dinners and taking photos of food is reminding me of a very special meal on our honeymoon. We spent two nights at the Chateau de la Chevre D'Or (translation: Castle of the Golden Goat) in Eze, a village in the south of France which is about 20 minutes from Nice. I don't even know how to put into words just how breathtaking this hotel is. It is actually part of the ancient village of Eze which is perched on a cliff above the Mediterranean. The hotel has various levels of gardens you can walk through that bring you slowly down along the cliffside. Here's one of my favorite pictures I took, because it's obviously beautiful and because I was very proud of myself for holding the camera still enough to get the night setting to work.

The hotel's main restaurant, simply called La Chevre d'Or, has two Michelin stars for 2010. Upon arriving at the hotel we decided we should do our one big blowout meal of the trip here. This is me (in my pool clothes) studying the menu.

And here's the actual menu. We chose the set menu, without wine pairings, at a bargain rate of 95 euros per person. I decided not to bring my camera to dinner, but I was able to get a photo of it because it was included in the big binder of info placed in each hotel room.

Rough translation (pathetic for someone who studied French for 12+ years):
First course: mushrooms and eggplant. This was an eggplant and mushroom jam served on a little toast.
Second course: Mediterranean sea bass with black pasta and squids
Third course: milk-fed veal with osso buco juice, carrots, and spinach
Dessert: "Pear Williams" tart with a mini vanilla and pear milkshake.

Not included on the written menu were little in between courses: duck foie gras to start, a cheese course after the veal, and a second dessert (I guess it's really a first dessert) of profiteroles with ginger and citrus ice cream which was served before the pear tart.

And finally, the point about photos in fancy restaurants - even though I didn't bring my camera, Peter brought the Flip video camera and artfully shot three short videos which total about a minute. The middle part of the video is the waiter preparing the eggplant and mushroom dish tableside.

The meal, and trip of a lifetime. After paying the bill, we then had to eat stale baguettes for every meal on the rest of our trip.

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