Restaurants and Photography

November 13, 2009

My boyfriend and I have a database of all the restaurants we’ve been to since we started dating over seven years ago. It’s our version of Zagats…let’s call it Fagats. Our Fagats rates restaurants on location, cuisine, wine/spirits menu, wait/serving staff, mood, price and on the number of times we’ve been there.

Fagats is a wonderful chronicle of our relationship.

It started with our first date when I had the Caesar salad and grilled chicken and he had vegetable soup and the French dip. We talked about our mutual respect for Madonna and how, even though we had both just recently moved to Atlanta, we knew we wanted to live somewhere else one day.

It was with us at the Indian restaurant where we got in the biggest fight of our relationship. Neither one of us can remember what the fight was about, but we do remember it starting over him thinking it was gluttonous of me to order two servings of naan bread.

A restaurant that sticks out in my mind significantly, thanks in part to Fagats, is where we took my mother the first time she met my bf. I’ll never forget sipping on a Kettle One martini, when she turned to me and asked “Is it okay for me to fall in love with this one?” “Sure, mom.” I said “I already have.”

And I’ll never forget the restaurant where my bf took me on my thirtieth birthday where, sitting at our table was my bff from college. He had flown her down as a surprise.

I can look through the entries in Fagats like most people look at a photo album. Based on the review I can remember what I wore, what we talked about and sometimes, even how I felt that evening. Those memories are sacred to me and I’m so glad that I have Fagats to always remind me how much I love my bf.

But every once in a while, we want to try something new. As was the case last weekend when, after looking through Fagats for what seemed like hours, we couldn’t decide on a venue for dinner. Frustrated, we decided to abandon our old friend and visit a new restaurant that had opened up a few months earlier down the street from where we live. And I’m so glad we did.

The food was top drawer. The wait staff was wonderful, omnipresent but never in your face. The decor was marvelous. The restaurant is located in an old loft complex with exposed brick walls, floor the ceiling windows and flowing curtains between each table. While we were eating I couldn’t wait to run home and add our new find to Fagats. That was until, as I was about to bite into my pork tenderloin, I was temporarily blinded by the obnoxious flash of someone’s camera from a few tables away.

After I regained my sight, I turned over to see a group of suburbanites hovering around a digital camera, cackling and complimenting each other on their hair and make-up. I reminded myself that they were from the suburbs and probably didn’t know any better and returned to my meal. Again, I was about to take a bite when FLASH and another round of laughing and compliments.

I was confused. By the look of the kennel club at the table with the camera I knew this wasn’t a fashion shoot, so why were they snapping pictures and interrupting everyone’s meal?

Part of me wanted to start flailing about my table and foam at the mouth. My plans was to attribute my actions to the seizure-inducing flashing of the suburbanites camera. But I was with my bf and I didn’t want to embarrass him.

Because everything about the restaurant had been sublime up until this point, I decided, for the third time, to ignore the harpee photography fest and attempt a bite of my tenderloin. My teeth had just sunk into the meats juicy loveliness when FLASH! Another picture had been taken, followed again by the howling cackling of the hyenas. My teeth slipped causing me to bite down on the side of my cheek.

This meant war.

I walked over the table de suburban and asked “Would you like me to take a picture, so you can all be in it together?” “Well, aren’t you sweet.” one of them said as she handed me the camera and nestled herself amid the crowd of polyester and Aqua Net. “Ready?” I asked. “Cheese!” they all yelled through smile-clenched teeth. Just as I was about to press down and take the picture, I let the camera slip through my fingers and crash to the ground.

“Oh, my God. I’m so sorry.” I said, trying to not to expose my happiness. “It’s okay.” the keeper of camera said to me. “Please, let me pay for the repairs or a new camera.” “No, it’s okay.” she said. “No. I insist.” I said as I wrote down a fake name and phone number on a napkin and handed it to her. “Thank you.” she said, “That’s very kind.” “It’s the least I can do.” I responded as I walked back to my table confident in the fact that I could enjoy the rest of my meal camera flash free.

I sat back down at my table and was finally able to enjoy my meal. After several minutes our server walked up to our table with a fresh martini in tow. “This is from the table over there, with their thanks.” he said as he placed the drink in front of me. I picked up the drink, turned to the table and gave them a cheers. They reciprocated and I finished my drink knowing for sure that breaking that suburbanite bitch’s camera was the right thing to do.

I went home and entered our new favorite restaurant in Fagats, happy that I would now have an eternal reminder of the evening and that table of howling suburbanites would not.

My advice to restaurant photographers:

– Stop. What you’re doing is totally distracting to everyone around you. If you need pictures from a restaurant then your life is obviously too boring. Go on a vacation and take pictures of things that really matter.

My advice to everyone else:

– The next time someone flashes a camera in a restaurant, fall on the floor, writhe around in pain and foam at the mouth. You might get a free meal out of it.


10 Responses to “Restaurants and Photography”

  1. April Says:

    Michael – your blog site is hysterical! I loved your idea of a “Fagats” Restaurant list – what a scream! I really enjoy your writing. Who knows, maybe you’ll luck out and get a book deal!

  2. marsha Says:

    Some of my favorite photos have been taken at a restaurant. Some people have to celebrate special occasions at a restaurant due to lack of space at home. Be nice mom xoxo

    • mnkey75 Says:

      Then why can’t they take pictures outside the restaurant? I’m all for people having a good time, but they shoulnd’t interrupt other people in order to do it. I’ll try to be nicer, but it’s just not my style.

  3. JoAnne Says:

    Michael ~ continue your search for peaceful restaurants and what a better place to track them than “Fagats”? This is great! Hello to Corbin.

  4. Ryan Says:

    very funny, but I don’t believe that you would be cruel enough to break someones camera. You talk a big game, but I don’t I don’t think you have it in you. Stay funny. We sure need it at the office.

  5. Ryan Says:

    I think I could take you. for some reason I am really scared though. 🙂

  6. […] were out to dinner last week thanks to Fagats. (for a description of Fagats, read “Restaurants and Photography“). We were celebrating the fact that, as usual, bf landed a major client at work which meant […]

  7. […] I ignored my first response to run away and we decided to stay. We were seated next to a table of identical Stepford twenty-something twits celebrating someone’s birthday. At least, I assume it was a birthday celebration. There was a cake, presents and lots of picture taking. (For my thoughts on picture taking at restaurants see “Restaurants and Photography“) […]

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