4.1.2014: Instagram in Print / Pay by Phone


Instagram’ed Food in Print

Interesting. Time Out New York’s food issue was shot, by Brooklyn-based photographer Daniel Krieger, completely with Instagram. He shot portraits and food photos using Instagram, including a step-by-step primer for taking decent Instagram photos of your own.

The photos themselves are fine, though I’m pretty surprised a print magazine agreed to actually print them. But it says a lot about how we use Instagram in daily life — which is probably why TONY featured the photos in the first place. Interesting commentary, but still unsure about how it translates to print.

illustration by April V. Walters
illustration by April V. Walters


Will Pay by Phone Change Us?

Formerly, the official C+T  position on technology in the kitchen is as follows: tech becomes significantly less awesome when the fundamental restaurant experience becomes diluted. Make sense? Like, no, I don’t want to order my dinner from a hologram, thank you very much. But upon careful review, this position seems, frankly, a bit fuddy-duddy for a newsletter based on technological advances that create change and news. The most recent challenge to said f-d position: the introduction of technology that allows you to pay for your meal with your smartphone — no waiter-summoning required.

OpenTable is beta testing this functionality in San Francisco; Cover has a great list of restaurants in New York (and one in SF) participating in a program that not only allows you to pay with smartphone but also splits the check among your group. (It has a pretty spectacular sign-up flow, too — nice work, guys.) I thought I’d hate these. It will change the fundamental dining experience, I thought. Guess what? I think I love them.

For some reason, no matter what sort of restaurant you’re at, getting and paying the bill can be awkward — even when you’re dealing with the most adept, courteous staff. These products take away some of that awkwardness, I think. (I won’t touch on the splitting-the-bill thing because it’s so overdone, but it really is lovely for that, too.)

For now: the jury is still out on these things, but give them a try. They aren’t going to bring some sort of sweeping social change to restaurants as we know them, and may delight thanks to the newfound convenience. (Plus, walking out of a restaurant without dealing with the paper check feels a little baller, somehow.)


My Dinner Arrived Thanks to a Text Message

C+T in the wild! Last night during dinner at Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc in Yountville, while contemplating an addition of shrimp ‘n’ grits to our Monday night fried chicken, the server shared a fun-fact that won us over: the shrimp in the dish comes straight from “a guy in Louisiana” who texts photos of the shrimp to Ad Hoc’s chef. She then chooses which shrimp she wants to cook and serve, based on looks, and requests those exact shrimp be overnighted to the restaurant’s California kitchen. Pretty rad. (They were delicious, obviously.)


Eat24 Publicly Breaks Up with Facebook

In response to a change in the way Facebook handles brand content in its algorithms, online food delivery hub Eat24 penned a breakup letter, which it posted on its site. The well-written and funny letter makes plenty of points for the breakup — Facebook will now require brands to pony up real dollars to ensure posts reach more eyes. At best, the post serves as a good layperson’s explanation of Facebook’s changes.

But here’s the thing about public breakups: they never make you look good. I mean, of all the ways to break up with someone, this is one of the worst. (Breakup via text message is a close second; let’s call a post-it breakup third because I know someone will ask.) So, part of me thinks, “Just leave and forget it. No reason to drag anyone through the mud. The newsfeed is Facebook’s world, and we’re just living in it. If you don’t like it, take it elsewhere.”(Which, to be fair, Eat24 has done, as threatened in its blog post.)

Real talk: if brands on Facebook continue to grow and expand and create content, FB has to do something about the number of sponsored posts that the end user sees in their feed. Otherwise, we’ll stop Liking brands in an effort to see more posts from our friends and less from The Man.


The James Beard House’s New Kitchen Cam

An ongoing theme of C+T newsletters past: thoughts about the changes that live food events have made in order to keep up in an increasingly digital world. Food is best experienced through a combination of sight, taste, and smell — and two of the three don’t exactly translate to successful digital content. As such, awards and food festivals and other live events are getting creative. The latest: dinners at New York’s James Beard House include a live “kitchen cam” to catch all the behind-the-scenes action as some of the most famous chefs in the world prepare meals in the kitchen.

The cam launched yesterday as Daniel Boulud prepared a dinner to celebrate his new cookbook. Cool stuff! I missed it, but will definitely catch one soon. Check it out; the upcoming schedule is here.


  • Bon Appetit and Amazon Fresh might have announced a partnership this morning, but everyone in attendance at the announcement had to sign an NDA so… — WWD
  • Chefs’ refrigerators by the numbers — The New York Times
  • The Japanese cafes of the future have no waiters, only holograms — Eater
  • Which Food&Wine Best New Chef are you? Take the quiz to find out — F&W on Facebook

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