The Tasting Panel magazine

September 2014

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4  /  the tasting panel  /  september 2014 LETTER FROM THE EDITOR The other night I had a refreshing retro experience. I went to a restaurant where the management politely asked that customers keep their smart phones in their pockets. It was delightful; a blast from the past. I saw people actually talking to each other. They were enjoying their food, not immor- talizing it digitally. Sadly, this is a rarity in the modern, cutting-edge world of din- ing out. It is much more common to see a couple having dinner and, instead of sharing the moment and communicating with each other, both texting other people on their phones. How incredibly insulting and rude. And what is going on with the constant photographing of every dish, including the bread basket? Do we see ourselves as the official chroniclers of all things gustatory? If we don't have a permanent, indelible image of our lasagna, does that mean it wasn't real? What do people do with all those pictures? Do they have a "And then I ate . . ." slide show? "This is everything I ate in February." Some people like to post their pictures online—on their Facebook page, on Twitter, on Instagram. There's nothing I'd rather view more than what my acquaintances had for dinner last night. Riveting. Some restaurants even encourage this form of food porn. There is a place in Koreatown in Los Angeles that likes its customers to post pictures of their food on the restaurant website. Currently there are over 500 such images avail- able. The restaurant's specialty is pork neck stew, a delicious dish but not one that is particularly visually exciting. In fact, the stew is kind of lumpy and brown. And yet, there are no less than 118 different depictions of this stew on the website (probably more since I last looked). Why? What's the point? The internet has clearly given people a heightened imperative to record every moment of their lives. This desperate need for relevance is charming but annoying. Relax, folks. Your grand- children are not going to want to see what you ate on your trip to Schenectady in 2007. Sit down, look your dining companions in the eye and eat your dinner. It's a pleasant moment in your day. It's not historic. There will be another meal tomorrow. CONTRIBUTORS Roberto Loppi is a WSET Wine & Spirits Educator, certified trainer and holds certificates from Court of Master Sommeliers, Bar Smarts and Saké Sommelier Association. He ran services at the Italian Embassy of London and he is also a judge for the Sommelier Wine Awards of the UK-based Square Meal magazine. He is now based in Los Angeles, where he independently runs his consultancy, while also working as Sommelier at Nikita Malibu. Since moving to New Orleans in 2007, Scott Myers has made a name and a living for himself as both a professional photographer and musician in the city. Growing up, he spent many hours with his grandmother in her art studio, exploring many aspects of visual arts. Those lessons manifested themselves many years later, while traveling throughout the continental U.S. as a professional musician—he began a love affair with photography. In New Orleans, he has worked in many fields of photography, covering weddings, editorial assignments, advertising and corporate shoots, as well as providing portraits and promotional shots for many of the city's finest musicians. Hailing from a dual freelance writing and craft bartending background in NYC, Éva Pelczer started shaking up cocktails behind the bars of Los Angeles in the summer of 2013. Éva has been a part of the international craft cocktail community since 2009 and is lucky to have travelled all over the world visiting distilleries and experiencing cocktail cultures, honing her palette and depth of knowledge. Since moving to L.A., Éva has won the William Grant May Mixoff 2014 cocktail competi- tion, placed in the finals at Speed Rack San Diego 2013, worked extensively with the Campari Group and helped open Honeycut with Proprietors LLC in DTLA. Karen MacNeil, one of the foremost wine experts in the United States, is the author of The Wine Bible—the best-selling wine book in the U.S.—and Chairman of the Wine Department at the Culinary Institute of America. She is the only American to have won every major wine award given in the English language, including the James Beard Award for Wine Professional of the Year (2004). TIME Magazine has called her "America's Missionary of the Vine." Picture This

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