I told myself I wasn’t going to take any pictures.
I told myself that I was going to be a regular person who doesn’t walk into a restaurant and immediately think about the lighting or glare from the street lights outside.
I told myself I was going to enjoy the moment – the company, the food and the overall experience of dining out without the pressure of capturing every edible morsel on the table.
I told myself all these things as I drove to Angeli Caffe, Evan Kleiman’s cozy Italian gem on Melrose, last Wednesday night, but somehow the words got lost midway through our meal.
The evening started out as planned.
I resisted the urge to take glamour shots of the pizza bread – incidentally my favorite restaurant bread in the city – and I turned my head the other way (toward a live person) when the persimmon and pomegranate salad arrived at our table for four.
Instead of fawning over my camera like I usually do, I actually focused on the conversation bubbling up around me, and was even able to contribute to the discussion without resorting to food bloggerisms like, “Ugh, the shadow on this frisee is horrible. Someone hold up their iPhone.”
It was pleasant being normal and talking about ordinary things like shredding string cheese into the thinnest pieces possible (Note: I don’t do this.), and people who utilize the public transportation system in LA (really?).
We were laughing, drinking our bottle of Sauvignon Blanc like it was water, and I didn’t even get the itch to reach for my camera once.
Or at least I didn’t until the ricotta gnocchi of the day arrived…
The dish of supple gnocchi balls made with cheese instead of potatoes (our waiter informed us that this makes them “lighter”) commanded immediate attention from all corners of the table. The scent of the brown butter and sage sauce tickled our nostrils, urging us to make sudden and indecorous moves with our forks.
Or, in my case, with my camera.
I whipped out my Sony cybershot with the agility of a figure skater, turned on the Droid light application on my phone, and got to work.
It was a thing of beauty.
The gnocchi. Not the photo (my arm got tired and I had to surrender the dish to my other photographing companions before it got cold).
Regardless, the memory of the best gnocchi I’ve had in Los Angeles will live on. In my mind and in this shoddy picture that, shockingly, doesn't really bother me. Because even a perfect picture, taken with the best possible camera, in the best possible lighting, is incapable of doing this arresting dish justice.
7274 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90046-7667