In my latest video, Restaurant Nocturnes, I steer you through a neon-lit tour of L.A.'s dining establishments: everything from the latest and hottest to the old school, and from high-end to hole-in-the-wall. I can't say I've eaten in every restaurant I photographed (just the cheap ones) -- but I have chatted with the chefs, managers, maitre d's, waiters and bartenders to get a thumbnail audio clip description.
I started this series three and a half months ago, when I spied Susan Feniger's eight foot "walking man" signage hovering over the entryway of her restaurant Street - what a knockout piece of neon! I had to pull over to get a quick shot of it, and I haven't stopped shooting since. Los Angeles at night is a city of light - and my goal has been to capture that through its cafe society. I choose which eateries to shoot on a personal basis -- sometimes the restaurant strikes me as visually interesting; in other cases, it may be my go-to for midnight birria tacos after a Film Noir double feature at the Egyptian Theater. I've tried to mix it up. Plus, everything just looks cooler at night.
Each restaurant is lushly shot in a clip that lasts 10 -15 seconds; then it's off to the next one -- so don't worry, you won't get bored. I've shot stills of more than 100 cafes, with a tip of the chef's hat to restaurant critic Jonathan Gold's annual 100 (or 99) lists. But for this video, I've paired my images down to just 21 - presenting the most interesting mix in a whiplash five minutes. And I've provided a restaurant list (with links), in order of appearance, at the end of my post.
This is all original content, not e-gurgitation (my term for recycling other peoples' web-work and repurposing it). I start shooting during sunset (look for photos that have a blue sky) and continue until the restaurants start to close, usually around 10 p.m. So hey -- if you ever see me out in front, adjusting my tripod, stop and say hello, or better yet, let's get a beer !
By the way, these images are composed in Chefvision - my own technique of shooting 100 or so still photos per restaurant and stringing them together as a short movie - that's why the video is all so bright & sharp, even for nighttime!
So -- click, play, and let The 99 Cent Chef shepherd you through twilit L.A. streets on a unique tour of our bustling, ever-changing restaurant scene (locals, check off the ones you've been to). And Restaurant Nocturnes Part 2 is just a click away, here.
Restaurant Nocturnes - Video
Play it here. The video runs 4 minutes 51 seconds.
Restaurants in order of appearance, with links to their website (or a review), and my original "twitpic" photo post -- just click on underlined text.
1. Fatburger - twitpic, 2. The Foundry - twitpic
3. Catus #1 - twitpic, 4. Comme Ca - twitpic
5. Jitlada - twitpic, 6. Grace - twitpic
7. Angeli - twitpic, 8. Nickel Diner - twitpic
9. Street - twitpic, 10. Animal - twitpic
11. Canter's Deli - twitpic, 12. The Bazaar - twitpic
13. Soul Food Express - twitpic, 14. Wurstkuche - twitpic
15. Church & State - twitpic, 16. El Tepeyac - twitpic
17. The Gorbals - twitpic, 18. Kyochon - twitpic
19. Mozza - twitpic, 20. Pink's - twitpic
21. Encounter - twitpic
To view or embed from youtube, click here.
99 thanks to the restaurant managers, hosts, chefs, waiters, busboys and patrons.