“I love being a food tourist in my own city,” says popular Los Angeles food blogger Drew Hubbard. “I really started L.A. Foodie as a way to connect with other foodies in Los Angeles.”
It’s the age of communal consumption. Anyone with a smartphone and a social media account can immediately share a photo of the churro ice cream sandwich he or she is having for dessert. “Technology just makes the dinner table much larger,” says Hubbard. “Dinnertime conversation is no longer confined to the people physically sitting around you.” Smartphones allow food fans from all over the world to get in on the conversation. It’s that universal access that allows sites like Hubbard’s to thrive.
Hubbard is quick to point out that mobile technology enables you to find a restaurant worth visiting in the first place. He recommends the usual suspects — Yelp, Google and Open Table — when seeking out new gastronomic experiences.
So, how did it all start for Hubbard? “My interest in the food scene surged with the launch of the @LAfoodie Twitter account in 2008,” he explains. “At that time, a lot of marketing people were fond of saying that ‘food is the new fashion.’ This was also when Los Angeles really started making a name for itself as a world-class food city.”
That same year, the Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board decided to take advantage of the uptick in local epicurean enthusiasm by establishing a twice-yearly dineL.A. Restaurant Week. For twelve days in summer and winter, Los Angeles locals and visitors are given the chance to broaden their palates by sampling prix fixe meals from more than 300 participating restaurants.
Stacey Sun, director of dineL.A., says that technology has played a huge role in making the biennial event so successful.
“The popularity of Instagram and our ‘Dine.Snap.Win.’ contest has made it easier to engage with more diners,” Sun says. “The photos that users post individually give instant visuals of what restaurants are offering on their dineL.A. menus. And whenever we post a photo of a particular restaurant’s dish, it drives a huge influx of diners to the restaurant.”
But back to that pork chop: If you really have your heart set on Instagram immortality, Hubbard has some advice for capturing a mighty plate of meat in all its glory.
“We sometimes have to use three phones,” Hubbard explains, giving us a peek behind the curtain of his social media empire. “One (person) takes the photo and the other two use their LED flashes to light the plate. It’s not ideal, but it’s not too shabby, either.”
For other ideas on how to make your Instagram ‘feed’ (pun intended) stand out, check out these tips from dineL.A.