There’s a scene in the technology-terror series, Black Mirror, in which the character played by actress Bryce Dallas Howard takes a sip from her Instagram-worthy latte and finds it bitter. She dutifully Instagrams it anyway, pretending it was the perfect start to her day. The post instantly garners a series of likes.
It's innocent enough if the only victim is your own palate. But what happens when the food is designed and prepared solely for the Instagram set?
You get the Instagram-inspired dish, and the Instagram-inspired restaurant. If you haven’t seen it yet, keep your eyes peeled because you’re about to.
Look for the first signs of it, naturally, coming out of New York City, where Black Tap Burgers & Beer is racking up three-hour waits for ridiculous $15 “milkshakes” with candies and cookies adhered to the outside of the glass. Lollipops the size of your head and entire webs of cotton candy act as wackadoodle garnishes.
Or, consider Manhattan's new cookie dough "ice cream" shop, DO. Rush right over, get an enormous blob of raw cookie dough dropped onto a cone, and style, shoot, and post it to your social media accounts. Then, take a bite and throw it in the trash can around the corner. What plays well for the cameras doesn't always play well in the stomach.
Or consider Taipei’s new "restaurant," Modern Toilet, where "food" shaped liked turds is served to the guest in a faux toilet bowl. At least they're cutting out the middle man here and presenting their food as actual waste.
Our most Instagrammed local restaurants -- Milkjam, Glam Doll, and Penny's -- all have the important distinction of also being delicious. That said, it seems obvious that Milkjam designed their black cone and Glam Doll the macaroni and cheese donut with Instagrammers at least partly in mind. Penny's fully admits that their space was designed to be an Instagrammer's paradise.
Food is inarguably an art form complete with color and shape and sculpture, and thus it can genuinely inspire us to capture it as a moment in time.
But the most important part about food is eating it. The very best meals are the ones you eat before you've remembered to whip out your phone. A dinner party where nary an app is opened turns out to be a great meal, indeed.
So now that the insta-dish and the insta-restaurant are upon us, now what?
The answer is is ready and waiting for the first taker: the restaurant that insists you put your phone in a locking phone bag before you can be seated, just like at a Dave Chapelle stand-up show.
Phone-free dining spaces. They're the next big thing.
You can jump on Twitter and tell everyone about it in the car on the way home.