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Offalphiles & the Gastro-Paparazzi

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Beef heart tartare, raw venison liver, candied cockscombs—I knew what I was in for (and was excited about it) long before showing up to Chris Cosentino’s Head to Tail dinner, held Tuesday night at the new Astor Center. And while I assumed the place would be full of New York’s most enthusiastic offalphiles, I didn’t know they’d all be bringing camera crews. I couldn’t make it to my seat without ducking at least four over-the-shoulder video cameras and knocking into two boom mikes. The cameras rolled through right through our five-course trip around the fifth quarter, filming diners unawares as we picked tender strands of meat from our roasted lambs’ necks and popped cured pigs hearts into our mouths. I felt like a guest at Herman and Lily Munster’s wedding reception.

It wasn’t long ago that food bloggers began sneaking digital cameras into restaurants in order to share their meals with Web online buddies and ensure its digital immortality. This kind of documentation was at first met with ambivalence, but most restaurants now tolerate the practice, as long as you turn off the flash. (Speaking of flashes, the only real complaint I heard about the video crews was from an ol’ fashioned still photographer, who lamented that he couldn’t use his own flash, lest he screw up the video cameras’ filming capabilities). Plus, these videos are usually very good (here's proof).

If Tuesday night’s meal is any indication, the era of gastro-paparazzi is upon us. I suggest you stock up on dental floss.

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