To Click or Not to Click

The San Francisco Chronicle today tackles an issue familiar to D.C. bloggers: taking pictures of your food in restaurants (thanks to for the link). The story, which was written by a blogger, provides feedback from chefs and bloggers alike and even offers a list of "Rules for tableside shutterbugs," including this: "Read the room. A romantic boite will be more intimate than dim sum, so adjust your picture-taking to fit the mood. If your server asks you to stop, don't start an argument."

You may recall the conflict that arose when Jason of D.C. Foodies snapped camera phone pictures at Buck's Fishing and Camping and was asked to not use the photos by chef/owner Carole Greenwood. It's not mentioned in the story, but it sparked a whole debate about what a restaurant can and cannot restrict.

I try to make sure my cellphone never shows its glowing little face when in a restaurant — not for yapping with a friend, checking a text message or taking pictures. (Except for that one time when a friend's name was spelled out in onion straws atop a steak at Evening Star Cafe. Too freaky not to capture, and no, I hadn't had too much wine.) But I understand the desire to document a great dish.

So what's your take? Is snapping a pic of your food with a camera or camera phone bad table manners? Or is it all in the execution?