Eddie Sanchez—better known as @hungryinla—eats, photographs, and Instagrams lavish meals for a living. While there are many people to be envious of in Los Angeles, I’d say he (and any food blogger, really) takes the cake for leading the most desired lifestyle. And while new “food-porn” Instagrams pop up almost as quickly as L.A. poké shops do, Eddie’s Instagram has managed to stand out among the endless stream of Eggslut close-ups and Sqirl flat-lays. We caught up with him about leading everybody’s dream life, where to find his favorite bites in the city, and tips for newbie foodies looking to up their ‘gram game.
How long have you been seriously photographing food?
I started taking pictures of food before Instagram was around. Back then it was just to post some recipes and reviews on my food blog and looking back those were terrible pictures. When Instagram took off, it inspired me to get serious about food photography, that was almost five years ago.
If you could only eat at one L.A. restaurant for the rest of your life where would you choose?
Only one? Then I would definitely want a place with breakfast, lunch, and dinner—so that rules out a lot of my favorite dinner-only spots. And it has to have great food of course, so Malibu Farm Restaurant would be my pick. Plus they get bonus points for being waterside on the Malibu Pier. You can’t argue with seeing that ocean view every day for the rest of your life!
Say you get to direct the next season of The Mind of a Chef—which L.A. chef do you choose?
Roy Choi. He’s a great ambassador of Los Angeles chefs and what he does in the kitchen is a true depiction of the melting pot of flavors that is L.A. You can thank him for pioneering the food truck movement a decade ago.
Favorite L.A. hole-in-the-wall?
Howlin’ Ray’s inside Chinatown’s Far East Plaza. I would wait a few hours in line for that Nashville hot chicken sandwich. Pro tip: order the off-menu sandwich “Luis Style”—it comes on Texas Toast and is so good!
Currently your favorite dish in the city?
I’m currently in love with the pizza at Pizzana in Brentwood. The crust alone is so good, plus the unique flavor combinations they have on the menu make it my latest obsession.
What’s your ideal food day in L.A.—coffee/breakfast/lunch/dinner/etc.?
I’d start out at Sqirl in Silver Lake for breakfast—brioche toast anyone? A coffee break at Coffee for Sasquatch on Melrose for a cortado made with Ritual Coffee (one of my favorite roasters from NorCal). Then onto lunch at Sweetfin for a Yuzu Salmon Bowl. I’m absolutely addicted to their poké bowls and have it a couple times a week! Craving a mid-afternoon snack, a quick stop at Salt & Straw for a double scoop of Salted Malted Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ice cream on a waffle cone of course would satisfy my sweet tooth. After the sugar crash, I’d order a Gibraltar from Menotti’s Coffee Stop in Venice and then head out to Rossoblu in downtown L.A. for some amazing Northern Italian food. The night would end with drinks at 71Above, sipping cocktails and looking out at Los Angeles from a view of 950 feet above.
The Patty Melt—is it a hamburger or sandwich?
I think it’s the love child of a hamburger and a sandwich, in particular a grilled cheese. But if I had to place it in a category on a menu it would be under “sandwiches” along with the tuna melt, chicken sandwich, and Philly cheesesteak.
Tips for all the amateur food photographers out there trying to up their ‘gram game?
1. Choose a unique perspective; not everything has to be an overhead shot.
2. Look for the most flattering light. Try shooting indoors next to a window with soft indirect natural light.
3. Edit your photos before posting them. You’d be surprised how you can make a mediocre photo into an awesome one with just a few tweaks from a photo editing app, just don’t overdo it.
Best/worst food trend to have hit L.A.?
Best trend has to be poké, hands down. It’s becoming the L.A. thing, like gourmet food trucks in 2008. I know it’s been a couple years now, but I can’t imagine my life without a Yuzu Salmon Bowl from Sweetfin.
Worst trend is putting charcoal in everything. I mean, I enjoy a little char on some foods but charcoal ice cream?
You’re hosting the ultimate dinner party—what do you cook and who are your dream guests?
I know it’s nothing fancy, but I can get down on making some great burgers. Maybe one day I’ll finally open that burger joint, but I digress. I think it would be fun to have a casual burger and beer hangout with some of my favorite TV hosts like James Corden, Jimmy Kimmel, Ellen, and Jimmy Fallon. Not only are they all funny, but they’re great conversationalists and there’s nothing like great conversation over food with interesting people.
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