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Friday Slide Show: El Toreador Share This on LinkedIn   Share This on Google   Tweet This   Forward This

4 December 2015

We've been going to El Toreador since we moved into this neighborhood over 12 years ago. Despite the temptation, we've never taken any photos in there. Until last weekend, that is, when the bright idea of using our small iPhone to capture the view from our table finally occurred to us.

El Toreador. Amusement (and good food) awaits.

The place has a funny name to start with. Not Spanish at all but English, an invention of Georges Bizet. The Spanish torero for bullfighter was a syllable short for his opera Carmen. Artistic license.

Which is why the name is perfect for the restaurant. The place is covered in artistic license from the facade to the backs of the chairs, including the walls and ceilings.

The kitchen is pretty artful, too, but that's not why we're gathered here today.

You can't help but wonder about a few things as you take a seat at your table. Like how do they dust? Over the years we've noticed the decor evolves. The lampshades have been any number of household items, for example. So maybe they don't dust. Maybe they just redecorate.

The place mats answer a few questions but not about the restaurant. They're fun, fact-filled presentations about the Presidents, various animals and other believe-it-or-not stuff, all intended to amuse adults as the children consider the menu.

The place is covered in artistic license from the facade to the backs of the chairs, including the walls and ceilings.

There is an unusually large selection of beers with an unusually large Beer Menu on each table. And each chair has a name on the back.

We asked the boss about that a long time ago. "You want to know why there's names on the chairs? I'll tell you why I put names on the chairs. One day this guy waiting tables here said he wanted a raise and I said, 'How about if I put your name on a chair instead?'"

Which can't be true. In the same way some of the things we tell children can't be true.

You might feel like a child in El Toreador but one thing (besides the beer menu) saves you. At about chair rail height along the outside walls, there are publicity photos of old Hollywood movie stars. And Pancho Villa. So you come to your senses. As an adolescent at least.

These are, we've admitted, all iPhone photos processed in the new Camera Raw in the new Photoshop CC because we wanted to zoom in on some of the detail. We couldn't do that in the restaurant without making a nuisance of ourselves because the iPhone doesn't zoom. And our 800-pixel slide show images are too cramped to appreciate everything anyway. So we thought we'd zoom in Photoshop.

Except we zoomed in Lightroom, making virtual copies of the images to be cropped, because we wanted to use Lightroom's Export command to make the 800-pixel images, as we do every week.

Apart from the Upright tool (and Clarity), we didn't do much to these in Camera Raw, mostly because they were already JPEGs, not Raw. Very little latitude (and, if you ask us, Apple does a lot of clever processing to build that JPEG, which is probably why we'll never see Raw from an iPhone).

So after 12 years, here are our first shots of the interior of El Toreador. They also happen to answer another of those question you can't help asking as you look around the place.

No, they don't decorate for Christmas.

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