By Ritchey Howe
Boston Bites: The Instagram where pictures are worth 1000 calories.
It’s a Friday night, and you are hoping to find a delicious new restaurant with your friends (although we all know how difficult it is to turn down HUDS Swai fish). Where does one go to look for new options? Zagat and Yelp can sometimes be overwhelming, and I don’t really relate to the strangers posting those reviews. I want a source that I can trust and knows a college girl’s budget.
I scroll through my Instagram feed and find my answer: Boston Bites! This account displays pictures of delicious, beautiful food with humorous captions and a geo-tag to tell followers where to find these scrumptious treats. While there are a plethora of New York City food accounts, Boston foodstagram accounts seem to be slightly lacking. Boston Bites, founded by Alana Steinberg’18, is one of the few accounts that encourages its followers to go discover Bean Town’s cuisine.
Steinberg started Boston Bites her freshman year as a way to explore the Cambridge area. “I figured that the accountability of the Instagram would incentivize me get off campus and explore my new home even when life seems too busy.” Her post captions are simple, punny phrases with the restaurant’s geo-tag so you know where to go. A recent picture of a cheese platter from Henrietta’s Table was captioned “Cheesy, breezy, beautiful.” A bowl of ramen from Pho House is captioned “I’m sorry Miss Jackson, I am pho real.” Delicious, humorous, and useful!
Steinberg finds many restaurants simply by walking around Cambridge. “I was walking just a mile from campus and found Asmara, an African restaurant where you eat with your hands.” She also draws inspiration from other Boston foodstagrams. In addition, she has been collaborating with local restaurants and food companies. Steinberg recently teamed up with Patty Chen’s Dumpling Room to spread the word about their food. She also has a deal with Door Dash (the deal itself can be seen in the Instagram bio). “This has been the most exciting thing that has happened so far with Boston Bites. I can help support local businesses by spreading the word and get some tasty food in the process.”
Steinberg usually brings her friends when trying new restaurants as a way for her to sample more dishes. “My friends both love and hate going out to eat with me. They know they’re getting a great meal, but they also know they will have to wait to eat their food while I run around taking photos of everything. When it’s dark in the room, I’ll use another friend’s phone as a flashlight to light the picture. I am essentially a food paparazzo.”
While Boston Bites started as a fun way for Steinberg to explore Cambridge, the account now has over 4,000 followers. “Every time I grow by another thousand, I celebrate with desserts!” These followers are encouraged to submit their own pictures to the account. Steinberg says that about one in three posts is a submission. Steinberg credits the Instagram account that sends her the picture in the caption—no foodstagram plagiarism!
When it comes to taking a good foodstagram, Steinberg believes that less editing leads to a better picture. When you look at a dish from Boston Bites, you know exactly what you’re getting! “Delicious food looks natural, not faded and processed. No one wants to look at an oversaturated donut or a faded slice of pizza. Adding a little brightness or contrast can go a long way, but don’t’ make your food glow!” The message is clear: less edits for more likes. She tends to ‘gram right around dinner time as that is when people are both looking for places to eat as well as checking their Instagram accounts. She also likes to post in the morning so people can wake up to yummy pictures. Unlike other popular Instagram accounts, Boston Bites only posts once a day. Steinberg believes her most liked posts come from Mike’s Pastry. “Cannoli really have the essence of Boston. Everyone loves the crunchy shells, creamy filling, and messy powdered sugar.”
So where will Boston Bites go after a few more thousand followers? Steinberg is open to working with other food blogs and potentially starting her own. But for now, as her insta-fame continues to increase, we can all expect to see more delectable, and funny, posts from the account. So, when you find yourself dreading yet another HUDS meal, check out Boston Bites to get inspired. And, next time you find yourself in front of a scrumptious dish, summon your inner food paparazzi and send to Boston Bites #nofilter.
Ritchey Howe ’17 (firstname.lastname@example.org) is an aspiring food paparazzo that enjoys eating all pretty foods.