High school pals Rachel Eng and Maddie Gatto have stayed close since they moved to Boston from the tri-state area, bonded by a love of exploring the city’s best bites, and they’ve already built up an audience of 15,000+ on their Two Taste Buddiez Instagram account. The current college students took a break from photographing their epic noodle pull & syrup pour shots to chat about food trends and the chefs they love to follow online. Plus, they each share a few of their favorite things — brunch spots, places for outdoor dining, late-night joints, new restaurants and more — so you’ll get twice as much inspiration to add to your own restaurant bucket list.
Tell us a little about yourself. How’d you end up in Boston, and what inspired you to create your Instagram account?
Both of us became friends in high school and we were so excited when we realized we would both be attending college in Boston. Maddie is a Communication major at Boston College and Rachel is a Health Sciences major at Northeastern University. Ever since our friendship started in our psychology class, we have bonded over our love of food. We would always send each other screenshots of restaurants to go to when we would visit NYC on the weekends and when it came time to go to Boston for college, a whole new world of food was opened up to us. The summer before college we had built up a bucket list of food we wanted to try based on reading Eater articles and following key Boston foodstagrammers. It wasn’t until May of our freshman year however that we decided to start our own foodstagram, and @twotastebuddiez was born. At first, it was just an account that was for fun that we shared with our friends, but then, our following began to grow and we realized it could become something more — it could be an account where we could share our love of the Boston food scene with our fellow college students throughout the city.
Name the top five dishes on your Boston food bucket list.
Peanut Butter Chocolate Cookie Ice Cream at FoMu
Any Dim Sum dish at Hei La Moon
Sonora Ribs at Besito
Spanakopita Grilled Cheese at Committee
Souffle Pancakes at Bootleg Special
What do you think the next big trend is for restaurants?
We think fast casual is the next big thing for the restaurant industry. People are really into being able to customize their food based on preferences or dietary restrictions and fast casual offers all of those things. Their layouts are perfect for a variety of things from group dinners to study sessions to date nights. I also think of a majority of fast casual restaurants are very trendy in their decor which make them perfect spots for those Insta pics 🙂
Which chefs are your favorite to follow on Instagram and why?
Irene Li from Mei Mei (@ireneshiangli): We love their restaurant philosophy and we have both met Irene in person. She’s genuinely one of the nicest people ever and is extremely passionate about food and everything she does. I also think the story of their restaurant founding (the two sisters and one brother as co-founders) is really inspiring. Rachel also has a soft spot for the name Mei Mei since that’s what she used to call her little sisters.
David Chang of Momofuku (@davidchang): First of all the entire Momofuku empire is amazing and each of the restaurants feature a different food craving we have from noodles to fried chicken to duck. Also, David has an insanely cute baby and constantly posts his food from those three categories so really following him is a win-win.
Beyond chefs, what are your top three favorite food Instagram accounts to follow?
@nailthecocktail: TBH what is better than amazing nails and the best drinks across Boston? In all seriousness though, Claudiane is a lighting queen (all her shots turn out so beautifully lit and balanced) and we ended up buying our portable light on her recommendation.
@nomnomboston: She takes beautiful table shots that are so nice to look at. All of the plates are always somehow placed perfectly. Scrolling through her feed is mesmerizing, all the photos are so aesthetically pleasing. She also incorporates photos of restaurant interiors which we love.
@bostonfoodgram: Emily’s photos are always so well lit and clear. It honestly amazes us sometimes how she’s able to pull a great shot if the lighting is not stellar or if it’s a busy event. She’s also really nice and down to earth, and is always on top of the newest places in Boston. We are also amazed by her ability to balance dental school and her food account.
Describe Boston’s food scene in three words.
Dynamic. Creative. Young.
Which restaurants haven’t you been to but you’re eager to try?
Toro. Coppa. Nahita. Tony & Elaine’s. Eventide Fenway. Hotbox. Sojuba. Alden & Harlow (this list could honestly go on forever we have shared a bucket list of restaurants on our phones that is constantly growing).
What’s your food photography philosophy, and can you share your top tips for taking awesome food photos?
Our food photography philosophy is to use natural light whenever possible and let the food shine. We have a few go-to shots that we love to take – overhead flat lays, stacks, noodle pulls, and syrup pours to name a few. We also love dynamic photos where we are interacting with the food in some way. Also, color is key – we always aim to take photos that are bright and feature colorful food.
A Few Of Your Favorite Things:
Favorite brunch spot:
Rachel: Committee — they have a huge brunch menu and everything is amazing (especially their pancakes) and all the brunch cocktails pair perfectly with the food. It’s my go-to summer patio season brunch recommendation.
Maddie: Lulu’s Allston has a special place in my heart. All of their brunch dishes are amazing. The White Trash Hash is a must-try and they always feature fun and unique pancakes each month so there’s always an excuse to go back and try something new!
Favorite place for outdoor dining:
Rachel: Cafe Landwer has a really nice patio and I’m obsessed with their food from brunch to coffee to dinner, so it’s really the perfect place to eat outside in nice weather. Also, their counter is perfect for studying, so even when it’s not nice outside I always stop by.
Maddie: The City Tap House has really nice outdoor seating with pretty lights and a great ambience. Plus, their food is amazing! We went for brunch and loved it.
Favorite BBQ joint:
Rachel & Maddie: In complete honesty we are not huge fans of BBQ. However, if we had to give a BBQ recommendation, we would definitely recommend Sweet Cheeks in Fenway. Their trays offer huge portions of food and their mac and cheese is great to pair with their BBQ. They also have a really large selection of meats on their menu.
Rachel: Hojoko. They have a huge drink selection from cocktails to sake, and their food is amazing and they have such creative asian fusion like their Lazy Bones Handrolls (BYO Handrolls on a lazy susan), Okonomiyaki, and Braised Beef Short Rib Udon. Also being open until 2AM is such a plus.
Maddie: Double Chin: First of all they have an insanely creative drink menu. Boozy bubble tea, glow in the dark soju juice pouches and a literal fishbowl are some of the ones that my friends and I always get. Also, they have the exact kinds of foods you crave for late night snacks including noodles, fried rice, fried chicken, and more.
Favorite neighborhood for food:
Rachel: South End for sure. Brunch is my favorite meal of the day and I just feel like there’s so many classic brunch spots across the neighborhood like South End Buttery, Metropolis, and Myers + Chang. Also don’t get me started on dinner spots like The Gallows, Barcelona Wine Bar, and Banyan Bar and Refuge.
Maddie: My favorite neighborhood for food is Seaport, it is a very up and coming area with a ton of great restaurants. I always recommend Seaport area restaurants for date nights, and so many places have excellent seafood if that’s something you’re looking for. It’s also a really beautiful area to walk around in the summer.
Favorite new restaurant:
Rachel: Dakzen, I know this is kinda a cheat since it’s been open for a while, but their official grand opening was in January and their noodles are probably the best I’ve had in the Boston Area. Every single time I go I order the Pad Kee Mao without fail.
Maddie: &pizza and Milk Bar just arrived in Harvard Square. I went three times in the first week it was open. I love all the different signature pies plus there’s the option to create your own, which is always great. When I went, one of the employees gave me tips on how to mix the sodas to create tasty drinks, which were amazing. The vibe is really cool with the black and white aesthetic of &pizza complementing the fun, pink environment of the Milk Bar. Milk Bar has great desserts — my favorite is their corn cookie (don’t knock it till you try it!)