You might find Melanie Palacios downing a plate of pasta in the North End, scooping up some sushi in Cambridge or diving into a lobster roll in the Seaport. The Miami native made it a point to explore her new food scene when she moved to Boston for college back in 2014 — little did she know that she’d eventually build up a following of 17.5k folks who were just as hungry as she was. Here, she talks food tech (and how it’s impacting restaurants), not editing photos for her Instagram feed and which Japanese spot is her favorite new restaurant.
Tell us a little about yourself. How’d you end up in Boston, and what inspired you to create your Instagram account?
Originally from Miami, I ended up in Boston to attend Bentley University. I was familiarizing myself with Boston and was heading into the city every weekend with my roommate. I wish I could say it came to me in a midsummer night’s dream…but truth be told, the blog started in my dorm room freshman year with my roommate after taking a bunch of pictures of food #basic. Some might say we were documenting our “Freshman 15,” but things got more serious when we hit 10K followers and restaurants started reaching out to us and inviting us to events. From there on out, we’ve only continued to try and make the account grow. I recently moved to NYC and I’m currently trying to get a following here in the city while also showing our followers from Boston and any other surrounding cities where they can eat in other big cities such as NYC and Miami.
Name the top five dishes on your Boston food bucket list.
Nigiri Platter from Café Sushi
Lobster Roe Noodles from Island Creek Oyster Bar
Ravioli Porcini from Trattoria Il Panino
Carnitas and Al Pastor Tacos from Taqueria El Amigo in Waltham
Naked Lobster Roll from The Barking Crab
What do you think the next big trend is for restaurants?
Technology takeover. It is going to change the ease with which we prepare and enjoy our food. While I don’t believe the restaurant employees should be looking for new jobs just yet, the service industry is changing and I think they’re going to try and find a balance between face-to-face service and a tech-driven environment.
Which chefs are your favorite to follow on Instagram and why?
Chef Grant Achatz – Alinea Restaurant: I admire the hard work and emotion that goes into creating his innovative meals. It is truly a work-of-art and a real production he and his partner put together. Gordon Ramsay: He has such a personality! I love to watch his shows and his recipes on Youtube are usually pretty easy to follow (and delicious!!).
Beyond chefs, what are your top three favorite food Instagram accounts to follow?
Describe Boston’s food scene in three words.
Which restaurants haven’t you been to but you’re eager to try?
What’s your food photography philosophy, and can you share your top tips for taking awesome food photos?
Give the viewers good, raw images. Nothing too edited or fake looking, you don’t want to disappoint them if they don’t get the food that’s in your photo. I prefer to use my phone camera. It’s also all about the lighting! If you can do lunch time, that is usually the best time.
A Few Of Your Favorite Things:
Favorite brunch spot: Casual Diner – The Breakfast Club (Allston) Upscale, good for group/with family – Mistral (Backbay)
Favorite place for outdoor dining: The Barking Crab
Favorite BBQ joint: Sweet Cheeks Q (Fenway)
Favorite neighborhood for food: North End
Favorite new restaurant: Zuma