DC.Yum on Customizable Restaurants

DC.Yum Instagram

You might find Rosie Scholz devouring tacos in the Seaport, munching on sushi around Huntington Ave. or brunching with her besties in Kendall Square. The Washington D.C. local started the foodgram @dc.yum with friends, but over time she’s made it her own, sharing her love for food, storytelling and photography. Here, she talks about cafes with board games, the importance of a photo’s background and which restaurant in Faneuil Hall is her new favorite spot.

Tell us a little about yourself. How’d you end up in Boston, and what inspired you to create your Instagram account?

I’m currently a senior at Northeastern University, pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Behavioral Neuroscience. Per my Instagram handle @dc.yum, I was raised in Washington, D.C. (not Maryland or Virginia) after I was adopted from Vietnam at four months-old. I knew I wanted to stay in a city and moved to Boston to attend Northeastern, excited about the appeal of so many college students in the surrounding area. I started the account with my friends in sophomore year of high school, but it fizzled out as we got busier with school. I took over and started posting again during quarantine to share baking recipes since I made banana bread at least once a week.

One of the main reasons I became more invested in food photography is because of traveling — after several trips back to Vietnam, I wanted to remember the unique meals we shared. I also studied abroad in Greece and enjoyed capturing the pastries and desserts we had visiting countries in Europe. The photos serve as stories that I can look back on and remember the details of that night. After my graduation this spring, the next chapter of my food adventures will be in Los Angeles, California — so stay tuned! 

Name the top five dishes on your Boston food bucket list.

  • Brussel Sprout Sandwich from Vester Cafe. At first I was hesitant as I’m not the biggest fan of brussel sprouts, but the combination of flavors in this sandwich is incredible with the crunch of the brussel sprouts, the sweet fig jam and the rich triple creme brie.
  • Tagliolini Al Tartufo Nero from Serafina. One of my favorite places on Newbury with outdoor seating and a great selection of fresh pasta or pizza.
  • Orange Pot de Crème from The Merchant, a little crunch and hint or orange. 
  • Truffle Arancini from Publico. You can never go wrong with anything truffle, but the arancini are so cheesy and topped with truffle mayo — definitely worth a trip. 
  • Pizza Grilled Cheese from Bittersweet Shoppe. Two of my favorite comfort foods, but combined! Plus they have raspberry truffle, coconut mocha, peppermint patty, chocolate dipped strawberry, cherry cordial, and banana cream lattes.

What do you think is on the horizon for restaurants?

I think fast and customizable restaurants are on the rise, where customers can choose the ingredients that go into each meal. I have introduced many of my friends to Cava, and I always order a romaine lettuce and brown rice bowl topped with falafel, tzatziki, harissa, and olives. Honeygrow also offers build-your-own stir fries with several sauces and tons of toppings to pick from.

Which chefs are your favorite to follow on Instagram and why?

  • Julie Marie Nielsen (@juliemarieeats) has such beautiful, unique desserts ranging from blackberry mousse cake to mocha cream puffs. 
  • Adam Watanabe (@sushiartisan) always makes me drool with incredible sushi towers, hand rolls, and more. 
  • Piers Dawson (@piersdawson) creates minimalistic, yet unforgettable dishes that are full of color.

Beyond chefs, what are your top three favorite food Instagram accounts to follow?

Describe Boston’s food scene in three words.

Diverse, expanding, trendy.

Which restaurants haven’t you been to but you’re eager to try?

Pink Taco, Citrus & Salt, SRV.

What’s your food photography philosophy, and can you share your top tips for taking awesome food photos?

While natural lighting is a must, I also try to consider the background of the photo — nothing to distract from the food like a phone or dirty napkin. I think one of the biggest “tips” is taking as many photos as possible. Just keep clicking away at different angles until you get the right shot. If I have to take photos at night, I make sure to have some sort of quality light source so the food doesn’t look too dark or blurry. Right now, I use iPhone’s portrait mode, but my parents sent me a new camera that I can’t wait to try out!

Favorite brunch spot: Milkweed. My roommates and I often come here for Sunday brunch and always have amazing leftovers for the following dinner.

Favorite place for outdoor dining: Lookout Rooftop Bar. The restaurant has a balcony that overlooks the harbor, hence the name. In the winter, they have outdoor igloos to dine in, but you can also sit inside and still have a great view of the water.

Favorite Pizza joint: Za in Cambridge. I worked at the sister restaurant next door (EVOO) and always ordered the portobello pizza with goat cheese and caramelised onion after my shift. They also have mac n’ cheese pizza, chorizo pizza, aruguloni pizza, and wild mushroom pizza.

Favorite neighborhood for food: Seaport. I love the view of the waterfront and it’s easy to walk around and find somewhere good to eat. 

Favorite new restaurant: Servia. This restaurant opened during the pandemic and offers elevated Eastern Mediterranean dishes that are perfect for sharing. 

Favorite pandemic takeout: Oppa Sushi in Harvard Ave. I love the Oppa Maki roll with spicy crab topped with torched salmon.  

Favorite new restaurant innovation: Cannonball Cafe. They have so many options for lattes (butter beer, birthday cake) and also have coloring books and fun board games to enjoy.

Meet The Tastemakers is a monthly column that shares the stories of those contributing to the conversation on Boston’s food scene.

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