As both a full-time photographer and foodie, Paige Harding from @diningboston knows a thing or two about making food look good. After spending some time working in the hospitality industry, she combined her passions for all things food and social media into a business and now she spends her time hunting down the best dishes in Boston. She took a break from her dining adventures to tell us a little bit about what she loves most about Boston restaurants and shout-out some of her go-to spots.
Tell us a little about yourself. How’d you end up in Boston, and what inspired you to create your Instagram account? I was born in Concord, MA right outside of the city, and was raised in Central MA. I moved to Boston to study pre-law and political science at Suffolk University while working full time as a manager at a well-known restaurant in the North End. I have since graduated and am now running my own photography and videography business. One day in 2019 I was thinking about my two favorite things: the hospitality industry and photography. This sparked the idea of creating a foodie account and I started plugging in names on Instagram until I came up with the handle @diningboston and, miraculously, it was available. My social media account has become a way for me to meet new people, help different companies expand their business networks, and pursue my passion.
Name the top five dishes on your Boston food bucket list.
Boston has so many incredible dishes to offer. If I were to narrow them down to my top five they would be:
- Wings from The Smoke Shop BBQ. Wings are a pretty reliable appetizer that pleases most. But there is something truly magical about The Smoke Shop’s famous wings. They have the perfect balance of sweetness with the incorporation of agave and spice. I can never get enough of them.
- Tartufo Pizza with Sausage and Balsamic Glaze from Locale. The North End has an abundance of pizza, and I’ve tried close to all the options over the past five years living in the heart of Boston’s Little Italy.
- The Hawaiian Maki Rolls from Yoki Japanese Restaurant in Medford. This is the perfect sushi roll. The balance of flavors is out of this world!
- The Pan-Roasted Duck Breast Marsala with Black Cherry Reduction, Farro Ragu, Wild Mushrooms, Sweet Potato, and Grilled Fennel from Forcella. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to eat the dish because it was so beautiful, but I’m glad I did because the flavors were even better than the presentation.
- Spanish Octopus from Moona. It is hands down the most tender octopus in the Greater Boston Area.
What do you think is on the horizon for restaurants?
I’m incredibly optimistic that cocktail innovation and creativity are progressing faster than ever. So many restaurants are competing to have the most Instagrammable cocktails and I cannot wait to see and taste what’s on the horizon.
Which chefs are your favorite to follow on Instagram and why?
- @jeremy_sewall: The chef and owner of Row 34 shares authentic and captivating content that I love keeping up with.
- @andyhusbands: Pit Master and Owner of The Smoke Shop BBQ always has the most delicious BBQ content that makes my mouth water at any hour of the day.
Beyond chefs, what are your top three favorite food Instagram accounts to follow?
- @foodiesnapstagram: I absolutely how Sarah uses only her iPhone for all of her photos and she is hitting such a diverse range of great spots in and around Boston!
- @forkingwitharmani: Armani’s content is so elegant and clean. How can you not love his page?
- @bucketlistboston: I adore the aesthetic of Kate’s page. It’s absolutely stunning and I can never get enough.
Describe Boston’s food scene in three words.
Trendy, aesthetic, inviting.
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?
As a full-time professional photographer, my philosophy is that composition is so important! You can have beautiful lighting and props but bad composition can ruin the entire photo.
Favorite brunch spot: Monument Restaurant & Tavern
Favorite place for outdoor dining: Burro Bar (Outdoor Patio in the back)
Favorite pizza joint: Locale
Favorite neighborhood for food: Cambridge, MA
Favorite new restaurant: Next Door Speakeasy
Favorite pandemic takeout: Dumpling Cafe
Meet The Tastemakers is a monthly column that shares the stories of those contributing to the conversation on Boston’s food scene.