There sure are a lot of food blogs out there. Unfortunately, however, they are usually run by recent college-grads trying to make it in the city and supplementing their menial day jobs by photographing anything and everything they eat. (This process has aggravated many a chef and food enthusiast alike.)
Then, on the other hand, there are the giant, wonderful food websites. Chow and The Daily Meal both offer tons of recipes, food stories, musings, and general food tips, but they lack the microsphere of local restaurant reviews, food truck locations, and interviews with the people behind your favorite local haunts.
However, just a couple weeks ago, Eater, the crème de la crème of food news websites, launched Eater Boston, a version of its site tailored specifically to the Hub. Eater has more local branches than the Occupy Movement, and it is about time they set up a site for us here in Boston. The site is updated every day with local food news (usually restaurant reviews, chef transfers, plans for new restaurants), as well as links to websites with recipes, “best of” lists, and videos of any time Stephen Colbert or Jimmy Fallon mentions food.
One of Eater’s most useful features is their “Heatmap”—an often updated map of the trendiest places to eat right now. They have one for every city in the Eatersphere, and Boston’s is very helpful in picking a nice spot to take a date or go out with friends before leaving for winter break (Island Creek Oyster Bar, conveniently located in Kenmore Square, is currently on the list). However, Eater Boston is too new to have an “Eater 38″ map yet. The “Eater 38″ are the website’s picks for the 38 essential restaurants in a given city. The lists are updated every six months, and much like Car and Driver‘s “10 Best” list, all the choices are specifically not supposed to break the bank. The theory is that if a restaurant charges upwards of $100 for a meal, it better be pretty damn good (and some website doesn’t need to ordain it as such). Hopefully, the Boston 38 map will launch soon, so we can all begin checking off our favorites.
The Eater group also runs Racked and Curbed, their sites for shopping/fashion and interior design/real estate, respectively. Curbed Boston launched on the same day as Eater Boston, though Racked only has outposts in New York, LA, and The Hamptons.
Relatively speaking, Grub Street Boston is an aged cheese compared to Eater Boston’s baby carrot. Grub Street is the food blog originated by New York Magazine, and though the Boston version is somewhat flimsy compared to the wonderment of the New York version, it does offer some nice news on food and beverages in the area. Whereas Eater offers a separate national site, Grub Street chooses to put its national stories in with the local feed, which makes Grub Street Boston slightly less about the city, and more about everything else.
The Feast Boston was founded after Eater co-founder Ben Leventhal took an offer to develop an Eater-like site for NBC Local. It started as a food feed in several cities, but soon evolved into a Twitter-like news site on general cultural happenings (usually fashion-related) that still kept its gastronomical name. It collects stories from Grub Street, The Phoenix, Boston.com, Dig Boston, and Boston Magazine into one handy scroll-as-you-go site.
For those smaller, more recipe-oriented blogs, Boston Food Bloggers maintains an extensive list of all sorts of webpages in the area. These are, however, mostly the cell-phone photographing diners as described earlier, but many people enjoy those anyway. While a blog about blogs is delightfully meta, it takes some sifting to find a non-recent college grad (or local mom) who describes themselves as a “foodie,” but the site does offer a calendar of food-related events around Beantown, and offers blogger meet-ups every few months for its featured writers, which is great for meeting a fellow self-proclaimed foodie. It’s probably a good group to join if you have a little food blog going and would like to get a little attention for it around town. Their application is not very rigorous.
Boston may not be the biggest city, nor does it have the most colorful food scene (there are only so many versions of clam chowder), but it does have a distinct identity, and each of these sites highlights the great opportunities waiting in the local food scene. Mark them to your bookmarks, follow them on Twitter, and read them every day. They’re a great resource to find out what is going on in the Boston’s culinary sphere.
*As a side note, My Drunk Kitchen is perhaps the greatest exhibition of food on the Internet. Sure, it doesn’t have any useful food knowledge (or anything described in this article), but it is pretty damn funny. There are 11 episodes, and if you have never seen it, I suggest starting right now.