As a city that might have gotten a bad rap in the past for its culinary offerings, Washington D.C.’s food scene has evolved into one of the tastemakers of the industry. This evolution caught the eye of Justin Schuble, the man behind the camera of the widely successful food blog, DC Food Porn. Born out of his need for a creative outlet while studying Marketing and Finance at Georgetown University, Justin’s passion project turned into a widely sought reference point for his fanbase of 248K followers on Instagram looking for the next tastiest bite in the nation’s capital. We caught up with the food blogger to get the inside scoop on the juiciest D.C. eats.
Why did you start DC FoodPorn?
Food has always been very important to me. Growing up, we used to eat out all the time, since cooking at home was not something we did very often. When I got to college, I was eager to explore the D.C. food scene. I photographed everything I was eating with my phone and decided to start posting some of the photos on Instagram. I never expected DC FoodPorn to grow into what it is today.
Are there any up and coming D.C. food trends we should know about?
I think D.C. tends to get trends a few months after New York and LA (gourmet doughnuts, poke, rainbow everything). So whatever they are doing now, we can expect to see soon!
Is there a cuisine you enjoy blogging about the most?
I like to cover all types of cuisines, but some of my favorite things to photograph (and eat) are tacos and doughnuts. Ice cream is always fun, but things tend to get messy pretty quickly.
How has your blog changed the way you eat at restaurants?
DC FoodPorn has drastically changed the way that I eat out. Since my account is so visual, I have to do everything I can to get the perfect shot. That means asking for a seat by the window, stalking Instagram to determine which dishes look the best, playing with my food and even standing on chairs if necessary. Now that I do this full-time, I try to set up photoshoots during the day and give myself a couple meals a week where I leave the camera at home and just enjoy – like I used to!
Are there any quintessential D.C. restaurants you’d recommend to first time visitors?
This is such a tough question. D.C. has so many amazing restaurants, and the answer to this really depends on what you are looking for. Here are just a few places that I think someone visiting D.C. should check out – Union Market, Le Diplomate, Maketto, Sfoglina, Tail Up Goat, Compass Rose, Little Serow, Thip Khao, Ice Cream Jubilee, District Doughnut, and Baked & Wired. But the list could go on and on.
Is there anything surprising you’ve learned about food blogging since you started DC FoodPorn?
I never expected to discover such an amazing community of creators. I have met so many incredibly talented bloggers and influencers over the years, and I am lucky enough to call some of them my close friends. When I started this, I didn’t realize how much it would change my life. I am now a full-time blogger and have had some incredible opportunities as a result. I am so appreciative of my audience for allowing me to do what I love every day. I think the power of social media is something I vastly underestimated.
What’s the most mind-blowing dish you’ve experienced?
I was just in Hong Kong and experienced some really exciting dishes. I think my favorite was a Rice Roll dish with a peanut butter sauce. I would never have created that flavor combination myself, but it was delicious.
Are there any common misconceptions out of towners have regarding the D.C. food scene?
D.C. used to have the reputation of being a steak and potatoes town, but I think that reputation is long gone, and people recognize D.C. as one of the top dining destinations in the country. It’s been really cool to watch the D.C. food scene grow over the last few years and have the opportunity to be part of that.
What’s the most Instagram-worthy restaurant for someone looking to impress their friends?
I think Blagden Alley is a great spot to take friends or out of towners because it has so much to offer and is not what you would expect from D.C. You can get Chinese food at Tiger Fork, a Michelin-starred meal at The Dabney, drinks at Columbia Room or Calico and even great coffee at La Colombe. It really has everything and the area is so charming and instagrammable!
Is there a signature DC dish?
I think what makes D.C. unique is the fact that it is a melting pot of some of the best cuisines in the world. So while D.C. isn’t famous for a specific dish, it is a city where you can be exposed to amazing food from all over the world.