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what's HOT? what's NOT?

cadireon Oct 25, 2006 04:00 PM

Not HOT as in temperature but HOT as in food trends. What's out there that you think is the IT food? What's not so hot? Or is food not meant to be trendy?

  1. Low Country Jon Mar 14, 2007 04:15 PM

    Judging by the Charleston, SC scene, "gourmet" donuts as dessert at upscale restaurants are now "hot." I have to say, I like this trend!

    1. g
      gardencub Nov 13, 2006 01:45 AM

      Here in Central Ct,

      Tapas has come in and out several times in the last few years, not just Spanish, but Pan-mediteranean, with Greek, Turkish, and other influences.

      Small plates have finally made it here as well. It only took 10 years to go from The Fog City Dinner to Ct...Funny, it only took me 6 hours...

      Short Ribs, Brisket, Osso Bucco or some bastardized version of it. I saw Pork Osso Bucco, and Lamb Osso Bucco on menus this week alone.

      Organic, Free range, hormone free, etc....

      Martinis, Mojitos, Vodka and Tequila are all going strong. I am still looking for bar tenders who mix drinks well and correctly.

      I think trends spread in irregular ways. It is not a logical progression from L.A., New York, San Fran, etc to smaller cites then Middle America. One person can bring a trend from a major city to rural America and start it growing there, while chefs in larger regional cities ignore it.

      Innovations tend to move faster than trends. A better, easier, tastier recipe or technique will always spread faster than the latest in food styling trends.

      1. amkirkland Nov 11, 2006 01:28 PM

        Seeing as how fast food chains manage to pick up some general food trends, I just had a vision of a Burger King tapas combo, or McDonald's replacing the not-so-secret Big Mac sauce with a Thousand Island foam... or filet-o-fish sous vide. I think I'm gonna see if they'll hire me on as a consultant.

        2 Replies
        1. re: amkirkland
          Eat_Nopal Nov 11, 2006 03:38 PM

          I would be happy if they added a decent soup, an option for whole wheat buns... oh & the use of real flesh.

          1. re: Eat_Nopal
            KevinB Nov 12, 2006 07:36 PM

            Forget the whole wheat buns - please, just give us a bun with a decent crust, instead of the mushy things that could be as easily gummed as bitten.

        2. p
          PffffirioRub Oct 31, 2006 12:42 AM

          just follow the steaming trail of lemming droppings ..

          sous vide (boilin' bag redoux)
          {call me when they work @ 20 atomospheres]
          franchisin' (that happy face in the freezer)
          franchizin' )that happy face at the tables ... roll 'em(
          offal ("peasant food"/Depression food)
          cleavage, cleavage!

          2 Replies
          1. re: PffffirioRub
            amkirkland Oct 31, 2006 03:39 AM

            cleavage as a culinary trend?

            1. re: amkirkland
              therealbigtasty Oct 31, 2006 05:26 AM

              It must be.

          2. HarryLloyd Oct 30, 2006 01:53 PM

            I forgot:

            Chocolate in savoury dishes.


            1. HarryLloyd Oct 30, 2006 01:49 PM

              Can I add:

              old skool: baked alaska, beef wellington and such.
              Brunch is sooooo in!
              "artisinal" salts
              gooseberrys are everywhere
              vietnamese "fresh" rolls are on bar and grill menus.
              Asian Fusion seems to be everywhere too!


              1. f
                FAB Oct 30, 2006 01:36 PM

                Not a food but....MOJITO'S are on fire right now.

                6 Replies
                1. re: FAB
                  foodiegrl Oct 31, 2006 04:35 PM

                  Here in SF, Mojitos are "so three-years-ago." Caipirinhas are a little more current, but even they seem to be approaching cliche.

                  (edited to add - the "so three-years-ago" comment wasn't meant in any demeaning way. It's just the standard response expected from as Marina 20-something at the trendiest bars around here)

                  1. re: foodiegrl
                    FAB Oct 31, 2006 06:09 PM

                    Yeah,so I've heard...but then trends die fast.

                    1. re: FAB
                      Eat_Nopal Oct 31, 2006 06:12 PM

                      The Mojito will stay around as much as other classic drinks like the Long Island Ice Tea... it is just too right to dissappear foreever... as such it was a successful trend.

                      1. re: Eat_Nopal
                        amkirkland Oct 31, 2006 08:46 PM

                        One man's mojito is another man's martini

                        1. re: amkirkland
                          therealbigtasty Nov 1, 2006 01:10 AM

                          One man's Long Island is another man's three day hangover.

                          1. re: amkirkland
                            foodiegrl Nov 1, 2006 07:20 PM

                            One man's martini is another man's white wine spritzer -- ok, so not a very manly man, but nevertheless...

                  2. j
                    JBC Oct 30, 2006 01:24 PM

                    On Fire
                    Pinkberrry - (small yogurt place)

                    In L.A., particularly West L.A.:

                    Still Hot
                    Sushi & Italian - They still keep opening up new ones, ad naseum.

                    Ice Cold
                    German cuisine has been fading away for some time, and now there is none to found in W.L.A. I wonder how long ago it was that a new German restaurant opened?

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Robert Lauriston
                      JBC Oct 30, 2006 07:55 PM

                      To the best of my knowledge, there are only 3 German Restaurants (Delis don't count) in Los Angeles County! They are with the year they opened:

                      Red Lion Tavern - L.A. - 1962
                      Lowenbrou Keller - L.A. - 1967
                      The Alpine Village - Torrance - 1967 (food quality is poor)

                      Unfortunately, the 2 best ones closed in the last 2 1/2 years:

                      Knoll's Black Forest - Santa Monica
                      The Matterhorn Chef - SFV

                      The German Consulate of Frisco lists, some of them anyway, of the Bay Area German Restaurants - scroll down and on the right side look under "German Heritage":


                      I've e-mailed the L.A. German Consulate twice to do the same without effect.

                      1. re: JBC
                        Eat_Nopal Oct 30, 2006 08:15 PM

                        There is a pretty good one in Santa Rosa (Shopping Center - Sonoma Hwy at Calistoga Rd).... called Cafe Europa. German owner/chef is a pretty nice guy.

                        1. re: JBC
                          Robert Lauriston Oct 31, 2006 06:32 PM

                          German food has not been fading away in the SF area. Suppenkuche opened in 1993, Schnitzelhaus in 1997, Walzwerk in 1999, Speisekammer in 2002.

                          Suppenkuche and its spinoff Speisekammer have really good food, better than any of the old-school places that closed served. Though you can't beat Schroeder's for campy atmosphere.

                      2. HillJ Oct 29, 2006 06:48 PM

                        If my local grocer is any indication, anything Pomegranate is hot! When I was much younger a few, small, often pathetic examples of a pomegranate would appear Sept-Nov. Today, huge, juicy piles of fresh pomegrantes debut front & center! Not to mention pom juice, ice cream, reports on health benefits and promises of long life! Make way for the new elixir!

                        My bib at the ready, I'm diving into fresh pomegranate!

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: HillJ
                          melly Oct 30, 2006 03:02 AM

                          My neighbor has huge pomegranates on her tree right now. She walked outside yesterday and there was a woman and her husband picking them. She said in all the years she's had that tree, this was a first. I told her, poms are trendy right now..and kinda expensive. Expect more pickers.

                          1. re: melly
                            HillJ Oct 30, 2006 12:09 PM

                            melly...has she printed a produce sign yet? I've never seen a pomegrante tree.

                        2. g
                          Grubbjunkie Oct 29, 2006 04:22 PM

                          My post above was not about personal preference as much as what I see as trendy and "hot" in the sense of creating buzz, and "not" in the sense of things that were once hot but no longer. Foam has not really hit in a widespread way - yet. But I knew I'd forget something - marrow is definitely hot here. Oh and I'm in SF, not LA.

                          1. foodiegrl Oct 28, 2006 09:46 PM

                            I'm also surprised nobody has said marrow yet.

                            That and the whole "snout to tail" cooking of variety meats has been tres chic in SF & NYC.

                            6 Replies
                            1. re: foodiegrl
                              therealbigtasty Oct 28, 2006 10:50 PM

                              I was actually going to mention the organ meat revolution earlier. I'm a big fan myself.

                              Especially of trotters! Oh glorious trotters.

                              And liver, too.

                              And Tripe, yay!

                              I love these things.

                              1. re: therealbigtasty
                                amkirkland Oct 29, 2006 01:42 AM

                                In that vain, has anyone ever seen an upscale menudo? Maybe it's hard since it's supposed to be breakfast food... But i see serious potential.

                                1. re: amkirkland
                                  Eat_Nopal Oct 29, 2006 06:45 PM

                                  At Hacienda Los Morales in Mexico City, they serve Menudo with a glass of Sparkling Wine, Extra Thick Blue Corn Tortillas & a wedge of Queso Fresco.

                                  I loved it.

                                2. re: therealbigtasty
                                  melly Oct 30, 2006 02:59 AM

                                  I have always loved liver. Some days I can be found at home (when husband is away) making liver and onions in a lacey nighty to match my backsplash. Oh...liver is HOT.

                                  Short ribs seems to be trendy now as well. I remember when my mom used to fix those all the time..because they were inexpensive. Now..not so much.

                                  1. re: melly
                                    therealbigtasty Oct 30, 2006 09:44 PM

                                    You and me both. I eat liver at home when the lady isn't around...

                                    I can't imagine not liking it, as it's something I've never been opposed to eating.

                                3. re: foodiegrl
                                  kare_raisu Oct 29, 2006 01:39 PM

                                  i love marrow

                                4. b
                                  beany Oct 28, 2006 05:03 AM

                                  Its very interesting to see noone has mentioned pho. Pho is everywhere! and Damn good (eating some right now!!!)

                                  1. Robert Lauriston Oct 28, 2006 02:14 AM

                                    Is there a difference between "hot" and "trendy"?

                                    1. v
                                      vanillagrrl Oct 28, 2006 01:40 AM

                                      On the hot list:
                                      -Kaffir lime leaves (which made a pretty wonderful element in a cocktail at the Slanted Door in SF, I must admit)
                                      -Anything from Niman Ranch
                                      -Small plates
                                      -Cuisine "fusions"
                                      -High-end comfort food
                                      -Watermelon (in place of tomatoes, or grilled and called "steaks")

                                      And an aside: The discussion of chocolate chip pancakes above (on a stick?) reminds me of going to IHOP (which used to be called International House of Pancakes) long ago. At the time, they had printed their menu so that below the description of the decadent pancakes was the statement, "Diet syrup available on request." For years we joked about ordering chocolate chip pancakes with diet syrup.

                                      1. Nutritious Jane Oct 27, 2006 07:08 PM

                                        Kaffir Lime leaves, indeed. I'm very sad because I moved to FL and had an illegal kaffir lime tree. It lived for a year, and now it's gone. Back to the frozen variety...

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: Nutritious Jane
                                          kittyfood Oct 29, 2006 01:50 PM

                                          Why illegal? I had one in a large pot in California that we moved to New Orleans, but when we left there we didn't bring it to Phoenix because it had grown too big. I doubt that it survived Katrina because its new owner left town permanently and it probably didn't get watered. But I originally bought it in LA from an Asian nursery, and have been thinking of getting a replacement.

                                          1. re: kittyfood
                                            Robert Lauriston Oct 29, 2006 03:49 PM

                                            I don't think they're illegal in California. If so the law's widely flouted.

                                            1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                              Mul Oct 29, 2006 10:48 PM

                                              Four Winds Growers in Fremont, CA sells Kaffir Lime tree. I don't think they are illegals in CA since Home Depot, Lowes sometimes carry those trees, from Four Winds Growers. I got mine from Home Depot and it's grown very big and tall.

                                        2. therealbigtasty Oct 27, 2006 02:16 AM

                                          Fried Dill Pickles Rule.

                                          That's all I'm going to say, it's hot.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: therealbigtasty
                                            cadireon Oct 27, 2006 02:54 PM

                                            never had one. definitely intrigued

                                            1. re: cadireon
                                              therealbigtasty Oct 27, 2006 05:33 PM

                                              They're good, if you like pickles, of course.

                                              A place by me serves them with a roasted red pepper aioli and they're the biggity business.

                                          2. Amuse Bouches Oct 27, 2006 12:52 AM

                                            I think there's a bit of a trend to do traditional "junk food" or comfort food in a gourmet way. It started with fancy hamburgers, but gourmet mac and cheese, house made "twinkies", meatloaf, and tater tots all have been a part of the trend.

                                            Also fried things at fairs. Started with mars bars and twinkies. Now it's oreos and coke.

                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: Amuse Bouches
                                              cadireon Oct 27, 2006 02:55 PM

                                              fried coke?

                                              1. re: cadireon
                                                Amuse Bouches Oct 27, 2006 05:34 PM


                                                1. re: cadireon
                                                  amkirkland Oct 29, 2006 01:40 AM

                                                  I have no skin on the top of my mouth thanks to fried coke

                                              2. Eat_Nopal Oct 27, 2006 12:40 AM

                                                Rum... good Rum... aged for a very a long time, is the in drink among jetsetting connoiseurs.

                                                7 Replies
                                                1. re: Eat_Nopal
                                                  therealbigtasty Oct 27, 2006 02:15 AM

                                                  I've always been a fan of rum.

                                                  As far as dark liquor goes it's got the best taste to price ratio.

                                                  A twenty dollar bottle of rum can be as good as a sixty dollar bottle of scotch comparitively.

                                                  1. re: therealbigtasty
                                                    fnarf Oct 27, 2006 10:27 PM

                                                    I think you're right. I can get the best bottle of rum in my local store for $20, and it's outrageously good, whichever one I get (Appleton Estate, usually, but I have an open mind). $20 Scotch is usually pretty vile, and the $20 single malts are worse. I suspect this ratio would be nearly reversed if I was living in the UK, however.

                                                    1. re: fnarf
                                                      Eat_Nopal Oct 28, 2006 10:12 PM

                                                      Try Trader Joe's Single Malt... it is very decent for $20... but I do agree that Rum has a good Price to Taste flavor... product of its relative obscurity... enjoy it won't last long.

                                                      1. re: Eat_Nopal
                                                        therealbigtasty Oct 28, 2006 10:49 PM

                                                        I'll definitely check that out.

                                                        Trader Joe's scares me with it's quality!

                                                        1. re: Eat_Nopal
                                                          amkirkland Oct 29, 2006 01:39 AM

                                                          do you know any details about it? is it peated and so on???

                                                          1. re: amkirkland
                                                            Eat_Nopal Oct 29, 2006 06:43 PM

                                                            Nope I don't know... but I've had blind tastings at home with people preferring it over Glenlivet 12 Year.

                                                        2. re: fnarf
                                                          KevinB Nov 12, 2006 07:27 PM

                                                          Brandy, anyone? I especially find Duff Gordon Spanish brandy to have a spicy, fragrant flavour, and a great bargain at only $21.35 Cdn for a 750 ml bottle.

                                                          There's also a lighter French brandy, St. Remy (not Remy Martin!), that's very good for the same price.

                                                    2. m
                                                      melly Oct 27, 2006 12:23 AM


                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: melly
                                                        therealbigtasty Oct 27, 2006 02:14 AM

                                                        sweetbreads are timeless.

                                                      2. r
                                                        Rick Oct 27, 2006 12:22 AM

                                                        We had spanish tapas last night only because we were given a gift certificate. The bill for two with just one glass of sangria was $70! This was for 6 small plates of food! $10 for 6 cubes of lamb! $10 for 8 SMALL pieces of calamari. $10 for FOUR, FOUR! crab stuffed mushroom. What a freaking rip off!

                                                        1. NovoCuisine Oct 26, 2006 11:48 PM

                                                          I dunno if it's just me, but I see croquettes everywhere now - cod, crab, lobster, shrimp, etc..

                                                          1. g
                                                            Grubbjunkie Oct 26, 2006 09:05 PM


                                                            Calling anything raw "crudo."
                                                            Small plates (still)
                                                            Casual service and surroundings
                                                            Upscale versions of comfort food
                                                            Wine bars
                                                            Creative wine programs (flights, quartinos, etc.)
                                                            "Beyond Organic" ie organic but also local, sustainable.
                                                            Pork belly
                                                            No reservations
                                                            Lobster rolls
                                                            Communal Tables for walk-ins
                                                            Eating at the bar


                                                            Overblown presentations
                                                            Tiny portions
                                                            Stuffy service
                                                            Truffle oil
                                                            Fish that is not line caught or a sustainable species
                                                            Food Network

                                                            4 Replies
                                                            1. re: Grubbjunkie
                                                              Veggietales Oct 27, 2006 01:49 AM

                                                              You must be in LA cause you described it to the T.

                                                              Can I add on that not list... micro greens!

                                                              1. re: Grubbjunkie
                                                                Robert Lauriston Oct 27, 2006 01:54 AM

                                                                "Crudo" has been trendy for so long that Frank Bruni was already poking fun at it in the New York Times two years ago:

                                                                "My appetizer choices will include tuna tartare, tuna sashimi or tuna tataki. If by some astonishing quirk of providence there is not any raw or extremely rare tuna on the menu, there will be some other uncooked fish — sea bass, yellowtail or Arctic char — and the odds are 50-50 that it will wear the voguish tag of crudo."


                                                                1. re: Grubbjunkie
                                                                  foodiegrl Oct 27, 2006 11:43 PM

                                                                  Wait - by describing these items as "hot" (dead-on list, by the way), doesn't that mean they have just become a cliche?

                                                                  1. re: Grubbjunkie
                                                                    amkirkland Oct 29, 2006 01:38 AM

                                                                    ... but i love truffle oil

                                                                  2. pescatarian Oct 26, 2006 04:09 PM

                                                                    In TO, I think Korean and Indian are HOT. As is Table H'ote. And "fresh" fast food.

                                                                    1. s
                                                                      silence9 Oct 26, 2006 03:59 PM

                                                                      In Los Angeles: foam; deconstructed anything (banana creme pie, bloody mary, etc.); savory gelato; mini cupcakes...

                                                                      11 Replies
                                                                      1. re: silence9
                                                                        therealbigtasty Oct 27, 2006 02:11 AM

                                                                        What's with the whole foam thing? I think it's pretty neat, but weird.

                                                                        I worked a big gala where they served some potato dish with truffle foam, it was tasty.

                                                                        1. re: therealbigtasty
                                                                          welle Oct 27, 2006 01:59 PM

                                                                          Isn't foam another name for 'mousse'?

                                                                          1. re: welle
                                                                            therealbigtasty Oct 27, 2006 05:32 PM

                                                                            Not really, I've seen actual foam on plates. It looks like something made from tasty dish detergent! Strange.

                                                                            1. re: therealbigtasty
                                                                              welle Oct 27, 2006 07:03 PM

                                                                              that does sound strange, hope it looks appetizing

                                                                              1. re: therealbigtasty
                                                                                melly Oct 30, 2006 02:56 AM

                                                                                Saw Kat Cora do it on Iron Chef...with the foam. It's the "science of food craze" kinda thingee. You saw the Bourdain piece when he went to Spain..can't recall the name of the restaurant.

                                                                                1. re: melly
                                                                                  torta basilica Oct 30, 2006 01:39 PM

                                                                                  El Bulli - Ferrian Adria - the King of Foam & all kinds of other interesting things to do with food. His kitchen looks like a lab. It's all good - just not very filling, but very very interesting...

                                                                              2. re: welle
                                                                                Glencora Oct 27, 2006 06:21 PM

                                                                                You're thinking of hair mousse. Hair mousse is sort of foamy. Unlike, say, chocolate mousse.

                                                                                1. re: Glencora
                                                                                  welle Oct 27, 2006 07:01 PM

                                                                                  chocolate mousse is still foamy - slightly denser than hair/body/shaving products but still is something liquid aerated

                                                                              3. re: therealbigtasty
                                                                                fnarf Oct 27, 2006 10:32 PM

                                                                                Who started the foam thing? The French Laundry?

                                                                                1. re: fnarf
                                                                                  mollyomormon Oct 27, 2006 10:36 PM

                                                                                  I think Ferran Adria at El Bulli in Spain.

                                                                                  1. re: fnarf
                                                                                    Cinnamon Oct 28, 2006 02:14 AM

                                                                                    Bad carryover from Starbucks, I'd bet.

                                                                              4. Bob Martinez Oct 26, 2006 02:11 PM

                                                                                In New York City:

                                                                                Small plates. Small plates. Small plates. Ad infinitum.



                                                                                Tasting menus.

                                                                                4 Replies
                                                                                1. re: Bob Martinez
                                                                                  welle Oct 26, 2006 08:43 PM

                                                                                  Korean food and pushcarts

                                                                                  1. re: welle
                                                                                    amkirkland Oct 29, 2006 01:36 AM

                                                                                    ooh, I hope korean food gets bigger. I've just recently been introduced, but it's a great way to get an asian fix without the typical chinese or southeast asian stuff.

                                                                                    p.s. or should I have said oriental... I don't want to be offensive. someone educate me.

                                                                                    1. re: amkirkland
                                                                                      KevinB Nov 12, 2006 07:21 PM

                                                                                      Come visit Toronto. There are many, many Korean places here. They range from Korean/Japanese combos (sushi & tempura, with kalbi, bulgoki, etc.), to pure Korean to Korean BBQ (there's a hot plate in the table's centre, and they bring all the meats and seafood raw, plus about 10 plates of side dishes like kimchi, bean sprouts, etc.)

                                                                                      We visited Seoul a few years ago, and the BBQ table is not just a western invention; we went to two different ones in our four day stay.

                                                                                      1. re: amkirkland
                                                                                        Veggietales Nov 13, 2006 04:25 AM

                                                                                        Dear Round-eye,

                                                                                        Oriental is used to describe rugs and vases.

                                                                                  2. sheilal Oct 26, 2006 01:00 PM

                                                                                    ceviche seems to be very hot right now.

                                                                                    Also, naming the region that the food comes from . . .
                                                                                    Niman Ranch pork tenderloin
                                                                                    McEwen and Son polenta
                                                                                    Nantucket scallops
                                                                                    Cullman county sweet potatoes
                                                                                    Pocono Mountain trout

                                                                                    What value does it add, except to promote the vendors? Is Pocono Mountain trout any tastier than trout caught in Boise?

                                                                                    1. UnConundrum Oct 26, 2006 12:45 PM

                                                                                      From a preparation standpoint, seems like sous vide is gaining quickly.

                                                                                      1. Davwud Oct 26, 2006 11:48 AM

                                                                                        Chipotle's are in.


                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: Davwud
                                                                                          amkirkland Oct 29, 2006 01:35 AM

                                                                                          yeah, They've been such a tag line. For a while every fast food restaurant had chipotle something and every hot sauce line had chipotle. Ever have the chipotle tabasco... definitely good stuff.

                                                                                          1. re: amkirkland
                                                                                            kare_raisu Oct 29, 2006 01:38 PM

                                                                                            freaking awesome

                                                                                        2. f
                                                                                          Fleur Oct 26, 2006 07:02 AM

                                                                                          I used to love Quiche.... until it became so trendy you found it everywhere from fancy dinner parties to fast food.

                                                                                          Same with pesto.

                                                                                          Now they are so out they are back in.

                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: Fleur
                                                                                            Sam Fujisaka Oct 26, 2006 05:48 PM

                                                                                            Funny. Back in the 70s guys prepared quiche to show that they were gender sensitive and could do more than BBQ.

                                                                                            1. re: Fleur
                                                                                              welle Oct 26, 2006 08:46 PM

                                                                                              i feel the same about sun-dried tomato - haven't seen them in any sandwich lately here in NYC, makes me sort of want to go and buy some (sun-dried tomatos that is) as I type...

                                                                                            2. Seth Chadwick Oct 26, 2006 01:56 AM

                                                                                              Here in Phoenix, the rage seems to be "small plates." Give me smaller portions at higher prices.

                                                                                              PT Barnum was so right.

                                                                                              5 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: Seth Chadwick
                                                                                                Caitlin McGrath Oct 26, 2006 04:43 AM

                                                                                                I think the "small plates" trend - not just Spanish tapas, but cuisines of every stripe - really started in the SF Bay Area several years ago, when it seemed at least half the new mid-scale places opening had small plates menus, and it continued unabated. And it's spread everywhere and can be deceptively expensive, because depending on how small those plates are, you can really run up the bill just to not leave still hungry.

                                                                                                1. re: Caitlin McGrath
                                                                                                  monkeyrotica Oct 26, 2006 12:20 PM

                                                                                                  I get the impression the small plates are geared toward a younger, urban, more health-conscious demographic. The two-plates-and-a-beer after gym crowd and women who like to complain about their thighs, not the Cheesecake Factory demographic. Definitely can get expensive, but most things usually are in cities. It goes along with the "hip" lifestyle.

                                                                                                  1. re: Caitlin McGrath
                                                                                                    Robert Lauriston Oct 26, 2006 03:31 PM

                                                                                                    I think the small-plates trend started around 25 years ago in San Francisco, with the opening of the Little City Antipasti Bar. By the time it closed five years ago, probably half the new upscale restaurants in SF were small-plates places, and most of the rest had menus designed to cater to both styles of eating.

                                                                                                    The trend's been going on so long there's been a substantial backlash for the past few years.

                                                                                                    1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                                                                                      foodiegrl Oct 27, 2006 11:39 PM

                                                                                                      Has anyone else noticed an anti-small-plates trend here in SF?
                                                                                                      I think people are tired of the work it takes to formulate their own menus (it may help explain the rising popularity of tasting menus).
                                                                                                      I had a friend who summed it up best; "I despise the mental calculus it requres to effectively size up a dish and understand exactly how much I should take. I mean, how many times have you had 3 crabcakes set down in front of 4 people. What the F- is up with that?"
                                                                                                      Cortez, formerly ground-zero for innovative and fun small-plates dining just introduced big plates last month.

                                                                                                  2. re: Seth Chadwick
                                                                                                    jfood Oct 28, 2006 01:20 AM

                                                                                                    also think the two apps for dinner trend is here. The $40 entree has people looking deeper into their wallets so the average person needs to average down on occasion. Salad for $9 and another app for $14 and you have a reasonable eat-out meal.

                                                                                                  3. toodie jane Oct 26, 2006 01:06 AM

                                                                                                    matcha is the new chai

                                                                                                    1. Chowpatty Oct 26, 2006 12:20 AM

                                                                                                      Pomegranate juice and pomegranate seeds
                                                                                                      Yuzu and kaffir lime leaves
                                                                                                      Pork belly
                                                                                                      shortribs, shortrib sandwich
                                                                                                      peanut butter desserts
                                                                                                      red velvet cupcakes
                                                                                                      artisanal salami and charcuterie

                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: Chowpatty
                                                                                                        cadireon Oct 26, 2006 02:18 PM

                                                                                                        oh, so hungry!

                                                                                                        1. re: Chowpatty
                                                                                                          kittyfood Oct 29, 2006 01:46 PM

                                                                                                          What is it with the red velvet craze? As far as I'm concerned this cake is mostly tasteless and way too super-sweet. It was popular in the 1960s and died out, and then when we lived in New Orleans from 1998 to 1994 it was popular, but I assumed that was a Southern thing. Now I see it popping up everywhere.

                                                                                                          1. re: Chowpatty
                                                                                                            Rabbit Mar 14, 2007 05:13 PM

                                                                                                            The patty has soooo nailed it. I just finished reading this whole thread and I think 'patty is totally food psychic.

                                                                                                            PS - kiwi are out - since the 80s... and I am waiting for their wicked return.

                                                                                                          2. p
                                                                                                            Prawn Cocktail Oct 25, 2006 11:02 PM

                                                                                                            Fear Factor food is in. You know, chocolate covered bugs, candied worms and things like that.

                                                                                                            1. Vexorg Oct 25, 2006 10:49 PM

                                                                                                              At least around here, the "Fresh-Mex" places seem to be springing up like wildfire as of late. I've seen the Mexican chocolate too, but only a couple of instances (I tried the Dagoba "Xocolatl" bar with chile and nibs, and found it a bit disappointing, with the heat heavily concentrated in places and nonexistent in others.) Also in the supermarkets around here, it seems like recently everyone has to have an olive bar these days too.

                                                                                                              1. HillJ Oct 25, 2006 10:34 PM

                                                                                                                Any food on a stick

                                                                                                                1. r
                                                                                                                  raj1 Oct 25, 2006 09:09 PM

                                                                                                                  I've seen two recipes lately for hamburgers made with ground brisket. The beginning of a trend?

                                                                                                                  I've noticed that Mexican chocolate is really getting big. (Of course, it's never called "Mexican" chocolate. It's usually referred to as "Mayan" or "Aztec recipe" or something like that).

                                                                                                                  7 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: raj1
                                                                                                                    fnarf Oct 27, 2006 01:50 AM

                                                                                                                    I recently saw "Aztec" Venezuelan chocolate. Those Aztecs get around.

                                                                                                                    1. re: raj1
                                                                                                                      Eat_Nopal Oct 27, 2006 10:18 PM

                                                                                                                      Yup... that is to get around Mexico's image problems. You will also notice that when Non-Mexican Chefs incorporate authentic Mexican ingredients & techniques... they usually call it Southwest... I see this with a lot of Chipotle uses... nevermind that Chipotles were never consumed in the Southwest in any manner. In fact, until recently Chipotle uses were rare throughout Northern Mexico.

                                                                                                                      The terms Aztecs & Mayan are typically misused however. As Aztec chocolate (in the purest sense) is one that is heavy on Vanilla & Honey but not Cinammon, Nutmeg, Cloves, Sugar or Milk which are all Post-Hispanic influences. Similarly, a Mayan chocolate would be a very thin, bitter drink that was typically only ever spiked with Balche (a Honey Wine that goes back a couple thousand years). Finally, I have noticed that "Mayan" is particularly applied to the combination of Chocolate with Ancho Chile... but being ethnographically correct that should be called Mixtec or Zapotec Chocolate.

                                                                                                                      1. re: Eat_Nopal
                                                                                                                        fnarf Oct 27, 2006 10:31 PM

                                                                                                                        I would say applying "Aztec" as an adjective to a product from Venezuela, a thousand miles from any Aztecs, is pretty well misused! Especially a very sweet one. I'm pretty sure most people wouldn't be to keen on on real Aztec flavor.

                                                                                                                        1. re: fnarf
                                                                                                                          Eat_Nopal Oct 28, 2006 10:09 PM

                                                                                                                          Why wouldn't most people be keen on real Aztec flavor? From what I have tasted in Mexico City's cutting edge restaurtants that are taking an anthropological zeal to bringing back Pre-Hispanic cuisine... it is a truly brilliant cuisine that exhibits a keenly sofisticated use of herbs, chiles & subtle spices to build impressive layers of unique flavor... one which would certainly give Modern Provencal, Catalan or Tuscan a run for its money.

                                                                                                                          1. re: Eat_Nopal
                                                                                                                            kare_raisu Oct 29, 2006 01:37 PM

                                                                                                                            The exportation of Mexican cuisine and ingredients beginning in th 16th c. probably had the single most far-reaching effect on the world culinarily.

                                                                                                                            1. re: kare_raisu
                                                                                                                              Eat_Nopal Oct 29, 2006 06:41 PM

                                                                                                                              Pre-Hispanic Mexico's culinary contributions to Europe is certainly way underrated & poorly understood. Was it the most far-reaching it is certainly arguable... but there have also been some huge contributions out of other places... Mesopotamia, China, India, France in the 18th Century etc.,

                                                                                                                      2. re: raj1
                                                                                                                        Cinnamon Oct 28, 2006 02:11 AM

                                                                                                                        Good point - have seen many more 'hot' chocolate bars out - that have cayenne with the cacao etc. Not that they didn't exist before - they're getting more mainstream.

                                                                                                                      3. p
                                                                                                                        PaulV Oct 25, 2006 08:17 PM

                                                                                                                        "Tasting Menus" seem to be all the rage at the moment.

                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                        1. re: PaulV
                                                                                                                          therealbigtasty Oct 27, 2006 02:08 AM

                                                                                                                          They should be. That's a good trend.

                                                                                                                        2. Robert Lauriston Oct 25, 2006 08:17 PM

                                                                                                                          Chocolate-chip pancakes and sausage on a stick.

                                                                                                                          6 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                                                                                                            Low Country Jon Oct 25, 2006 11:40 PM

                                                                                                                            Jon Stewart agrees with you, but maybe that's where you picked up on this "trend"...

                                                                                                                            1. re: Low Country Jon
                                                                                                                              Robert Lauriston Oct 26, 2006 01:25 AM

                                                                                                                              If it's on The Daily Show, it must be hot. Like sizzlin' John Ashcroft.

                                                                                                                              1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                                                                                                                Low Country Jon Oct 26, 2006 01:32 PM

                                                                                                                                Given the popularity of corn dogs, pancakes and sausage on a stick was inevitable. But adding chocolate chips to the mix, that's just Crazy! Or is it Genius?

                                                                                                                                1. re: Low Country Jon
                                                                                                                                  Robert Lauriston Oct 26, 2006 03:24 PM

                                                                                                                                  It's HOT!

                                                                                                                              2. re: Low Country Jon
                                                                                                                                Cathy Oct 29, 2006 01:03 AM

                                                                                                                                Its made by Jimmy Dean and quite a few years ago (more than 5)JD had test marketed blueberry pancake on sausage on a stick..I bought it at one of the "Grocery Outlet" stores (before it became a really big chain out here)...because I liked the idea of all the flavors together...but when you nuked it, the blueberries "ran" through the pancake batter (and grease from the sausage) so it was a grey mess.....

                                                                                                                                it still tasted good, though....

                                                                                                                              3. re: Robert Lauriston
                                                                                                                                Dommy Oct 27, 2006 12:32 AM

                                                                                                                                ROTFL... My SO called me from work to tell me about this abomination... They had me, until they added chocolate chips... Hope, plain for me with a cup of Maple Syrup on the side thankuverimuch...


                                                                                                                              4. Karl S Oct 25, 2006 07:29 PM

                                                                                                                                Well, the organic food trend flowed into the slow food trend which has now flowed into the local food trend, which is currently cresting as a trend. A good marker of food trends is the religious ferver of its adherents.

                                                                                                                                The revival of proper pork products is moving at a much slower pace. The demand for good pork lard among cooks has increased a lot, but the supply hasn't; the boutiquing of good pork for folks with means is counterbalanced by the invasion of "enhanced" pork in markets frequented by regular folks.

                                                                                                                                Then there is the ethnic food of the moment. I would say that Latin American foods have the momentum of trendiness right now, especially reflected in fusion-type appropriation of ingredients and inflections. Subsaharan African foods have not caught on yet. Just waiting for eastern European foods to catch a wave; I've seen glimmers of that here or there.

                                                                                                                                The real trend to watch: how many Americans will increase the proportion of meals they eat around a home table with other people (aka family and/or friends). Right now, I am not holding my breath, though there are increased efforts to inspire and motivate on this score. Unless and until that happens, the other trends are fairly meaningless.

                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                1. re: Karl S
                                                                                                                                  Cinnamon Oct 28, 2006 02:10 AM

                                                                                                                                  Good points, thanks.

                                                                                                                                2. monkeyrotica Oct 25, 2006 06:37 PM

                                                                                                                                  Tapas. Not just Spanish either, but Greek and Lebanese mezze. It's gotten to the point now that you can basically put anything on a small plate, charge $7.50 for it, and call it tapas.

                                                                                                                                  Just waiting for the American version to start rolling in. Vienna sausages dizzled with olive oil and paprika, pigs-in-a-blanket with aoli...

                                                                                                                                  7 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: monkeyrotica
                                                                                                                                    Leper Oct 25, 2006 11:55 PM

                                                                                                                                    Monkeyrotica, Hummm, I could see corn dogs served with a mustard-catsup reduction sauce wrapped in kale with a side of deconstructed roasted packing nuts.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Leper
                                                                                                                                      pitu Oct 26, 2006 09:59 PM

                                                                                                                                      You are sooooo ready for a Top Chef gas station challenge . . .

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Leper
                                                                                                                                        therealbigtasty Oct 27, 2006 02:07 AM

                                                                                                                                        I just made a dish called Cheeseburger lasagna! It was pretty darn silly. Tasted good, though.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: therealbigtasty
                                                                                                                                          Cathy Oct 29, 2006 01:00 AM

                                                                                                                                          Hamburger Helper has made a Cheeseburger Lasagne flavor for, like, forever....

                                                                                                                                          sadly....I know this

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Cathy
                                                                                                                                            therealbigtasty Oct 29, 2006 07:18 PM

                                                                                                                                            But I made Cheeseburger LASAGNE! All from scratch like.

                                                                                                                                            I'm aware of that particular product.

                                                                                                                                      2. re: monkeyrotica
                                                                                                                                        kittyfood Oct 29, 2006 01:43 PM

                                                                                                                                        Interesting, because tapas are hot in Phoenix right now -- this just started within about the past year. But they were hot in Chicago about 10 years ago, and we didn't even have them in Los Angeles then.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: monkeyrotica
                                                                                                                                          Quesera Mar 14, 2007 05:35 PM

                                                                                                                                          And Japanese tapas too. In LA Itzakaya places are popping up all over. "shared plates" are what's hot, beyond spanish and into "american."

                                                                                                                                        2. j
                                                                                                                                          julesrules Oct 25, 2006 06:37 PM

                                                                                                                                          Saw a recent NYT magazine article on salted caramel, but I thought they were a few years behind on that one. I still want to make the molten caramel cakes though.

                                                                                                                                          1. gina Oct 25, 2006 06:31 PM

                                                                                                                                            Tartare and carpaccio everything (oddly, even veggies) seems to be a hot food trend at the moment. And gourmet mac 'n' cheese is even bigger than ever--a trend I hope never ends.

                                                                                                                                            11 Replies
                                                                                                                                            1. re: gina
                                                                                                                                              Eat_Nopal Oct 27, 2006 12:38 AM

                                                                                                                                              Where do you live? Those dishes were hot in Mexico City about 8 years, & in L.A. about 4 years ago.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Eat_Nopal
                                                                                                                                                gina Oct 27, 2006 01:35 AM

                                                                                                                                                That's nice. What dishes are hot in Mexico City and L.A. now?

                                                                                                                                                1. re: gina
                                                                                                                                                  Glencora Oct 27, 2006 01:42 AM

                                                                                                                                                  Very gracious of you. Actually, I still see tartare and carpaccio on Bay Area menus.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Glencora
                                                                                                                                                    melly Oct 30, 2006 02:51 AM

                                                                                                                                                    Me too. Lots.

                                                                                                                                                  2. re: gina
                                                                                                                                                    Eat_Nopal Oct 28, 2006 10:51 PM

                                                                                                                                                    I am very sorry... I didn't mean to be insulting in any way... I am just very curious about how trends spread. A couple of months ago I was in Chicago & had a suprising conversation. An Ohio resident told me about how Martinis are just starting to be the in thing there & he asked me if they are popular in L.A. I commented it that Martinis were the big hit around 1999... when the Sour Apple Martinis were all the rage. Then I told him to expect Ohioans to drink Vodka on the Rocks pretty soon. Incredious... he said something like... next you are going to tell me that Tequila is popular. And of course I informed him that good Tequila is old news...its all about the Rum now.

                                                                                                                                                    So given the Internet & the fast speed of communications... I am trying to understanding how it is that trends actually spread & how long they take.

                                                                                                                                                    So I am honestly very curious about where you live.

                                                                                                                                                    In terms of what is hot in Mexico City... there are number of them:
                                                                                                                                                    > Pre-Hispanic Tasting Menus (Lots of Vanilla & Ground Chocolate used in Savory Dishes, Pre-Hispanic Herbs like Hoja Santa, Epazote, Native Varieties of "Oregano", Basil, Mint & Anise)
                                                                                                                                                    > California Cuisine is all the rage in Mexico City. Restaurants range from casual California style Salads, Pasta & Pizza to Pan-California Wine Cuisine that brings the best Pairings from Alta California (U.S.) & Baja California.
                                                                                                                                                    > Mexican Wines. They have now displaced French & Spanish wines as the most consumed in Mexico & there is a whole fuss about figuring out what foods to create for pairing with Baja California's wines (which are based on Classic Varieties)
                                                                                                                                                    > Foams, Aromas & other fad items from the scientific cuisine movement.
                                                                                                                                                    > Duck Carnitas seem to be on every menu

                                                                                                                                                    In L.A... the big thing seems to be the heavy Thai & Spanish influences in California & New American cuisine.... Scallops in Red Curry Reduction with Pineapple Polenta (Thai) & Calamari with Spicy Fava Beans & Frisse in Squid Ink Vinaigrette (Spanish) would be a perfect example. Also all kinds savory Flan (custard).

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Eat_Nopal
                                                                                                                                                      Aromatherapy Oct 30, 2006 05:19 PM

                                                                                                                                                      I think most people pick up on trends from their friends/local establishments, not the Internet. Fancy "martinis" are hot now in a small city a mere hour from Boston.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Aromatherapy
                                                                                                                                                        Eat_Nopal Oct 30, 2006 07:08 PM

                                                                                                                                                        Yeah... but you would think that Restaurateurs & Bar Keepers travel & try to bring back ideas to the regional hubs like Chicago... from which they would spread to small cities like Cincinnati etc.,

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Eat_Nopal
                                                                                                                                                          amkirkland Oct 30, 2006 09:43 PM

                                                                                                                                                          One could reverse that and say that you would think that big cities could get over the latest trend and see that the smaller cities are getting by with just great food.

                                                                                                                                                          I personally love creativity, but trends produce the opposite. They're one person's, or a small group of people's, creativity exploited by anyone with a license to market the trend. To me, a truly HOT trend is something that lifts up the entire industry, rather than giving a crutch. The ubiquitous figs and dates are a crutch, whereas local farming/produce is really lifting up the entire industry. That's the big difference I think. That's why I believe that small plates in some manner will stick around well past mojitos and deconstructed this or that, because they provide something really useful, not just copies of someone else's, albiet good, idea.

                                                                                                                                                          Notice the mini-thread near the bottom (as of OCT 30, 2006) about German restaurants. Like steakhouses, I don't think places where you go to get large amounts of great food will ever go out of style. I think a truly creative person goes in and makes an authentic German restaurant work, despite the market, because they're offering really high quality interpretations, not so-so imitations.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: amkirkland
                                                                                                                                                            Eat_Nopal Oct 31, 2006 05:34 PM

                                                                                                                                                            It depends on the small city... most in the U.S. don't have great food. Even when they have great regional specialties... that is it. If you think of recipes as cultural solutions to a common problem... then you can see the value of new ideas... a few of which will make your life better.

                                                                                                                                                2. re: gina
                                                                                                                                                  Boythefoodtalksto Oct 31, 2006 04:57 PM

                                                                                                                                                  Gourmet mac 'n' cheese? What have I been missing?

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Boythefoodtalksto
                                                                                                                                                    welle Oct 31, 2006 06:17 PM

                                                                                                                                                    i think mac'n'cheese made with fancier cheeses like gruyere have been around for a while, but maybe gina meant the fact that they're taking a center stage like at S'Mac in NYC?


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