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What is the next pedestrian food to go "gourmet"?

Or what do you wish it would be. In America we have seen:

Soda - albeit just starting to catch on

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  1. I think it's gonna be Bar B Que.

    6 Replies
        1. re: foodsnob14

          We just got an upscale bbq joint where I am, and the prices are insane. Pretty sure a slab of ribs was something like 35 bux. I think the owner / chef is a grad of some fancy cooking school, and it's all white table cloth.

          1. re: foodsnob14

            Fatty cue might qualify as gourmet, but Fette Sau is simply one of the better barbecue joints to open in a once barbecue-starved city.

            NYC is, however, seeing fried chicken increasingly dressed up for spendier crowds as well as preserved and pickled foods.

            1. re: JungMann

              i'd say the chicken thing peaked out in NY a year or 2 ago

          2. re: monku

            Hmmmm....complex sauces, rubs, hours of smoking, sides, gourmet cuts of meat. Seems like lots of room for tinkering to me.

        2. According to this article soda sales in the US peaked in 2005 giving way to water, sports drinks and energy drinks.


          1. I'm seeing bologna, thick cut, show up on up-scale, casual menus.

            2 Replies
            1. re: CocoaNut

              Been done.
              In LA we have Spring Street BBQ and they smoke a whole bologna and serve it up on a sandwich. It's just ok.

              1. re: jfood

                On the west coast we've had Jodi Maroni Gourmet Sausage since 1979.

                1. re: monku

                  Bruce Aidells since then or before.

                  1. re: buttertart

                    sausage has been around for a long time (remember upton sinclair) but when you start seeing on high end menus then it has gone gourmet.

                    btw - aidells are very good.

                    1. re: jfood

                      Lived 4 blocks from his first shop in Berkeley. Even industrialized it's a nice product.

                  2. re: monku

                    jfood had some JM sausage at las vegas airport a few weeks ago. he did not like it at all.

                    1. re: jfood

                      Didn't say you were going to like it, but that's one of the so-called gourmet sausages.

                      1. re: monku

                        jfood likes good food whether it is gourmet or not. the JM sausages were terrible, he threw them both out.

                        1. re: jfood

                          I had JM a couple times when they first came on the scene and wondered what the big deal was. Otherwise I'm not a fan.
                          There's no law against using the word "gourmet" in your products are there?

                          1. re: monku

                            not that jfood knows and probably like you the antennae go up when he sees "gourmet" anything. like the words on the pizza box, "you tried the rest now try the best" or "world famous'.

                            1. re: jfood

                              I always wondered what makes something "world famous".....is it because some guy from a remote corner of the world has eaten it?....or is there a place called "world"?

                                1. re: monku

                                  jfood has the same comment on "fast food." is it food that is quickly prepared or food that makes you want to fast. :-))

                    2. re: jfood

                      I think the good ship Salumi sailed 3 or 4 years ago.

                    3. there was an article on here recently about milk...

                      1 Reply
                      1. There seem to be lots of new burger restaurants in DC.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: Jay F

                          Here in the LA area I think the gourmet burger thing is peaking.

                          Just an example of some of the offerings:

                          1. re: monku

                            There's been a glut of gourmet burger joints in Toronto too. I do hope the trend is peaking.

                            1. re: cookiebaker

                              I like burgers alot, and I mean alot.

                              I have nothing against gourmet burgers per se, but what I don't like is that some of these purveyors are taking it to the extreme.

                              If you want to use locally sourced prime cuts of beef, the more the better. But I don't need the bells and whistles that sometimes come with a gourmet burger like fancy sauces (harissa? fish sauce?) or out of this world cheeses or even novel toppings like fruit or pork cracklins.

                          2. re: Jay F

                            I'm getting really sick of this burger trend in DC. It has gotten out of control in Dupont.

                          3. well, it's been happening with chocolate for a while now, and we're already past the peak of the specialty salt craze.

                            i suspect products made with goat's milk are really going to take off. goat's milk caramels and dulce de leche (cajeta) have been getting quite a bit of buzz, and of course there's already goat's milk yogurt, goat's milk soap, Laloo's goat's milk ice cream...

                            1. I'll nominate ... fried chicken.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                $26 for a fried chicken dinner at Harold & Belle''s should be gourmet at that price.

                                What's better than Roscoe's fried chicken and waffles.

                                1. re: monku

                                  Ever try the Jidori Fried Chicken at Huckleberry?

                                  That's better than anything Rosecoe's can whip up, with or without waffles.

                                  1. re: ipsedixit

                                    I guess I"m going to have to try it.

                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                  I had to LOL but every so often iceberg is so crispy, crunchy, sweet, and wonderful, that I go on a tear and buy it regularly- usually I get very disappointed with the subsequent purchases. But good iceberg is good iceberg. Heirloom? If there was, I would.

                                  1. re: EWSflash

                                    There is. I've seen 3 menus with it recently.

                                    1. re: hyacinthgirl

                                      Wow, just did an internet search for heirloom iceberg lettuce--over 35,000 hits. Perhaps iceberg lettuce has already gone gourmet. (Plenty of places to order the seeds . . .tempting thought for next spring.)

                                  2. re: ipsedixit

                                    With the wedge salad popping up on every menu these days, they will have to up the ante somehow. I think you are on to something!

                                  3. We've had mac 'n' cheese, burgers, mashed potatoes, moules frites (just about everywhere I go), fried chicken, meatloaf. I think as long as we're hurting economically, comfort food is going to be in. Cupcakes have had their day, but I wouldn't be surprised if traditional American pies and cakes make a strong showing.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: pikawicca

                                      I think you're right on there. Cupcakes are on the downswing. But I am suddenly seeing a lot of "specialty" honeycrisp apple pies, chocolate pecan pies, sour cherry pies, etc on menus now that I think about it. Not saying that's a bad thing ;)

                                      1. re: pikawicca

                                        I think the comfort/snack food gourmetifying is still on the uptrend, and will merge with the gourmet locovore movement.

                                        Think individual portion mac and cheese casserole with gorgonzola and home-made pasta, grilled cheese with locally sourced artisanal cheese and hand smoked meat on freshly baked bread, deconstructed chicken noodle soup and the like.

                                        I'm not sure about offal. It might make the latest trendy gourmet food trend, but might not get past people's ick reaction.

                                      2. I think preserved foods like pickles and jams are showing up on a lot more high end menus.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: mollyomormon

                                          Kimchi with terroir?

                                          "Kimchi from the Pocheon, Gyeonggi Province, AOC"?

                                          1. re: mollyomormon

                                            Pickles get my vote. Pickled everything. On sandwiches, in omelets, in a cone. On pizza. In your drink. Sure, it may have started, but there's a long way to go.

                                            Also: in your chocolate.

                                          2. I think lacto-fermented local foods will be joining the house-cured charcuterie wagon. Artisan methods + locally produced + natural probiotics and traditional foodways - whats not to love? This also meshes nicely with the growing interest in Korean food and also Eastern European food traditions.

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: meatn3

                                              I would love to see that one. I recently noticed that the cookbook "Nourishing Traditions" has been creeping up on list of best selling cookbooks on Amazon. It's full of naturally fermented foods.


                                              1. re: Divamac

                                                I've noticed it is selling better too. "Wild Fermentation" is rising in sales too. Ten years ago I only knew a handful of people who practiced this method as a health/diet/taste choice, rather than as a traditional method they were raised with. Now there are artisan companies making product and starting to creep into the media. I give it another 5 years to start hitting mainstream consciousness.

                                              1. re: HillJ

                                                in LA we have the Grilled Cheese Truck http://www.thegrilledcheesetruck.com/
                                                Campanile has a "grilled cheese" night (Thursdays

                                                1. re: monku

                                                  I'm so ready for that grilled cheese truck...but on "my coast" grilled cheese sandwich is just starting to make a big comeback and def. with a more upscale ingredient list. magazines, food tv, blogs all touting the NEW approach, combinations for grilling cheese sandwiches. So LA is ahead (big surprise) but the rest of us are catching up :)

                                                  1. re: monku

                                                    Hey M. Didn't Campanile have a really "funny" thread a year or so ago about some family not getting treated like "we deserved"? Jfood remembers going to their website and had a big old smile that there was a "grilled cheese night." You guys out there are great.

                                                  2. re: HillJ

                                                    Gourmet grilled cheese was pretty big in my area a few years ago, but now seems to be on the decline. (But give me some slabs of white American cheese and mozz between slices of good white bread grilled in butter and I'm there since I can remember).

                                                    Hummus seems to be the big trend now, with good artisinal pitas. (I'd still rather have that grilled cheese.)

                                                    1. re: gaffk

                                                      see now hummus is pretty 2 years ago around my area. so interesting how food trends come & go.

                                                      1. re: gaffk

                                                        we do the gourmet grilled cheese at home. Young son works for a high-end local bakery/restaurant and there's a Trader Joe's right across the street, not stellar cheeses, but better than tghe local grocery stores for the most part.

                                                        I wouldn't go out for gourmet grilled cheese, but maybe I would for gourmet mac & chgeese, a fad whose peak has passed but I never got in on it. I do love mac & cheese.

                                                    2. "Hatch" green chile cheeseburgers.

                                                      Head cheese!


                                                      Other mixed offal stuff.

                                                      17 Replies
                                                      1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                        Chef Chris Cosentino is doing head cheese and offal stuff at Baccalone and his website .http://www.offalgood.com/

                                                          1. re: monavano

                                                            Artisan Scrapple ... been there, done that.


                                                            Excerpts from the Seriouseats Link:


                                                            "Artisan scrapple may sound as improbable as artisan Spam—practically a contradiction in terms ... Egg [Restaurant]'s scrapple comes from High Hope Hogs, a small New Jersey operation raising pigs free of steroids, hormones, and antibiotics. (They also have a regular stand at the Union Square Greenmarket.) And their scrapple is about as tasty as a breakfast meat could be. Each beautifully browned slab was pleasantly gooey, with a still-creamy interior."

                                                            1. re: ipsedixit

                                                              Any ideas why the last place I saw scrapple for sale was at a Hong Kong supermarket in Flushing?

                                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                                "Any ideas why the last place I saw scrapple for sale was at a Hong Kong supermarket in Flushing?"

                                                                ... them Chinese folks know good eatin'!

                                                                In all seriousness, I think the resourcefullness of Chinese cooks in using ALL parts of a pig (or any other animal) is way underrated.

                                                                Consider that if you want to buy pork bung, you have to go to a Chinese supermarket. Can't find them anywhere else. American markets don't even know what a "pork bung" is and look at you funny if you ask.

                                                                Mexican markets probably have them available but, alas, my Spanish is sorely lacking in describing pig offal parts.

                                                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                  Absolutely. I've had a pork bung or two in my day, in Taipei and NY.

                                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                                    Can I ask how it was prepared in NY? Was it somewhere in Flushing, or some other place in Queens?

                                                                    1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                      The fried stuffed Taiwanese kind (at a now-defunct Taiwanese place in Flushing, yes) and as Sichuan chang wang complete with duck blood in TPE.

                                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                                        Ever make it at home? It's great in hot pots.

                                                              2. re: ipsedixit

                                                                You're right on the money about how the texture of scrapple should be.

                                                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                  But scrapple still hasn't hit the mainstream. I was raised on it an miss it, so I make my own.
                                                                  Great article though.

                                                                  1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                    Passa, I would try your gourmet scrapple. If anyone can put lipstick on a pig, it would be you. Next step: combine your Maine roots for a baked lobster with scrapple stuffing? Gourmet, but hardly kosher!

                                                                    1. re: Veggo

                                                                      Yes! Lobster scrapple, tomale, roe, alimentary canal and body meat! The whole 9 yahds!

                                                                2. re: monavano

                                                                  From DDD awhile back......
                                                                  Bette's Oceanview Diner, Berkeley, CA.


                                                              3. Snowcones made with gourmet syrups.

                                                                3 Replies
                                                                1. re: Tripeler

                                                                  bacon snowcones would seem to be the logical next step.

                                                                  1. re: bbqboy

                                                                    I was actually considering "deep fried snow cones" :)

                                                                  2. re: Tripeler

                                                                    Sno cones with fancy liqueurs. Over 21only, please.

                                                                  3. I expect to see tacos become popular at non-Mexican restaurants, especially as gourmet bar food.

                                                                    Fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, and offal have already caught on, or are in the process of catching on.

                                                                    Restaurants and bars around here are starting to put a lot more effort into non-alcoholic cocktails and homemade soda than days past. "Virgin" drinks are no longer just for teetotalers and kids.

                                                                    Donuts are the new cupcakes, by the way.

                                                                    8 Replies
                                                                      1. re: thew

                                                                        I hope so!!!
                                                                        I have been primarily vegetarian for years, but I advocate insects. They are the most sustainable protein source out there! That being said, so far I've played the vegetarian card when they appeared on a snack tray. (Hey, it was a 4 year old's insect birthday party... definitely not gourmet!)

                                                                      2. re: lavaca

                                                                        Yeah, I was going to say donuts. Although I wish we had more (any?) decent donuts available from bakeries, for breakfast, ie/ not necessitating having dinner at a fancy restaurant.


                                                                        1. re: julesrules

                                                                          Thomas Keller (French Laundry, Per Se) has been doing a "Coffee and donuts" dessert (or supplementary dessert) for at least the past 6 years, probably longer (I had it in 2004 and 2009).

                                                                          1. re: buttertart

                                                                            Yeah we are generally a bit (quite) behind the trend here :)

                                                                            1. re: buttertart

                                                                              He was doing that dessert back in '97 too. Probably still is.

                                                                              1. re: rabaja

                                                                                I wasn't as aware of him then (since the French Laundry is from after my Bay Area days), but figured as much.

                                                                                1. re: rabaja

                                                                                  Have you ever seen "donuts" (or "doughnuts") on anyone else's dessert menu? In Seattle, it seems that it's only acceptable to serve fried dough at a fancy restaurant if it's in the form of beignets or some European version like zeppole or loukoumades. Of course, the menu will often describe these items as "[other culture]'s version donuts"

                                                                                  What I'm seeing with donuts is high-end shops opening up in neighborhoods where donuts would previously have been dismissed as low-class. This is how the $3 cupcake movement got its start here as well.

                                                                          2. Armadillo if RWOrange has her way.

                                                                            1. In DC, it's pizza. I remember my family (of 4) going out for pizza. It was a treat, but not a budget-buster for middle class Americans. We'd get a big pie, some sodas for the kids and beer for Mom and Dad and enjoy.
                                                                              Now, it can be pricey here.
                                                                              nb-some of the pizza joints are amazing, with really high-quality ingredients, but still, it's a paradigm shift for me.
                                                                              Oh, and burgers.

                                                                              1. A couple of years ago, NPR had a kitchen show that tried to point out the new "hot trends" in foods..and I suppose these could go "gourmet." One of the laughable ones was boiled peanuts. As a rule, people love them or hate them. But it would be fun to see some soi-disant "chef" try to make haute cuisine out of them.

                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                1. re: hazelhurst

                                                                                  Some soi-disant (or in his case suowei) chef has, in NYC, Eddie Huang, Baohaus and Xiao Ye restaurants. It's a popular Taiwanese appetizer.

                                                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                                                    What is he doing to make it "gourmet?"

                                                                                    I am told that they are quite popular all over SE Asia...at least in Laos, according to a friend's ex-wife.

                                                                                    1. re: hazelhurst

                                                                                      Serving it in his arch, edgy, hipster-geared restaurants. Not gussying it up though.

                                                                                2. Has soda really gone gourmet?

                                                                                  Others I have noticed:

                                                                                  Nut Butters
                                                                                  Ice cream

                                                                                  1. I'm actually trying to get a friend who's starting a restaurant to offer gourmet cheese fries. Gourmet poutine seems to be catching on, so now let's just expand the concept....
                                                                                    A girl can dream.

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: hyacinthgirl

                                                                                      Gourmet poutine?

                                                                                      I'd just settle for generic poutine to be more popular.

                                                                                    2. Appears Quinoa is making a comeback...... from a few centuries ago.....


                                                                                      1. In a down economy, don't you imagine dishes made from lentils/dried beans are going to be the next big thing?

                                                                                        1. Kimchi! Healthy (I came upon a BBC article that it helps prevent avian virus.), full of flavor and cheap.

                                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                            I wish it were cheap. I pay 5 bucks for 15 oz. of King's brand. That's a lot of cabbage for cabbage!

                                                                                            1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                              I grew my own Chinese cabbage in Maine.

                                                                                              1. I think pies, particularly individual size and hand held varieties will hit very soon. Pies are very homey/comforting and mesh well with the economy induced nesting urge. Savory pies will upstage the sweet. Empanadas, pasties, etc. will all get renewed attention.

                                                                                                1. Is there anything left?

                                                                                                  I don't know, maybe ... milk? (raw, grass fed, still warm from the cow, etc.)

                                                                                                  maybe also dried fruit and veggies (raisins, apricots, prunes, etc.) using only the purest locally-sourced products

                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                  1. re: taos

                                                                                                    Actually I've been hearing a bit about camels milk. Supposed to be very digestible and many returning service folk have acquired a taste for it.

                                                                                                    I wouldn't want to be the one milking them!