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Jun 24, 2013 07:13 AM

Food fads that are over-used

I have two food fads them that I consider over-used right now. You know, the food item that ends up on a standard dish and somehow magically makes it a new "creative" dish. The first is the poached/sunny side up egg on top of an entree. Anyone else notice how frequently its showing up on menus these days. Eggs are delicious, but they just don't transform a dish for me.

The second, (I should probably take cover when I say it), is bacon. I love bacon as much as the next person. Yep, totally agree that the fat and flavor can't be beat. But it's everywhere, which makes it so much less special. Just this morning I opened up a food blog and there was a piece of bacon wrapped corn, which was right next to a picture of bacon cornbread, which was just up the page from the bacon mac & cheese.

Anyone else have a food fad they are tired of seeing?

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  1. Sushi. It is now on the menu. Everywhere. In the supermarket, French, Italian, American, Californian, AYCE, Chinese, Thai, and coming soon to a motorcycle bar in town. Even found it in a Japanese place.

    7 Replies
      1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

        I don't like to see these things on the same menu:

        lettuce wraps

        EVERY bar in the greater Seattle area seems to have these 4 things on them. I love all of these items individually, but seeing them on one menu weirds me out and invariably results in overly sweet, mediocre versions.

        To add to my chagrin, I saw an episode of Restaurant Impossible where they 'revamped' the menu and added tacos to the bar menu of an ITALIAN restaurant. Geez.

        1. re: soypower

          "I don't like to see these things on the same menu:

          lettuce wraps

          I agree 100%. It's not like any one of those things is bad (some are quite good!), but to be able to get them all in one restaurant (which I see a lot here on the East coast as well) is just wrong.

          1. re: ttoommyy

            Highly amused. And I agree.

            (By the way, why would anyone want to eat fugu puffer fish and risk their life. Its tough enough surviving the office without risking my life over eating a lump of raw fish. I know some restaurants where hygiene means patrons risk their life daily without the need of imported fish of the Russian roulette variety)

            1. re: Boffy

              i agree to a point on fugu - but, statistically, you're not in any danger at all. especially in japan, with the strict procedures and regulations around fugu, getting out of bed in the morning is riskier - from 1993-2006, only one incident of fugu poisoning happened in a restaurant. all others were a result of (untrained) fishermen eating their own catch.

              that said, i've eaten fugu and it tastes like not much. kind of not worth the money or the calories, except for the "i done gone did that" factor.

            2. re: ttoommyy

              Some years ago, the buzz word was "Wraps." When every fast-food restaurant in the US had a half-dozen "Wraps," everyone knew that they were "done."

              Now, "Sliders" are the new "Wraps." Even with alleged Kobe, those Sliders are dreck!


            3. re: soypower

              And sliders are supposed to bin thin - like White Castle. That's the whole point - not just smaller. The sliders on these menus usually are thick and basically mini burgers.

          2. I'm already sick of hearing about and reading about the cronut on every food-related website out there. Please go away cronut!

            1 Reply
            1. re: Firegoat

              I'd try it, only because it's "food." Otherwise, I eat either a croissant or a donut about once a year, and that's probably in economy class


            2. Probably not a popular opinion, but I'm really tired of piling food vertically, especially if there's a pool of some kind of sauce or reduction on the bottom. Makes me long for those old melamine sectioned plates to force chefs to separate foods.

              (Or not. Remembering the sound of a fork scraping melamine::: shudder:::)

              12 Replies
              1. re: juliasqueezer

                I guess I thought that fad was over. I haven't seen it in ages anyway.

                  1. re: TroyTempest

                    How about just placing the food on the plate separately but attractively? I believe @juliasqueezer was referring to the ridiculous tower of foods some restaurants serve.

                      1. re: Firegoat

                        Don't do it, man. It looks like one angry little Food Muppet.

                      2. re: ttoommyy

                        C'mon man, it was a joke. I know what she was referring to. My point is that vertical piling is redundant.

                          1. re: juliasqueezer

                            The department of redundancy department forgives you ;)

                      3. Cupcakes! I know they're cute and a good way to sample cake without feeling too guilty, but they're EVERYWHERE!!

                        12 Replies
                        1. re: Sra. Swanky

                          IMO cupcakes are for 6 yr olds birthday parties. But despite my boycott of the place, the cupcake store near me refuses to die.

                          1. re: al b. darned

                            So many times I hear this sentiment about cupcakes but for years before the "cupcake craze" we always made cupcakes in my family, and not just for birthdays. In fact, we always had a whole cake at birthdays. My mother made cupcakes just to make them. I just don't get this "for children only" thing.

                            Also, when seving a large group (not just a kids party), they are perfect. Equal, small portions. No messy cutting of cake, They can be decorated to fit in at a casual family reunion or an elegant wedding.

                            1. re: ttoommyy

                              I agree. I have commented before on the hate for cupcakes. They are just small cakes. If a person dislikes large cakes, then I understand disliking cupcakes, but cake is cake regardless of shape, size, etc.

                              Of course, the quality of the cupcakes makes a difference, but that's true with all food, isn't it? I am sure some cupcake stores use mixes and shortening frosting, but, again, so do some bakeries that make regular-sized cakes. So again, moot point.

                              1. re: sandylc

                                "Of course, the quality of the cupcakes makes a difference, but that's true with all food, isn't it?"

                                Absolutely agree.

                                What is so childish and "over" about these?

                                1. re: sandylc

                                  "They are just small cakes."

                                  Yeah but regular cakes have more variety with fillings, etc. Regular cupcakes are just cake and frosting, nothing interesting about them unless the flavor just blows your mind. The first time a client wanted them, they had to have their logo JUST RIGHT, hired special servers (think cigarette girls with trays) to serve them and only went thru about 1/4 of them. It was a nice food bank donation that night.

                                  Now MINI cupcakes are a better bet, but again, only if the flavors are great. Otherwise, I'd rather spend my money -- and calories -- on something else.

                                  1. re: alwayshungrygal

                                    Only boring people make boring cupcakes. Last time I made some (for my wife's boss' birthday) I made Rum Cake cupcakes with pineapple coulis filling and Sabayon frosting.

                                    1. re: PotatoHouse

                                      Rum cupcakes sound like something I could eat! Recipe, please?

                                      1. re: Isolda

                                        It took some looking but I found the recipe. These were the best cupcakes I have ever made!!

                                        Rum Cake Cupcakes with Caramelized Pineapple and Coconut Sabayon

                                        Caramelized pineapple:

                                        2 large cans crushed pineapple, thoroughly drained

                                        1/4 cup sugar

                                        1/8 teaspoon salt

                                        1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise

                                        Combine pineapple, sugar, and salt in large nonstick skillet. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean; add bean. Stir over medium heat until sugar melts and syrup forms. Continue cooking until syrup is absorbed and pineapple is dry and golden, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes; cool completely.

                                        Coconut Rum Sabayon

                                        6 large egg yolks (room temperature)

                                        3/4 cup of white granulated sugar

                                        1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

                                        1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

                                        1/2 cup light or dark rum

                                        8 oz coconut milk (not coconut cream)

                                        2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

                                        1 teaspoon coconut extract

                                        1 cup heavy whipping cream

                                        In a medium bowl whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, salt, and cinnamon.

                                        In a medium heavy bottomed sauce pot, bring rum and coconut milk to a gentle simmer.

                                        Remove from the stove and slowly begin to whisk the hot liquid into the egg yolks and sugar in a thin stream.

                                        Once combined (tempered), return to the stove over low/medium heat and stir (scraping the bottom) with a wooden spoon continuously for 15-20 minutes or until the custard reaches 180 degrees. The mixture will slowly begin to thicken until it resembles runny pudding or thin pancake batter. Be patient

                                        Remove from heat and pour through a fine mesh strainer into a clean bowl. (to remove any pieces of egg that may have cooked)

                                        Stir in vanilla and coconut extract- cover with plastic wrap- leaving one edge open to allow steam to escape and chill completely.

                                        Whip cream with a hand mixer until stiff peaks form.

                                        Gently fold in thirds into the sabayon.

                                        Drunken Rum Cake:

                                        3 cups all-purpose flour

                                        2 cups sugar

                                        1 tablespoon baking powder

                                        1/2 cup butter

                                        4 eggs

                                        1 3.4-ounce package (dry) instant vanilla pudding

                                        1 1/2 cups milk

                                        1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

                                        1/2 cup dark rum

                                        Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl. Mix at medium speed for two minutes. Do not overbeat! Pour into one large greased and floured bundt pan or two smaller bundt pans. Place in a 350-degree oven. A large bundt cake will take approximately 50-60 minutes. Seven-inch bundt cakes will take 35-45 minutes.

                                        Halfway through baking, I put a square of foil over the cake to keep it from over-browning.

                                        Place the cake, still in the pan, on a wire rack until completely cooled. Invert onto a cake plate. Prick the cake all over with some kind of long doohickey that will reach all the way through the cake. but be sure to do at least some pricks with something that will go all the way through the cake to get ready for glazing.

                                        Rum Glaze:

                                        1/2 cup butter

                                        1/4 cup water

                                        3/4 cup sugar

                                        1/2 cup dark rum

                                        Melt butter in saucepan. Add water and sugar. Boil for 5 minutes then add the rum. Now drizzle the glaze over the cake, letting it soak in through all those holes. This cake gets better the longer it sits. In fact, you can let it sit in your refrigerator for weeks and it is just better. Not that I would let a cake sit around for weeks.

                                        NOTE: I'm guesstimating that the rum cake recipe should make around 24 cupcakes. Glaze them then using a medium sized round tip on a pastry bag, squeeze a good teaspoon of the caramelized pineapple into the middle of the cupcakes. Frost with the Sabayon.

                                        A couple of added notes: For the Sabayon, it says 1/2 cup light or dark rum. I decided to use 1/4 cup Myer's Dark Rum and 1/4 cup Cruzan Coconut Rum. It was just the right touch! Also, the batter (WHICH IS YUMMY AS ALL GET OUT!!!!) ended up making 38 cupcakes, although the amount of batter in each cup varied a little. I'm not very consistent in measuring batter, I need some premeasured batter scoops.

                                        Another note (I'm learning as I go): Before frosting, chill the Sabayon in the freezer for about 10 minutes. If you are using a frosting bag, put small batches in the bag because your body heat could break the Sabayon. once they are frosted, put the cupcakes in the fridge to chill and set the Sabayon.

                                    2. re: alwayshungrygal

                                      Another plus for cupcakes-= you can blow out a birthday candle without getting spit all over everyone's cake- children and adults.

                                      1. re: Leslie

                                        And they can't put on enough candles for everyone to know how old you are!

                                      2. re: alwayshungrygal

                                        We are having mini cupcakes At our wedding because I hate cake. These are delicious.

                                2. re: Sra. Swanky


                                  Are those still around, other than on the Food Channel, which can never get too much of a bad thing?

                                  I thought that everyone had turned their backs on cupcakes, but maybe I am mistaken.


                                3. I totally agree with the egg bit. Seen a lot of that in Europe; sunny side egg on top of pizza in Sicily and sunny side up egg on shnitzel (is that how you spell it?) in Germany....but enough already. I am also so fed up with seeing quinoa everywhere...quinoa burgers, vegetables stuffed with quinoa, qionoa salads etc. just not my thing.

                                  14 Replies
                                  1. re: Plumpyprune

                                    If someone puts a soft fried egg on freakin' anything in Top Chef it seems to make the hosts have a mini orgasm in their pants. I, for one, do not want runny yolk smearing down all over my tasty food.

                                    1. re: Firegoat

                                      On certain foods, it's wonderful. There's a restaurant we go to in NYC that does a guanciale, truffle and egg pizza. Once you smear the egg yolk all over the pizza and it becomes creamy and mixed with the guanciale, it is truly delicious.

                                      1. re: ttoommyy

                                        Please eat a double helping the next time you go. You'll be eating for me because runny egg yolk and pizza will likely never pass my lips.

                                        1. re: Firegoat

                                          It's worth trying at least, no? I think most things are.
                                          Oh well. No one's forcing you,

                                        2. re: ttoommyy

                                          Would I eat a variation of bacon and eggs in a boat, with a fox, in a box, anywhere? Yes I would.

                                          Shame on me, but I'm sick of the kale chips trend, though...

                                          1. re: pinehurst

                                            I have never tried a Kale chip. I don't want to. Unless it has a lot of parmesan cheese maybe and is on a delicious filet mignon rare cracker...

                                          2. re: ttoommyy

                                            Are you talking about Tarry Lodge? Or maybe another Batali restaurant? I've had that pizza at Tarry Lodge in Port Chester and it's delicious!

                                        3. re: Plumpyprune

                                          a perfectly poached egg on cronut made from quinoa flour
                                          with bacon......

                                          alex guarnaschelli 's eyes roll back into her head as she growls approval

                                          1. re: girloftheworld

                                            <<a perfectly poached egg on cronut made from quinoa flour
                                            with bacon......>> In a Wrap, to create the ultimate Slider.

                                            Could not get better, unless you add a Gourmet Cupcake to the plate.


                                              1. re: TroyTempest

                                                and served in a kilner jar on a wooden board with a spelt crumb.

                                                1. re: Paprikaboy

                                                  Of course, that goes without saying.

                                                2. re: TroyTempest

                                                  Ah, "micro greens." It's like the chef could not wait for them to grow up...