toggle navigation

Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down Food Trends

May 25, 2010

Cute little market near my house.

For my job, I’m acutely aware of food trends. I’m not a critic or chef, nor do I work at a culinary publication. However, I do cover restaurant openings a ton. And with that, I get to see what’s popping up before anyone else, so I’ve started to notice patterns. Here are my picks of things I love on today’s menus and the things I wish would disappear. Bad news first…

My man enjoying a Save on Meats burger.

A year ago I wrote about burgers, burgers, everywhere burgers. While I love a good burger (really, I do), I’m a bit over them. In Atlanta alone, it’s gourmet burger city right now, so I can only imagine what the rest of the country is looking like between two buns. Those jazzed up kinds topped with wine-infused ketchup and rock star chefs making them in places not called restaurants or diners, but boutiques. So annoying.

CO-OP farm behind my house.

I’m not really complaining about the farm-to-table food trend here. Honest. I’m just so effing over restaurants patting themselves on the back about serving fresh, quality food that goes from its source to your mouth. I mean isn’t that your job as a chef? To give me the best ingredients in their peak state and serve it? Are we really so far gone in the food industry that just eating non-processed, chemical-free food is to be touted from here to California? Seriously, stop bragging about it.

Using Bella’s rosemary salts to make toasted walnuts.

Some things I love right now? Salts. Last year, for an article I was researching and writing, I tried hickory smoked salts, and man alive, they are divine. We put them on everything. I also cannot get enough of the recent salted dessert craze showing up everywhere on menus, like caramel pot de crème with vanilla salt.

Photo Courtesy of The Pickle

I’ve written about food trucks here before, but I failed to mention my first introduction to them. It was an old Airstream called Moya Taco just north of San Francisco. Perfection. We ate there after a long day of travel (my twin sister had us on planes, trains and automobiles, except instead of trains it was a commuter bus with me holding my luggage on my lap for the better part of 2 hours. Sorry tangent, apparently that one left a mark). But, it led us to the magical Sonoma glow that is Healdsburg and just after that we saw the Moya trailer shining like a beacon in the night. On its picnic tables I ate the best burrito ever washed down with a cold, coke classic out of a can. That was my first true introduction to California cuisine. On that note, with food trucks comes the easier accessibility to a variety of ethnic foods. And right now I’m seeing words like bulgogi appearing before me. Thumbs up, absolutely.