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Rethinking the Usual: Food Trends of 2011

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If you like to live in the City, you should know this already. We are being surprised on a daily basis with the new amazing stuff that our talented chefs are coming up with. I believe New York’s fast paced life style, demand of wanting something new, exciting and different combined with its ever changing fashion trends is what’s driving them to come up with new ideas every day.

Below is my list of the trends for 2011 that amazed me! These are the things that I have heard of, saw or tried myself.

Unexpected Ingredients – One of the biggest trends in the city is “Vegetable Dessert”. It did not sound very inviting to me at first but once I tried Beet Macaroon! I loved it. You would never think you are eating a vegetable.

Mixing the cultures - Try Mexican/Italian Pasta or Persian Ghorme Sabzi Pizza and to top it all remember Chef Daniel’s French Twist on Traditional American Thanksgiving Dinner last year?

Be Different – Have you tried ABC Kitchen’s Sunny side up pizza? Or in another restaurant I saw “Specially Hand Cut” steak tartar? Or Pernod Flip cocktail which has lemon, eggs and nutmeg in it? Talking about being different, try Elixir G. This new ginger mix tastes awesome in your drink and adds a bit of spice to it.

Themed Menus – Another new thing that I have seen is the “idea” of themed menus. I know ABC Kitchen, the new restaurant in NYC has a theme which is Sustainability! Bar Pleiades themed menus are based on Chef’s four muses:  la tradition, la saison, la potager and la voyage or Jean-Georges Vongerichtenfusing’s Spice Market’s menu which one can only describe it as Asian flavors with the classical traditional food.

Inventing new flavors and spices – Crossing vegetables or fruits or mixing spices. Remember loganberry or Mint flavored peppers! Try Chinese 5 spice grilled lemon!

Pairing cocktails with entrée– Although wine is still a very strong choice for pairing with meals but now mixing cocktails with meals or mixology is the new trendy idea.  For example Flirtini is great with raspberry glaze lamb chop says Christy McGill from Public House in NYC.

Farm to Table attitude – Another very popular trend which I love is the fresh organic ingredient especially local fruits, vegetables and catches of the day.

Fancier form of mama’s dish – Our chef just created the Lobster Infused Mac and Cheese which people are bragging about. Check out Lindsey Williams’ new cookbook, Neo Soul, a healthier, fancier soul food.

Sustainable Meat, Chicken and Seafood –Chefs are paying more attention to how and where the ingredients are coming from, how they have been raised and in what kind of a condition. Meeting customers at their dinner tables and explaining where the food came from and how it has been prepared is one of the greatest and newest trends that I personally love.

Resident Food – Chef’s specialty of the day prepared at your kitchen. The new tool in marketing, educating your customer to make them feel better about what they eat even if it is the sinful French Fries. They come to your home with the TV station and make things out of your kitchen stuff and show you what can be made with your everyday kitchen ingredients.

Healthy indulgence: Merge health and indulgence on their menus, offering  proportionally healthy ingredients. I tried Wendy’s natural-cut French fries with sea salt.

Monthly dish– Magazines are now featuring chef’s monthly dish like Elle Décor with Daniel Boulud’s monthly dish.

Ash is back– Chef Grant Achatz is bringing back the ashes. Check out Alinea restaurant in Chicago.

Hay is back– Chef Jonathan Gushue, is talking about cooking with hay again. Also he is making ash out of different vegetables he grills and bakes the vegetables, once they are dehydrated then he mixes them with different ingredient to make a sauce.

Olive oil alternatives:Walnut, Hazelnut and untoasted Almond oils, Soybean is one of the most popular ones.

Sea buckthorn: They are back!

Drinkable snacks: PepsiCo’s Tropicana is coming up with squeezable drinks. Another trendy thing is the designer water and water bottles looking like a bottle of whisky!!! Check out Fred Water. The new trendy energy drinks on the menus is another new trend.

Fancy becomes trendyRemember the $1000.00 ice cream sundae or $1000 Mint Julep that had the mint from Morocco, Ice from Arctic Circle and Sugar from South Pacific or Richard Nouveau’s gold burger at Wall Street Burger Shoppe? Vander Bar recently came up with this $50.00 hot dog which is made from Kobe Beef, Foie Gras, Balsamic Onions and they serve it with Black Truffles Fries and Caviar Aioli.

The Cup Cake is out and Macaroons and Pies are back – Nothing much more than this to say! LOL

Artisanal cheese – manufactured by hand! That’s all you need to know and as a result the cheeses are often more complex in taste and variety and expensive and trendier!

Fresh vegetables and fruits –  as a decoration to show the healthier side of the restaurant – I am sure you all have seen it. I had my Basil cut from the plant infront of me and put on top of my fresh break oven baked Margarita Pizza!

With love,

Photo Credit:

Roosevelt Hotel

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