Trend-o-Meter rss

Our favorite products, gadgets, restaurants, bars, wine, beer, and food websites and blogs.

Trend-O-Meter Says: Bacon-Infused Bourbon In, Mojitos Out (6/8/09)

In: Bacon-Infused Bourbon. Popularized by NYC East Village bar Please Don’t Tell (PDT), where you can order a meaty old fashioned (see New York magazine’s video below to find out how to make it at home). Newly spotted at antlers-on-the-wall-sportin’ Miami lounge Electric Pickle, and at Atlanta’s new Southern foods mecca DBA Barbecue.

Out: Mojitos. No more worries about mint between your incisors.

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Trend-O-Meter Says: Upscale Congee Is In (6/5/09)

Congee, a.k.a. jook, the Asian rice porridge much loved as a cheap comfort food (and hangover cure) is making the move from Styrofoam bowls to upscale restaurants.

Spotted: in Philadelphia at Chef Jose Garces’ Cantonese/Peruvian hybrid restaurant Chifa with glazed veal cheeks, Chinese broccoli, and red chile; on the brunch menu at Seattle’s Dahlia Lounge (pictured) with grilled prawns, poached egg, and scallion; at San Francisco tea lounge Samovar with scallions, toasted garlic, peanuts, nori, cilantro, sriracha, and tamari soy sauce, and topped with grilled duck, braised tofu, or smoked salmon; and if you want to make it at home, Chowhounds have many great tips.

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Image source: Katie Okumura

Trend-O-Meter Says: Seared Ahi Is Out (6/4/09)

What do Outback Steakhouse, P.F. Chang’s China Bistro, and Rachael Ray all have in common? They serve seared ahi tuna! The ubiquitous “fancy” appetizer, usually accompanied by squeeze-bottled swirls of wasabi mayo and encrusted in sesame seeds, is as out as howling coyote art from the 1980s. Plus, a lot of tuna contains harmful levels of mercury.

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Image source: Flickr member ralph and jenny under Creative Commons

Trend-O-Meter Says: Mezcal Cocktails Are In (6/3/09)

Mezcal is a tequilalike spirit made from agave, but smokier and rougher around the edges. Spotted at: San Francisco’s Elixir bar, in the Isla Zapoteca cocktail (pictured), with 1.5 ounces each of Del Maguey Crema de Mezcal and lemon juice, 1 ounce clover honey syrup, 1/2 ounce Velvet Falernum, and a splash of soda water; written about on food scribe Josh Ozersky’s The Feedbag blog; and at Mayahuel, the new NYC tequila lair, where it’s mixed into drinks like the Smoked Palomino, made with amontillado sherry, mezcal, grapefuit, and lime.

H. Joseph Ehrmann, owner of Elixir, says, “There is no mezcal of quality that has a worm in the bottle.” However, in Oaxaca, Mexico, where the majority of mezcal is made, people often drink it with a side of sal de gusano, a.k.a. worm salt, a seasoning made from ground-up worms that live in the agave plant. Ehrmann sometimes uses it to rim cocktails like the one pictured.

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Trend-O-Meter Says: Waffles Are In (6/2/09)

They’re semiportable, they cradle syrup, they’re dynamite with fried chicken, and you can eat ’em for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Waffles have of late been embraced by young chefs, particularly those experimenting with mobile eateries and other nontraditional restaurants, a.k.a. nonstaurants. Spotted at: NYC food truck Wafels & Dinges, topped with everything from pulled pork to dulce de leche; the Waffle Window in Portland, Oregon, in pumpkin pie flavor; Berkeley, California’s Guerilla Cafe, in yam and buckwheat varieties; and with fried chicken at the new takeout lunch window Little Skillet in San Francisco. “Chicken and waffles is a traditional Southern dish,” says Little Skillet co-owner Deanna Sison, “and there wasn’t a place doing it in San Francisco.”

Make your own Buttermilk and Brown Butter Waffles, then try your hand at this easy fried chicken recipe, put it atop the waffles, and pour syrup over the entire thing.

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Trend-O-Meter Says: Fried Chickpeas Are In (6/1/09)

Fried chickpeas originated as Spanish tapas, but booze isn’t the only thing they go well with. Spotted at Magnolia Pub and Brewery in San Francisco as a good accompaniment to cask beer; topping a chilled yogurt soup with cucumber noodles at Ronnybrook Milk Bar in NYC; and in a little gem lettuce salad with feta, baby beets, walnuts, and roasted shallot vinaigrette at The National in Athens, Georgia. You could also make your own with sage (pictured).

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Trend-O-Meter Says: Canning Is In (5/29/09)

Just because eating fresh, local food is all the rage these days doesn’t mean our desire for out-of-season produce has disappeared completely. Not surprising then, that home canning is back in style.

The New York Times says urbanites are doin’ it, while a series of home-canning work parties called Yes, We Can debuted in San Francisco. And even packaged food companies realize the chicness of homemade stuff. The strawberry jam and chutney for sale on Jamie Oliver’s website have a totally DIY vibe with handwritten labels.

So you’d best take a look at CHOW’s canning tutorial, find something to can, and get crackin’. If you don’t grow anything of your own, then you might want to follow the example of our etiquette columnist, who scored fruit by posting a request on Craigslist. Or, if you live in LA, you can check out one of Fallen Fruit’s maps, and ransack a tree near you.

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Trend-O-Meter Says: Skate Is In (5/28/09)

Skate, a flat, sting ray–looking cartilaginous, mild-flavored fish, has recently become a menu standard—probably because it’s still relatively cheap.

Spotted at: Employees Only in NYC, served crispy with “spaetzle paprikacz”; at Zola in Washington DC, “lacquered” with sherry and served with mushrooms, sunchokes, rocket, and a grilled oyster vinaigrette; and pan-fried and served with green beans, fried capers, and a brown-butter lemon sauce at new San Francisco restaurant Midi (pictured).

Image source: Frankie Frankeny

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Trend-O-Meter Says: Pizza with Egg Is In (5/27/09)

Eggs are nearly eclipsing bacon as the “It” ingredient of our economically troubled times. Good, filling, cheap, homey. And nowhere are they better served than on a thin-crust pizza. Typically soft-boiled, so the yolk runs over the top when you stick your fork in it, accompanied by cured meats (sausage, guanciale, pancetta) and arugula, or basil. Spotted at: Motorino, Brooklyn; Serious Pie, Seattle; Flour + Water, San Francisco; and Pizzetta 211 (pictured), San Francisco.

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Trend-O-Meter Says: Grilled Baby Octopus Is In (5/26/09)

Eating tentacles is fun, and it’s about time to have tentacle-chewing opportunities beyond a basket of calamari. Grilled baby octopus was spotted a few weekends ago at the hip backyard-barbecue-style wine tasting at Broc Cellars in Berkeley, California, paired with a glass of Grenache; at Belcourt in NYC served with cardamom-pickled carrots and jalapeño-cilantro sauce; and done up fancy by Chef Phillip Foss at Lockwood Restaurant & Bar in Chicago, with chorizo, peppers, and a croquette made from tartar sauce that’d been stabilized with a little gelatin so it could stand up to a quick fry (pictured). You can read more about this latter preparation on Foss’s blog. Baby octopus was also spotted served on an oyster mushroom salad with hops vinaigrette and paired with a glass of Coney Island Albino Python at a beer pairing dinner at SF’s Mission Beach Cafe.

Image source

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