Trend Spotting: Dining Trends 2014
The National Restaurant Association recently surveyed nearly 1,300 chefs to learn what’s hot in restaurants. We’re not surprised to find that the Top 10 Restaurant Trends include locally sourced meats and seafood; locally grown produce — some even cultivated in restaurant gardens; healthful kids’ meals; and gluten-free cuisine — such as pasta made with rice, amaranth and buckwheat instead of wheat. Other trends high on the restaurant “hot” scale include pickling, fermenting, smoking and curing meats and produce in house; and serving micro-distilled and locally produced beer, wine and spirits. In Hollywood, Tender Greens is now serving Tender Greens’ Belgian Apple Pie Dubbel, a brew being touted as “LA’s New Favorite Craft Beer.”
Chefs are still having a love affair with kale and quinoa, using them in everything from pastas and salads to cupcakes. We’re tickled to see creative chefs turning donuts into muffins, putting bacon in desserts and using Belgian Waffles as the “bread" for sandwiches. Bruxie Waffles fills theirs with everything from Buttermilk Fried Chicken and Hot Pastrami, to Crème Brulee, Nutella & Banana and S’Mores.
Chamoy sauce may be the new Sriracha. This Mexican salty/sweet/sour/hot sauce, made from pickled apricots, lime and chilies, is riding a new wave of popular regional Mexican food. At the same time, Peruvian food is being dubbed the “new Thai,” with snacks such as Cancha, air-popped, heirloom chulpe corn grown in the Andes, winning fans who once loved crunchy Mee Krob.
Some other restaurant trends we’re watching:
Artisanal Toast — The bread basket may be gone from the table in many restaurants, but “on toast” canapés are in: Smoked trout, spring peas and mint, fresh ricotta cheese with truffle oil and honey.
Eating at the Bar — A seat at the bar has become the best seat in the house, where you can order from the modified bar or the full menu – and enjoy speedier service than you may get at a table. It’s fun, casual, interactive – and who knows who you’ll meet?
Fishy Fish — Anchovies aren’t just for topping Caesar salads anymore. They’re starring in appetizers such as garlic anchovy artichoke hearts. Other small fish are playing the same role, as in roast sardines with fennel and citrus salad and fried smelt with aioli. These little guys may smell fishy, but they’re rich in Omega-3s.
Murphy O’Brien is thrilled to be located in Los Angeles, recognized as one of the “Best Restaurant Cities” in the U.S. We spot
dining trends even before they are trends — and we happily share that knowledge with our clients first.