February Food Trends, new restaurant openings, and upcoming food events
Reducing food waste, reusing, recycling: being green is totally in! (But not being blue, the flu season this year is wicked, yikes!)
In the USA, around 40% of the food we produce goes to waste. Companies around the world are starting to take note of this and are coming up with new ways to reduce waste and become more environmentally friendly. Here are some companies I have come across that have a strong vision for a better future.
Imperfect produce: more than 20% of the produce grown in America never makes it off the farm. This is because many fruits and veggies are not cosmetically perfect and are therefore not good enough for grocery stores. This company has taken notice and sources products directly from farms to deliver to consumers’ doors for 30-50% less than grocery store prices.
Rise products: this unique and innovative company creates nutritious ingredients such as flour by upcycling organic byproducts which reduces waste and preserves the environment. Rise recently successfully turned beer’s by-products into flour and then presented a tasting menu of products to guests in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. The event was a huge success for the company.
Mintscraps: is online platform that empowers restaurants to track and reduce their waste. This program creates charts and graphs to enable restaurant owners and GMs to identify opportunities to reduce waste, thereby decreasing their expenses.
WTR MLN WTR: this watermelon water company was created to give a home to unwanted melons. The company buys discarded melons from farmers and turns the fruit into delicious watermelon juice! The product is currently available at Whole Foods Markets. It’s amazing, I love it!
Overseas: Hotels chains in Asia have also taken note of the growing problem of food waste. Hong Kong held an anti-waste event last year and Chef Cosimo Taddei used food waste from the Grand Hyatt in Hong Kong to create an outstanding 7 course menu and the Grand Hyatt in Singapore uses their food waste to fertilize their herb garden.
Crickets for lunch?! Well now, that’s quite different from the PB&J sandwiches I used to eat back in my day!
I’m willing to bet the last get together you went to, the host didn’t ask you to bring some fried crickets to accompany their bowl of homemade guacamole. However, you may get that request in the distant future! Insect eating or entomophagy (ento…what?) is already common in much of the world. In fact, the UN has estimated that at least 2 billion people eat insects worldwide. Although it’s still uncommon in most Western countries, as the world’s population grows, we may not have a choice. Insects can provide an excellent source of protein, vitamins and minerals with a fraction of the environmental footprint created by the farming of livestock. Here are some interesting food related cricket creations that have recently entered the market.
Cricket bread: (I wonder if this will be at the next Fancy Foods Show show?) Anyway, Fazer, a Finnish bakery made serious headlines globally when they announced they were making the world’s first insect based bread made from cricket flour, wheat flour and seeds. Finland apparently isn’t the only country in the EU to get onboard this trend either…Britain, the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria and Denmak have all allowed insects to be raised and marketed for food use. Each loaf of bread contains 70 crickets and costs EUR 3.99. Oddly enough, media coverage and consumer demand has been overwhelming, but product has been in short supply. For the time being, the insect bread is only available at 11 Fazer bakeries, but the company is working to resolve the supply issue and plans to offer the bread in all 47 of its stores by 2019.
Cricket snacks: Chirps, a San Francisco based startup has introduced eating insects by incorporating them into tortilla chips. Chirps’ Tortilla-Style Cricket Chips are made with a mix of cricket flour, stone-ground corn, beans and chia seeds. (Did you know, in Mexico, fried grasshoppers are already a common street food snack! Have you had them yet? I’m headed to Mexico in a few months, wondering if I should give it a go!)
More cricket snacks: Aketta is also jumping on the bandwagon by making whole roasted cricket snacks in various flavors. According to their website “Aketta seasoned crickets are a nutrient-rich, tasty and environmentally friendly alternative to meat and a great source of protein. Raised on a USDA certified organic diet and naturally processed using dry heat, they have a taste and small profile of sunflower seeds and roasted nuts”. (No comment here, I have never tried these bad boys, but I do wonder if my dog would approve?) Anyway, currently they have five amazing flavors such as Texas BBQ, Totally Taco, Sour Cream & Onion, Sea Salt & Vinegar and Spicy Hot.
Insect Ice Cream: (how excited are you for this one?!) I had salmon ice cream once and I thought that was odd, this tops the cake. La Newyorkina, a Mexican ice cream and sweets shop in New York City was serving a $12 ice cream sundae topped with chili-coated, crunchy grasshoppers this past summer. Now that we tackled insect eating, I wonder if someone will come with a dish using subway rats…
Vegan junk food – a far cry from the cricket snacks
There’s no doubt about it, veganism is on the rise! Retailers and restaurant chains have noticed and started to include vegan options on their menus or in some cases created all-vegan menus. Don’t tell your meat loving friends, but it looks like the modern vegan ‘hippies’ are here to stay.
Vegan in the fast food space:
McDonald’s offered a vegan burger in select Finland stores back in October and it was such a hit that it’s now a permanent feature on the menu in Finland and Sweden.
Vegan pizza was also offered as a to Pizza Hut customers in the UK November
Vegan in fast casual:
By Chloe: A plant-based, fast casual restaurant that first opened in NYC in 2015 now has ten locations (and one sweets location) in the following cities: New York, Boston, Los Angeles, and Providence. They also have one location in London and plan to open another one soon.
Next Level Burger: the plant based burger chain which already has five locations on the West Coast finally opened its first East Coast location in January. This plant-based burger chain uses Beyond Burgers to crease a vegan-friendly menu of fast food favorites.
I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!
Let’s be honest, whether it’s blazing hot out or ridiculously cold, most of us love ice cream. It reminds us of our youth, and carefree days of running around like nothing in the world matters. Even if you’re not in the mood for it, someone is, and its blowing up Instagram! Who hasn’t seen a picture of unicorn ice cream?! Here are some current trends in ice cream and awesome ice cream places worth checking out, even if it is the dead of winter for most of the USA!
Current ice cream trends:
Deep fried: this retro treat is being brought back into the spotlight with premium ice cream in a thin crispy batter.
Ice cream inspired hair color: Scruples Hair Care asked 10 hair stylists to create looks based on different flavors of Halo Top with its colorful dyes. Check out some of the crazy, Instagram worthy looks here.
Milk pops: I was in the Algarve in Portugal this summer and these milk pop pop-ups were everywhere alongside the beach! They usually made of all natural ingredients and come in a variety of flavors.
If you’re lucky enough to head down under to enjoy the summer sunshine, check out Merry Pops in Sydney for some delicious milk pops.
Where to go:
Taiyaki NYC: home of the legendary fish-shaped ice cream cones on Instagram. You know you want to check it out
Museum of Ice Cream, Miami: this one needs no explanation.
Prohibition Creamery, Austin: alcohol meet ice cream. Enough said. Flavors like Mezcal vanilla combine mezcal with sweet Madagascar vanilla bean flecks for a delicious, creamy boozy treat with a smoky finish.
Bockheads Shavery, Los Angeles: they declare themselves the finest snow cream shop in LA (snow cream being shaved ice as they would call it). I’m in.
Big Gay Ice Cream Shop, Philadelphia and NYC: Philadelphia went wild when New York’s Big Gay Ice Cream shop opened their first shop outside of NYC here (not as wild as right after the SuperBowl, that’s for sure, but key lime pie inspired ice cream will put a smile on anyone’s face!)
As always, Eater.com posts some great articles. Here’s a list of 16 ice cream shops in NYC according to their sources: https://ny.eater.com/maps/best-new-ice-cream-shops-new-york-city.
New Restaurant Openings:
NoMad, LA: Chef Daniel Humm and his partner Will Guidara from Eleven Madison Park have finally opened their first restaurant outside of NYC and the place look spectacular. I’m looking forward to checking it out!
Majordomo, LA: the first Los Angeles restaurant from chef David Chang, founder of the Momofuku Restaurant Group, which includes Momofuku Noodle Bar, Monofuku Ssam Bar, and the Michelin-starred Momofuku Ko. The restaurant is located in the industrial section on the northeast corner of Chinatown in a former warehouse.
Nusr-Et, NYC: Salt Bae, the Turkish chef and living meme, opened his second US location (and 13th overall) in January. The NYC restaurant is in the former China Grill space in midtown’s CBS Black Rock building and has been described as a ‘meat lovers’ favorite serving steaks like rib eye and lokum, racks of lamb and veal over charcoal, and steak tartare.
Roganic, London: celebrity chef Simon Rogan’s game-changing restaurant first opened up as a two-year pop up in 2011. Now it returned to where is all started in London. The restaurant promises experimental dishes and foraged ingredients from some of the best suppliers in the country.
USA Food Events:
Newport Seafood & Wine Festival: February 22-25
International Restaurant & Food Service Show: March 4-6 (I am totally going!)
Natural Products Expo West: March 7-11