Foodies in NYC rejoiced when the NYC Summer Fancy Foods show kicked off this year in sweltering heat at the Jacob Javits Center in late June. A variety of trends surfaced including alternative sweeteners like honey and maple syrup (think maple syrup bacon); the rise in alternative protein and plant based products; gut health; waste reduction; especially in foodservice, international flavors in spices and finished goods; flavored waters and unique non-alcoholic beverages including maple water, and wine water; cold brewed coffees; nut and seed based items; activated charcoal; snacks with health benefits; adventurous and artisan ice cream trends, including dairy free and unique flavors; dry or dehydrated items including fruit, and veggie chips; gluten free everything; and of course making everything Instagram worthy.
Some products worth noting from the show:
- Misfits juices: contain 70% fruits and vegetables which farmers cannot sell or leftover scraps that would go to waste. Apparently 20 billion pounds of fruits and veggies go unharvested/unsold in the US every year!
Ice cream meets international flavors:
- Malai: the name Malai, which comes from Northern India means “cream of the crop”. This ice cream company draws inspiration from globally sourced whole ingredients, aromatic spices, and unexpected twists on old classics. Malai ice cream has a pop up spot at 268 Smith St. in Brooklyn. Yum!
- Green sliced foods: this delicious, new, Vermont based company produces soy-free, organic, meat and cheese alternatives. Products include veggie dogs, veggie deli slices, and vegan cheeses.
- Oregon Kombucha: people love kombucha that’s for sure! Oregon created a line of craft your own kombucha kits that comes in 6 different flavors. The company sources organic teas, grows and ferments heirloom SCOBY in their dedicated factory in Portland.
Unique non-alcoholic beverages:
- O.Vine: made from pure spring water the containing the nature ingredients of wine, including its antioxidants without alcohol. O.Vine gourmet wine water is available in still, or bubbly and is based on red or white varietals.
Other foodie trends rounding out the summer include:
Modern Izakaya: Izakaya spots are blowing up these days! Iza what? (I had to do a bit of Googling myself on this one). Izakaya is an informal Japanese bar that serves small plates to accompany drinks. They are usually casual places for after work drinking. The word means “I” (to stay) and “sakaya” (sake shop), indicating that izakaya originated from sake shops that allowed patrons to sit on the premise and drink. The trend started in Australia and Asia and has since been brought to the USA. I suggest you give it a go! Here are a few places to get you started.
New York City:
Izakaya NoMad: a casual, funky spot, and in traditional Japanese fashion, cartoon paintings, bright colors, strong smells and general sensory overload. This restaurant boasts crowd pleasers such as pork belly, mochi wrapped in bacon, grilled avocados, and tako (octopus). Patrons rave that the service is fast, friendly, and consistent.
Bar Goto: known for the outstanding cocktails, some call this the closest thing New York has seen to a Japanese style cocktail bar. It has been written up by just about every publication from The New York Times to Vogue to The New Yorker, TimeOut and everything in between. Crowd pleasers include the miso wings, the woody burdock-root fries, and the rum oshiruko soup – a warm, earth and sweet bean soup.
Sakagura: hidden in the basement of a nondescript office tower, this unique Izakaya restaurant is known to be very ‘transportive’ and patrons claim that you feel as if you stepped foot in Tokyo. From the creative décor, including paper lanterns, unique flower arrangements and folk art, sake barrels repurposed as washroom stalls, a huge selection of sake, and authentic food, this place is well worth a stop.
Izakaya Social: this is one of San Francisco’s original Izakaya establishments. They specialize in yakitori chicken skewers, fried tofu, oysters, and chicken wings. Be prepared to wait as there is often a 40-60-minute wait for a table at this intimate restaurant equipped with an open kitchen.
Izakaya Fu-ga: located in Little Tokyo, this downstairs underground restaurant features an excellent alcoholic menu, including a nice selection of Japanese beers and whiskeys, and a great small plate menu. Some menu features include the rib eye steak, the chicken karaage, the sesame crusted salmon, and the garlic French fries.
Picnics taking on a whole new meaning: ever watch an old black and white movie and think how adorable it was when a couple packed a little picnic basket and then trekked it to this glorious park and spent hours laughing over bite sized sandwiches and talking about their wonderful life plans? Then, in an attempt to recreate this romantic picnic situation, you spending hours trying to find the perfect picnic basket on Amazon, debate where to buy sandwiches for days, then find yourself lugging 20lbs of stuff to the nearest park? Well, UPicnic has a solution to this! They’ve created a website where you can buy food and drinks, rent games, and sports gear and then deliver everything to you! Wahoo!
Posh Picnics: for current guests of the Mark Hotel on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, the hotel offers a lunch to go created by famed chef Jean-Georges which they can carry or take via the hotel’s custom bikes. In addition to some delightful food options such as steamed shrimp salad, the basket contains all picnic essentials including a blanket, and cutlery, along with an illustrated bike map by the chef concierge.
Cans of booze for your next summertime sipping (picnics or not):
- Canned rose: Refinery 29 does an excellent article on this summer’s best canned roses. Here. Some of their favorites include: Nomadica, Una Lou’s, and Underwood rose.
- Boozy seltzers: You would have to live in an underground cave not to notice the huge spike in alcoholic seltzers this summer. They’re everywhere! Some of the most ubiquitous seltzers of the summer include: Spiked Seltzer, White Claw, Truly Spiked & Sparkling, and Smirnoff Spiked Sparkling Seltzer. I found that White Claw has the tastiest product. What are your thoughts?
Impossible burger is blowing up:
Air New Zealand: Vegan burger with your Sauvignon Blac? Yes, please. Air New Zealand and Impossible Burger have teamed up and the burger is now available on select flights from Los Angeles to Auckland.
Umami Burger: back in July Umami Burger announced it will now be the exclusive plant-based burger served at all of its 22 locations nationwide. Since May 2017, the Impossible Burger has become one of the most popular items on Umami Burger’s menu. This news follows the announcement that Impossible Burger made back in April, stating that 140 White Castle locations throughout New York, New Jersey, and Chicago would be serving Impossible Sliders at $1.99.
Instagram museums are taking over:
Rosé Mansion (NYC): if you live anywhere near NYC, it’s nearly impossible to miss the massive number of pictures that women have posted at the Rose Mansion at 445 5th Avenue, NYC. The Rose Mansion has completely taken over all forms of social media! In case you are unfamiliar (not sure this is possible), the mansion is open from July until early October and features the very first 14 room, two story rose-tasting experience in NYC. Instagram worthy pictures include a pool filled with roses, a bar filled with hot pink sand, and giant chandelier and rosé, duh.
Candytopia (NYC and San Fran): Willy Wonky in real life (without the disappearance of children and sorry, y’all but I did not see any ‘small people’ during my visit). Candytopia opened in mid-August and will stay open for the remainder of the year, so don’t tell you dentist, but if you’re feeling a sugar rush coming on, this is your place! The pop-up museum is basically seven or so rooms with almost everything made of candy and a pseudo marshmallow pit at the end. It’s a place for millennials to eat so much sugar they want to throw up and take more pictures than their phones can even handle!
Pizza Museum (NYC) (opening in October): according to Eater.com, for $35 pizza lovers can go on an “experimental pizza adventure”, which is really just an excuse for a bunch of photos to post on Instagram. Eater.com states that there will be “pizza-inspired immersive rooms”, a “cheese cave”, a “pizza art gallery” and a “pizza beach”. Not going to lie, I may be one of the first people to sign up to buy tickets to this one. Judge me all you want!