Remember last year's big bottled-juice trend? Well, it appears to be moving beyond juice bars and into cocktail bars. At an increasing number of venues across the country, health junkies and boozehounds have a place to convene and enjoy their gin with fresh-pressed ginger.At Soaked in Manhattan's Mondrian SoHo, guests can lounge on the rooftop with "orchard to bar" cocktails, such as the 100 Mile Margarita, made with apple, pear, pineapple, and wheatgrass juice. LA's Parisian-themed cocktail lounge Pour Vous offers a new take on carrot juice with pear eau de vie, and Verveine Velay Jaune.
We had a chance to sample the trend here in San Francisco at Nectar Wine Lounge, which has recently launched a juice-centric brunch with Thrive juicery. In lieu of mimosas and Bellinis, customers can choose between Day at the Spa (apple, cucumber, fennel, and mint), Pink Pearl (strawberry, pineapple, pear, mint), and True Blood (red beets and navel orange), all with Baron de Seillac sparkling wine. "It's a fun way to offer the benefits of fresh-pressed juices and the already well-known benefits of wine consumption," owner Chris Potter told us.
What do you think of the trend? Could you see yourself getting behind, say, a kale margarita anytime soon?
However, chefs are breaking away from the traditional pairings and serving bone marrow with unique, unusual accompaniments. Recently at Saxon + Parole in NYC, the bone marrow was glazed in miso and served with an olive marmalade, lightening the dish with its briny and citrusy flavors. Wolfgang Puck's Cut restaurant in Las Vegas serves a bone marrow flan with mushroom marmalade and a parsley salad. In San Francisco, Marlowe restaurant serves bone marrow with salsa verde to give it a zesty freshness.
Some still serve bone marrow in two-inch medallion pieces with a small spoon to scoop the inside, but lately, I'm seeing bone marrow cut lengthwise and roasted open face. I prefer this preparation, which allows the bone marrow to develop a caramelized, slightly crunchy crust. What is the strangest way you've eaten bone marrow lately?
While li hing mui (and not li kung hi, as I've embarrassingly and incorrectly called it for weeks) may be foreign to most American palates, it's as popular in Hawaii as dried chiles are in Mexico. Hawaiians sprinkle the sour, plum-based powder, pronounced lee-hing-moo-ee, on just about any snack food: dried mangos, gummy bears, and even dried squid. And, despite it typically turning up on convenience-store treats, it even has a place in fine dining. Contributing editor Sara Yoo encountered (and couldn't get enough of) the zingy powder at
Ever heard of the kouign-amann? If you haven't, you will soon.
This pastry emerged out of obscurity last Fall to make a splash at various spots in San Francisco. But given its rapid growth over the past year, it's likely it'll be in bakeshops across the country sooner rather than later.
The kouign-amann (pronounced "queen a-mahn") hails from Brittany, France; think of it as a cross between a croissant and a palmier, with layer after layer of buttery, flaky pastry on the inside, yet caramelized with ever-so-slightly-burnt sugar on the outside. Our favorite thus far, which comes from Oakland's Starter Bakery, also comes in a chocolate version and a seasonal fruit version in addition to the classic rendition.
The Breton pastry's hit California big time — it's available at Starbucks-owned La Boulange locations, as well as Whole Foods Markets in Northern California and at Thomas Keller's Bouchon in Beverly Hills. But it's also big in Salt Lake City, where bakery Les Madeleines has been serving the KG since 2004. In New York, it's a big sell at Bouley and Dominique Ansel; in Chicago, at Floriole and Alliance Bakery; and also in cities like Seattle and Indianapolis. Not sold in your hometown? With some patience, you can even make it at home. Both the pastry and the name are (quite literally) a mouthful, but this is no doubt a trend that's going to continue to grow. Have you had one yet?
Photos: Anna Monette Roberts
Beginning today, Oreo is teaming up with both Dunkin' Donuts and Baskin-Robbins to offer a new line of menu items inspired by the creme-filled cookie.
The Kraft Foods cookie, which turns 100 this year, will play a starring role in two Dunkin' Donuts doughnut flavors (Oreo Donut and Oreo Crumble Donut) as well as two drink flavors (Coffee Oreo Coolatta and Vanilla Bean Coolatta). Baskin-Robbins customers will see the cookie in a flavor-of-the-month Oreo-flavored chocolate ice cream, Oreo ice cream cake bites, a soft serve mix, and a layered chocolate sundae.
Oreo's collaborations with Dunkin' Donuts and Baskin-Robbins are hot on the heels of Nestlé's new rollout of Girl Scout Cookie-flavored Crunch bars. The candy bars inspired by favorite Girl Scout cookie flavors have been so popular that they're expected to sell out by September, and it's hard to imagine the beloved Oreo cookie not experiencing the same success. Does the future hold more food collaborations like these? All signs point to yes.
Source: Dunkin' Donuts
With its star-chef presence and around-the-clock offerings of food and drink, the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen is quite possibly the best place to spot the latest culinary trends. Last year, we eyed plenty of fruity-spicy cocktails, sea urchin, and Spanish croquettes, all of which proved to be huge over the past year. When we looked into this year's Classic crystal ball, what did we see? Find out when you keep reading.
San Francisco's Fifth Floor restaurant serves a Wild Goose Chase cocktail that is rimmed with foie gras powder rim and garnished with a foie gras-stuffed prune. Chicagoland area-based Vie offers The Ecto Shrub, a green cocktail whose chief ingredient is a vinegar-based okra syrup. Savory spices are branding cocktails, too: at Scott & Co. in Tuscon, AZ, the bar serves a whole slew of unusual cocktails, including the Grillo Canción, flavored with cumin syrup and celery bitters.
I'm curious to know what you think. Is there room on the menu for a few more oddities that could eventually turn to classic favorites? Do you see these cocktails making menu history on their way to becoming classics, or will the fad burn out quickly?
Source: Flickr user miamism
In the past year, there's been significant growth nationwide in the number of fast-casual eateries, from burger joints to healthier comfort-food fixtures. The latest craze we've noticed hitting this scene? Asian-themed chain restaurants.Chipotle could've tackled a number of ethnic eats, so the Mexican chain certainly caught our attention when it unveiled its plan for ShopHouse Southeast Asian Kitchen, "inspired by the traditional shophouses through Thailand, Malaysia, and Vietnam." Then we raised our eyebrows when a former chef at San Francisco's renowned Slanted Door restaurant opened the first of what will be several Bay Area locations of Asian Box, a healthier riff on Asian street food.
Meanwhile, Canada-based Wok Box has been preparing to bring its stir-fry boxes and curry dishes to the western part of the United States this year. And just this week, a former Hooters chef announced his new venture, a minichain of Atlanta-based Latin fusion restaurants bearing the name Taqueria Tsunami.
Regardless of where diners are in the country, it's clear they're on the lookout for the explosive flavor combinations that come from Southeast Asian cuisines. Are you excited at the prospect of more Southeast Asian cuisine in your neck of the woods?
Photo courtesy Sonya Yu for Asian Box