Poke Remains Strong, Up 643%, But It’s Going to Be All About Dumplings in 2018

Poke Remains Strong, Up 643%, But It’s Going to Be All About Dumplings in 2018

 

YES!!! Sometimes the stars align and predictions come in exactly as you anticipate. Thank you Grubhub for validating my love of poke.

  • First wrote about it two years ago after discovering it at NYC’s Wisefish Poke. Since then hundreds of poke restaurants have opened around the country – most of them dreadful – but nevertheless the trend took off like wildfire and according to Grubhub it has more room to run.

But for 2018, I’m going to put my money on DUMPLINGS:

And here’s why:

  • Dumplings are incredibly versatile, familiar to a wide range of cultures and tastes.
  • They’re casual and shareable
  • Perfect for take-out and delivery.
  • The concept is scalable
  • Foodies in the USA are embracing dumpling restaurant chains from Taiwan and Hong Kong e.g. Din Tai Fung or Tim Ho Wan.
  • Here’s what I wrote about dumplings as the ultimate comfort food exactly a year ago.

We’re also seeing dumplings showing up at higher-end restaurants e.g. Rice & Gold or Ducked Up at Ludlow House.

 

Read on below for Grubhub’s top predictions for 2018 based on deliveries. Very happy to see so many Korean faves on the list as well

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Air Fryer: Top Trend on Pinterest, Up a Whopping 1809% in 2017

Air Fryer: Top Trend on Pinterest, Up a Whopping 1809% in 2017

 

Invented by Philips in 2010: STILL one of the hottest kitchen gadgets.

For healthy home cooks who also love fried foods, this is your must-have kitchen gadget. I’d seen it around but fried foods are not my thing, so went right over my head.

But when it became the BIGGEST trend on Pinterest, it got my attention:

  • Air fryer pins increased 1,809% in 2017
  • Brussels Sprouts and tater tots are among the most popular recipe items (on both Pinterest and Google)

On Google Trends, the growth spurt for “Air Fryer” searches was also impressive.

  • It really popped over Thanksgiving/Black Friday especially for Walmart
  • Based on google, Cuisinart is a top brand.
  • Other brand names breaking out: Nuwave and Haier.

And in case there is anybody out there who doesn’t know what an air fryer is:

  • It’s a self-contained, countertop convection oven cooker that promises the taste and texture of deep-fried food, but with just a fraction of the oil, a fraction of the time, and a fraction of the kitchen skill.
  • There’s actually no frying going on inside your air fryer.
  • From most reviews I’ve read, the taste of air fryer food isn’t quite on a par with real deep-fried foods but the process is just so much easier, cleaner and hassle-free.
  • BOTTOM LINE: Most people feel the taste differential is minimal and they’d rather go the easy route. Air Fryer WINS.

See below for more.

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Sherry is Back in Vogue? I Don’t Believe This, Do You?

Sherry is Back in Vogue? I Don’t Believe This, Do You?

 

I remain skeptical that sherry is having a moment. I am out and about a lot, generally at pretty cool places, and NOBODY – and I mean NOBODY – has ever ordered a sherry in my vicinity.

But this week, at Ludlow House, I sidled up to the bar and asked the head bartender about sherry and he became ecstatic. He offered me a glass of Lustau Amontillado. It’s interesting but definitely an acquired taste.

Another comeback I am hearing about is rum. I was equally skeptical, but it turns out that both Lil Wayne and DJ Khaled have liquor deals with Bumbu Rum out of Barbados (launched April 2016?). More on this below.

But let’s start with what’s going on with sherry:

According to Majestic Wine, out of the UK, they’ve seen a 25% increase in sales of sherry in 2017. They claim it’s being newly popularized by millennials who love to be seen, out and about, sherry glass in hand.

Currently trendy in sherry circles: pale fino or manzanilla, served ice cold in a wine glass (as opposed to a traditional sherry glass)

Aldi recently introduced a fino and amontillado to their Exquisite Collection of wines (the surest sign that sherry may actually be a thing in Aldi’s European markets).

And it’s not just sherry that’s undergoing a renaissance. Port sales are up 18% and Madeira is up 224%.

On Google Trends, the uptick for sherry primarily comes from one country (Ireland) driven by searches for “How to make sherry trifle?”

I will keep an eye on this but remain skeptical. But big shout out to the PR team! Good job.

 

Read on below for what’s going on with rum. And as a counterpoint to all this boozery, the growth of Dry January.

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Howard Street NYC: The Most Creative and Cool Stretch of Downtown

Howard Street NYC: The Most Creative and Cool Stretch of Downtown

 

Howard Street is where you will find the newly opened, totally magnificent Roman and Williams GUILD (photo above).

It’s remarkable how much retail and culinary creativity has found its way to this short span of Howard Street – a mere 5 blocks from Center to Mercer Streets.

And that’s not all. Isn’t it beyond poetic that Howard is now anchored at one end by Le Coucou and at the other end, by the brand new La Mercerie (part of the GUILD). Both are part of the Starr Restaurant Group (and it gets even better? weirder? read below).

  •  Both restaurants were designed by Roman and Williams (my favorite design firm)
  • Le Coucou, located on the ground floor of the 11 Howard Hotel is helmed by chef Daniel Rose (formerly of Paris’ Spring restaurant). It has been one of the hottest spots in town, almost impossible to get a reservation – even for hotel guests.
  • Le Mercerie Cafe, in the newly opened GUILD is at 53 Howard. It is not yet open for dinner (daytime service only). The chef is Marie-Aude Rose, who also cooked at acclaimed Paris restaurant Spring — which is where she met her husband Daniel Rose, the chef at Le Coucou. How crazy is that?

Scroll down for more Howard Street highlights.

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2018 Food Trends: Yummy Nordic is Tops

2018 Food Trends: Yummy Nordic is Tops

 

#1:  NORDIC IS TOPS

I am seeing more Nordic influences on menus and not just in the States, London is going gaga for Nordic as well.

Per the UK’s Evening Standard:

  • 2018 is high on rye (bread), thanks to the imminent opening of chef Pip Lacey’s Hicce, a British-Scandi-Japanese restaurant where rye bread will be made in-house.
  • Then there’s Ekte Nordic Kitchen opening in Bloomberg Arcade, serving super Scandi open sandwich smørrebrød topped with dill salmon and mustard-marinated herring.
  • And Snaps + Rye with its mini smørrebrød canapés.

NORDIC is also tops on Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants Culinary Trend Forecast:

  • Expect to see more Nordic food influences, featuring fresh and colorful ingredients like carrots, cabbage and beets, and the embrace of alternative berries including juniper and lingonberries. From beet-cured salmon with dill cream cheese, cucumber, shaved fennel and pickled mustard seeds to pan-seared arctic char, Nordic flavors and techniques will be in full swing in 2018.

See below for 3 more trends as well as info on what’s out.

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Vivino’s 2018 Wine Awards: What the People are Drinking (or Want to)

Vivino’s 2018 Wine Awards: What the People are Drinking (or Want to)

 

Not sure if I 100% agree with the winners coming out of these awards but 26 million people have scanned and spoken. Although, when it comes to Italian wines, my favorite Barolo is not to be found! Instead, the people prefer Amarone, Brunello and Bolgheri’s Massetto.

The Vivino app, for those not familiar, is used to scan and rate more than 500,000 wines every single day.

Overall Standouts

  • France has the most categories on the list, with 39 different styles.
  • The highest rated wine goes to Chateau d’Yquem for its 1976 Bordeaux Sauternes, with an average rating of 4.92.
  • The #1 red is the 4.89 rated Cabernet Sauvignon-Malbec blend, Viña Cobos Volturno 2010, owned by winemaker Paul Hobbs.
  • Argentina’s Bodega Catena Zapata is the only producer that won in every single style of its country and racked up the most winners with 15 total winning wines.

Trends that Sparkle

Acclaim for Spanish Sherry

Comeback Kings

From a popularity standpoint, the following categories were tops in 2017:

  • Non-Vintage French Champagne
  • Californian Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Argentinian Malbec
  • New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc
  • Italian Chianti
  • Chilean Carménère
  • Portuguese Vinho Verde White
  • Spanish Rioja Red.

See below for more on Vivino, the world’s largest online wine marketplace.

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6 Food and Restaurant Trends: What You’ll Be Eating In 2018

6 Food and Restaurant Trends: What You’ll Be Eating In 2018

 

 

1. SWEET POTATO TOAST

Anyone noticed this is in NYC yet? Haven’t seen on any menus. Looks like a healthier, gluten-free alternative to avocado toast.

  • It got on my radar through the UK’s Daily Mail. They credit Kelsey Preciado with kick-starting its popularity. She runs the food-focused blog, Little Bits Of.
  • It’s a brand-new phenomenon. The Instagram hashtag #sweetpotatotoast has been trending in the last few weeks – has 13,000 posts so far.

Read on below for more on grains, pickles, Filipino food and sadly, why New York is losing so many young, talented chefs to the Midwest.

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What to Drink When You’re Not Drinking

What to Drink When You’re Not Drinking

 

Lately, I have cut way back on my drinking – primarily for health and weight reasons. It’s not that I don’t like drinking but I am restricting myself to two glasses of wine and drinking fewer cocktails. And, btw, it’s made a HUGE difference to how I feel when I wake up in the morning as well as helped me to lose more poundage than I thought possible.

My modus operandi for big parties or any other event where there is “open-pour,” is to restrict myself to sparkling water served in a wine glass. It was hard to adjust to at first but now, totally second nature.

I am intrigued, therefore, by the growing trend to non-alcoholic beverages in lieu of wine, beer or cocktails.

  • I especially love the concept of the UK’s Seedlip. From what I can tell, it is currently available at Dean & DeLuca and online from Amazon and Anthropologie’s Terrain.
  • The packaging is gorgeous and, unbelievably, Seedlip contains zero calories and no sugar.
  • Prices are all over the place but range from $40 – $55 a bottle. Definitely spendy.
  • I first read about Seedlip on billypenn out of Philadelphia – that’s when I learned it was served at the French Laundry as well as other Michelin-starred restaurants around the world.

See below for more on Seedlip’s backstory.

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