Tags Posts tagged with "Trends"


vincent van doughnut st louisST LOUIS, MO – You: “I sure could go for a chocolate minted marshmallow doughnut right now, but I don’t know where to find one.”

Your friend: “Coincidentally, I too would be interested in an artisanal doughnut at the moment, perhaps one with a maple glaze and candied bacon, but I am also unaware of where one might be procured.

Me: “You’re both in luck, because the doughnuts from popular doughnut truck Vincent Van Doughnut will soon be available at all Straub’s Markets. And why are you talking like that?

As reported in the Riverfront Times, the hip, where-is-it-now doughnut truck has inked a deal to sell their doughnuts at all four Straub’s Markets beginning Feb. 21. Eight flavors a day will be offered — Fridays through Sundays only, at least at first — on a rotating basis. The flavors might include such favorites as chocolate salted caramel, French toast (their most popular flavor), and creme brulée.

Since the surge in popularity of gourmet food trucks in 2008, enterprising mobile chefs have taken just about every regional cuisine from around the world and either attempted to elevate it or fuse it with another with great success.

From Roy Choi’s Korean BBQ tacos to the New York based food truck 666 Burger’s “Douche Burger”, (kobe beef patty wrapped in gold leaf, foie gras, caviar, lobster, truffles, aged gruyere cheese and served in a $100 bill wrapper), almost everything has been tried and has reached varying levels of acceptance from their customers.

Aspic Food Truck

Over the years I have watched new food trucks pop up across the country and marveled at the different menus that have been pulled together and wondered what the next culinary trend will be in the mobile food industry. It seems as though every city that has their food truck population grow will inevitably end up with trucks that serve tacos, grilled cheese sandwiches, bbq, burgers, vegetarian and for dessert; cupcakes.

Food truck concepts have been developed which have included cuisines that have come from around the streets of the world including a few Native American cuisine trucks that have surfaced.

The one concept that has yet to be tried (and in the opinion of many Americans, for good reason) is a truck based on aspic. If you haven’t attended culinary school or studied classical cooking techniques you may be wondering what aspic is, and why it’s unlikely we’ll see an aspic truck stopping on the streets of Anytown, USA anytime in the near future.

Aspic [noun]: a savory jelly made with meat stock, set in a mold used to contain pieces of meat, seafood, or eggs.

Aspic – A Brief History

While the exact date in history in which aspic was revealed to an unsuspecting cook is unknown, we do know that the process of extracting gelatin from animal bones has been taking place for centuries.

Unlike today’s usage of gelatin for desserts, aspic use can be looked at as one of the earliest forms of sustainable cooking since it utilized as much of an animal as possible. Also due to the fact most of its flavors were derived from coagulated animal protein it was used as a savory dish.

When attempting to remove all of the meat from animal bones, they would be placed in a boiling pot of water to cook the meat enough that it could be completely removed and served. Soups would simultaneously be created from the bones by extracting their flavors in the hot water.

During the cooling process, the proteins from the bones coagulated and this savory gelatinous form became part of their diet. Over the years aspic transitioned from a peasant food to one of the aristocrat, since it took a chef’s touch to convert the once cloudy form into a clear gelatin that could be served hot.

In the early 1800’s, Marie-Antoine Careme (the French “King of Chefs and Chef of Kings”) began using this savory gelatin as a glaze or caud froid sauce to make his meals more interesting and flavorful. This technique became part of the haute cuisine movement and was very popular in Europe and the United States until the mid-1900’s.

Due to the difficulty level and costs involved in creating various aspic dishes, this classical technique began to lose its popularity in restaurants and home dining rooms. By the time the 1970’s came around, many kitchens had staff members that just didn’t have the knowledge to execute an aspic properly and the only time aspic would be used would be by aspiring home cooks who might encase hotdogs or canned tuna with aspic.

These types of “experiments” and changing American palates are the most likely reasons for the disappearance of aspic from restaurant and home menus in the last 40 years.

A Resurgence of Aspic?

Over the last decade, offal (typically disregarded parts of butchered animals) has been able to make a comeback with the “Nose to Tail” food movement. Unfortunately, the use of liver, foie gras, tongue and bone marrow to bolster menus has been easier to entice diners with than dishes such as head cheese (aspic from head meat).

The biggest hurdle to jump for any chef looking to start a food truck concept based on savory aspic, will be to get a couple of generations that have grown up with Jell-O brand gelatin and Jell-O shots to forget the  expectation of sweetness when placing a gelatinous form into their mouths.

While it may not be impossible to change the public’s opinion and desire for aspic, it’s certainly going to take the entire food service industry cooperation, not a single food truck.

Coca-Cola: It’s about as American as you get.

It ranks up there with baseball and apple pie; Apple and Nike; beer and “Monday Night Football.”


So how is it then that a pair of Mexican Coca-Cola bottlers have gotten into the business of exporting Cokes to the United States in those old-fashioned 12-ounce bottles? The same kind of bottles that long ago faded from the American landscape, replaced by plastic and aluminum containers?

Mexican Coca-Cola in a bottle can be found just about everywhere in the Las Vegas Valley — in coolers near the cash registers at every Home Depot; by the case at Costco, Sam’s Club and Smart &Final; at the Walgreens in North Las Vegas; at the Targets, the Wal-Marts and the various Smith’s Food and Drugs all over Las Vegas.

They can even be found in some convenience stores at Aria and the Cosmopolitan, if you’re willing to drop $3 for a 12-ounce bottle.

“People love the stuff. They can’t get enough, so I just keep on buying it,” Izzat Shakir says.

He buys Mexican Coke by the case from Costco for just under $17, then sells the 12-ounce singles at $1.79 a piece out of a bucket in front of his cash register at his One Stop Shop at Bonanza Road and Martin Luther King Boulevard.

Shakir suspects the glass bottle is what is hard to resist. As a kid growing up in Pakistan, he fondly remembers drinking Coke from the bottle, shaking it up first to see the fizz explode before downing it.

“America no longer sells anything from the bottle. If you think about it, it’s just too big a country to keep up, so it comes up with cheaper alternatives,” says Shakir, 39. “But in other countries, like Pakistan and Mexico, glass containers are still popular. In Mexico, you can still buy milk in a bottle.”


Once regarded as an oddity of a commodity relegated mostly to standup taquerias, Mexican Coca-Cola has taken on a life of its own. With “Hecho en Mexico” clearly printed on its side and “refresco” on its front, the bottles were first introduced in the United States by the Coca-Cola Co. in 2005 to cater to Mexican immigrants: Bottled in Mexico by an all-Mexican workforce for Mexican taste buds.

Yet Coca-Cola Co. officials are quick to say that a “Coke is Coke is Coke,” all made according to a secret formula, regardless of where it is bottled.

“All over the world, Coca-Cola has the same formula, and people everywhere can enjoy the same taste,” company spokeswoman Kerry Tressler said. “Taste is a complex, subjective sense and is affected by many things, including the food you consume with the product, the size of the glass, the amount of ice in the glass, the temperature of the beverage.”

But there’s something different about Mexican Coke. Leave an open bottle sitting out, and it won’t lose its fizz nearly as fast as American-made Coca-Cola. Those obsessed with the stuff have conducted tests.

Find the entire article by Tom Ragan at the Las Vegas Review Journal <here>

When designing a new food truck concept or menu or updating an outdated one, you should be as educated as possible about the food truck customers you’ll potentially serve. Any major alteration to your menu can deflect, or attract an entirely new demographic.

dining trends

For example, did you know that San Franciscans eat 4.4x more brussel sprouts than anyone else? Even though brussel sprouts originated in Belgium, they’ve been thriving on California’s central coast since 1940.

Depending on your location, here are a few more good-to-knows when furnishing a delectable new menu worth tasting.

  • The world’s most popular foods are salad, chicken, cheese, rice, tea, coffee, milk, eggs, apple, soup, yogurt and eggs.
  • Salad, but especially Caesar, is a San Franciscan’s favorite food. San Franciscans also adore brussel sprouts, crab, sourdough and cashews.
  • New York is the “healthiest city in the U.S.” and its residents prefer ingredients like arugula, oatmeal, wheat and almonds.
  • Philadelphians struggle with a high rate of obesity and love pretzels, cheddar, bagels and lattes.
  • Minneapolis, Minnesota is considered the most “fit” city, followed closely by Washington, DC and Boston, Massachusetts. The Huffington Post notes that when people are choosing a neighborhood to move into, “what an urban environment has to offer, health-wise may become an increasingly important question.”
  • Premium ingredients and gluten-free products are becoming especially popular in the pizza-making world.
  • In the last 10 years, chip consumption has risen by nine percent by diners. Homemade, bagged, salty or gourmet, people are opting for chips with their meals more than ever.
  • Americans eat 47 percent of their meals away from home.
  • Americana is a growing trend, polishing the plates for soul food, comfort food and Southern cuisine, even in northern areas like New York City.
  • According to Vertical Measures, 92 percent of Americans enjoy going out to eat and 77 percent say socializing during a meal is a better use of their leisure time than cooking and cleaning at home.

To keep up on the latest trends, there are numerous source for this data for food truck owners, but we would like to think you’ll keep coming back to mobile-cuisine.com to get yours.

Mei Mei Street CartStreet traders are the first to offer the latest food trends, from friands (the new cupcakes) to agua frescas (Mexican drinks). Blondies are the new brownies. Burmese is the new Vietnamese. And tea is the new coffee. That’s what the trend predictors said about 2013, and street food traders are doing their best to keep up with it all. Whether it’s waffles, empanadas or pambazos, the first place you’ll find the latest food trend is on the street.

1. Friands

We used to get excited about cupcakes – not any more. We’re over them. So, ladies and gentlemen, I give you the friand. These small French cakes, made with almond flour and egg whites, are light but beautifully chewy and moist. Baked in distinctive banquette moulds, they look like spongy little gold bars. They’re what teatime was made for.

2. Agua frescas

In Yorkshire, people are prepared to take two buses to try Chinampas’s agua frescas. With good reason. Agua frescas – literally translated as “fresh waters” – are the drink of Mexico. Ice-cold and colourful, they’re everywhere from Chiuahua in the north to Chiapas in the south.

3. Jian bing

Heard of the jian bing? It’s not quite a crepe, not quite a burrito, and Mei Mei Street Cart is the first to offer it up in London. The soya milk pancake is cooked fresh to order, sprinkled with spring onion and coriander, brushed with hoisin sauce, chilli and soya bean paste, and folded around roasted duck or char siu honey roast pork. Topped with a fried wonton cracker and it’s good to go.

4. Arepas

People will queue for arepas from Guasacaca in London without knowing exactly what they’re queueing for – such is the buzz around them on Twitter. Arepas are round cornbread patties from Venezuela, two fists big and the team stuff them with shredded beef, black beans, grated cheese, avocado and chicken. Just don’t forget the picante sauce.

5. Smoking

Pickling, brining and smoking were picked out as THE hot trends for Britain this year. But the street isn’t really the place to pickle and brine. Smoking, however – with all its attendant stoking, coking and poking – provides enough theatre to draw a crowd. And the smell will fill a high street. Hall’s Dorset Smokery has been doing it at festivals for years.

Find the entire article by Richard Johnson at The Guardian <here>


Sok Sab BaiPORTLAND, OR – Not every Portland food cart owner aims to open a full restaurant. But for many, a cart’s small scale is great for perfecting recipes, fine-tuning a brand and developing a following before making the brick-and-mortar leap.

This spring, at least five new restaurants will join former carts such as Lardo, the Baowry and Pie Spot in making the transition to fixed addresses, roomier kitchens and rain-proof seating.

Here are their stories, in their own words. (Opening dates are subject to construction whims.)

SOK SAB BAI  – Opening in April at 2625 S.E. 21st Ave., Unit B.;soksabbai.com

EL CUBO DE CUBA  – Opening May at 3106 S.E. Hawthorne Blvd., Facebook: El Cubo de Cuba

BRUNCH BOX  – Opening in April at 620 S.W. Ninth Ave., 503-287-4377 (that’s 503-BURGERS, if you’re counting at home), brunchboxpdx.com

FIFTY LICKS  – Opening in June at 2021 S.E. Clinton St., 954-294-8868, fifty-licks.com

ADDY’S SANDWICH BAR  – Opening in April at 911 S.W. 10th Ave., 503-267-0994, addyssandwichbar.com

Get the whole story of each of these restaurant openings from the original article by Michael Russell at Oregonlive.com <here>

A lot about the white-hot food truck industry might seem inherently greener. Trucks are smaller than restaurants, go directly to their customers, and often source local ingredients. But is buying your lunch from a truck really better for the environment than buying it from a bricks-and-mortar restaurant? Might it, in fact, be worse?

union kitchen commercial kitchen
Washington, D.C.’s Union Kitchen, a commissary used by Curbside Cupcakes and TaKorean food trucks. (Sara Johnson)

Pitting food trucks against bricks-and-mortar lunch spots on their relative greenness isn’t a simple task. Food trucks tend to operate for only a few hours a day and focus on just one meal, while bricks-and-mortar locations generally offer a wider menu, stay open longer and can see several surges of customers throughout the day. Location and corresponding foot traffic also play a role, as trucks have the ability to drive — on-demand — to their customers, while traditional restaurants must rely on traffic from a set location.

Further complicating the comparison is that many cities require truck operators to prepare their food out of a commissary or approved shared kitchen facility. In Washington, D.C., for example, truck owner Che Ruddell-Tabisola of BBQ Bus cooks out of a catering kitchen in Alexandria, Virginia, which means he drives his truck to and from downtown D.C. each day.

Perhaps the biggest eco-con for food trucks is the amount of off-the-grid fuel needed for both running the truck itself and powering the generator to run any on-board cooking equipment. But the degree of on-board power use can vary widely depending on the food served and what type of cooking is done on the truck itself. Kim Ima, owner of New York City’s The Treats Truck, bakes all of her cookies, cupcakes, and other baked sweets in her bricks-and-mortar shop in Brooklyn, so her generator only needs to power a hand washing sink, lights, and the cash register on the truck itself.

There are other factors that contribute to environmental footprints that are shared by both standing and moving restaurants. To-go containers and corresponding trash, for instance.

As for bricks-and-mortar restaurants on their own, a 2011 report [PDF] on restaurant energy benchmarking by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory notes a variety of factors that influence their energy consumption:

Over the past 20 years, the typical floor plate size has changed (often shrinking), and the number of meals served at each store has increased. Hours of operation, operational practices, and the number and type of appliances also have a discernable influence on energy use. The authors’ experience has shown that the absence or presence of seating in conditioned space, location and customer traffic patterns, climate zone, absence or presence of automated control systems (time clocks, building energy management systems), facility type (stand-alone building, interior space in a larger building, etc.), type of walk-in refrigeration, and the amount of outside and parking lot lighting included in the utility bill are also factors.

Find the entire article by Sara Johnson at The Atlantic Cities <here>

“Attack of the Killer Potato” isn’t a horror film about a crazed spud on a murderous rampage. It’s a hamburger loaded with hash browns and barbecue sauce – available only at a mobile “food truck”, the hottest trend sweeping the U.S. restaurant industry.

DC Food Trucks

“Food truck owners march to the beat of their own drum,” said Dylan Watkins, owner of the Burger Monster food truck in Orange County, California. “What I really like about owning a food truck is that it gives you a lot of time and freedom to grow as an entrepreneur.”

“I love the culture and people,” explained Watkins, whose customers can also satisfy their palates with “The Creature From the Black Lagoon” – a roasted mushroom sandwich adorned with tomatoes, cheese, avocado spinach and garlic herb spread.

Watkins’ mobile restaurant is just one of an estimated 7,500 “food trucks” operating throughout the United States, industry experts say. But numbers are growing by the week as the U.S. food truck frenzy expands, changing the way Americans dine – and expanding their culinary horizons in the process.

Food trucks have evolved from rudimentary hot dog stands on city street corners to sophisticated mobile eateries that offer a variety of gourmet food items for the consumer on the go, such as a lemongrass chicken taco or a strawberry-lemonade cupcake.

The current incarnation of the American food truck dates to 2008 when a mobile eatery called Kogi started selling Korean barbecue tacos in Los Angeles, according to Richard R. Myrick, editor-in-chief of Mobile Cuisine Magazine and author of “Running a Food Truck For Dummies.” And, the craze has quickly spread to almost every major city and state in the United States.

“Food trucks are not just in major population centers,” said Myrick. “Some have to operate differently according to different municipality rules, but the concept is the same with preparing food on the truck.”

The Dallas-Fort Worth area of Texas, for instance, illustrates vividly how quickly the food truck phenomenon is spreading. One year ago when blogger Stephanie Hawkes started writing about the food trucks there on her site DFW Food Truck Foodie, there were nine trucks. Now, there are 65 with plans for 40 more by the end of the year.

“In Dallas, the trucks rove and they are in different locations each day throughout the city,” Hawkes said.

“It’s convenient. You can walk out of your office building or drive down the street and get a gourmet meal right on the corner for an inexpensive price, and you don’t have to get dressed up to eat there.”

Find the entire article by Jaclyn O’Laughlin at en.ria.ru <here>

How a hot local trend became a marketing vehicle for national chains

zz truck
Photo: Karl J. Kaul

Should you come across a broken-down food truck on the side of the road, there’s a chance Larry Olmsted let the air out of its tires.

When the USA Today food columnist recently documented America’s worst culinary trends for Forbes, he placed food trucks at the top of the list, beating out such abominations as TV cooking competitions, gastropubs and restaurants named for (but rarely featuring the actual cooking of) celebrity chefs.

Olmsted dubbed food trucks—those mobile purveyors ofdumplings, tacos and cupcakes popularized by hipsters, foodies andoffice workers from coast to coast—“ridiculous” and even “morally

reprehensible,” arguing that they are less areal innovation than simply another means of delivering grub toconsumers, “akin to the ‘invention’ of home delivery, take-outcontainers or the drive through.”

The writer proclaimed it ultimately “more a fad than a trend,” adding, “I’ve yet to see any tangible benefits of the food truck craze to the average consumer.”

Don’t tell that to Sizzler. Or to Applebee’s, Taco Bell, Red Robin, Jack in the Box or any of the other national restaurant chains aiming to crack the code of food truck culture. Even companies that aren’t in the business of slinging hash have begun including food trucks in their marketing plans. Last year, for example, the Gap deployed food trucks in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco as part of a two-month promotion for its 1969 apparel collection. And this past spring, NBC’s Today show commissioned a pair of food trucks to make its presence known at the annual SXSW festival.

But is there really room for Big Macs and Jumbo Jacks alongside all those organic s’mores and sustainable grilled cheese sandwiches?

Find the entire article by Greag Beato at Adweek.com <here>


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When even restauranteurs prefer four wheels instead of four walls, it’s time to get on board the food truck revolution

Is the future bearing down on us on four wheels? I’m beginning to think so. You remember the food-truck craze. It was written about ad nauseam a few years ago. Plucky young cooks were retrofitting Econoline vans to serve up gourmet cupcakes or arepas to equally plucky young diners in Portland, Austin, Brooklyn, etc. It was a trend piece with great visuals, but there was no confusing it with the future of restaurant cooking.

Or so we thought.

More and more, it seems to me, that we all missed the Food Truck Revolution. Here it is, just two or three years later, and the food these trucks are making has gotten better — a lot better. John T. Edge of the Southern Foodways Alliance, and one of the most alert students of what he calls “American vernacular cuisine,” has just released The Truck Food Cookbook, which has far more interesting and creative recipes than 90% of the cookbooks I see — Cantonese roast duck tacos from San Francisco; roasted poblanos with artichoke cream cheese from Wisconsin; felafel, provolone and egg subs from Philadelphia. Even the talented young chefs in Paris, of all places, have taken up the food truck model: they hail it as “trés Brooklyn,” and are astounded by its novelty, according to the New York Times. Of course, truck food has some major drawbacks. There’s nowhere to sit down, there are seldom more than four or five things to choose from, and most importantly, there are a lot of dishes you just can’t make in five minutes in the back of a truck. The dishes in Edge’s book all sound great, but generally can be made (or reheated) in less time than it takes to listen to “Comfortably Numb.” And that’s not always a good thing.

It is, however, liberating. I have a good friend named Scotty Smith, a barbecue pitmaster who for the past few years has been chained to the J&R wood pits in the basement of a New York City barbecue called RUB. He has cooked in every Meatopia festival that I have organized for the past nine years, but now Scotty is leaving RUB, heading back upstate to open a truck with his wife Celeste. In the normal course of things, I would have expected Scotty to open his own barbecue restaurant. The rent is a lot cheaper in Trumansburg than it is in Manhattan. But Scotty doesn’t want to do that. There’s hardly any overhead with a truck, and unlike a standalone restaurant, even one that has really cheap rent, a truck is not dependent on foot traffic or the whims of the zoning board. A truck can go to Cornell when the students get out of class, to Watkins Glen when the NASCAR races are being held, or drive down to the Corning Museum of Glass if it has something going on. And best of all, Scotty will be able to cook anything he wants (as long as he can get it ready in five minutes). “I’ve been stuck doing the same thing for six years,” he says. “I want to express myself, do other flavor profiles, get away from the traditional barbecue rubs.”

Find the entire article by Josh Ozersky at Time.com <here>

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