Category Archives: Food Trends

Dinner as Theater

I recently visited Whistler BC, which if you have never been, is an amazing ski and summer resort area north of Vancouver.  I could extol the virtues of the pristine, remarkable scenery, or the warmth and kindness of the people I encountered.  But this is, after all a food blog. So I will instead regale you with the tale of my dinner at the Bearfoot Bistro.

There’s a create your own three course menu for $38 and a Chef’s Five Course Tasting Menu for $68.  I opted for the three-course menu, but was delighted at the additional treats that they brought to the table.

I had mentioned I wanted to taste the mushroom broth, although there was another scallop appetizer I was interested in.  They said to order the scallop.  And before it arrived, they brought me a demitasse cup of their Wild Mushroom broth, which included shaved chanterelle, a poached quail egg and truffle oil.  It was both light and flavorful, and I could have eaten a bowl of it!

My selected appetizer was the Qualicum Beach Scallop on a bed of warm slaw that was paired with a braised oxtail filo pate with a sunchoke puree and roasted cippolini onions.  I don’t believe I have ever had a more tender, sweet Scallop!

They brought out a palate cleanser next:  a refreshing sake and cranberry sorbet.

It was time for the entrée.  I selected slow braised heritage Angus beef cheeks because I have never had that, and I saw it featured several times on recent cooking shows.  Think of braised short ribs, but with a milder flavor, and extremely tender.  It came with a butternut squash puree, a brown butter veal jus.

Dessert was a most divine Apple and Carmel pave’ with a maple smoked salt parfait and an “it-has-to-be-tasted” sour cream sherbet sprinkled with candied bacon bits.  Just when I thought it wasn’t possible to eat more, they rolled a table up to us, and as we watched, poured heavy cream into a bowl, followed by liquid nitrogen!  Yes… in a matter of seconds they made ice cream in front of us!  Great fun and quite delicious with the tray of toppings that came along with it.

As we sipped our coffee two of the delightful, international staff came up to the table carrying white ski parkas.  As we explained that those were not our coats, they laughed and told us to put them on and come with them.  So we did.

We were led to their Belvedere Ice Room…where they offered us flights of different vodkas to sample amid the arctic ambiance with a frozen bar and ice display boxes featuring vodkas from around the world.

The evening was completed with a quick visit to their wine cellar, which houses the largest collection of wines in Canada, including collectors bottles from 1907 and 1929, and one bottle of wine worth $25,000.  (I did not sample these.)

All in all it was one memorable meal, and definitely a theater-like dinner experience.

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The next hot foods?

Suddenly everywhere I look, recipes and chefs are using Sriracha sauce. Now I consider myself a fairly tuned in cook, but up until recently had never heard of it.  Apparently, not only is this sauce, and other spicy Asian ones a trend, but Bon Appetit magazine named it one of the top ingredients of 2010!  I’m obviously behind the food times.

It got me wondering what the next hot food trends might be?

Pies

Right now, we’re at the end of the Cupcake craze.  Frankly, I never quite understood the passion for cupcakes, and in particular some of the cupcakes that friends raved about tasted like they came out of a boxed mix to me. So I’m none too sad to see it on it’s way out.   We’ve already been through artisan breads and donuts, so the next logical baking phase has to be pies.

Baking has never been one of my passions, but I do love the idea of a fresh pie coming out of the oven to the cheers of admiring guests, so I guess I’ll practice up. This pie crust, using the Cooks Illustrated recipe, has been pointed to on several of the blogs I follow: http://satisfythecraving.com/2011/07/02/foolproof-pie-crust/

Hot Dogs

I’ve also noticed more cooking shows featuring the humble hot dog, and several hot dog themed food establishments (can you call a place that just serves hot dogs a restaurant?) cropping up  in my (non urban) area. There are even quite a few hot dog blogs!  Here’s one:  http://thehotdogblog.wordpress.com/  Ready for hot dogs around the world?  http://shine.yahoo.com/event/summergrilling/80-delicious-hot-dog-recipes-from-around-the-world-478838#photoViewer=1

Local Foods

Of course local foods are not a new trend, but I’m noticing more and more local grown or local bottled products being featured all the time in the farmer’s markets, underground markets and even in the local supermarkets. Local wines, gluten free products, locally grown produce, pickled vegetables made in small batches, are just a few of the local treats.

More “small plates”

More than just a tapas trend, I’m noticing more restaurants offering alternatives to large entree plates and even desserts. Half portions, shared plates, and tasting offerings are just a few of the ways this is showing up.

Meatless Meals and other special food niches

With Meatless Mondays more than a foodie blog trend, some restaurants are choosing one day a week to offer Vegetarian menus. More and more Vegetarian and Vegan choices are showing up on menus from fast food to fine dining.  And other special foods, like Gluten free are showing up on menus and on the store shelves.

Food Trucks

Not living in a major city, I’ve not yet had the opportunity to eat from a gourmet food truck. I’m thinking a nice fall Sunday in NYC is in my not so distant future to check this out myself, rather than living vicariously through the various food network shows featuring them.  I’d like to think this trend will find it’s way to exurbia as well.  Coming to a town near me?  I hope so.