September 26th, 2016

Food Trucks Series: Picnik

Posted in Food Trends, Food Trucks, Gluten Free, Healthy, New Foods and Flavors, Paleo, Product Innovation, Restaurants, Trailer/Street Foods, Trends

If there’s one thing we know Austin does great, it’s food trucks. These portable testaments to culinary dedication span the spectrum of culinary adventurism.

You can find everything from fancy Turkish breakfasts, savory fried bananas, and traditional African cuisine via a local food truck. Honestly, it’s a blessing and a curse. With all this amazing food at your fingertips the budget is always in jeopardy.

For this series we are going to explore some of Austin’s unique food truck options. Our first stop will be Picnik, which, admittedly, is more of a “trailer” than a food truck, but let’s not get hung up on the semantics.

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About Picnik

Picnik focuses on healthful, gluten-free and paleo food options made with only the highest quality ingredients. They set themselves apart from the traditionally decadent food truck scene with a focus on nutrient dense, flavor packed options.

You’ll find no refined sugars or white flour on this menu, but what you will find are unique dishes that will satiate both your stomach and your spirit.

The Food

BUTTER COFFEE

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Butter is back! Sporting a rich aroma with notes of hazelnut, this coffee offers hearty flavor with luxurious mouthfeel. Even with no sugar, the butter coffee hits sweet notes on the palate. The butter and MCT oil offer creamy texture without overwhelming the drinker.

BONE BROTH

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I took the guidance of the barista on this one and ordered the classic beef bone broth with a hit of ginger and spicy pepper. Glad I did. Great flavor, rich notes of marrow, wonderful herbal notes and a kick at the end. In my opinion the ginger came on too strong but overall the broth was executed wonderfully with a beautiful fatless surface.

CHORIZO FRITTATA

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I love eggs. Period. I really wanted to love this frittata. Unfortunately, the heavy cornmeal flavor and aroma snuffed out any taste of chorizo and left it flat. Very dense and a bit under seasoned I’d say the heart is in the right place on this one but it could use a revamp.

BROCCOLI CRUNCH

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I was not expecting to enjoy this dish as much as I did. The broccoli was fresh and bright with great crunch and flavor. I loved the pairing of the creamy avocado oil mayonnaise with sweet currants, salty bacon, and tangy red onions. The only knock on this dish was that the chicken, while flavorful, was overcooked by a good 5 minutes. It was so chewy and fibrous that I pitched it in order to get more of that delicious broccoli.

BLONDIE

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What a winner! Ultra-moist, soft, and bursting with flavor, this gluten-free gem makes you forget flour has purpose. The combination of coconut sugar and almond flour gives off a rich, almost fig-like flavor and texture. Just excellent.

Thoughts

I respect the heck out of Picnik. With an extremely difficult platform they manage to offer good, healthful food choices without skimping on flavor. They’ve got some hurdles to mount but I think they can get there. I would certainly return for a BBB lunch anytime (Bone Broth, Broccoli Crunch, and Blondie).

Where to Picnik

You can visit Picnik online at http://picnikaustin.com/ or at one of their following locations:

1700 S Lamar 400-B
Austin, TX 78704

4801 Burnet Rd.
Austin, TX 78756

 

CHEERS!

September 6th, 2016

Food Trends: Black Food

Posted in Food Trends, New Foods and Flavors, Restaurants, Retail, Trends

The modern food market is an ever-expanding canvas of unique ideas, multi-cultural flavors, and palate bending textures. For these reasons I am so very happy to be a professional culinarian in this generation.

In our Food Trends series, we here at Dish Bliss will scope out some of the current and future food trends we come across in our personal and professional wanderings. This week we’ll venture into the Goth-esque realm of black foods.

Raw black spaghetti with squid ink

Image courtesy of www.goodthingsmagazine

With common culinary wisdom telling us that the best plates are bright, vibrant, and inviting, black foods run distinctly counter-culture. They are deep and introspective, rather than bubbly and alluring.

While this craze has been gaining steam since late 2015 in the U.S., it’s been running strong in places like Australia and the U.K. for some time now. The State’s are now finally hitting a mainstream current with foodies and millennials.

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Image courtesy of http://nowimacook.com

We’re seeing black food rear it’s darkened head by way of ice creams, buns and breads, lemonades, pastas, frostings, seeds and grains, and pastries.

Black foods offer excellent visual contrasts to bright garnishes like sprinkles, powdered sugar, sesame seeds, and pickled vegetables.

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Image courtesy of http://www.letseatcake.com

But we’re not talking about dyes and food coloring here. Various fruit ashes, vegetable carbon, and good old fashioned fire can hit the mark.

Making a pasta? Try adding a bit of squid ink to achieve jet black perfection. Looking for a frosting that Glen Danzig himself would praise? Go for activated charcoal to make any cake a midnight special. That bread loaf a little too plain for you? Hit it with some toasted nigella seeds for a killer contrast.

 

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Image courtesy of http://wellspired.com

Personally, I can’t wait to see how many new styles of black food pop up going into 2017. I doubt we’ve seen the last of it.

Have you eaten or seen any other black foods that wowed you? Drop a comment and tell us about it. We love to talk food.

Cheers!