June 7th, 2021

Global Flavors Showcase – Chicken Wings

Posted in Consumer Trends, Food Trends

Chicken Wings Offer Easy, Safe Way to Explore Global Flavors

Global flavors

Looking to showcase some new global flavors? There’s not better vehicle than chicken wings.

Fried chicken continues its reign in 2021 and with a rise in global flavor interest, it’s a match made in heaven. It offers a familiar way for consumers to try new flavors without a large investment. This style of safe exploration is exactly what’s needed to bring new flavors to market.

Plus, for back-of-house all it means is a new sauce, making it safe for bottom lines as well. Whether as an LTO or a new lineup launch, global sauces provide excellent opportunities to extend menus into popular trends with minimal investment.

Here are some of the popular wing flavors for 2021.

Global Flavors Give Chicken Wings Lift

Mediterranean

Global Flavors

Mediterranean flavors from places like Lebanon, Greece, and Morocco continue to grow in interest. Not only because of their bright, vivid flavors and colors, but also because of their perceived health benefits.

Luckily, these flavors are also perfect for chicken wings. Capitalize on the flavor and Med. diet trends with unique flavors like spicy harissa, aromatic shawarma, and Greek ladolemono (aromatic lemon sauce).

On chicken wings alone these flavors break through the norm and create buzzworthy items customers are sure to line up for. Top them with a specialty garnish like chives, basil, or mint and you can easily elevate them to a whole new scale of interest.

Authentic Mexican

Chicken Wing trends

Consumers are starting to recognize the difference between Mexican American and traditional Mexican cuisine. This is great for flavorists, as it offers an opportunity to explore new ingredients and sauces.

Particular among these is adobo sauce. Made with ancho and guajillo peppers, it balances a tangy base with smoke and a medium warmth that’s safe for all types of diners. Brighten it up with a spritz of fresh lime juice or chopped cilantro for an aromatic balance.

Other authentic Mexican flavors coming up include various moles (rich, aromatic blends of fruits, chilies, and spices) and Veracruz sauce, a briny combination of tomatoes, garlic, and capers.

Asian American Influence

Global Chicken Wings

Finally, we must talk about Asian sauces. 2019 and 2020 saw the rise of gochujang in the form of Korean BBQ sauce. This opened up a whole new level of interesting, umami packed sauces piquing consumer’s interest. Flavors like Szechuan Chili Crisp and XO Sauce are finding their way onto menus nationally, but these are still at the very beginning of recognition.

The comfort food trend has, however, reinvigorated interest in classic Asian American flavors like General Tso’s, Kung Pao, and Sesame chicken. These rich, flavorful sauces are absolutely perfect for chicken wings and guaranteed crowd pleasures.

Each can be easily tweaked to add a touch of heat or burst of aromatics without needing to add extra ingredients or drop steps. They’re the restaurants best friends and the consumer’s new favorite.

These Wing Trends Are Hot!

But not all of them are spicy. So, no matter your audience, use global flavors to excite existing consumers and bring in new ones. Trends change fast, so act now to get on top of things.

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May 3rd, 2021

Cauliflower Wings – New Flavor Trends

Posted in Consumer Trends, Restaurants, Retail

Cauliflower Wings Have Officially Emerged as a Flavor Trend

Cauliflower Wings

With 2021 trends leading towards fried chicken, spicy sauces, and vegetables, it should be no surprise to see cauliflower wings emerging as a hot ticket item.

While we’ve seen a few iterations appear in 2020, it looks like 2021-2022 might be a breakout window for the veggie focused snack. This trend was certainly boosted by the increase of interest brought upon by the Super Bowl.

Health conscious and veg-forward eaters clambered to find lighter alternatives to the normal Super Bowl fare and cauliflower wings offered a perfect balance.

So, let’s see how this trend falls into the menu adoption cycle and how it’s currently appearing in restaurants.

Cauliflower Wings for the Win

The Menu Adoption Cycle

According to Datassential’s Menu Adoption Cycle, cauliflower wings are currently in the Adoption phase. This means that they can be found in specialty retailers and progressive fast-casual restaurants.

In fact, you can find frozen cauliflower wings from brands like RollinGreens at Whole Foods and Walmart. Birds Eye also offers a whole lineup of crispy cauliflower flavors available at most major grocery stores in the frozen vegetables section.

By the retail standard, cauliflower wings may be pushing past Adoption and toward Proliferation. But let’s not count our chickens (or in this case, cruciferous vegetables), before they hatch.

Cauliflower Wings in Restaurants

Alamo Drafthouse Cinema

Buffalo Cauliflower Wings

Image courtesy of BiteSizedBett.com

One of the earliest adopters for cauliflower wings was the movie theatre/restaurant chain Alamo Drafthouse Cinema. Their menu features vegan buffalo cauliflower wings served with vegan ranch dressing.

They’re just the right amount of spicy and crispy and won’t leave you missing their chicken-based analog.

Buffalo Wild Wings

Veggie Trends

Image courtesy of BuffaloWildWings.com

This one should come as no surprise. Buffalo Wild Wings features breaded cauliflower wings on their menu, but here you can select any sauce or dry rub you choose.

That means you have the option of over 26 different flavors to dazzle your tastebuds. We recommend the Nashville Hot if you’re feeling adventurous.

Donatos Pizza

2021 Foods Trends

Image courtesy of Dayton.com

Never shy about innovation, Donatos Pizza now offers cauliflower wings.  Where they differ is that their wings are oven-baked, rather than fried. While only currently available in Dayton-area restaurants, the likelihood they spread to other areas is very high.

Plus, Donatos allows you to flavor your cauliflower wings with any dry rub or delicious sauce of your choice. Here’s to options!

It’s a Cauliflower Revolution

While cauliflower continues to make its way into everything, I for one am glad to find it in wing format. The neutral flavor profile and al dente texture of cauliflower allows flavorful sauces to shine bright. Whether it’s buffalo, BBQ, Nashville Hot, or spicy sambal, there’s no wrong choice for cauliflower wings. Just make sure there’s an extra side of sauce for dunking.

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February 1st, 2021

New Menu Items January 2021

Posted in Consumer Trends, Food Trends

January 2021 New Menu Items See Fried Chicken Taking Center Stage

fried-chicken

The first month of the year has passed and the January 2021 New Menu Items prove that comfort foods are still thriving.

In fact, fried chicken is clearly the favorite for the new year. Whether it’s sweet or spicy, the crispy, savory nature of “fricken” (fried + chicken) continues to drive consumers wild.

Let’s take a look at what was released in January.

January 2021 New Menu Items

Boston Market

January 2021 New Menu Items

Photo courtesy of QSRMagazine.com.

Boston Market continues their innovation run with a new Nashville-Style Hot Crispy Chicken Sandwich. It’s a breaded and fried chicken breast with smoky hot sauce, pickles, and ranch dressing on a buttery brioche bun. Nashville Hot is getting more popular every month and is something that should be on your flavor radar.

The Habit Burger Grill

Fried Chicken

Photo courtesy of FoodBusinessNews.net

The burger bosses at Habit Burger are shaking their tailfeathers with their new double-breaded Crispy Chicken Bites. Served with smoky barbecue sauce, these fried chicken breast nuggets feature “cridges” — extra pieces of fried batter for added texture. More texture equals more surface area for sauce, and that’s always a good thing.

Teriyaki Madness

Fried chicken trends

Photo courtesy of teriyakimadness.com

Teriyaki Madness is hitting the sweet+heat trend with their brand new “Mad Sauce.” It’s a craveable sauce that starts sweet on the palate but then becomes spicy over time. It’s available for no extra charge on entrées and also available as a dipping sauce. We suggest putting it on your entrée and requesting a little more for dipping.

Zaxby’s

2021 New Menu Items

Photo courtesy of QSRMagazine.com

Zaxby’s is throwing a curveball in their southern lineup with their new General Tso’s Boneless Wings. The meal features boneless wings in sweet plus heat General Tso’s sauce with ranch dressing, crinkle cut fries, Texas toast, and a 22-ounce beverage. It’s an east/south fusion guaranteed to make your mouth water.

It’s Pretty Clear

Fried chicken is going to be a steady part of 2021 menu trends. What better way to mix it up and keep customers excited than with flavorful sauces? Whether drenched or dipped, you can’t go wrong.

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March 16th, 2020

Go Bold with Asian Flavored Snacks

Posted in Consumer Trends, New Foods and Flavors

Asian Flavored Snacks Continue to Captivate

Asian Flavored Snacks

Photo courtesy of spoonuniversity.com

Asian flavored snacks continue to drive sales and excitement in the snack market. As 2019 proved, certain trends are not letting go anytime soon. Two of these trends are snacking and Asian flavors, so it’s stands to reason they make a perfect pair.

Americans are steering the snack market away from sweet and salty standards and towards the more complex, fermented, and umami-packed flavors commonly found in Asian cuisines. A great way to exemplify this is by checking out the surge in snack products around Asian flavors.

Gochujang

Asian Flavored Snacks

Photo courtesy of surfandsunshine.com

It seems there’s no getting around our friend gochujang. It’s continuing to pop up nationally on pizzas, tacos, and even breakfast sandwiches. And now, no shocker, it’s all over the snack food aisle.

Whole Food’s 365 Brand launched a gochujang flavored Kettle Chip as an LTO to much applause. It’s been so popular, in fact, that they’ve continued to stock it beyond the LTO period. Annie Chun’s also makes the list with their Baked Seaweed Crisps with gochujang seasoning.

Sahale Snacks mixes things up in their Korean BBQ Almond Mix, made with savory gochujang glaze, pineapples, and sesame. The biggest surprise comes from StarKist. They released a Spicy Korean flavored tuna fish snack pouch as a part of their “Bold Flavors” lineup. This high protein snack is packed with protein and zesty flavor.

Curry Flavored Snacks

Curry Chocolate

Photo courtesy of taquitos.net

The newcomer to the flavor game is curry. Whether it be Indian, Thai, red, green, spicy, or mild, there are a variety of curry flavors and styles bouncing around the snack scene.

Kettle Brand Chips leads the way with their ultra-craveable Red Curry chips. Also on trend is Pringles, who released a Malaysian Red Curry Rice Fusion chip. Haven’t had that yet, sounds great! You can also get a little crazy with World Market Indian Sweet Curry Milk Chocolate bars.

Finally, Sarah’s Snacks launched a coconut curry nut mix featuring a savory blend of cashews, chickpeas, and sweet currants toasted with warm Indian spices.

Thai Chili

Asian flavored snacks

Photo courtesy of theshelbyreport.com

Our final entry in this category is the Thai Chile. It can be found in variations from mild to hot, sweet to savory, but all with that signature aromatic Thai flavor.

You can find Thai Chili flavored snacks most commonly in potato chip form from Lay’s, Pringles, and even Doritos with their Thai Pepper Chicken chips. Kettle also lands on this list with their Sweet Chili Garlic chips.

Blue Diamond features a bold lineup also, one of the flavors being Thai Sweet Chili Roasted almonds. And, along with their spot on the gochujang side, StarKist also features a Thai Chili Style tuna fish snack pouch. Even Quaker has launched a Sweet & Spicy Thai Chili Rice Crisp snack.

I’d say Thai Chili is currently winning the popularity battle.

Snack Time

So, go find some of the cool flavors and see just how great Asian flavored snacks can be. They’re on trend and supremely popular right now, so don’t miss out!

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February 3rd, 2020

All Hail the Gastropub

Posted in Consumer Trends, Food Trends, Gastro-Pub

2020 Looks to be the Year of the Gastropub

Gastropub

On a previous blog we discussed the Fastest Growing Restaurant Concepts in America, one of which being the gastropub (or brewpub). Here we are now in 2020, and it looks as if gastropubs are still on track to be one of, if not the, fastest growing concepts.

While this is all well and good, I really wanted to know why America has such a fascination with the gastropub. Sure, they offer food and drink, much like most bars and restaurants. They also promote hearty socialization and interaction, but that’s not uncommon in the F&B industry either. So why do we love them so much? The answer, I believe, lies in the menu.

The Best Gastropubs in the U.S.

Recently, USA Today released its list of the Reader’s Choice 10 Best Brewpubs in the U.S. These brewpubs span the country from San Diego to Maine, and Chicago to Colorado. What this gives us is a terrific cross-section of guests voting on what are essentially their favorite foods.

So, I thought it would be prudent to review the menus from all these award-winning gastropubs and see what they have in common (aside from beer). The answer? Quite a bit.

Trends

Gastropub food

All the brewpubs that made the 10 Best list are covering multiple food trends, many of which we’ve covered right here on our blog. From smoke & BBQ, to decadent poutines, and a ubiquitous inclusion of Asian flavors and flatbreads. The trends drive the menus, which in turn bring the guests.

The chef-driven style and flavor impartiality of these establishments showcase a unique ability to change with, and even drive, food trends. Customers of gastropubs tend to be willing to take more risks, try new foods, and be curious about things they haven’t had before. If that wasn’t their nature, they wouldn’t be going to a place brewing their own unique, small-batch brewed beers.

Bold Flavors

So, we see up-to-date trends represented with unapologetic bounty in gastropubs, but as we know, that doesn’t matter if the food is bland or dull. That’s the next common trait for these eateries: big, bold flavors.

Across the menus you’ll find items like Gastropub TrendsFresno chili sauce, beer-based BBQ sauces, bulgogi, gochujang, smoked buffalo, and Nashville hot sauce. These come in a variety of applications such as flatbreads, sandwiches, salads, wraps, wings, fries, vegetables, and others.

The point is this, brewpubs are using powerful flavors, often by way of sauces, to deliver unique and captivating dishes to their guests. It seems to be working, otherwise we wouldn’t be talking about this steady rise in popularity.

Personally, I’m dying to try the beer-brined house-smoked wings slathered in beer BBQ sauce at 18th Street Brewery.

Kids Menus

Gastropub food

Image courtesy of ptaourchildren.org

Yes, I know this seems out of left field, but actually, I think it’s quite telling. While gastropubs may be craft beer-driven, they’re also positioning themselves as family-focused eateries.

This recognition of the younger crowd certainly allows more flexibility for patrons. The destruction of the brewpub’s “bar” stigma means they have become acceptable for family-dining. This opens access to a broader demographic of parents with children to patronize the gastropub without needing a babysitter.

Also, these kids’ menus are not just afterthoughts. They are well-thought out with familiar items like grilled cheese sandwiches, chicken tenders, and quesadillas, but elevated with items like pulled pork, brioche buns, and house-made mustard. Even kids are getting a it more experimental these days, but let’s hold off on the heirloom tomato aspic for now.

Gastropubs, the New Home of Innovation

There’s no doubt in my mind gastropubs will continue to rise in popularity over 2020. Their creativity, trend-focused execution, and welcoming atmosphere make them a perfect venue for guests of all ages and backgrounds.

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January 6th, 2020

The Flatbread Frenzy Shows Flavorful Opportunities

Posted in Food Trends, Trends

Look to Flatbreads for Inspiration!

Italian Flatbread

Thanks to their convenience, portability, and flexibility, flatbreads have shown a strong popularity in 2019 that’s bound to sustain well past 2020. Flatbreads are the perfect vehicles for a variety of flavors and textures and lend easily to experimentation.

Also, they are a great platform for seasonal items and LTOs. They’re a great way to use up extra ingredients and can be sold at a price point that makes further out ideas more approachable for wary customers.

How Flatbreads Can Work for You

Variety

The first thing to consider with flatbreads is the variety of types you can make. Traditional wheat flatbreads are great for Italian and Mediterranean concepts, while a masa flatbread is perfect for Latin inspiration. Try a flaky paratha-style flatbread for Indian flavors or a Bao flatbread for unique Asian ideas.

Indian Flatbread

This, of course, is only a glance at what can be done with flatbread. From here you can infuse flavors like chile or sesame, or play with coloring agents like beets, annatto, turmeric, or activated charcoal.

FormFolded Flatbread Sandwich

“But it’s flat, right?”

Not so fast. Flatbreads can be more than just their namesake. Consider rolling your flatbreads to make a wrap or gyro. A little creativity and you’ll have yourself a pide. Try a folded sandwich for an easy twist on classic favorites.

 

Shapes play a role here as well. Flatbreads can be rectangle, square, oval, circular, or torpedo-like. Heck, make a triangle if it pleases you. The point is you have a vehicle for imagination and creation that will drive your customers curiosity.

Toppings

And here’s where flatbreads shine.

Now that you’ve played with variety and form, you can have a field day with sauces, toppings, and fillings. Consider classic Mediterranean favorites like lamb gyro with garlic tzatziki and spicy harissa sauce, or a Korean flavor bomb made with spicy gochujang sauce, ground pork, and pickled vegetables.

https://www.burkecorp.com/menu-ideas/spicy-asian-beef-pizza/

Image courtesy of burkecorp.com

There’s always room for Italian favorites like chicken parmigiana, but try modernizing it with a crispy shallot breading and a fire roasted arrabiata sauce. Or double down on trends by doing a smoked brisket flatbread with ancho chile BBQ sauce and vinegar slaw.

Flatbreads Are Anything but Flat

And now’s your chance to make your menu anything but flat, too. Let the fun and flavors fly when you play with your flatbread concepts and be sure to stay on top of the trends to keep them current. We’ll be here letting you know what’s popular.

Cheers!

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November 4th, 2019

Buffalo Sauce Recipe Twists

Posted in Recipes, Sauce

5 Flavor Additions to Enhance Buffalo Sauce

Buffalo Sauce on wings

Chicken wings, buffalo sauce, and football are one of those combinations that seems preordained for excellence. But here we are, in the middle of the season, and you’ve probably been slinging classic buffalo wings for weeks now. Customers are restless, and heck, maybe you’re ready to try something new as well.

The problem is you’ve got a shelf full of delicious buffalo sauce and don’t really want to buy new product. So, what do you do?

We’ve got just the solution. With a few on hand ingredients you can whisk some creativity into your buffalo sauce and give your customers a new flavor to satisfy their appetite for wings.

5 Ways to Enhance Buffalo Sauce

Buffalo Sauce Wings

Brown Sugar Buffalo Sauce

What better way to balance out the buttery heat of buffalo sauce than with a bit of dark brown sugar? This easy addition creates and clingy glaze for your wings that balances the heat with sweet notes of caramel and molasses. This is a sure-fire way to inject some craveability into your menu.

Zesty Thai Buffalo Wings

If you think about it, red chilies and Thai food are a natural match. Therefore, it makes sense to give your buffalo sauce a Thai twist.

By adding a bit of coconut cream, ginger, and lime juice then finishing with some chopped cilantro or mint you can easily elevate your wings into a whole new world of bold flavor. Consider other items you may also have on hand like red curry paste or fresh basil for additional variations.

Asian Style Buffalo Wings

Here’s another twist for your buffalo wings: Go Asian style. By adding some sesame oil, ginger, honey, and orange juice you can flip that sauce into a citrus loaded flavor bomb. This variation finishes great with some toasted sesame seeds and sliced green onion. Try adding some miso paste if you have it for a rich umami addition.

Asian Chicken Wings

Buffalo Ranch Wings

Have you ever wanted your buffalo wings to just taste like Ranch dressing without dipping? You’re not the only one. And you can bet your customers would be keen to try that out as well.

This is as easy as adding some dry Ranch dressing mix to your buffalo sauce. If you want to customize your own flavor, focus on adding parsley, dill, garlic, and black pepper to your sauce then finish with fresh chives. For a real boost hit it with some creamy buttermilk powder.

Bacon Buffalo Sauce

It really wouldn’t be a list if we didn’t include bacon, right?

There are a few ways to incorporate bacon into your buffalo sauce, but here’s my recommendation. Roast the bacon in a hot oven on a rack lined cooking tray until it’s really, REALLY crispy (but don’t burn it). Reserve the fat in the pan, dab the grease off the bacon strips, and let them cool. Next, blend the bacon in a food processor until it’s a fine powder. Add the bacon powder and some of the reserved bacon fat to your buffalo sauce and voila! Bacon Buffalo sauce!

You can even use this as a base for other flavor variations like spicy bacon maple or cracked black pepper bacon. Endless possibilities!

Buffalo Sauce Recipe

Now Go Create!

We’ve given you the ideas, now it’s up to you to create your new buffalo sauce. Play with what you have on hand, you’d be surprised what you can come up with. Check out this blog for other hot sauce ideas.

Cheers!

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April 22nd, 2019

The Global Breakfast Boom

Posted in Consumer Trends, Food Trends

Breakfast is Back!

Global Breakfast

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. At least that’s what our mom always told us, right? Who’s to know if it really is the most important, but thanks to the rise is global flavor trends, it just might be the most delicious.

Datassential reports that breakfast currently ranks in the 94th percentile for future growth. This means that breakfast is predicted to beat out 94% of all other foods, beverages, and ingredients over the next 4 years. This illustrates a great opportunity to capitalize on the love of breakfast in conjunction with the rise in global flavors.

Global Breakfast

Indian

Indian Breakfast

Photo courtesy of BBC.com

Many restaurants have already jumped on this hype train. At Rooh Progressive Indian Restaurant in San Francisco, you can find a bevy of unique Indian/American mashups on their brunch menu. The Masala omelet frittata, for example, is made with a creamy masala sauce, red chili paste, and house made cilantro oil. The Kashmiri duck kulcha (a type of Indian flatbread) combines savory duck and bacon with a savory chili chutney sweetened with apricot.

Mexican

Mexican Breakfast

Modern Mexican fare has moved beyond the classic breakfast burrito. In Austin, TX, the land of the breakfast taco, Manuel’s Regional Mexican Cooking offers a brunch specialty called Torta de Papa. These are potato and corn masa cakes stuffed with black beans, venison chorizo, and smothered with a roasted pasilla chile sauce. The specific call-out to pasilla chiles also aligns with the Specifically Spicy trend we discussed in the New Hot Sauces blog.

You could also go all in on the Sopa Con Huevo Estrellado. This is a grilled masa boat filled with black bean paste, an over easy egg, queso fresco, and a smoky chile de arbol sauce.

Others

Peruvian food continues to hold strong interest nationwide as well. At Llama in Brooklyn, you can grab one heck of a unique brunch. The Tacu Tacu plate is made with fresh pork sausage, a fried egg, creamy avocado, and a dousing of spicy adobo sauce.

Global Breakfast

Photo courtesy of oliveandfincheatery.com

On the Asian side of things, you can try the Japanese style breakfast bento box at The Lobster Club in New York City. It combines a shiitake scramble with rice, savory miso soup, and a strip of teriyaki glazed salmon.

And don’t forget about shakshuka. This stewed pepper, tomato, and onion dish seasoned with harissa is quickly becoming a staple menu item across the U.S. Just check out Denver based Olive & Finch. Their shakshuka served in a mini cast-iron skillet is driving both excitement and sales within the local community.

Beat the Competition

And yes, that is an egg pun. But seriously, with the projected popularity of breakfast, be sure to set yourself apart from competitors with unique, global breakfast offerings. This is much easier than it seems with the use of flavorful sauces like harissa, gochujang, and Indian red curry. A simple way to take your breakfast global!

Cheers!

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December 10th, 2018

Unique 2018 Food Trucks

Posted in Consumer Trends, Food Trends, Food Trucks

Three Unique 2018 Food Trucks Stand Apart

The 2018 food truck scene is wrapping up as the year end closes in. Food trucks have become an essential extension of the restaurant scene in many major cities, offering chefs a chance to experiment with flavors and fusions in a more risk-conducive environment.

2018 Food Truck Trends

These opportunities have led to the establishment of some fantastic brick and mortar restaurants, like Chi’Lantro, or Torchy’s Tacos (who now have locations in 3 states).

While we prepare for and predict what 2019 might have in store for our palate’s, let’s take a look at three unique culinary contributors of 2018.

India Jones Chow Truck

Los Angeles, CA
Website
310-310-3964

So if I’m being fair, wordplay is always a good way to catch my attention, but the food and flavors still have to meet the mark. Thankfully, India Jones does both.

Based out of Los Angeles, CA, this truck run by Chef/Owner Sumant Pardal is rocking out curries and samosas like hot cakes! But, what makes India Jones special isn’t its traditional dishes, but a menu item called “Frankie.”

2018 Food Trucks India Jones

Photo courtesy of IndiaJonesChowTruck.com

The Frankie uses a roti flatbread wrapped around your choice of protein along with onions, tamarind chutney, and vegetables, to form an Indian-inspired burrito of sorts. This delightful bit of fusion allows hesitant customers who are new to Indian food to try it in a familiar format at a relatively low price.

Along with the Frankie, India Jones serves blue corn tacos called Taco Chaat and Aloo Tiki Chaat, which is a potato pancake topped with chickpeas, raita, and vegetables. These creative variations of Indian street food have helped to put a spotlight on India Jones.

Tying all of these flavors together are India Jones’s unique sauces and chutneys. Try the tamarind chutney on your lamb Frankie for a nice sweet/salty balance, or the spicy chutney on the Chaat Masala Fries. Or pair your Chicken Taco Chaat with tangy Mango Chutney for a flavor explosion.

@La’s – A Hmong Food Cart

Aloha, OR
Website
971-330-5989

Yes, yes, YES! With the growth of Vietnamese and Thai cuisine I’m so excited to see Hmong food start to pave its own way.

The Hmong are a group of people forced to flee their native Yellow River Region of Southern China during the Qing Dynasty in the 18th century due to armed conflict and regressive economic reforms. During that time of emigration their cuisine was influenced by the different groups they came in contact with; Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, and Myanmar, for example.

This blending of cultures led to the aromatic, often spicy, but always delicious flavors of Hmong cuisine. @La’s La Vang-Herr showcases these flavors in her smart, concise, but customizable menu. The Phat wings are fried chicken wings that are first stuffed with two-types of ground meat then marinated in a soy and ginger rich Asian-fusion sauce before battering and frying golden brown.

food-trucks-2018-las

Photo Courtesy of PDXMonthly.com

The papaya and carrot salad is brought together with a sweet tamarind sauce and allows for a customized heat level. Personally, I’d go for the homemade Hmong Sausage which uses locally sourced farm-raised pork and comes with a side of the mouthwatering (and tear producing) Lemongrass Pepper Dip.

Patrizi’s

Austin, TX
Website
512-522-4834

If you ever thought you couldn’t get fine dining style Italian food on a paper plate, Patrizi’s is here to prove you wrong.

Owned by brothers Nic and Matt Patrizi, this establishment proves that really all you need for amazing food is great ingredients, a talented team, and a love for what you do. Out of their humble truck they produce delicate, beautiful dishes like Cacio e Pepe, Pasta Pomodoro, and Marfa Tomatoes.

2018 Food Trucks Patrizi's

Photo courtesy of Patrizis.com

With ingredients like Casu di Fita, a briny, crumbly cheese similar to feta, and seasonally harvested honey, it’s easy to see how this is not your traditional Italian fare. Try Karah’s Diavolo with a coddled egg yolk to add an unctuous layer to the spicy, acidic sauce with an order of the Ciabatta Bread and Beef Fat. Can’t go wrong there.

Close

From LA to Portland and back to Austin, we’ve seen three of the best food trucks of 2018 in three of the cities best known for their great food trucks. As culinarians, we’re lucky to live in a time where we have access to such wonderful food prepared by such talented people.

Cheers!

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November 26th, 2018

New in Sauce Trends

Posted in Consumer Trends, Food Trends, Sauce

Let’s Talk Sauce Trends

Because every dish gets better with sauce!

Why do we even care about sauce trends?

The easy answer is, well, because sauces are important. As one of the world’s first food reviewers and restaurant critics, Grimod de la Reynière, would say, “A well made sauce would make even an elephant or a grandfather palatable.”

italian

While I won’t strive to test his theory, I do agree with the sentiment. Sauces are the magic liquids that bring bland foods to life or make good dishes unforgettable. A proper sauce can be the difference between OK and incredible. Point of fact; macaroni is fine but add cheese sauce and you’ve got gold!

With that in mind, it’s important to keep a finger on the pulse of the sauce world to find new trends, inspirations, and ingredients, much like these:

Italian Crossover

Italian food is well-known for it’s uses of sauces. From accuighe to alfredo, burro to bolognese, Italian cuisine has a range and depth to its sauce library many countries could only dream to reach.

harissa

But recently, other global flavors are making their way into mainstream Italian fair. One great example of this is harissa. Hailing from North Africa, harissa is an aggressive sauce (often a paste) made from roasted red peppers, various chili peppers, herbs like coriander, spices like cumin, and olive oil.

While this may not seem, at first glance, to be a sauce fitting for Italian fare, keep in mind the coast of Marsala, Italy, is only about 50 nautical miles from Tunisia. Doesn’t seem so odd now does it?

Piada Italian Street Food, based out of Columbus, OH, have found great success in using harissa in their power bowls. This helps to prove how quickly the market is opening to new flavor experiences. Just two years ago, many felt that harissa was too far out for the mainstream customer. Now in 2018, it seems to fit in just fine.

Global Entry

Global flavors continue to permeate the menus in national restaurants. Datassential has shown a 7% increase in chimichurri, a 3% increase in harissa, and a 1.5% rise in gochujang sauces on menus in 2018. Also moving their way in at 1% increases are Peri Peri sauce and S’Chug.

A person familiar with these sauces may see an additional thread that holds them together: Heat. All the 5 sauces listed commonly have a spicy profile, with chimichurri being the mildest and harissa being the hottest (traditionally, of course).

korean

If you follow our blog here regularly, this shouldn’t be very surprising. As we’ve discussed previously, hot sauce sales are at their highest ever, spicy BBQ sauces are quickly becoming the most popular in their category, and Asian cuisines with commonly spicy profiles (Korean, Thai, Filipino) are becoming mainstays.

Move Over Canton

Sauce Trends 2018It seems that Kung Pao sauce is having a revitalization moment, thanks to the vegetable-centric dining trend. Kung Pao, or Sichuan, sauce is known for its umami rich flavor profile balanced with the right amount of sweet and spicy.

This profile works extremely well in providing a hearty, meaty flavor to vegetable dishes. With the growing want for vegetable-focused foods in casual dining atmospheres, Kung Pao offers a natural, and familiar, fit.

Restaurants like The Plimoth in Denver with their Kung Pao Carrots and Fairytale Eggplant, and The Local in Naples, FL, with their Kung Pao Avocado, have been trend leaders in this category.

Even the national chain Kings Dining and Entertainment has gotten wise by serving Fried Kung Pao Cauliflower. I’d buy that for a dollar.

Close

So, there you have it! Keep an eye out for Italian restaurants adopting unique sauce flavors, for Kung Pao to start popping up in restaurants other than Chinese and on application other than meat, and the continued takeover of global flavors. And through all these trends, runs a spicy core. The people want heat, so let’s give it to them.

Cheers!

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