10 worst dining trends of the decade
Hat tip to Mischke for passing on this Chicago Tribune piece naming the 10 Worst Dining Trends of the Decade. The list was created from interviews with chefs, consultants, and other food people and listed in order of annoyance. I've weighed in with a few of my thoughts but I'm curious to hear what you all think...
10. Fried Onion Blossoms Agreed. In all its various forms--Bloomin' Onion, Awesome Blossom, etc.--these things typically contain about 2,000 calories. Men's Health Magazine once estimated that one fried onion blossom contains as much fat as 67 strips of bacon! Fried onion blossoms have the caloric oompf to take sole responsibility for the nation's obesity epidemic.
9. Molecular Gastronomy While molecular gastronomy can be--and certainly has been--overdone, I think it still has legs, especially sous vide cooking. We may see some cool new culinary gadgets in the near future, too. Check out the cool stuff this ex-Microsoft exec is working on.
8. The $40 Entree Fortunately we don't see too much of that in the Twin Cities, though the $15 appetizer could be considered its cousin...
7. The Communal Table I disagree with this one: As long as diners have a choice between communal or independent seating, I think it's nice to have the option of meeting new people over a meal. Minnesotans should take every chance they can get to come out of their shy social shells. Not that we see a lot of communal tables in the TCs, anyway, though the ones at the Armatage Room are nice.
6. Proudly Obnoxious Fast-Food Options The idea of civil liberties was not intended to give Americans to the "right" to scarf down a Hardee's Moster Thickburger (1,420 calories) or KFC's Double Down (no, fried chicken is not a substitute for bread).
5. Knee-Jerk Online Reviews When they're biased or malicious, review site commenters spoil the whole crowd-sourcing thing. More on this in next week's Dish column...
4. Foam Somewhere along the way foam became the scapegoat for pretentious dining. Like molecular gastronomy, it can be misused, but it can also be a useful tool in layering delicate flavors and textures.
3. The Menu as Book I don't see too many ginormous menus around town (though I haven't dined at Cheesecake Factory lately...) but a modest sized menu does give more confidence that the kitchen has chosen to focus on a few things and do them well. Bible-sized wine lists also tend to be more overwhelming than they are helpful.
2. The Chef as Media Whore TC chefs have tended to stay close to the stove--and it's much appreciated.
Again, I don't so much have a problem with this so long as it's not used gratuitously. If a deconstructed structure isn't revealing something fresh about a dish--and doesn't taste at least as good, if not better than the original--then don't do it. If it is, then by all means...
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