Food trends come and go, but some of them are allowed to stick around for far too long. Here are some of the things I see in food that I think need to be sent packing. Some of them are more general annoyances than trends.
Yes, blasphemy, I know. Don’t get me wrong, I love bacon – bacon strips, back bacon, pancetta. I use it in a lot of dishes and am not above frying things in bacon fat to add some extra flavour. But things have gotten ridiculous. As soon as you see things like bacon lip gloss or bacon candy canes, you know that things have gone too far. Bacon in ice cream, bacon on doughnuts, bacon weaves. Enough is enough. Ingredients stop being special when they’re put in everything.
This is another one that’s just overused. It’s not that I don’t like it (though there are hot sauces I like better), it’s just over-hyped. This isn’t a problem I see in restaurants too much, but rather in home kitchens and on cooking shows. I’ve seen more than one chef on Chopped decide that in order to make their plate prettier they would add an artful drizzle of sriracha. Stop. It’s a condiment, just like mustard or mayonnaise. Would a drizzle of Frank’s made me a plating genius? (hint: no). It’s something people add to pho to spice it up, not an art form.
Yes, it’s a healthy “super food” low in calories and rich in nutrients. But even super foods can be gross. I tried to like Kale, I really did. I sautéed it with bacon and onions (the way to make anything palatable). I baked it into chips and put creole seasoning on it. I chopped it up really fine and added to it to a slaw. I’ve rubbed it with lemon. Some of these preparations were not awful. But I eat for pleasure, not just nutrients; “not awful” is not quite what I’m looking for. Lets all use some greens that are naturally much tastier that don’t make us work so hard.
When I’m asked if I’d like some grated Parmesan on my pasta, I expect to get actual fresh grated cheese. I don’t get how restaurants can tout themselves as “authentic Italian” then come around with a dish of dehydrated, powdered “cheese” that looks like it came out of a Kraft bottle. I’ve experienced this a lot lately, and it puzzles me that people find this acceptable. I know real Parmigiano-Reggiano is expensive, but I’m not even that picky. Modestly priced restaurants could give me Asiago or Romano instead, just as long as it comes from a real block of cheese. Step it up, guys.
Sights before Bites
I’m tired of restaurants that have amazing locations and views of the city that just don’t put enough focus on the food. Located in tall towers or on the top floors of hotels, they bring you in with the view and then deliver mediocre food for way too much money. 360, Toula, most restaurants in Niagara Falls. I don’t mind dishing out extra for the scenery once in a while, but I expect excellent food as well or else what’s the point of going out for dinner?