Hold That Mini-Burger: Restaurants Forecast Food For 2013 : The Salt : NPR


Food trends are like fashion trends to me, some are good, some are bad and some are just ridiculous. Out this year:

  • Bacon-flavored chocolate
  • Gazpacho
  • Sliders

Got that? According to the National Restaurant Association, sourcing and sustainability will be what consumers are going to look for and value in 2013. This of course would fall into the good trend. Some others:

  • House-cured meats (swear this has been happening in Chicago for a while now…)
  • Artisanal cheeses (ditto above)
  • Gourmet lemonade (hmm…)
  • Food trucks (yay!)
  • Peruvian food (I’m intrigued…)

To read more on the upcoming trends check out The Salt:

Hold That Mini-Burger: Restaurants Forecast Food For 2013 : The Salt : NPR.

Image via: http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt

The 20 Best Food Trucks in the United States

English: Exterior of the Maximus Minimus food ...

Image via Wikipedia

The Smithsonian Magazine lists their take on the 20 best food trucks in the US. Chicago has a way to go to catch up with the likes of Austin, Los Angeles, and Portland. I have no doubt once the laws are eased on food trucks, Chicago will be up showing up more and more on the best food truck lists. I can see Big Star’s Consuelo food truck as a stand out.

Check out the list:

The 20 Best Food Trucks in the United States | Travel | Smithsonian Magazine.

Empanadas Brought to You by the Recession

Image via chicagoreader.com

Like many in the last few years, Nicolas Ibarzabal’s  job was in danger of being a casualty of the economic downturn.  He decided to channel his energy into creating his own business based around what he described as one of his “passions” — the empanada. With two other fellow Argentines 5411 Empanadas was  created.

Chicago has more than a few hoops food trucks have to jump through but 5411 Empanadas has managed to grow a following with regular daily spots. There are also plans to open a restaurant in Lincoln Park.

Seems like a silver lining to the economy can be that people are deciding to try a hand at doing what they love for a living.

Latin American Herald Tribune – Empanadas Catch On with Chicago Street Food Consumers.

O’Hare Airport Debuts Aeroponic Vegetable Garden

Image via HuffingtonPost.com

Good news for travelers coming through O’Hare International Airport — fresh on-site produce will be served in several restaurants. According to the Huffington Post the aeroponic garden is the “first in-airport vertical garden at O’Hare will supply the international airport’s restaurants with swiss chard, red habanero peppers and 42 other types of herbs and vegetables grown right between terminals 2 and 3.”

The promise of locally grown, fresh food while you wait for your (probably delayed) plane helps make the whole pre-flight time bearable.

O’Hare Airport Debuts Aeroponic Vegetable Garden (VIDEO).

Let’s Not Be Ashamed of Ketchup

Via Brendan Smialowski for The New York Times

This article caught my attention with this quote from José Andrés, “Everyone else in the world still thinks of American food as ketchup.” Mr. Andrés, has been in the US working as a chef for a couple of decades and according to Wikipedia is the, “Spanish chef often credited for bringing the small plates dining concept to America.”

He goes on to say he wants to embrace and celebrate ketchup, I say go for it. I am open to any new type of sauce and would love to try any of the eight ketchups Andrés is offering on his menu. In fact, the curry ketchup at Fritz in San Francisco is one of my favorite  to eat with fries.

That said, I love regular old Heinz ketchup and will never be embarrassed to use it, even in fancy French bistros.

Building Respect for Ketchup – NYTimes.com.

Germany the New Spain?

Via Chicagobrauhaus.com

Well, according to Andre Knowlton of Bon Appetit it just may be. A couple of years ago BA named New Austrian as, “the cuisine of the year.” Since then Knowlton notes a trend toward Germanic fare, attributing it to the pork craze and craft beer.  I’m not a die-hard follower of food trends, I just like good food and a good atmosphere. But it’s hard to argue with the likability and prevalence of pork and beer. Especially in Chicago.

Not knowing that much about German food but welcoming a taste change from the Asian-Fusion/tapas/all-things Italian I decided to go to Lincoln Square and try the Chicago Brauhaus. This restaurant is an experience. You feel like you are walking into a German home from the 1970s and your uncle Gody and band, who has been there for almost 20 years, is leading an Oktoberfest sing-a-long with a dance floor that fills up as the night progresses.  Every once in a while, Guenter one of the owners, will come out and play the drums. The Brauhaus is also open for lunch if you don’t have your dancing shoes with you. There is a huge beer list as well as a full bar.

Okay for the food, here are some dishes that are both authentic and tasty:

-Geschmorte Schweine Haxen: Signature braised pork shank served with sauerkraut and spätzle or potato dumplings

-Leberknödel Suppe: Liver dumpling soup

-Rindsroulade: Beef rouladen, slowly braised thin sliced sirloin of beef rolled with mustard, bacon, onions, and pickle

-Heisse Würstl: Hot sausages, any on the menu

The Chicago Brauhaus is located at  4732 North Lincoln Avenue, Chicago, IL 60625.