5. Back to Basics.
Today's green-conscious consumer pays attention to nutrition information and ingredients, particularly the ones they can't pronounce. This, partnered with the continuous barrage of bad press on everything from MSG to high fructose corn syrup, has led many major grocery store brands, including Haagen-Dazs, Frito Lay and Campbell's, to retool their recipes to include fewer preservatives, artificial colors and flavors, and sugar substitutes, resulting in a more natural product.
4. Dining Adventure Clubs Below we've provided a menu excerpt from last night's meeting of the Gastronauts, a New York dining adventure club started four years ago. Past meetings have featured live octopus, pig hearts, goat kidneys and sautéed lamb's brains.
An evening at
ST. ANSELM 355 Metropolitan Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11211 (718) 384-5054
Tuesday, September 21st, 7:30pm
Fried Gizzards with Tomato Coulis Picante Pig's Head Cheese with Bitter Green Salad with Urfa Biber Oil and Cider Vinaigrette Humble Pie with Cucumber Yogurt Dip Tripe & Garlic Soup Cotina with a Rice Cake
...and lots of beer and wine
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And they're not unique. Similar societies are popping up all over the country, from the Boston Gastronauts to the San Francisco Food Adventure Club. What's behind the trend? Times of economic stress have often resulted in culinary innovation. The food clubs show diners they can savor items previously scoffed at. "Non-challenging foods are being eaten by the truckload," Kate Krader, restaurant editor for Food and Wine magazine, told the Associated Press. "We're coming out of a time of very boring food in America."
3. Grow Your Own. Not one block from our home there is a garden, planted in an empty lot, that houses sunflowers and banana trees and everything in between. Our Montrose neighbors are part of a growing number of Americans, up 24 percent since 2007 according to the National Gardening Association, who are contributing in some way to their own food supply. The most surprising part of this movement is that it exists mainly in large cities. Whether it is a rooftop chicken coop or a kitchen herb garden, Americans are finding their roots--and potting them.
2. There's an App for That, and a Website... Find a restaurant with Urbanspoon, make reservations with OpenTable, tell friends where you're eating (Foursquare), post photos of dishes on Foodspotting and review the meal on Yelp, all the while tracking calories on LoseIt! -- assuming you can find anyone willing to dine across from a companion neurotically clicking away at his or her phone.
1. Meals on Wheels. Los Taco trucks fabulosos are sweeping the nation, but if you're expecting chalupas and burritos, we're sorry to disappoint you. Today's food trucks are serving cupcakes, soup, fried chicken and catfish po-boys, shrimp tacos and pizza. What's the draw? Location, location, location. Multiple locations in a single day, in fact. A mobile restaurateur can identify several "hot spots," making stops at the same time daily in order to develop a following. Busy workers save time because the food comes to them. If business in one area dries out the eatery keeps on truckin' until a new one is established.