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10 Culinary Trends on Menus in 2015
1. Eggs on Everything
Fried eggs on dishes make them more savory and visually spectacular. Eggs are fabulous on asparagus, pizza, burgers, ramen, salads, and French fries.
Chef Kris Morningstar at Terrine likes to enhance his dishes with Golden fertile cage-free eggs for protein and a dramatic presentation. His Croque-Madame has a sizable portion of ham, melted Gruyere cheese, a light Béchamel sauce and topped with a lovely sunny side egg.
Chef Ernesto Uchimura's pastrami nosh is piled high with double smoked pastrami and topped with melted Swiss cheese, kimchi mustard, pickles and a fried egg, served sunny-side up at Plan Check in Culver City, Fairfax Area and Downtown LA.
Chef Perfecto Rocher at Smoke. Oil. Salt. makes a delicious black skillet of fried cubed potatoes with slices of Serrano ham, chorizo sauce and a picturesque fried egg on top.
Public School Deviled Eggs with Crispy Proscuitto
CPK's Grilled Rib-eye with Pinot Noir Salt
2. Flavored Salt
Salt is now Infused with Pinot Noir, fresh herbs, chile, citrus, Sriracha, Jack Daniels, dried mushrooms, and coffee.
California Pizza Kitchen’s SVP of Culinary Innovation, Brian Sullivan salts the CPK 10 oz. USDA Ribeye generously with homemade Pinot Noir sea salt and let's it rest for 24 hours to give it a pleasing flavor and tenderness when grilled.
At District by Hannah An on 3rd near Robertson, the bartenders make a Guava Rita drink that has a coating of Kaffir lime leaf salt on the rim of the glass.
3. Smokin' Drinks and Food
Hakkasan in Beverly Hills makes a Smoky Negroni made with Rusty Blade aged gin, Antica Formula vermouth, Campari and Grand Marnier. The Smoky Negroni reimagines the classic with a smoke infusion via woodchips soaked in Grand Marnier. A lid on top of the glass is lifted at the table for a dramatic smoky vapor rising from the extra large ice cube.
Fig & Olive Melrose Place offers the most visually spectacular rosemary lamb chops served on a plate with a glass dome cover. Once the cover is released, a smokey vapor of Herbs de Provence was released into the air. The chops were accompanied with grilled polenta, braised eggplant, roasted bell peppers and a drizzle of rosemary garlic olive oil.
A mixologist with his elegant wheeled cart of liquid nitrogen, visits tables to make specialty vaporing cocktails with a theatrical flair at The Bazaar by Jose Andres.
Sonoma Wine Garden's also provides guests with an award-winning cocktail program led by the talented Rob Floyd.He brought out a burner to our table with sprigs of rosemary and glasses filled with Old Fashioned cocktails. As he burned the rosemary, he placed the sprig inside the lowball glass filled with Bulleit Rye, simple syrup, angostura bitters, and a twist of orange. As the herb was smoking, Floyd put a silver cocktail shaker over the glass to infuse a smoky flavor. It was served with a giant ice cube.
Cocktails at the Hollywood Bowl
The Talented Rob Floyd Makes Smokin' Cocktails
4. Excuse Me Bartender There is a Popsicle in My Beer
At the Hollywood Bowl, Patina mixologists pour Summer Micheladas with Diablo pops, beer and salt.
The District by Hannah An offers craft and classic cocktails made with freshly squeezed fruit juices and house made agaves. They make a Saigon cinnamon agave and a peach rooibos agave in-house. Her innovative drinks have names such as Sidecar to Vietnam, Hot Asian and Face Down in Saigon.
Umami Burger Downtown LA offers a Nomad cocktail made with Old Forester Signature bourbon with Benedictine, ancho Reyes chili, sweet Vermouth and Xocolati Mole bitters. This creative drink offered a touch of cinnamon and spice in flavor. The extra-large ice cube melts slower and releases less water into the drink. That means the first sip, tastes as good as the last.
Also downtown, Preux & Proper serves a variety of frozen slush-style daiquiri from a machine, and Punch bowls that serve four to six guests with flavors that include lemon smash, blackberry honey sour and drunken watermelon.
At TART the restaurant at Farmers' Daughter sip from their signature Punch bowl or bottomless mimosas or Bloody Mary's on Sundays until 4 p.m. Once you feel brave enough, jump into the pool next to the restaurant with your clothes and shoes on and your bill will be cut in half. A staff member will give you a towel and you will be knighted a Pool Warrior.
Cocktails at The District by Hannah An
5. Popcorn with Pizazz
Infused popcorn is popping up at restaurants from Santa Barbara to Los Angeles. The Lark in Santa Barbara serves a dish of herbed popcorn as an amuse bouche.
The talented chef Dakota Weiss has a POP Parlor downtown LA with gourmet popcorn. Her flavors include Curried Pig, Perk n' Pop, Sweet Heat Wave, Holy Mole and Tart and Peppa. I first tried her popcorn at NINETHIRTY inside the W Hotel in Westwood near UCLA. It wow'd me.
Nancy Silverton of Mozza, Chi Spacca, Pizzeria Mozza and La Brea Bakery makes delicious spiced caramel popcorn.
Chef Tony Esnault
6. Exotic Produce with Charcuterie
At Church & State Chef Tony Esnault pickles carrots, cornishons, yellow and purple cauliflower, watermelon radish and turnips and house made mustard for his rainbow colored charcuterie plank.
His charcuterie plank offers a variety of meat from organic farms that don't use antibiotics or hormones.
His chicken liver mousse is made with Mary's organic liver, apples and cognac. It's buttery smooth to spread on a slice of French baguette.
The thinly sliced curled pork belly is made with rosemary, thyme, onion and black peppercorn. Esnault simmers his head cheese with vineager, garlic and parsley until tender and comes off the bone for over one week.
The pork rillettes are slowly cooked pork confit with pork fat, garlic and onions. Tasting the country pate it's made with duck, pork, cognac and green peppercorn.
Esnault makes a duck prosciutto with brown sugar and salt. It's placed in a cheesecloth for two weeks to dry out the moisture of the duck meat and offer a deep rich color.
His three-beet salad is arranged artistically with red, golden and candy striped beets.
7. Ancient Grains
Ancient grains from farro to quinoa are super grains that add an abundance of nutrients and variety to a meal.
At the new CPK the menu offers crunchy farro with the hearth-roasted halibut mixed with slightly sweet butternut squash, baby kale and grilled asparagus.
At Public School the farro and Brussels salad is topped with four pan seared scallops and tossed with roasted sweet butternut squash, cranberries and dressed with a sweet curry vinaigrette.
At Hakkasan they offer a ruffle lupin wrap, made with a healthier type of flour that is gluten free, higher in protein and rich in dietary fiber and minerals. This dish was wrapped with legumes, carrots, Japanese yams and drizzled with a black housemade hoisin sauce. Black truffle shavings on top enhance the savoriness.
Preux & Proper serves creative NOLA cuisine and a delightful warm kale and quinoa with shaved parmesan, chopped almonds and a dazzle of sherry.
Fig & Olive Melrose Place Chef Lorange offers a red quinoa salad with a plethora of vegetables and dresses it up with a Arbequina olive oil.
Beverly Hills 9OH20 Water
8. Designer Water
Water is the most important beverage you can drink," said Martin Riese, the General Manager of Ray's & Stark Bar. We all know that, however this certified water sommelier from Germany is an expert on water and the TDS (Total Dissolved Solid) in water. "The higher the TDS, the more minerals and health benefits.
Riese at the age of four had a palate that could detect the different taste of tap water in each city and country his parents took him to visit.
"There are so many wine, beer and spirit options in restaurants, why only one or two water options?" Riese said.
Ray's & Star Bar offers an extensive water menu. There are bottles available to try from Canada, Denmark, Fiji Islands, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States. One of the bottles in the U.S., Reise helped to create - Beverly Hills 9OH20. He brought to our table two distinctive blue bottles of this one of a kind water. The TDS is higher than other American waters and it has no chlorine smell.
Spain is the winner of bottled water offering health benefits with their Vichy Catalan offering a staggering 3,052 mg per liter of TDS. That's almost a full dose of several key minerals your body needs including calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium, bicarbonate, fluoride and silica.
Risese's water menu is easy to read with a photo of different bottles and their rating scale for sweet to salty and smooth to complex. He also shows the sodium, magnesium and calcium content.
Who knew water could be so fascinating? Martin Riese sure did and wants to educate the public about water, especially water in California.
Ray's and Stark new Executive Chef Paul Lee offers innovative plates that can be paired with designer water, wine, beer or cocktails.
9. Innovative condiments
Chef Ernesto Uchimura at Plan Check makes Kimchi mustard, innovative ketchup leather, and unique kimcheese.
Umami Burger makes house made Umami ketchups and garlic aioli for dipping their fries and onion rings.
The New Desserts at CPK
10. Puddings and Mason Jars
Nancy Silverton serves a Butterscotch budino at Osteria Mozza and Pizzeria Mozza on Highland and Melrose. A budino is a deep buttery-caramel flavor pudding with a thicker, velvety texture.
CPK at Hollywood and Highland has a salted caramel pudding with black cocoa cookie crumbs, housemade whipped cream, caramel sauce and natural flaked sea salt. The S'more pudding is Belgian chocolate with graham cracker crumble and marshmallow burned with a culinary torch.
Little Beast in Eagle Rock serves a divine Belgian chocolate pudding with Chantilly crema, shaved chocolate and Maldon sea salt.