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Random Thoughts, and Trends

I was scanning the news this morning and thinking foodie thoughts in a rather stream-of-consciousness fashion. Nothing seemed to stick, it was all random. My brain went with that theme and suddenly I was humming the Arlo Guthrie tune about a pickle…

 

That was my inspiration today. My commentary on some of the new cooking and eating trends is entirely random, and without any expertise other than my own tastebuds. It’s fun to be adventurous and think outside the box, but when I threw so many random trends together it made me wonder if we aren’t trying too hard to be unusual. But then, comfort food and retro recipes are other popular trends. Anything is possible.

  1. Brinner – when you miss breakfast, you can have it for dinner! Some of this trend is centered around the concept of putting a poached egg on top of a dish, but there’s something to be said for making more meals acceptable for all those wonderful Sunday brunch dishes 🙂
  2. Gyros – it’s cooler when your wrap has an ethnic name, isn’t it? The Greek flatbread with flavourful fillings is the new wrapped sandwich craze. Portable food is always cool in today’s world. If only there was an app that would allow telepathic texting while you eat…
  3. Donuts – what else can you put in them? It’s frankly scary the range of fillings available in fried pastry, and then consider the variations of stuffed food similar to a donut – like kolaches (great with plum jam but now possible with candied jalapenos and smoked beef, just because).
  4. “I dare you” food – ever tried beef tongue? How about fresh grated horseradish? Foraged greens? Moss? It’s all out there for the adventurous. Chefs love shock value too sometimes.
  5. New twists on beverages – craft beer pubs are passé; look for beer bars with odd themes (think different glassware or decor and innovative beer styles). Wine is okay, but mead is more fun. And cocktails can come with any kind of garnish now, even scented feathers!
  6. Salt cod – no really, you have to try it! Andrew Knowlton, the editor of Bon Appetit magazine, said it looks like “a last-resort snack for those beyond the wall in Game of Thrones”, but treated properly it is delectable.
  7. Nitro coffee – because life just keeps getting more Fast & Furious. Seriously, why have just caffeine when you can have it injected with nitrogen and served from a tap? It has a creamy texture not unlike a pint of Guinness. Or you can just have cold brewed coffee, the minimalist version.
  8. restaurant names like never before – in an effort to be new and inventive, owners are picking terms like “luncheonette” and “provisions” to sound unique. Couple this with some wacky ingredient or animal name (think anise hyssop or blue oyster) and you’re all set. Only trouble is everyone else is using the same kind of formula – go figure. It sounds like the new Facebook quiz – “What would your name be if you were a restaurant?”
  9. Lithuanian and South African cuisine – it sounds like someone spun a globe and said “quick, what countries have we not featured on menus recently?” But there are some interesting foods to try – a Lithuanian stuffed potato dumpling called a cepelinai sounds delicious, and I love bobotie, a sort of South African shepherd’s pie.
  10. Pickles – you thought I was going to leave you hanging, didn’t you? Don’t you agree, what with kimchi everywhere now and pickled mushrooms as garnish and pickled fruit on cheese boards… the recession wasn’t that bad we need to preserve everything! I love a crunchy dill pickle like the next person, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

How trendy are you? Does any of this stuff even pique your interest, or are you more of a Meatless Monday, Tuna Casserole Tuesday kind of person? Does your family enjoy trying new things? I’d love to hear your comments.

Nasty habits – all by myself

Tonight I’m in Rossland, a ski bum town in winter and a mountain bike Mecca in summer. This time of year it’s just the friendly locals and me, who liked the look of the funky B & B here better than the hotel in Trail where I am doing my seminars tomorrow. Good decision – this is one cool place!
Dinner is more laid back tonight – time for some good old-fashioned pub food. Again i looked to Trip Advisor for some comments on a fun place and the one that attracted me was the Flying Steamshovel. I didn’t ski off the calories but I did do a good work our this morning and I talked for 4 hours so I think I deserve a break. Starting out with a local IPA called Nasty Habit seemed like a good way to start the evening 🙂

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Once on a roll one should continue, don’t you think? The server mentioned it was wing night but I can’t eat a pound of wings alone so I compensated by peering potato skins, which she advised are “awesome”. They should be here any minute – hey look!

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Nasty habit number two, check ! I might have had an easier time eating the wings, but what the heck. Caramelized onions, tomato, bacon, smoked cheddar… And the menu does say they’re “dressed “, not “garnished”. Not for the faint of heart this stuff.

If you’re a movie fan like me, you may know that Rossland was the real-life town used in the Steve Martin adaptation of the classic tale of Cyrano. This pub doesn’t look big enough to be the one Steve and his fireman pals frequented in the movie but it is just down the street from the Fire Hall 🙂 if you’re not a movie buff, you can enjoy the real history of the place, worthy of a movie script. The place is named for a contraption built by a local fellow that was meant to operate like a helicopter. It did get off the ground and cleared the building but then crashed horribly. Luckily the inventor was not killed but he was smart enough not to make another attempt. I feel it’s a worthwhile thing to toast his good luck.

You know, a great dining experience doesn’t have to be fancy, it just has to be true. This holds for any customer experience I think. I teach people that to deliver a WOW, you have to consistently and constantly provide an experience which exceeds customer expectations. I don’t expect white glove service at a pub. I expect a good time from tasty food and drink and friendly, knowledgeable service. The gal who has served me tonight is fantastic – the kind of server an owner usually wishes they could clone. She is younger than me by probably two generations and yet she called me sweetheart when she came to see how I was doing. I loved it!

Rossland is up the hill from Trail, and The Flying Steamshovel is a bit off the Main Street – both are worth finding. And if you want to stay the night (why wouldn’t you?!) then check out The Red
Barn Lodge B & B, as it operates on the same level – quaint, cozy, true to itself. Kudos to you, Rossland, you know how to enjoy life!

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PS. I’ll post links for these great places in my mobile posts as soon as I’m home.

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