Have yall checked out my instagram feed? Or perhaps #BenandDreeEatAmerica? Eat America was essentially what we did over our three week vacation last month. I mean it was actually a trip to visit my family and watch my best friend marry the man of her dreams, but it was also a trip to eat. You should have seen us in the planning stages on this vacation, making lists of new restaurants, all time favorite foods to eat, and world famous eateries that we couldn’t miss.
As we ate our way across America I noticed some food trends that popped up in The States over the year I have spent living abroad some of which Australia is right on board with, and a few we are still playing catch up on.
Beyond the Beef: Pork Belly and Bacon
Pork belly – the pigs gift to us humans. As if bacon wasn’t good enough, when pork belly is on the menu it’s now an immediate go to! Pork belly has all the saltiness and fattiness of bacon but because it’s a thicker cut can blend itself well into more sophisticated dishes. I tend to see pork belly featured in Asian inspired dishes and almost always served with vegetables like at Edison Food+Drink Lab in Tampa, Florida where I had twin Apple Soy Braised Pork Belly with kimchi pancakes and Korean honey.
It seems that both sides of the Pacific are in on this trend as I most recently enjoyed pork belly here in Newcastle served with braised cabbage and a roast turnip puree.
Bacon is still king universally with places like Bacon Bacon popping up with five locations in San Francisco featuring an all bacon menu. It was critical that was make a stop here on our trip across The United States because…. bacon!
That my friends is a bacon grilled cheese with a bacon jam – did you know such a thing existed?! Perfect compliment to the bacon sandwich are the Porky Fries – pork shoulder, pork belly, and bacon. It doesn’t get much better than this!
Beyond the Cupcake: Macarons and Donuts
Step aside cupcakes, there’s a new sheriff in town – in fact there are two. Gourmet donut and macaron shops have been popping up left and right as the cupcake becomes a fad and we long for the next sweet treat to sink our teeth into.
Macaron shops are taking the place of cupcake palaces and buying out space in shopping malls to satisfy everyone’s sweet tooth! On the other side of the mall, gourmet donuts with flavors like maple bacon, candy apple, and mulled wine reign supreme.
I can’t say how long either of these trends will be around, but I can tell you that around the world the cupcake is out and the macaron and donut are in…. for now.
Gluten Free and Paleo
A few years back I was living in Philadelphia and my best friend had a gluten intolerance. We always ended up at the same Mexican spot because that’s one of the easiest cuisines to eat, sans gluten… and it was delicious!
Now a days it seems everywhere you go both in America and Australia there are multiple gluten free and dairy free menu items available and menu descriptions written in detail because people want to know what is in their food. Our favorite place for this is at the Paleo Cafe which is in all major cities across Australia… and who doesn’t love Chipotle in America? Where you can choose to be gluten free, dairy free, and cater to all your dietary restrictions.
Those are a gluten free, dairy free, sugar free banana pancake with blueberry compote and coconut whipped cream.
The biggest change to the food, er should I say drink scene in Tampa is microbreweries. Everywhere you look a restaurant is brewing their own beer and offering you a tour – and by golly you take it, hello craft beer!
I must have gone on three tours while visiting, and planned two more to try in Tampa when I go back next year.
Newcastle hasn’t picked up on the microbrewing trend just yet. Within the past month our very first microbrewery and restaurant opened up, its menu is entirely American inspired with cheesesteaks, hoagies, and New York style pizza. It seems America is really leading this food trend.
Savory Ice Creams
Carrot, bacon, and sea salt oh my! Savory ice creams are trending in the United States and making a big splash on those after dinner menus. One of the last desserts I tried in America was a candied duck bacon maple fried ice cream and let me tell you I regretted splitting this beast of a dessert.
And how about that “deconstructed” carrot cake that included carrot ice cream, cardamom crullers, and white raisin puree? Gourmet donut and savory ice cream on the same plate!
Australia is starting to pick up on this but so far I only know of one ice cream shop in Sydney, Aqua S, brave enough to offer flavors like black sesame, tofu, and tomato.
To see more food check out instagram, where I’ll be flashing back to some of my favorite meals from America all week!
What food trends have you seen where you have lived and visited?
What are your favorite, and what do you hope is just a passing fad?