8 L.A. Food Trends You’ll Be Craving This Year
Coffee’s getting stronger, and the cocktails are getting weaker. Beef isn’t beef, food isn’t drab and vegetables are getting the star treatment. Read on to find out the story behind these and other food trends, and where to try them ASAP.
Not Your Mom’s Meat-Free Burger
The tech sector’s food innovations can really tank, taste-wise. (Remember Soylent 1.0?) But Impossible Foods says it’s discovered the molecule that makes us crave beef, so it’s synthesized it and put it in soy burgers that bleed like real beef. Sounds sort of weird, but we loved the satisfying, rich taste and mouthfeel of the one we enjoyed at Mama Shelter in Hollywood.
Cold Brew Lets Its Freak Flag Fly
At Rubies + Diamonds on Sunset Boulevard, coconut and sea salt flavor the cold brew while hazelnut milk and lavender syrup are soon to spring up on a gourmet coffee menu near you.
Peruvian Cuisine Is Everywhere
West Side poké takeout restaurant Tikifish serves tiradito (basically a Peruvian-style, spicier ceviche), and fine-dining Peruvian spot Rosaliné turns out flawless versions of chef Ricardo Zarate’s native cuisine (think small plates of crispy potatoes, salted cod and seasonal pickles). An emphasis on fresh seafood and Amazonian flavors (like aguaymanto, a sweet-tart golden berry) make for a fascinating new cuisine to discover, if you haven’t already.
Colorful Food Gets Social Media Love
Food-obsessed Instagramming is the new normal, so chefs are making sure their offerings don’t get lost in the mix. That means more eye-catching presentation, which is translating into big color. That’s why Melrose Avenue pastry shop La Chouquette sells eclairs hued to match flavors like green apple, matcha and raspberry—to make you really want to taste the rainbow.
Israeli Food is Peaking
Nationwide, there’s a modern renaissance in upscale Mediterranean fare, and here in L.A. we’re all lunching on next-level falafel at Dune in Atwater Village and Venice and dining on lamb belly with roasted cabbage and Meyer lemon at Kismet in Los Feliz. And the Israeli trend continues with the opening of Bavel, the hotly anticipated Arts District restaurant from Israeli-born Ori Menashe of Bestia.
Vegetarian Main Courses Are a Thing
Used to be, at a nice restaurant you had to have your fish, chicken or beef right at the center of your meal or you didn’t feel satisfied. But now chefs like Jeremy Fox at Rustic Canyon are creating gorgeous (and filling) mains like rapini malfatti with broccolini, Parmesan brodo and bread crumbs.
Food Courts Are the New Food Trucks
With Eataly’s recent opening celebrating all things Italian, and the brand-new Corporation Food Hall attracting downtown’s lunchtime crowd with purveyors of mint leaf chicken, mac-and-cheese barbecue sandwiches and sports-bar pitchers of beer, the move is away from singular restaurant build-outs and toward the international-sampler-platter model. This year, expect new food courts in Beverly Grove and an upscale one as part of the made-over Beverly Center.
Mocktails Are Having a Moment
With cult bartender Gaby Mlynarczyk’s upcoming Clean + Dirty Drinking (containing 24 drink recipes equally delish with or without alcohol), and the L.A. introduction of UK-based Seedlip non-alcoholic aromatic spirits, the virgin cocktail looks like it will have legs beyond Sober January. Especially tasty is the Garden Gimlet made with muddled lime leaves at Harvard & Stone and the Kyoho grape cocktail with fresh yuzu juice and shiso leaves at the Accomplice Bar in Mar Vista.