For the ninth-straight year, Andrew Freeman & Co., a San Francisco-based boutique hospitality consulting firm, released its list of trends and predictions shaping the restaurant and hotel industries. Before opening his company 10 years ago, Freeman was vice president of public relations for Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants. He also worked at legendary New York City venues such as The Russian Tea Room.
The Aloha Plate
Hawaiian food is the latest regional “New American” food to bask in the spotlight. Poke To The Max in Seattle is a popular food truck that dishes up poke (a Hawaiian seafood salad) rice bowls and wraps under the direction of chef Sam Choy.
Chefs are sourcing small grain mills to create flours for breads and desserts, ensuring that dishes contain the freshest and most flavorful ingredient grains. Baker Miller in Chicago features sweet and savory dishes such as strawberry lemon chiffon pie and biscuits and gravy made from in-house milled flours.
Cookies & Cream
Ice cream sandwiches are popping up on dessert menus, from casual spots to fine dining eateries, and even during afternoon breaks at events. The Meatball Shop in New York City allows guests to mix and match between vanilla and chocolate ice cream, and chocolate chip and snickerdoodle cookies.
Fill ’er Up
Samosas, empanadas, dumplings and blintzes. Every culture seems to have a deliciously filled delight that makes for appealing event appetizers. Sens Restaurant in San Francisco serves up house-made chorizo empanadas with arugula salad for the perfect happy hour bites.
Slide on By
Sliders continue to expand beyond mini burgers, and due to their small size, they’re perfect for receptions and events. Cafe Aion in Boulder, Colorado, specializes in Moroccan spiced pork sliders with Greek yogurt sauce.