Cool Summer Food Trends

It’s summer at last!  Don’t wait until you’re home on the weekend to celebrate the season.  If you find yourself on the road for business, fight the urge to order room service and go live it up.  Since it is such a short season, don’t bypass the opportunity for a seasonal experience because you’re away from home and perhaps traveling alone.  Make it a trip to remember by checking out the local food scene and indulging in the amazing cuisines that showcase the abundance of peak seasonal produce.

Bidwell
Bidwell

If your travels bring you to our nation’s capital, venture out to Union Market.  After you’ve perused the goods that 40 local artisans have on display, have a seat on the patio at Bidwell.  Much of the produce at this Michelin Bib Gourmand-listed restaurant is grown on their aeroponic rooftop, the definition of hyper-local food.  What could be more refreshing than a lemonade infused with basil and cucumber that was grown on site?  Sounds perfect with one of Chef Mooney’s lobster taco appetizers!

joy district dirnks
Joy District

“Handcrafted” and “modern” are defining terms on the beverage scene this summer.  Instead of classic soft drinks, bartenders are mixing it up by infusing sparkling soda with hibiscus or berries.  At the Kingside in Manhattan you can enjoy a rooftop experience while sipping on a lavender Collins or a Midtown Spritz, a vodka cocktail with elderflower, prosecco and mint.  If you don’t have an early meeting, Joy District in Chicago offers unique cocktails with a dance party rooftop experience!

Screenshot (2)
Table & Main

Take a stroll down Canton Street in Roswell, Ga., where you will find a variety of al fresco dining options.  Osteria Mattone offers a patio setting where you can dine underneath the large trees strung with white lights. The patio at Table & Main features a beautiful stone fireplace.  If you’re in the mood for seafood, The Big Ketch Saltwater Grill is just a few steps away with plenty of patio seating.  If you’re able to venture outside the city, The Farmhouse at Serenbe is one of Atlanta’s original farm-to-table restaurants.  The chefs reimagine the menu each month with a focus on local seasonal ingredients, much of what is harvested from their own gardens.

Embrace every opportunity to enjoy the season, it won’t last long!

Author: Janice McEachen

Spoons Up! January is National Soup Month.

Sitting sweater-bound at our desks, chilly fingers hovering greedily over the meager steam that dissipates too quickly from our coffee, it is easy to grouse and despair over the great yawn of time between now and the lovely sunniness of June. Don’t do it! Resist, we say, or risk missing out on a most pleasurable pairing of gastronomical and meteorological alchemy – because January is National Soup Month.

Young woman eat traditional turkish food from lentil soup

Yes, while most of the United States is (un)usually dang cold, some smart cookie knew what they were doing when they turned the focus for this page in our culinary calendar to soup. From rich and creamy bisques to hearty chilis, toothsome chowders and fortifying bone broths, the enticing range of options is – forgive us – very much chicken soup to our souls.

Apparently, we’re not the only ones who feel this way. According to research published in Technomic’s 2016 Left Side of the Menu: Soup and Salad Trend Report, soup consumption at restaurants is on the rise, both as an entrée (as opposed to a lower profile side dish) and has surpassed salads as the preferred appetizer selection at LSRs (limited service restaurants).

And why not? There’s seemingly never been a time when soup wasn’t on the menu – the history of food is filled to the brim with evidence of soup, with anthropologists excavating waterproof cooking pottery that dates as far back as 20,000 BC. Bonus fun foodie fact for the day: the word restaurant (originally meaning “food that restores”) surfaced in France in the 18th century as a reference to a Parisian shop that sold rich, meat-based consommés made to “restore” a person’s health.

Soups can be decadent with cream and cheese, or low in fat and swimming in vegetables, but they can also be some of the most flavor-filled options on the menu. From Puerto Rican asopao to Polish żurek, soups are a culture-crossing common tie, reflecting the spice combinations of their origins and making them an accessible way for today’s adventurous diners to sip from the bowl of another’s heritage.

So soups are definitely trending – whether marketed as “stocktails” or broth-based beverages or being whipped up at home in an Instant Pot-fueled cooking frenzy – and to all that we say, hooray. Good for us all. Go enjoy a bowl today and tomorrow and the day after that, too.

fire roasted tomato
One of our favorite soups from Newk’s Eatery is their Fire Roasted Tomato Soup.                     Mmm, looking good!

If you happen to be in the South or East, allow us to suggest giving Newk’s Eatery’s soups a try. One of the newest additions to the Dinova business dining marketplace, Newk’s Eatery offers a wide variety of food options including grilled and tossed salads, grilled and toasted sandwiches, kettle-batch soups and handcrafted pizzas. Their soup selection ranges from the tried-and-true menu items such as Broccoli & Cheese to unique southern flavors such as Mississippi Black-Eyed Pea Soup. Whether you’re dining out with a group of clients or ordering in for a lunch meeting, a bowl full of soup from Newk’s Eatery will surely add zest to your palate.

To find a Newk’s Eatery near you and see other restaurants within our Dinova Marketplace, visit our database search and download our app. Keep your spoons up for the rest of the month – and all winter long!

Llama Is the New Unicorn (and other 2018 foodie trends you didn’t see coming)

2017 was a year of conflict, uncertainty and a whole lot of people dressing up like unicorns. But that’s over and done with. 2018 is expected to bring big changes for our world, our industry and the food we plate on the table. What’s to come the next time you’re out dining for the new year that may surprise you? Here’s a tasting menu of 2018 foodie trends that we didn’t see coming – but we’re pretty excited to experience:

llama.jpg

The Year of the Llama. 2016 was the year of the mermaid and 2017 was the year of the unicorn. These mythical creature trends that took over our Instagram feeds cascaded in fashion, makeup and even the food we ate – remember those infamous unicorn drinks from Starbucks? Our bet for crossover creature of choice for 2018 is the llama. No mythical beasts for us: we love these South American camels known for cute faces and cuddly fur – for their dual real-yet-whimsical natures and, let’s face it, awesome don’t-care-hair. As we slowly start to to see these animals creep into our clothing choices, we urge all restaurateurs to brainstorm unique ways to incorporate llamas into their marketing materials and decor. Who knows? A super fuzzy mug holder with a llama decal for your warm cup of coffee may be the surprise runaway hit that counterbalances 2018’s Arctic intro!

10_5.jpg

Authentic Ethnic Cuisine. If you still think of Mexican and Italian as ethnic meals, you are way out of the loop. These are now considered mainstream in the US, with foodies gravitating more toward spices from global markets that are quickly on the rise, such as Thai and Ethiopian. When people go out to eat in a new place – even if they’re there for work – they want an experience that they don’t usually have and they want to learn more about cultures that are the backbone of their place of travel. Next time you’re treating a client out to dinner, consider taking them to one of the local indies from Dinova that offer some unique flare.

istock-840877602.jpg

Sharing. When you’re out with a big group of co-workers, it’s likely that all of you are trying each others’ entrees or you’re planning to order a large variety of appetizers. Family-style dining experiences are expected to grow in popularity in 2018 because it creates a more entertaining experience for the foodies at the table. This is good news for restaurateurs, who can expect 2-3 extra dishes than usual to be ordered when meals are being shared.

comp

Tech-Savvy Dining. From fast delivery options to self-service stations, everyone wants a dining experience that is as easy and efficient as snapping a selfie. This means paying for a meal without the presence of a server, EMV payments that are the norm in Europe and Canada, and delivery options that give diners the ability to take care of their whole transaction on their phones. Smart tech is going to be a hit for the restaurateur as well as the diner. Sensors that gather data on food consumption and traffic will be game changers for the industry.

34C8760300000578-3615830-image-m-19_1464650062509 (1)

Food Going Goth. Black-dyed food started making waves back in 2016 thanks to Burger King, and it’s now expected that this aesthetic phenomenon is going to make a comeback and surpass rainbow-colored food. We’re not too sure about this, as we feel like we’ve heard about this for a long time now. In the end it will all depend on what pictures people upload from their phones.

theme-specialty-jpeg.jpg

Eatertainment. Modern day foodies don’t want to go to a restaurant just to eat. They crave a one-stop shop for premium meals, fun activities and a chance to connect. From large scale themes like a Topgolf to simpler add-ons such as board games at the table, incorporating entertainment with eating can be a huge hit with your clients and co-workers.

What did you think of our list? Did any of these surprise you? Let us know in the comments below!