The hottest food craze in decades, food trucks are starting to put it in park and go brick-and-mortar. Stay tuned as we feature three truck timelines to see the roads they traveled, starting with…
EL NARANGO of Austin, Texas!
After moving to Texas from Oaxaca, Mexico, chef Iliana de la Vega opens El Naranjo Mobile in Austin. Customers line up for tacos al pastor, tacos carnitas and her killer weekly mole specials.
El Naranjo is the only truck to make Texas Monthly’s roundup of the state’s 50 best Mexican restaurants.
Just after de la Vega turns a 100-year-old house into El Naranjo the restaurant, The Austin Chronicle publishes a glowing review.
Find out more: elnaranjo-restaurant.com 85 Rainey St., Austin, TX
The latest “it” pizza—called the montanara—is hitting pizza joints across the country. Derived from a Neapolitan recipe, the pie stars soft, fluffy dough that’s briefly oil-fried before being topped with relatively minimal sauce and cheese and a few leaves of basil, then finished in the oven. The result is a crust that’s chewy, light, oh-so-slightly crunchy—and more or less impossible to resist.
From the September 2012 “Italian Issue” of Every Day with Rachael Ray
Fancy comfort food (artisanal jumbo pretzels for the win!) has been popping up on menus lately—and that’s no coincidence! Comfort food is just one of a bunch of interesting trends that are emerging in both food trucks and brick and mortar spots. Here are some of our other favorites:
- PORK is so hot right now—but really! Bacon is still (and always will be) a major player for foodies, but other pig delicacies, like the mouth-watering pulled pork sandwiches from the Maximus/Minimus truck in Seattle, are becoming just as sought after as their crispy cousin.
- HAND-PREPARED DISHES are also on the up, whether it be fresh-cut fries, made-to-order salads or the classic techniques of pickling and preserving. We like our food with a lot of hard work and love behind it.
- Locovores rejoice! LOCALLY SOURCED AND GROWN, farm-to-table food has become very appealing. And this isn’t just a trend for produce, but seafood, meat and more—people want to be more in tune with what they’re putting in their bellies.
- Score one for the more sensitive eaters: GLUTEN-FREE AND FOOD-ALLERGY CONSCIOUS FOOD are becoming way more popular and widely available. Chicago’s Vinci has gone so far as to offer an entire gluten-free menu. This has to be my favorite, hands down!
Have you noticed any other food and restaurant trends on the rise? What are some of your favorites?
—Morgan Gibson, Editorial Assistant
Move over, Chipotle! Mediterranean cuisine is on the rise, and it’s not just your Greek diner serving up the spanakopita. Fast-casual restaurants are expanding their businesses to offer kebabs, falafel and other classic Grecian dishes to a growing number of hungry foodies across the U.S.
Restaurants such as Zoes Kitchen, Little Greek Restaurant and Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill are not only looking to open additional storefronts, they are also educating consumers about the flavors and history of Grecian cuisine. Many accommodate less adventurous customers by including American food on their menus.
Greek food has become more mainstream thanks to celebrity chefs and TV stars sharing their Greek-heritage inspired recipes. Additionally, more and more Americans are lightening up their diets by turning to Mediterranean food as a healthy alternative to heavy meat dishes and fried foods.
Wanna go greek at home? Whip up our Greek Fit-for-the-Gods Salad with Spicy Cucumber Dressing and Pita Chips.
—Grace Elkus, Food Editorial Intern
News has been brewing—get it?—that coffee and wine hybrid bars are gaining popularity. Starbucks, for example, has been rumored to start selling booze soon, although I haven’t seen it yet…but what gives? Are coffee and wine really “pair-able?
“Wine and coffee have a bevy of similarities…Both have hundreds of chemical compounds that affect the flavor, with wine averaging 200–400 compounds and coffee surpassing 800. Where a wine drinker swirls a glass to release a wine’s aroma, a coffee drinker senses aromas on different areas of the palate. Both are complex, and the same grape or bean, respectively, can yield wildly different varietals
If you’re doing coffee right, you’re going to attract those who are already attracted to coffee,” he explains. “If you have wine available, there’s room for the bartender or barista actually to educate that consumer about wine, as well. … If they come into your establishment because you’re doing wine correctly, there’s room to expand the coffee market to them so they can broaden their enjoyment of the beverage world.
—Jason Haeger, Consultant for the Specialty Coffee Industry
The idea of broadening enjoyment of the beverage world in general sounds cool, so I’m intrigued to see if more of these wine-and-coffeeshop-combos pop up.
—Judith Pena, Asst. to the EIC