The Kitchen Think: Top 5 Food and Dining Trends So Far This Year


We’re halfway through the year and Mama can already see some pretty interesting food and dining trends out there… some good, some weird, but most guaranteed to continue expanding our waistlines.

Can’t pinpoint what’s The Next Cupcake, though.

Here are the top five, in no particular order. Let me know what YOU think is trending.

Beer Gardens – Back in the day, my pal DKM and I would throw back a few brews while hanging out at Austin’s Scholz’ Beer Garten for hours. Maybe it’s last year’s trend toward beer-centric cuisine, but beer gardens are the place to be this summer. Sit among the blossoming tomato plants on the rooftop of Gene’s Sausage Shop,  in Chicago’s Lincoln Park, or under the trees at Philly’s Frankford Hall.

New Grains – Whole grains have been out there for a long time, but what I’m seeing now is that chefs are trying their hand with grains more common in other parts of the world. Sorghum bicolor, for flatbreads; millet, for breads and breakfast cereals; quinoa, as a side dish instead of rice; as well as “The Super Bees”: beechwheat, buckwheat and barley.

Pop-up Restaurants – I love that chefs just out of culinary school are finding their legs with these exciting venues… especially when we get to sample hard-to-find (and define) cuisines, spices and dishes. Foie-gras wontons… yellow curry steak… black noodles? YES! The worst part is finally hearing about a place… only to find out that it is shuttered and the chef has moved on. (Mama gets worn out trying to stay on the cutting edge…)

Food Trucks – These feeding wagons are ubiquitous in major cities and have been for the past several years, but now they’re taking up curb space even in smaller towns. Another interesting trend is that some of these trucks are going brick and mortar, like Washington D.C.’s District Taco . On the flip side, restaurants, tired of the trucks cutting into their profits, have finally started dispatching their own fleets of vehicles.

Gluten Free – Food stores are now devoting aisles to gluten-free products instead of just a shelf or two. Chefs are doing their part by offering chick pea, corn and rice pastas, nut-based crusts and using tapioca and potato flour as thickeners.

That’s Mama’s list… what do you think?

And what IS The Next Cupcake?


Like it? Share it!

posted under The Kitchen Think

2 thoughts on “The Kitchen Think: Top 5 Food and Dining Trends So Far This Year

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

I’m Christina Chavez

I was a TV journalist for many years, but with a house full of kids I decided to come off the road, go to culinary school and follow my passion for cooking. Mama’s High Strung is all about food… everything from creative recipe ideas to some really cool kitchen gadgets and cooking tips. I live in Chicago, but I love to travel and write about my food discoveries! You can reach me by email: