2013 Food and Restaurant Trends Report

As we’ve done in years past (2011 Food Trends Report – http://bit.ly/c7imIe) we are back to provide you with our super comprehensive, triple blind, auditory and sensory tantalizing annual Food Trends Report. This year’s report is for the year 2013.

Again we’ve beat the “big 3” to the punch to release our report. The ARSSSAOFA (American Restaurant Studies of Statistical Stats Association of America), the NFTASAOTCUS (National Food Trends and Safety Assocation of The Contiguous United States) and the NCSCLCMDMUA (National Chef Sous Chef Line Cook Matire De Mixologist Union of America) reports don’t come out for another 2-3 weeks, but due to an extremely hard working team of non-paid interns we were able to assemble ours for you before Thanksgiving!

This year’s report is based on a scientific representation aggregated in conjunction with the Harvard School of Research using sample size constructed over months of painful research spanning 36 cities with insight from 184 chefs, 225 non kitchen worker food professionals, 14 food executives and 961 civilians (also known as “diners” or “yelpers”). We’d like to thank Galloping Polls, the animal and food research division of Gallup Polls as they were immensely helpful in helping to organize the data.


Horse. Of Course: Slate, NYTimes, GrubStreet and other news outlets covered the M.Wells horse meat scandal of 2012. Although we were under the impression the protestors outside of PS1 were part of a brilliant Yayoi Kusama piece, we heard later they were actual real humans that are anti-horse meat consumption. Although Gov. Christie and Bruce Springsteen’s equestrially inclined daughter have put up a Jersey embargo on horsemeat, NYC is allowing horsemeat to hit the tables with no restrictions. Expect everyone from Denny’s to Per Se to be running horsemeat specials much to the chagrin of Elmers.

Anti-Pop Propaganda Pushes Release of “Tiny Pops”: Our second food trend for 2013 is as politically charged as the first. We spoke on this blog about the tyrannical reign of Michael Bloomberg and his Kristalnacht against soda consumption. In what many are describing as the finest bit of ironic marketing by a major corporation, Coca Cola is releasing 2oz shots of the top five “pops” (or “sodas”) in their stable. Industry analysts are saying that the goal is to enrage the consumer so much that it forces future mayor Christine Quinn to reverse mayor Bloomberg’s socialist soda size scheme.

Zero stars = $$$$ : The NYTimes reviewed Guy Fieri’s NY Times Restaurant and gave  Guy’s Big Boozy Barf Bite Bonzanza zero stars. The damning review would have forced any other executive chef of Guy’s caliber to go berzerk on his sous and line cooks throwing heads through the walls Marco Pierre White style. But Guy is like Tommy Bahama+Jimmy Buffet on a cruise with an open bar. The man has ice cold Bud Light Lime running through his veins. Instead of losing it, the chelefbrity left the line to appear as himself on The Today Show reminding us that all press is good press. That same night, The  NYtimes threw a super ironic party at his restaurant which was super Brooklyn of them. The ironic dinner party was reported extensively on twitter, tumblr, and on The Huffing Po. The next morning…2,000 person lines.  Look for a lot more restaurants actively seeking out the goose egg from The Times. Danny Meyer put it best when we interviewed him for this food report, “Zero stars is the new cha ching.”

“Booze” is the new “Food”: In 2012 we saw a lot of people eating. That’s all going to change in 2013 as the focus will switch to hand crafted cocktails as the main source of fuel for Americans in major metropolitan areas. With standard cocktail prices clocking in at $14-$18 expect Americans to forgo dinner in favor of a liquid diet to minimize damage to their wallets. The Chief Acquisitions Officer at Seagrams let us know in the last year they’ve acquired over 17 artisan brands of spirits, syrups, bitters and fresh fruits that they intend to release nationwide using a new “hand drawn” label software that maintains the “artisinal small batch touch that only hand lettering a label can provide.”

Health Free Food, Healthcare Free Workers: In just the last few weeks we saw a huge news story develop that will surely carry over in 2013 as one of the biggest trends in the QSR world. You can expect plenty more CEO’s to use any number of excuses to circumvent, delay providing or entirely remove health care benefits for their employees. John Schnatter, Founder of Papa Johns had this to say “Health Care for all members of a country is very French. And this America. I drive a gold car and live in a 40,000 sq foot house protected by armed guards. I didn’t get here by providing all of my employees with even partial health care. I did it by squeezing every single cent of profit I can out of my extremely average product and my underpaid workforce.” We can’t wait for his episode of Iconoclasts with Rush Limbaugh.

Black Markets trading at alltime “Sugar High” as America Searches for a Hostess Fix: America is reeling from the news that Hostess is going bankrupt. Already we’ve seen Ebay prices for Twinkies and Ding Dongs reach the thousands of dollars per case. As the stock gets purchased off shelves at an alarming y2k rate, we expect to see black market trading reach a fever pitch we haven’t seen since the tickle me elmo craze. Jean Michele La Roubouchalame, the famed truffle dealer based out of Cleveland Ohio is now carrying a selection of Hostess goods.  Although he wouldn’t reveal which flavors and in what quantity, he did say that he has already had four Michelin starred chefs call to inquire about pricing. Look for Hostess treats (still in the bag to guarantee authenticity) to hit dessert menus mid-January.


They Draw and Cook. We chose and listed.

We were asked by the super cool creators of They Draw and Cook to curate a selection of recipes from the site’s vast database. We chose 5 meaty dishes that all sound incredible. Check out our curated list and hundreds more recipes beautifully illustrated by artists from around the world at www.theydrawandcook.com and buy the cookbook. The holidays are ah comin’ so pick up a copy and support these wonderful artists!

“Cranberry Souced Mix” DJ Max Blixx and DJ Sloppy Suss

In our family, Thanksgiving is about hanging out in the kitchen getting your cook/snack on while family slowly filters into the house. Considering we have in years past had a pre meal and post meal weigh-off, we are 1/24th Native American and it’s a kosher thanksgiving, we are far from conventional when it comes to the day of the giving of the thanks.

If you’re reading this blog, you are probs going out the night before Thanksgiving or as I like to call it “El Shitshow Grandio De La Meircoles.” {I am terrible at Spanish for purely xenophobic reasons not because I didn’t pay attention in HS}.  I cranberry relish those 5 min “what are you up to these days?” conversations with friends you haven’t seen in ages. I love $3 mixed drinks. I love getting dropped off at the bar by my dad in my 20s.

This is how the night is gonna play out for you: you are gonna take too many shots, have a lot of awkward conversations and probably get thrown out for trying to smoke weed in the bathroom of the bar. Which is why when you stroll in to your parents house at 1pm on Thursday and your mom is all like “Where have you been I called you 14 times” and you’re all like “Momz I feel like Martha Francois Garbage…please lower the volume of your voice bring me some sunglasses and a MeMoSa” you’re gonna need a super sick music playlist to guide you to the promised land while that booze kicks in. Which is why DJ Max Blixx and DJ Sloppy Suss are here to save the goddamn day per the yush.

Below we’ve crafted a dirty nasty play list with sing along classics. It will help you traverse the rocky terrain of being superbly hungover while still helping out in the kitchen. Blast it at volume 11 to drown out the pestering barrage of questions concerning the previous evening’s shenanigans.

1) Leo Sayer: You Make Me Feel Like Dancing

Yeah, that’s a white male.

2) Robin S : Show Me Love

You’re warmed up. Let’s sweat out some of last night’s booze.


3) Talking Heads : Cities

Slow it down some. Class up the playlist. You’re cool uncle peeks his head into the kitchen and nods with approval, continues to read The New Yorker and drink whiskey until dinner.

4) Queen: Pressure

The first “sing along” track of the CranBerry Souce mix. If everyone isn’t belting out “why can’t we give ourselves one more chance” they should be banished from the kitchen. It’s only gonna get weirder from here.

5) Yaz : Situation

You got all karaoke on that last track. There was some eye closing. It was dramatic. Now it’s time to get those feet moving. This song was invented for white people dance moves.

6) Midnight Star: No Parking on The Dance Floor

You can stop dancing to watch this music video because it’s amazing but this would be the perfect time to whip those mashed potatoes. Don’t even think of NOT dancing though. There’s no parking on the kitchen dance floor.

7) Sheila E : Glamarous Life

Let’s pause for some liquid refreshments before starting this track. We don’t want you to get dehydrated.

8 ) Annie Lennox : Walking on Broken Glass

Someone is going to sing the chorus of this into a wooden spoon. In their head they sound like Annie Lennox even though that’s impossible. But hey, it’s thanksgiving. Let’s get fuckin loose in this bitch.

9) Toto: Africa

This is probably the riskiest song we have on our playlist. We know some people will hate it and skip it, but based on the title, that would make you a racist. Ball’s in your court. You better start getting ready to harmonize “I blessed the rains down in Africa” for the next 4:33


10) Matthew Wilder : Break My Stride

Originally we weren’t going to include this, but just look at this amazing video. Would a guy who looks like THAT with THAT voice ever be famous these days? It’s like Mork got a record deal and then wore some leather pants. And the green leotard backup dancers? Amazing. And the band has 3 guys on keyboard. Excessive? No. It’s called the 80s.

11) The Outfield: Your Love

This is the closest we’ll ever get to putting a Journey, Boston or Aha song on a playlist. It’s an obvious sing a long song but thats the point. You and your friends and family in your kitchen getting drunk singing like idiots at the top of your lungs. You realize how lucky you are? In any Asian Latin or Arab country they ban ALL American music. Music is 100% forbidden outside of the US, Sweden, Australia and Ibiza. The rest of the world is like that town in Footloose.

12) Naked Eyes: Always Something to Remind Me

British people make the best music exhibit A.

13) David Bowie: Let’s Dance

Exhibit B. If God met David Bowie he’d be like “Hey, Bowie, remember that one time when you were Ziggy Stardust.” And Bowie would be like “yea” and god would be like “that was awesome.”

14) The Clash: Train in Vain

Exhibit C. If you asked a panel of judges which was more incredible: 1) a person fighting a 1/2 tiger 1/2 shark to the death in order to save a drowning cancer patient  OR  2) A photograph of Mick Jones under the covers, alone in a bed sleeping

The photo would unanimously win.

15) We’ll close this saucy soucy mix with Anything by Prince ever recorded but for lack of space we’ll go with: Let’s Go Crazy



The Woodworker

All our cousins are exceptionally cool. We’re a family filled with jokesters, the musically inclined and the artistically ambitious (albeit often easily distracted). And on top of all that, they’ve all got wild curly hair that can be tamed into a jewish jerri curl or allowed to run wild like a Sideshow Bob impression.

When we told everyone at the shoot last week that some of the boards were done by our cousin Eitan in Detroit, the art director and stylists were eager to integrate them in because well, they are exceptionally beautiful (and they thought it was pretty sweet our cousin made them). He’s new-ish to the practice of wood working but you’d never know it by seeing his work or if you stepped into his incredible work garage in Detroit (Yes, he works in Detroit running an urban farm, has a woodworking studio in his garage, owns chickens, has cool hair and is very much engaged. Sorry).

The boards are functional pieces of art and vary in design and style. Some are traditional, others are natural shaped and many are inlaid with crushed stone. It’s a testament to their beauty that at a photo shoot with hundreds of props sent from SF and two local prop houses in NYC; a photographer, 2 prop stylists, a food stylist and the art director all agreed a board designed and created by our cousin should be at the focal point of the dinner party section.

Check out his work here: http://occasionalwoodworking.wordpress.com/


We get drunk at 3pm all in the name of gift giving research

Even if you are looking for The Whiskey Shop, you may still walk past it. Tucked right next to the Whiskey Brooklyn Bar the place is basically a closet. There is enough counter space to accommodate 2-3 people and behind the counter on floor to ceiling shelving is booze. No cheese, no fancy chocolates. Only booze. The usual suspects are present (it is of course a store not a museum) but there was a ton of stuff we’d never heard of. We were at the store on an actual mission – Max was looking for a gift for the chef of Fatty Cue since we were heading in for dinner that evening. (Max is a classy dude so he’s never empty handed when rolling into a place for dinner where he knows the kitchen.)

What is exceptionally enjoyable about working in a kitchen is that sometimes, when everyone else is sitting behind a desk running sales figures dreading that next meeting, zoning out on Facebook dreading that next meeting or in a food coma from lunch dreading that next meeting, Max and I have the day off and we are heading into a store that sells whiskey to sit around and drink for a while.

 We saddled up to the bar and just started talking about Whiskey. It was a historical, scientific and economics rich discussion that covered proofing, distribution channels, southern vs. northern operations, why Oregon makes crap whiskey and a myriad of other whiskey based info. We learned more in the first 5 minutes than we’d known about whiskey in our entire life prior to entering the shop.

With the extremely knowledgable shopkeep Jonathan Wingo on the ready and Bon Iver on vinyl serenading us, things were sufficiently classy enough to begin some daytime whiskey consumption.

 First off was the Willett. I’m a sucker for a bottle that hand writes the Barrel number. I don’t care if its a new trend or perhaps every small distillery does this, but the personalization it lends each bottle is enough to make me shy away from the mass producers (ed. Note – we will never in our life turn down any kind of whiskey – let’s just make that perfectly clear).  The Willet had no end finish and was spicy up front. While we enjoyed the small taste we had, we agreed that the spice up front was a bit much. We ust didn’t see it as our gift choice or breaking into our own regular sipping rotation.

Next up we tried a new make. This was shipped to the shop keep from a distillery that makes product  Whiskey Shop already carries. This bottle, filled with clear liquid had yet to touch a barrel. Closer to White Lightning than to the final amber colored product, we sipped it and really enjoyed the shit out of it. Our man behind the counter placed a small cup in middle of us so we could dump any remainders from our taste glasses. This seemed responsible considering it was 3:30pm on a Wednesday and we were essentially drinking moonshine.

Next up we tried a single malt Balcones labeled at 53.5%. We learned that distilleries batches are tested and they can face heavy fines for mislabeling (and misleading) about the alcohol content. The proofing of the booze is a process that is mastered over time by distillers. It takes patience, skill and a lot of trial and error to get your product the way you want it time and time again.

Our fourth (fifth? We were getting a bit drunk) taste was Corner Creek Bourbon that had no age statement (so 2-6 years the shop keep told us) that was smooth with no end spice. It was a relaxed drink that worked excellent straight up. It would mix well if desired. We both enjoyed it and it instantly became our potential purchase.

But before any decision would be made, more drinking had to occur.

We circled back to Balcones and tried the Baby Blue, which is a young roasted blue corn whiskey. Balcones uses old wood for its barrel – its toasted with little char over a long period of time. This process of toasting the barrel wood, imparts flavor to the liquid and greatly affects the outcome of the product.  The taste was crisp and the blue corn flavor actually came through which removed any gimmicky stigma one might think upon first picking up the bottle. If we were stocking our apartment with an epic bar outside of the realm of essentials for cocktails, Baby Blue would be tops on our list.  This is a whiskey for someone who keeps a 7-10 bottle rotation at his or her place.

 For our final pour, our fine whiskey tour guide unveiled the Balcone Brimstone. It was everything he said it would be. Max said it best, “this is like drinking a campfire.” This corn whiskey  (53%) was a bottle of smoky smoky goodness. Also made with blue corn, its not for an everyday drink. But if you were on the trail of an outlaw across the plains and needed some warming through a rainstorm (or if you were just reading Dwell on your couch in Park Slope in winter) a finger of this would warm up your insides faster than a Filson blanket every could.

Stop by The Whiskey Shop and let Jonathan Wingo impart some of his Whiskey wisdom. You’ll leave with the right bottle whether it’s for a gift or for yourself. (We left happy and boozed up with a bottle of Corner Creek Bourbon). Let us know in the comments anything you’ve been drinking these days you think we should try. We’re always on the lookout for new bottles.