Avocado toast, cauliflower steaks and sparkling water. These are just a few of the trendy menu items from 2018 that are falling out of favor this spring in order to make room for fresh new alternatives, according to Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, which has just published its “Spring 2019 Culinary + Cocktail Trend Forecast.” In it, Kimpton predicts which emerging flavors, ingredients and philosophies will be big enough to make foodies’ stomachs rumble this spring.
“As a company that’s always been at the forefront of major food trends and innovations, it was our duty to uncover additional late-breaking trends that we predict will continue to shape our industry,” said Kimpton's senior vice president of restaurants and bars, Scott Gingerich. “We like to think that with this report we’ve pinpointed the truly life-altering trends that will become your absolute definitive guide to eating and drinking in restaurants this year.”
Gingerich could have added eating and drinking at meetings and events, as well, planners of which should keep their eye on the culinary cutting edge in order to keep their engagements feeling fresh and current.
Based on a survey of chefs and bartenders, as well as hours of social media research, Kimpton’s report identifies seven culinary trends and four cocktail trends:
• Coffee grounds on toast. Instead of avocado toast, Kimpton says the next big “toast” will be adorned in raw third-wave coffee grounds.
• Keto pasta. The keto diet remains popular, according to Kimpton, which says keto noodles made from butter will be the next carb-free trend.
• Succulent steaks. Instead of cauliflower steaks, succulents will receive the grill treatment.
• Edible place settings. The next phase in sustainability will be zero-waste dinners, according to Kimpton, which says consumers this year will be introduced to the idea of eating their silverware and dishes.
• Spork. To reduce labor costs, restaurants will replace forks and spoons with sporks -- even in fine dining, Kimpton predicts.
• Edible house plants. In home décor, plants are all the rage thanks to the “Jungalow” craze. Now, house plants like fiddle-leaf figs, spider plants and bromeliads will find their way to the dinner plate.
• Savory shaved ice. This childhood favorite will receive an adult makeover in savory flavors like green goddess, Buffalo blue cheese and truffle salumi.
• Salt water. In the beverage realm, bottled flat and sparkling water will be replaced by salt water -- electrolyte-rich, salted water sourced directly from the Pacific Ocean, Kimpton says.
• Bathtub gin. This Prohibition-era favorite will make a resurgence this year, according to Kimpton, which plans to lean into the trend with DIY gin-making kits for use with in-room bathtubs at its hotels.
• Grass in your glass. The botanical-infused beverage trend will evolve this year to include municipal grass-infused cocktails.
• Micro drinks. According to Kimpton, the next wave in high-end service will be tiny drinks served in doll cups in partnership with boutique toy stores.