Hot Trends: Tacos, Purées, Seacuterie, and more

Tacos Without Borders

Tacos are rooted in the U.S. as traditional Mexican food but are expanding with bold flavors, global mash-ups, and innovative creations. Step up your taco game by incorporating ingredients from around the globe, adding both value and intrigue to your menu.

The Kimchi Taco Truck in Brooklyn, NY, goes above and beyond with their taco protein selections offering grilled Korean BBQ short rib, spicy seared pork, spicy grilled chicken, Korean fried chicken, Krispy fish, and tofu edamame falafel.

• New York restaurant La Esquina serves flavorful taco mash-ups with combinations such as shrimp, garlic butter, smoked bacon, pico de gallo, lettuce, and chipotle glaze, as well as vegetarian combinations like grilled maitake mushrooms, sweet corn, queso fresco, roasted pepitas, and creamy Mexican salsa.

• Tacos at Casa Enrique located in Long Island City, NY, also feature distinct proteins such as slow-cooked brisket, beef tongue, crumbled spicy chorizo, and pork marinated in chiles and pineapple.

Pure Plant-Based Purées

Brian Darr, managing director at Datassential, claimed, “The hummus trend paved the way for chefs to experiment with plant-based ingredients to create smooth spreads, dressings, and sauces. The wholesomeness and freshness of these purées captivate health-conscious customers as well as those who admire a smooth, vibrant presentation.”

 Avocado’s buttery flavor and creamy texture lends itself to a plant-based purée application. Top shrimp or scallop appetizers with an avocado cilantro purée, or reimagine a traditional hollandaise sauce into a vegan purée of avocado, lemon juice, and extra virgin olive oil.

 Utilize plant-based spreads for the bases of trending grain or vegetable bowls, and off er combinations such as spring pea and spinach hummus, beet hummus, or zucchini avocado hummus.

 Add a creamy white sauce to tacos using cauliflower purée and a dash of habanero for a kick, or make cauliflower purée the base for proteins such as steak, seared scallops, or salmon.

All About Asian Bowls

According to Technomic Inc., 24 percent of consumers purchase ethnic flavors from restaurants at least once a week. From ramen and Buddha to bibimbap and poke, Asian bowls are a growing trend that make it convenient for consumers to taste the worldly flavors they demand with endless customization options.

• Ramen is introducing a new twist for 2018: Mazemen, mixed Asian-style noodles gently tossed with flavorful sauce. Ivan Ramen’s Slurp Shop in New York, NY, offers a “less brothy, more saucy” Triple Garlic Mazemen with rich chicken broth, roasted garlic, bean sprouts, minced sesame chicken, scallions, and whole wheat noodles.

Noreetuh, located in New York, NY, showcases intriguing flavor profiles that differentiates their poke bowl from the rest with the addition of macadamia nuts and pickled jalapeño in their big-eye tuna poke bowl.

Hangawi, located in New York, NY, is a vegetarian restaurant that serves bibimbap, the latest trending Korean bowl, with all things organic including mushrooms, avocado, and brown rice

New Features on Falafel

Falafel presents the perfect blank canvas for customizable, vegetable-centric offerings. The appeal of this Middle Eastern gem is increasing, especially with intriguing flavor combination upgrades and innovative concepts.

• Taïm, an Israeli vegetarian restaurant located in New York, offers three types of fresh falafel. Their traditional variety contains parsley, cilantro, and mint; the mild spicy consists of Tunisian spices; and the olive falafel features Kalamata olives.

• Empellón, located in New York, NY, fuses Middle Eastern and Latin American cuisines with their Falafel Taco containing falafel made with cilantro, epazote (Mexican tea), hoja santa (Mexican herbs), and a smear of hummus dusted with burnt Mexican oregano.

• Showcase seasonal flavors in falafel offerings by substituting the traditional base of chickpeas with peas and serve with pickled rhubarb and goat yogurt, as featured on the spring menu at The Black Birch restaurant in Kittery, ME.

Stunning Seacuterie

Succulent seafood is redefining the traditional charcuterie plate. “Seacuterie” takes less-than-perfect cuts of seafood and features them using different techniques such as smoking, curing, grinding, or pickling. This new take on seafood gives chefs the opportunity to explore their culinary creativity and offer satiating shareables while nodding to sustainability.

• Bâtard Tribeca, located in New York City, serves Octopus “Pastrami” containing braised ham hock, Pommery mustard, and new potatoes.

• PB Catch, a restaurant in Palm Beach, FL, offers diners unique seacuterie selections such as Scallop Mortadella with pistachio and peach mostarda, as well as Cured White Tuna with red miso cured escolar, wakame (seaweed), crispy shiitake, and sake aioli.

• Washington D.C. restaurant, The Salt Line, serves a variety of seacuterie including Shrimp Linguica, Cold Smoked Arctic Char, Swordfish Mortadella, and Smoked Whitefish Salad.