Bars and restaurants
fuel local economies across the country.
Restaurants and bars are implementing more technology into the service industry, eliminating downtime and streamlining orders. Many establishments enable you to reserve a table or even preorder dinner from a mobile device. The chef can start prepping your meal even before you arrive and keep the flow in and out of the restaurant moving right along.
Some bars now allow customers to place drink orders via apps or tablets, saving you the struggle of muscling your way to the bar to get a drink. Such apps employ location-based software so servers can quickly and easily find your table. Some chain restaurants even use table-mounted technology so you can get beverage refills or pay for the bill without signaling a server.
Each person in a group ordering his or her own cocktail is not necessarily the norm anymore. Some establishments are concocting family-style punches that can be enjoyed by all guests pulling up a chair. Shared drinks may come in a pitcher or a spigot jar to enhance the festive and communal feel.
It's not only chefs who are testing dining mettle with exotic ingredients. Bartenders are taking a cue from trendy foraged ingredients and using them to modernize outdated cocktails. Botanical ingredients like lichen, honeysuckle, Pacific madrone bark and pine needles are turning up in drinks across the country. Many mixologists also are leaning more heavily on organic and naturally-sourced ingredients rather than prepackaged mixers.
Locally sourced products
Eco-conscious consumers demand more locally sourced items, and this trend is beginning to pour over into the beverage industry. Expect to hear bartenders advertising more local ingredients, such as craft beers bottled right up the street or wine made from grapes grown at a nearby vineyard. Some bars may source spirits from neighborhood distilleries.
Leafy greens and root vegetables
Foods from humble beginnings are turning into gourmet fare. It seems a new bitter green or starchy product is becoming the vegetable du jour each week. Afraid to try your hand at kale or kohlrabi from the comforts of your own kitchen? Don't worry, as many nearby restaurants are likely willing to do that experimenting for you.
Salsa may have surpassed ketchup as a favorite dipping sauce, but many others are poised to take the top condiment prize. Savvy chefs are experimenting with a variety of hot and sweet flavor combinations. Expect to find more jams, jellies, rubs, dips, and glazes with a spicy twist on your favorite foods.
Going out for a night on the town will enlighten diners to a series of new trends that are paving the way for unique experiences.NAN Dining Guide Kitchen Talk on 01/23/2015