Top Ten of Westchester Food Trends of 2011
Okay, here’s my year-end listicle in all of its brash, hype-filled glory. Look, we’re not saying that these 10 things are good or bad; we’re just saying that they’re trendy. And, while I’m at it, I’d like to send this one out to all the readers. What trends have you been witnessing, good, bad, neutral, or ugly? Add your nominees for EDP’s Top Trends of 2011 in the comment section below. Plus, thanks to everyone who read EDP in 2011 and, to all of you, have a delicious New Year!
1. Beer, There, Everywhere. Not only does Westchester brew fabulous beer and contain excellent beer-centric restaurants, but, within just the last year, we’ve installed taps in delis, supermarkets, and gourmet stores. Why, you’ll even find boutique Italian craft beer in tiny, little neighborhood restaurants. Turns out cold beer is Westchester’s hottest trend of 2011.
2. Macarons: The New Cupcake. Now that those Sex and the City girls have officially reached their dotage, isn’t it time to come up with a new girlie treat? Sure, we all thought we had a live one with those ubiquitous Pinkberry clones (sorry, Red Mango), but who wants to eat drippy fro-yo while teetering in heels and a tight, short, slightly vulgar skirt? Pretty Parisian macarons have become the accepted answer to this perennial problem—good thing they’re available almost everywhere on the planet, but the best are at La Tulipe Desserts (see below).
3. The Burger Bubble. People. Let me point out that we have seen bubbles before. Remember the 18th-century South Sea Bubble? The 1929 Wall Street Crash, or, within memory, the Dotcom Boom (and Bust)? Don’t look now, but even as I write, there is a raging speculative mania among the county’s burger meisters. Everyone from Five Guys, Cheeburger Cheeburger, and Elevation Burger, to Burgers, Shakes & Fries and Westchester Burger Company are joining an ever-inflated bid aimed at your burger dollars. Of course, all these new places join the county’s existing saturation of Mickey D’s and Burger Kings. Really, you’ve just got to ask yourself: how many burgers can Westchester eat?
4. Dude, There’s an App for That. I actually remember the moment when I realized that cell phones had become more than just telephones. I was sitting on London’s DLR as everyone else on the train was staring into their handhelds, tapping out texts. Nowadays, folks use their phones to check whether the fish they want is sustainably harvested. Or they use their phones to learn the Dirty Dozen, how to butcher beef, mix cocktails, or cook a family meal in 20 minutes? Turns out, whatever your dining quandary, Dude, there’s an app for that.
5. Would You Like to Hear Tonight’s Specials (in the Comfort of Your Home)? Do you remember the bad old days when a waiter had to recite the daily specials menu while standing at the edge of your table? If you spaced out somewhere in the middle, well, that was just your loss. Nowadays you can sit in your jammies and surf the Facebook pages of your favorite restaurants. There, you’ll see tonight’s specials before you even decide where to eat.
6. Food as Dare. The 10-patty burger at Elevation Burger. The Entourage at Westchester Burger Company. I don’t know if anyone actually consumes these behemoths, but they’re appearing on a menu—and in front of a mugging face on Facebook—near you.
7. Booze from the ‘Burbs. Now that the cost of a license to distill spirits in New York State has dropped to $1,450, you’ll be seeing more local and suburban distilleries cranking out hooch like StillTheOnes’s Comb Vodka. Um….yay?
8. Vegetarian Creep. Do you remember when the Vegetarian Option knew its place in the ghetto at the bottom of the menu? Well, now with all this Meatless Monday/flexitarian stuff, these vegetarian dishes are all over the place—even in prime real estate at the top of the page! WTF!
9. Non Alcoholic Drinks (Grown People Can Order with a Straight Face). No more Pepsi and Sprite for the non-tippling breeders and drivers of Westchester. Nowadays, you’ll find excellent, house-made teas, sodas, and mocktails, even at mid-priced restaurants.
10. Democracy Reigns (on Menus, Anyway). Want a Korean taco? How about Hawaiian poke, pizza, a burger, seafood, or a steak? You find all of these dishes (plus more!) at the new Yard House in Yonkers. Add the new mega-raunt’s all-encompassing menu to Moderne Barn’s (and those of all the pan-Asians), and you’ve got yourself a Westchester trend of vast menus that refuse to say no.
Three Ways to Drink in the New Year
I feel like I say this every year, but some of you just don’t listen. You’d better shake the crumbs off your Slanket and ring in the New Year while standing upright! What does lying in front of the tube on New Year’s Eve say about your self-respect, optimism, and community feeling? Cram your gut into a non-elastic waistband and hit the town for at least one night this year! Check out these three very different New Year’s Eve events:
12 Grapes: From the site, “This year, 12 Grapes is proud to present Duchess Di & the Distractions, an 8-piece band with three saxophones, guitar, double bass, keys, drums and Duchess Di at center stage, crooning into her retro-style microphone.
In true 1940s Diva style, Duchess Di gets all dolled up in sequined, tight-fitting dresses, a gardenia tucked into her hair. This entertaining band keeps the audience dancing all night long with their unique style of “risque” blues, swing & jump, and American roots music like rockabilly and early rock & roll. Their repertoire from the ‘40’s and ‘50’s include covers by Ruth Brown, Dinah Washington, Louis Jordan, and Louis Prima. These guys are ‘red hot & real gone!’
8:30 pm dinner & show is $95 per person (plus tax & tip) and includes a three-course prix fixe menu, three hours of live music and dancing, a Prosecco toast, and our “12 Grapes at Midnight” tradition. Reservations required.”
Le Château If you’re thinking of going more tony, go all robber-baron style at this historic Westchester estate. There are two seatings: 6 -6:30 – 8:30 pm ($98 per person) and 9 – 9:30 pm – 1am ($138 per person). View dinner menu here and look for live music from Pimpinella & DJ E Train http://lechateauny.com/UserFiles/pimpinella.jpg.
Plates Here’s the menu. And from the site, “Still planning New Year? We got options! Three Saturday-night celebrations: Occupy PLATES to welcome 2012…On the early side, at 5 pm, it’s $50 (with a child’s menu for $15)making family celebrations a great deal! At 7 pm, the menu is priced right at $85 and, at 9:30 pm, we start opening the Champagne and the menu is $100…! And if you’re on your way or coming from, stop in for a glass of Prosecco, which will be $7 at the bar all night.” For reservations: manager@PlatesonthePark.com or 914-834-1244
They’re pretty. They’re colorful. They’re sophisticated. And guess what else? These are the hottest things to hit bakeries since the Magnolia Bakery Cookbook. Sure, you may have gotten used to all those pretty, pastel cupcakes—but ladies, wrap yourselves around these suckers for a change. At La Tulipe Desserts, you’ll find a gorgeous selection of macarons that include citron, raspberry, café, chocolate, hazelnut, blood orange, pistachio, coconut, and caramel. All we can say, having tried a couple, is that these things belong on every table.