Friday, January 19, 2018
Cooking

From the food editor: Food trends from New York City and D.C. I'd like to see in Tampa Bay

I recently got back from a trip to New York City and Washington D.C., where I ate a lot of the top-notch food those cities are known for: a Momofuku ramen bowl, lunch at the Museum of Modern Art's Michelin-star restaurant the Modern, pizza on the street. You know, the kind of fare people seek out specifically in those locales. But my traveling buddy and I also encountered a couple of food trends that could — and should — catch on in the Tampa Bay area.

Varying portion sizes: We encountered two extremes in terms of portion sizes at restaurants, both of which I haven't seen with as much frequency in the Tampa Bay area. On the smallish side were the "one-bite" dishes we had at a tapas restaurant called Huertas in the East Village. Realistically, most of these were about 2-4 bites, depending how daintily you consume food, but the most expensive one was just $7. For $20, you could order all six, allowing you to try many different flavor profiles and composed bites instead of just the ones in a single dish.

Another trend was family-style dishes, which seemed to appear on almost every dinner menu we perused. The dining style hasn't yet caught on in a big way here, but there are traces of it: At Il Ritorno in St. Petersburg, chef David Benstock recently introduced Family Night on Tuesdays, where diners pay $30 for a meal of solely family-style dishes. Like the small bites or tapas, it's another way of dining that appeals to the desire (particularly among millennial diners) to share plates and try more than one dish.

Cereal everywhere: David Chang's Momofuku empire is not just known for its noodles. It has also introduced to the world Milk Bar, a sister bakery run by chef Christina Tosi that specializes in sweets like crack pie and, most infamously, ice cream made with milk, cornflakes and brown sugar that mimics the flavor of the milk leftover at the bottom of a cereal bowl. (I liked it, but it's an acquired taste.) There are a couple of locations in NYC and a newer one in D.C. Then there was Kellogg's NYC, a cereal cafe that opened at the beginning of July right in Times Square. They only serve cereal, but the menu is vast and quirky and a more fun way to start the morning than bagels or doughnuts. It's all Kellogg's cereal, but with a twist (Tosi actually consulted on this menu, too): My bowl was a base of Special K and Frosted Flakes pumped up with pistachios, lemon zest and thyme — truly delicious. A place like downtown St. Petersburg seems just whimsical enough to welcome this nutty cereal fascination.

Salad places: One of my favorite culinary discoveries was not a high-end restaurant but a casual chain concept called Chopt, which specializes in salads. Specifically, make-your-own, Chipotle-style salads. We've written before about the serious lack of fast casual spots at which one can grab a healthy, hearty and affordable salad around here (particularly in downtown St. Pete and downtown Tampa), so Chopt and similar places like Sweet Green stood out to me. At each place, I was able to choose from a wide variety of bases — quinoa grain blend, arugula, spinach, etc. — and fresh toppings, and my salads usually came in at less than $10.

Contact Michelle Stark at [email protected] or (727) 893-8829. Follow @mstark17.

Comments
Healthful eating is just a one-pan fish dish away

Healthful eating is just a one-pan fish dish away

By Ellie KriegerI recoil at the repentant food chatter that crops up this time of year, dominated by words such as "cleanse" and "detox," which, from what I can tell, are just modern code for "extreme diet." But part of cultivating a healthy, balanc...
Published: 01/17/18
We tried eating the recommended serving of fruit and vegetables for a week, and it was harder than we thought

We tried eating the recommended serving of fruit and vegetables for a week, and it was harder than we thought

I sat at my desk eating chunked pineapple straight out of the can, reading about how much fruit and vegetables we should all be eating every day: 1 1/2 to two cups of fruit, 2 1/2 to three cups of vegetables, at a minimum, per the United States Depar...
Published: 01/17/18
Taste test: pot stickers

Taste test: pot stickers

Whenever I order meals at a Chinese or Japanese restaurant I always look for pot stickers on the menu. The tasty Asian dumplings are filled with pork or chicken and veggies and cooked with a perfect balance of steaming and frying. The reason I order ...
Published: 01/16/18
From the food editor: Recipe for warm, cozy Pita Ribollita soup

From the food editor: Recipe for warm, cozy Pita Ribollita soup

When I first made this soup, Florida was in the grips of a cold weather snap, the likes of which rarely happens in this part of the state. Weíre talking a whole week of lows in the 30s. The 30s! It was everything I ever wanted and more ó the rare win...
Published: 01/16/18
Will you be drinking mushroom coffee in 2018? Here are some predicted food trends

Will you be drinking mushroom coffee in 2018? Here are some predicted food trends

By Drew JacksonBleeding veggie burgers, edible flowers and tree-based sparkling waters could be the most popular foods of the year.Whole Foods, the organics pioneer and Jeff Bezos-backed supermarket, peered into its crystal milk jug and unveiled what...
Published: 01/10/18
Tampaís JoAnne Tucker takes a win in Pillsbury Bake-Off

Tampaís JoAnne Tucker takes a win in Pillsbury Bake-Off

The Pillsbury Bake-Off is serious business and big bucks. Since 1949, the countryís most competitive home cooks put their thinking caps on: How can I use one of the designated Pillsbury products in a new, original ó and hereís the tricky part ó outra...
Published: 01/09/18
For something different, embrace the country-style pork rib

For something different, embrace the country-style pork rib

When it comes to pork, most home cooks know the chop, the tenderloin, the loin roast, even the Boston butt. But because I am a sucker for the underdog and the oddball, I have a new favorite cut of pork: the country-style rib.Why oddball? First, it su...
Published: 01/09/18
From the food editor: Turkey meatloaf and potatoes cook together in this one-pan recipe

From the food editor: Turkey meatloaf and potatoes cook together in this one-pan recipe

January brings a weird dichotomy. Iím often exhausted from December, a month packed with lots of travel and merriment and comfort food. But I also feel energized for the new year, fresh planner in hand and lots of lofty goals ready to be set.Itís the...
Published: 01/09/18
Dependable lentils are the star in this Thai Red Curry With Lentils and Tofu recipe

Dependable lentils are the star in this Thai Red Curry With Lentils and Tofu recipe

I take lentils for granted. Iíve had bursts of creativity using them, but for the most part they sit in my pantry while I reach for bigger, more tempting members of the legume family week in and week out. Until one day, Iím out of cans of chickpeas, ...
Published: 01/09/18

Taste test: Our favorite foods from the past six months

The following is a list of the foods our judges liked the best from our tastings the past six months. Some background on this column: We began publishing the list in 2004 after readers asked for a short list to carry with them on shopping runs. Our p...
Published: 01/08/18