Forbidden ingredients, critical shakeups, and restaurants returning from the grave. True to their very nature, dining trends come and go. But some developments signal shifts that will probably stay at the table for years to come. Join us today as we hark back to ten such spreading shifts in our food and restaurant landscape. And if you want to catch up on what's been happening in other major metropoli under Grub Street's watch, make sure to check out our sister sites throughout the day for the latest movements in Foodlandia.
We Entered The Era of Ingredient Prohibition
As Michael Bloomberg was banning the Big Gulp from Gotham, California was slapped with a ban on the sale and production of foie gras. Activists raged on the street, we stacked up our favorite foie dishes, and chefs defied the ban the best way they knew how: With decadent tasting menus, poignant humor, petitions, and, now that the law is set in stone, flagrant defiance.
Our Critical Landscape Shifted
Kicking off a massive shakeup, S. Irene Virbila dropped The L.A. Times' star system shortly before Jonathan Gold left L.A. Weekly and took over the top-spot as restaurant critic for the paper. Besha Rodell decamped from Atlanta to fill his shoes, and Brad A. Johnson turned his attention towards Orange County as the critic for The O.C. Register.
We Did Away With The Middlemen
Though tableside service is still the standard, 2012 ushered in a number of new ways to feed ourselves sans human interaction. Sprinkles introduced a cupcake ATM, followed by a luxury version with caviar and truffles from Beverly Hills Caviar. U-Mini ditched servers for a high-tech ordering system, one of the many notables responsible for a rise in iPad ordering.
Japan Exported Dish-Specific Specialists
L.A. can already brag about superior sushi and kaiseki ninjas. This year, Westsiders waited in line, like so many Daikokuya-nuts in Downtown, for the rich bowls of tsukemen-experts Tsujita, leading to a boom of neighborhood noodlers. Elsewhere, Hannosuke exported its tempura donburi to a mini-mall, while the stage is being set for katsu crackerjacks Kimukatsu, Soba specialist Sojibo, and a Nippon-approved cosplay café called MaiDreamin to spread their wares.
We Said Goodbye to Treasured Friends
Evan Kleiman's Angeli Caffe closed on Melrose, Campanile was shockingly given the boot on La Brea, Paul Shoemaker shuttered Savory, Palate called it quits, and Micah Wexler's excellent, artistic Mezze disappeared, along with stalwarts on the scene like King Eddy's Saloon, Dar Maghreb, Drago, Yujean Kang's, and Sushi Nozawa.
We Ate at Restaurants That We'd Already Said Goodbye To
While Next was recreating El Bulli in Chicago, John Sedlar brought back his esteemed eighties restaurant Saint Estephe for a month at Rivera, Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken took a time machine back to their own "Me Decade" restaurant, City, Ludo Lefebvre gave diners a second chance with a greatest hits swan song of his LudoBites, and even Angeli returned to The Charleston for a night.
We Ordered Pizza Our Way, Right Away
Adam Fleischman started the customizable, quick-fired traditional pizza ball rolling when he opened 800 Degrees in Westwood, followed quickly, and maybe a little too closely, by the likes of Blaze Pizza, PizzaRev, and Clausi Batusi.
The South Rose Again in Southern California
2012 introduced new restaurants like Post & Beam, The Hart & The Hunter, Black Hogg, and Wolf in Sheep's Clothing bearing distinct and inspired Southern twangs. Hitting more like a sledgehammer, Sassafras set down roots as one of Hollywood's coolest new destinations, serving fantastic barrel-aged cocktails in a vibe with all the subtlety of a Disney ride, with the debut of Spoonful in North Hollywood hot on its heels.
Seafood Shack Cuisine Got a Standing O
L&E Oyster Bar offered hope for a stagnant Silver Lake dining scene with its bivalves, chowder, and po'boys, shortly before Cousins Maine set up shop in Pasadena with a focus on lobster rolls, and Downtown's Water Grill took a more down-to-earth approach with Atlantic cod tacos and Maryland crab cakes. Appetites are now piqued for the arrival of Michael Cimarusti's Connie & Ted's and two new seafood-centered restaurant's from Sunny Spot and A-Frame's David Reiss.
We Never Knew Where Our Next Great Meal Would Appear
Even though the term "pop-up" was drained of juice through marketing-speak overuse and interest in food trucks continued to wane, some of our best meals were still to be found outside traditional walls. Wolvesmouth's Craig Thornton served his starkly bewitching plates in an apartment, Gary Menes offered soul-stirring omakase at his former employer's shuttered space, ex-Patina chef Kevin Meehan island-hopped through various kitchens with his Kali Dining series, Ari Taymor's Alma enchanted diners in both fleeting and brick-and-mortar forms, and The Vagracy Project garnered major props at a non-yacht club. Meanwhile, we ate Georgian food in an empty art gallery, Jeremy Fox denied his pop-up was really a pop-up, and Mike D. and Roy Choi united to provide a perfect spring vibe in front of MOCA, while Diplo and James Murphy backed them up.
Most Viewed Stories
A Bold Facebook Post Reminds Everyone How Horribly Female Bartenders Get Treated
Inside the World’s Most Mysterious Nutella Emporium
This Coffee Start-up Uses Whiskey Instead of Water in Its Cold Brew
It Only Took America 80 Years to Turn Bloody Marys Into a Complete Joke
I Pumpkin Spiced My Life With Black-Market Starbucks Syrup
Inside the World’s Most Mysterious Nutella EmporiumAll openings »
Looks Like Krescendo Has Served Its Last PizzaAll closings »
Search by name
Or, search by
Latest News on Grub StreetThe Cotton-Candy Ice-Cream Cone Is Now a Reality
S'mores ice cream plus sugar cone plus smoked cotton-candy.Horrific Animal Cruelty Exposed at Farm for Domino’s and Pizza Hut Cheese Provider
Video shows workers punching and shocking cows.Check Out This Marvelous S’mores Espresso Drink
It required a month of testing to perfect.Why Tartine Breadmaster Chad Robertson Is Going Global
He's expanding.Inside the World’s Most Mysterious Nutella Emporium
"We'll keep to first names for now."A Bold Facebook Post Reminds Everyone How Horribly Female Bartenders Get Treated
Yes, "misogyny is alive and well" in the service industry.It Only Took America 80 Years to Turn Bloody Marys Into a Complete Joke
Congratulations, everyone.Tom Colicchio’s Next TV Show Will Be ‘Completely Different’ From Top Chef
"I’m laboring over this, because I want to get it right."People Are Not Happy With the ‘Communist’ Logo at Taco Bell’s Bánh Mì Offshoot
"You're just insulting Vietnamese Americans by associating Saigon with the communist symbol."Dominique Ansel Will Open in Tokyo in 2015
"There will be something created just for Tokyo, and I will personally see every aspect of development," the chef says.
With Slimer and Stay-Puft, of course.A Restaurant Somehow Thought an Adrian Peterson ‘Spank Your Server’ Promo Was a Good Idea
The owner calls it "a bad joke gone awry."Manhattan Takes Its Next Step Toward Becoming One Enormous Shake Shack Line
Hope you like crinkle-cut French fries.Here’s the Scene at Today’s Opening of a Real-Life Friends Central Perk
Free coffee, and one special orange couch.GG’s, the Goat Town Reboot, Will Serve Oven-Baked Lobster and Grandma-Style Pizza
It's the Goat Town reboot.How a Beloved Restaurant Moves Forward With a New Chef
Il Buco Alimentari's new executive chef Roger Martinez on the changes he has planned. (Don't worry: The short ribs are staying put.)Walmart Told Customers a Fake ‘Sugar Tax’ Was Making Their Coke Cost More
The "tax" equaled the amount discounted by an ad.This Coffee Start-up Uses Whiskey Instead of Water in Its Cold Brew
It's clearly an idea whose time has come.Kobayashi Battles the Tiny Hamster in the Eating Contest You’ve Eagerly Awaited
It's like Ali versus Frazier, but with hot dogs.Group Reconsiders Plans for a Pop-up That Only Serves Death Row Last Meals
It offered all of the culinary perks "without the nasty execution bit."
One man's quest to make everything taste like a latte.The Rainbow Room Finally Reopens October 6
The Art Deco landmark is back.Bidding Is Up to $100K on eBay for NFL Player’s 20-Cent Tip Receipt
Six figures for a glorified autograph.OddFellows Launches Delivery in Manhattan
Right in time for the cold weather.Will These 20 Food-Porn Photos Make You Feel Less Hungry?
According to a new study, they might!Starbucks Is Testing a Dainty ‘Mini’ Frappuccino
A ten-ouncer you can hold in the palm of your hand.Corporate Executives Defend Olive Garden’s Unlimited Breadsticks
"The Outlook for the Future Is Bright."6 Dishes From a ‘Weird Chinese Food’ Dinner That Mostly Just Sound Delicious
Duck gizzards, pig ears, and thousand-year eggs.Surge — the World’s Most Nineties Soda — Is Coming Back
The revived brand will be sold in 12-packs available only on Amazon.What to Eat at Marta, Danny Meyer’s Brand-New Pizzeria
Pizza, beer-brined chicken, and more pizza.
With foie gras, quail, ricotta, and, of course, honey.A Pizza Hut Horrified Animal Lovers With Free Pets for People Who Bought Pizzas
The offending store concedes it was probably a "bad idea."An Ice Cream Shop Rolled Out ‘Big Straight Ice Cream’ This Weekend
"What's the issue? We can call our ice cream whatever we want," the wine bar's manager says.Restaurant Review: At Wilma Jean, the Southern Chef Surrenders to New York's Fried-Chicken Fixation
Plus: Hanamizuki serves up fusion omusubi in a serene setting.California Makes It Illegal to Sue People for Posting Nasty Yelp Reviews
The first, and probably not last, state to do this.Shake Shack and Doughnut Plant Unleashed a Limited-Edition Concrete
The limited vanilla–raspberry–sesame cake doughnut run lasts untill September 21.Grub Street’s Restaurant Power Rankings: Marta, Birds & Bubbles, White Street, and More
Find out where to eat in Grub Street's weekly ranking of the city's most-buzzed-about restaurants.Tavern on the Green Finally Admits It Has a Problem
The iconic Central Park restaurant has ditched chef Katy Sparks.Activist Olive Garden Investors Want to Kill Unlimited Breadsticks
All that dough on the table means less in their pockets.The Beckhams Party at Salvation Taco; Madonna Dines at Scarpetta
This week's Celebrity Settings.
The niche magazine will cease publication — and the food world has lost one of its guiding voices.Owner of PBR in Talks to Sell Company for Almost $1 Billion
Nearly four times what it sold for in 2010.Estelle Breaks From Fashion Week to Eat Doughnuts
"If you're gonna eat doughnuts again, do it fabulously."A Japanese Chain Is Stuffing Doughnuts With Hot Ramen
Just in time for the brisk fall season.Gordon Ramsay Decides Now’s the Best Time to Open an Atlantic City Restaurant
He's coming to Caesars in early 2015.America Hits the Pumpkin-Spice Saturation Point
English muffins, Jell-O, seltzer, and more.This Golden Spoon Is Currently the Ultimate Chef Fetish Object
The spoon is something of a talisman for chefs, in addition to being an incredibly useful tool.A Steakhouse Sued Yelp to Make It Identify a Malicious Reviewer
Someone impersonating a worker claimed to have "personally spit" in food.Here Are 33 Different Kinds of Dumplings From NYC’s Newest Dumpling Paradise
This place has everything from lamb and bean to egg and dill to spicy beef dumplings.In-N-Out Burger’s Surprise Toronto Pop-up Instantly Draws Hundreds of People
It's In-N-Out Burger's first East Coast foray.