Trends without end, round five: Pickling, pop-ups and moving beyond buzzwords

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Williams & Graham pours on the hospitality.
Brad Arguello, co-owner and chef, Über Sausage
On pickling: We're going to see a lot more pickling. Not just pickles, but all sorts of different items. Shit I don't even know about, or know you could pickle -- they're gonna pickle it.

Lon Symensma
, executive chef, ChoLon Modern Asian Bistro
On spices: Indian spices may be worked into more menus. Someone is going to open up a cool Indian restaurant here soon. It's a wide-open landscape for this cuisine in Denver.

On atmosphere:
We'll see more industrial and sleek designs. Expect designs to be a little more refined, as opposed to the extreme rustic/farmhouse look you see in so many restaurants that opened a few years back. I think we can also expect to see more open kitchens creating theater and giving guests a seat at the counter. More and more people continue to become passionate about cooking and dining out as a hobby. They want a front-row seat so they can take in all the action.

On pop-ups:
They're basically a fad, and not really sustainable. You put just as much work into opening a pop-up as you would a long-term restaurant, only to take it all down a short period of time later. It only works best for the buzz factor and artistic expression, but it's not economically viable, as almost every pop-up loses money. Food trucks will withstand the test of time better and can be successful at a much lower cost of entry.

Jensen Cummings,
executive chef, Slotted Spoon Meatball Eatery
On the obvious: Meatballs!

On stews: I think regional and international peasant/comfort stews are going to make a surge in 2013, and the pressure cooker and crockpots are going to be in. In fact, the pressure cooker should be the new, hot kitchen tool in restaurant kitchens.

Jonathan Power, co-owner/executive chef, The Populist, Crema Coffee House
On storylines: More food as narrative. There's a good start in that direction with Next, in Chicago, and to some extent, Eleven Madison Park, but I think you'll see more of it, and on a national scale, especially in fine dining. Fine dining is becoming increasingly "experiential," and the food served will have a more developed story behind it as restaurants seek to satisfy a growing demand for something unique. Beyond that, I think we'll start to see more of a resurgence in luxury ingredients, but in less traditional manners. Look for foie and caviar in unexpected places.

Sean Kenyon, barman, Squeaky Bean and Williams & Graham
On cocktail fads: Novelty cocktail trends like barrel-aged cocktails, keg cocktails and bottled cocktails will fade away. These trends are taking us back to the "Age of Convenience" that almost led our craft to ruin. What's next? Housemade dehydrated "fresh" sour mix? It's been done. All of these ready-made beverages take away from the craft and interaction with our guests. Oh, and beer cocktails still suck.

On bar hospitality: I'd love to see bartending return to basic hospitality: greetings, eye contact, introductions and congeniality. For a true bartender, the art of conversation is just as important -- if not more important -- as the craft of mixology. There was a time when the bartender was a complete guide to the city, other bars and restaurants, current events, sports news, etc. Hardly any of the new generation of bartenders even cares about that aspect of our profession, because they've focused so much on the science that they've forgotten that we're serving people, not drinks.

On spirits: People's eyes will be opened to amazing lower-alcohol vermouths and fortified wines like Cocchi Americano, Lillet, Barolo Chinat and Bonal. Amaros and digestivi will continue to surge, and the Leopold Bros. Fernet will become a cult sensation. (Todd, please make more. Quickly!)

Watch for another installment of "Trends Without End" tomorrow.



Location Info

Lucky Pie Pizza & Tap House

1610 16th St., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

Tin Star Smokehouse

16400 S. Golden Road, Golden, CO

Category: Restaurant

The Inventing Room

Denver metro area, Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

Vesta Dipping Grill

1822 Blake St., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

Silvi's Kitchen - CLOSED

7600 Grandview Ave., Arvada, CO

Category: Restaurant

Beatrice & Woodsley

38 S. Broadway, Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

Uber Sausage

2730 E. Colfax Ave., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

Beyond Nightclub - CLOSED

501 16th Street Mall, Denver, CO

Category: Music

Slotted Spoon Meatball Eatery

2730 S. Colorado Blvd., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

The Populist

3163 Larimer St., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

Crema Coffee House

2862 Larimer St., Denver, CO

Category: General

Squeaky Bean

1500 Wynkoop St., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

Williams & Graham

3160 Tejon St., Denver, CO

Category: Music

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6 comments
thedude
thedude

I rather have a good cocktail made quickly then watch a bartender fondle a piece of ice for ten minutes while explaining to me how important it is the drink

jenna-furrr
jenna-furrr topcommenter

I would also love to see more pickled things, more Indian spices, and yes, beer cocktails really do suck.

jenna-furrr
jenna-furrr topcommenter

List said, "The discussion we regularly have is about the relationship between allergens and personal dislikes." 

I know, right?! I dunno when it came to be that people thought it was cool to turn a dislike of certain foods/ingredients into an affected "allergy" in order to be catered to, but if I ever ever find the guy/gal that started this trend, imma punch him/her in the thorax over and over.

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