Fads or Trends? The 2013 Los Angeles Food Scene Year-end Review

In 2013, I had my share wonderful dining experiences with my Foodie Friends. As I look back, I also noticed a few new things in the food scene while dining throughout the Los Angeles area. The economy certainly didn’t stop us from spending money on food. Some were clearly fads yet most were obvious trends with a foreseeable future. So here is my 2013 Los Angeles Food Scene Year-end Review.  

The LA version of the Cronut. I got suckered into finding LA’s version of Dominique Ansel’s Cronut. I blame my friends at the ABC Television Network for its exclusive over coverage of the Cronut on Good Morning America and the local news in the Los Angeles area. I also blame a few LA publications for contacting and challenging local Bakers to come up with their own Cronut version. As tasty as it looks, unfortunately I’m still not convinced that the LA version of the Cronut is a food trend. For now, it’s a Fad.  

Juicing. LA went head over heels crazy for cold pressed juices for the health benefits of cleansing our bodies. Yeah, it was healthy, it also tasted good, and I felt good after drinking them. A bottle can cost upwards to $7 for a 12-ounce bottle. Regular juicing is like a 3 to 5 times a day commitment that can cost almost $200 to $300 a week for a subscription. In my humble opinion, juicing and cold pressed juice bars are terribly expensive and not exactly enjoyable when you have to pee flush out a lot throughout the day. It was a Fad in 2013.   

I Heart Food Festivals. I had predicted that the Gourmet Food Truck popularity would dwindle down in 2013, because they are venturing into brick and mortar establishments. What has replaced the Food Trucks in Los Angeles are food festivals like the Yokocho Ramen Festival, the Bacon Festival, and the Thai Food Festival. I can predict that more food festivals will crop up in 2014. It’s a Trend. 

Speaking of Ramen, the new burger to hit the streets of LA in 2013 was the Ramen Burger; a hamburger with a ramen noodle bun. Oh, boy were these delicious when you could find them at a restaurant or at Food Festivals. But since they didn’t become a regular part of a restaurant’s menu and they haven’t been heard of since summer, I can honestly conclude that the Ramen Burger is long gone. It was a Fad. 

Hail to the Kale. This stiff, leafy green became so readily available at LA farmers markets and grocery stores in 2013 in different colors, in curly leaves or flat ones. Because of its availability, chefs came up with super cool, inventive ways to use this shrub leafy green. They sprouted in restaurants as warm salads, in soups, and as toppings on pizzas. It’s obvious that this veggie is here to stay. It’s a Trend. 

Eat your Meat! Out of the blue, Chi Spacca brings back what a meat-focused dinner is all about. Seriously, what they serve ain’t nothing like what you see at a typical steakhouse. What I saw (and ate) were thick juicy 48-ounce steaks that are about 2 inches think that can easily feed 4 – 6 people. A lovely Meat and Bone Marrow Pie. A 42-ounce Tomahawk Pork Chop that feeds 4 -6 people. And I also adored the platter of house-made artisan pate and salami. It’s a Trend. 

Italian Food. Of all the cuisines that made a comeback in Los Angeles, it was Italian food. Although the owners are not Italian, Bestia brought back the life in rustic Italian cuisine. They know how to make delicious homemade pasta with the sauces that taste divine. Excellent pizza selections to choose from too. They also know how to roast a whole suckling pig in a 800 degree wood-burning oven.  Oh, and the desserts…OMG! It’s a Trend. 

The return of fresh seafood and raw seafood bars. Another notable food item to pop into the 2013 Los Angeles food scene was fresh seafood. While the Water Grill was getting remodeled and adding another location, restaurants like Fishing with Dynamite, Connie and Ted’s, and Koreatown’s EMC Seafood and Raw Bar has helped rekindle LA’s love for fresh seafood  and raw seafood like oysters. These restaurants provide a more casual yet hip dining experience fir its customers.   They also made customers more curious for raw seafood and its many varieties from around the world.  They also introduced us to Asian inspired sauces to eat with shrimp or crab or lobster. As for the hot dishes, I quite like the updated version of the Crabcakes or an Asian- inspired Surf and Turf meal. Oh, yeah! Think of it this way, fresh seafood and raw seafood bars are like a healthy dining alternative too.  By removing the stuffiness in seafood fine dining and making it into a more casual hipster environment,  customers (including me) to eating more seafood. As such, the modern seafood eateries are here to stay. It’s a Trend. 

And there you have it, my 2013 Los Angeles Food Scene Year-end Review. I’m not sure what new and exciting things will happen in the LA food scene in 2014. Heck, I have yet to see what the fads will be too. I do have my predictions, but all I have to say, for now, is that I’m looking forward to another round of good food and dining experiences in Los Angeles.