Weird Dining Trends of 2014

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In the ever-evolving world of food trends, there is always some new scheme being hatched. Whether it’s an unusual type of food or a restaurant with a weird philosophy, today’s diners are a finicky bunch and are constantly on the hunt for something new, innovative and random. These are some of the weird dining trends of 2014 that have been growing in popularity and will probably become even more mainstream in the upcoming year.

Hybrid Foods
First came the cronut, then came the ramen noodle burger. This trend gives chefs a chance to play God by attempting to combine two seemingly different foods in order to form the ultimate creation – the Frankenstein of food. Has anyone heard of the cragel yet? If not, keep your eyes peeled – this half croissant, half bagel treat will be making its way into more bakeries in the upcoming year. Stay tuned because we know this isn’t the last of the strange food hybrids to hit the dining scene.

Just as it was trendy to be vegan, now it’s trendy to sometimes be vegan. A flexitarian is defined as a person who is happy eating meat on some days and vegetables on others (sounds like a majority of the population, if you ask me). Chef Alexis Gaulthier has become known for his vegetronic cuisine, which is non-vegetarian vegetable dishes. Example: carrots soaked in lamb juices. This sounds like the kind of dish that would appeal to a vegetarian who is looking to dip their toes back in the carnivore crowd but doesn’t want to dive in completely. This also sounds like a good option for the wishy-washy eater who just can’t make up his or her damn mind.

Wiki Food Cells
This trend looks like something straight out of The 5th Element. Wiki cells were developed at Harvard University and are an edible casing for food. According to David Edwards, a bioengineer at Harvard, wiki cells can create edible packaging for anything from yogurt to alcoholic beverages. His products are designed to keep food fresh by using natural skins from fruits like grapes with insoluble particles that keep out bacteria. It creates a protective membrane out of a combination of particles from foods like oranges and chocolate, binding them with carbohydrates. According to Edwards, his goal is to have his company’s products carried in grocery stores, and he also seeks to move people “out of the plastic era.” Hey, I’m all for it. If it tastes good and it means that I’ll have less trash to take out, why not? I just hope they’ll be available in a market close to my apartment. I’d hate to have to whip out my MultiPassevery time I needed to go to the store.

Off-the-Plate Dining
If going out to eat at a regular restaurant has gotten a bit mundane, prepare yourself for a new type of experience. With off-the-plate dining, it’s more than just about taste. It’s also about scent, touch and sound, providing diners with a 360-degree culinary adventure. Everything from tables with touch screens, edible fireworks displays to interactive dining (there’s a restaurant in Japan where you can eat sushi off a live human – creepy, we know), you just might forget that you’re at a restaurant. Next thing you know, there’s going to be a restaurant where the dining experience is simulated but no food is available. That’s not an actual trend, but we can definitely see that happening.

What do you think? Do any of these appeal to you?

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