It’s a new year with new dining trends, new menus and (unfortunately) new restaurant closings. So let’s dish.
The trends for 2009 would make Aldous Huxley happy. According to The Food Channel, the second-largest dining trend this year will be virtual food communities, which explains why I got an invitation to a virtual cookie swap this season. Has it come to this? I fear that soon food will exist solely in our imaginations. Maybe that’s for the best, because “FrankenFood,” bioengineered and genetically modified food (e.g. hamster gene-infused chocolate), made No. 6 on The Food Channel’s list. The good news is that soylent green didn’t make it. Because it’s people!
Another trend is that sit-down restaurant meals are becoming higher calorie than fast-food meals, according to a study in the Review of Agricultural Economics. This is based on data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, so the source is somewhat sound.
But before you go booking White Castle for Valentine’s Day, check this out: The study found that people who eat out (instead of grabbing fast food) are more likely to eat fewer calories over the course of a day, so there’s a good chance that restaurant-goers still have a lower overall calorie intake than fast-food lovers.
Surely after reading that you’re ready to dine out, so check out this new menu: Nectar Dining Club just released its amazing winter Locavore (local food and drink) series. Themes include “The Rustic Flavors of Bourbon” (Jan. 15) highlighting Woodford Reserve, Kentucky’s oldest and smallest distillery; “A Taste of Honey” (Jan. 29 and Feb. 5) with the State of Ohio Bee Inspector; and “Spinach: A Tasty Green” (Feb. 19 and Feb. 26) with Indian Hills organic Turner Farms. While it’s $55 per person, it’s worth it for the authenticity. Call 513-929-0525 for reservations.
A few months ago, Longworth’s in Mount Adams added a great new menu, including filet mignon, vegetable pizza and Parmesan pasta. Call ahead to reserve the table by the fire; it’s a great winter pub atmosphere.
Unfortunately, this column will end on a sad note this month. Kona Bistro in Oakley closed on Dec. 31. Kaldi’s Coffeehouse & Bookstore also permanently closed its doors in December, a long-awaited ending but still painful. I’m sure we all have memories of ducking in there on ridiculously cold days and snuggling up with a cup of coffee and a random paperback.
Does anyone have a Kaldi’s memory to share? Put it in the comments section. The good news: Owner Jeremy Thompson is still looking for a new location, and Kaldi’s catering services and Art Academy operations will continue.
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