Some flavor combos just make sense: peanut butter and jelly, caramel and apple, tomato and basil. These pairings are ubiquitous because they seamlessly balance one another or perfectly complement a season or an overall dish. However, some recently introduced menu items prove that operators are still going after the next tasty coupling to be discovered. Whether it’s a juicy hit or miss, the draw of these eyebrow-raising foods and beverages is the publicity it will bring to the restaurant.
Pork + lavender
Pork and florals don’t seem like they would mesh, but Mimi’s Cafe attempts to break that thought with its Honey Lavender Grilled Pork Chop. Since honey is commonly paired with lavender in desserts and beverages, and coupled with pork in barbecue and ethnic dishes, Mimi’s uses honey as the middleman to pair two relatively unknowns together.
Avocado + tequila
More than most pairings on this list, avocado and tequila make sense from a culinary standpoint because they’re both prominently featured in Latin cooking. However, restaurants have yet to offer avocado extensively in adult beverages. Cantina Laredo is one of the first major chains to trial the pairing in its avocado margarita, combining tequila, melon liqueur, lime and avocado.
Pumpkin + wine
Like Margaritas Mexican Restaurant says, “Sangria isn’t just for summer!” The Mexican chain puts a fall twist on the classic beverage by combining traditional sangria ingredients (sauvignon blanc or merlot with apple and cranberry juices) with Absolut Vanilia and pumpkin puree.
Balsamic + ketchup
Though traditional ketchup consists of distilled vinegar, Tony Roma’s puts a spin on the classic recipe by swapping in balsamic vinegar. The chain’s Potato Croquettes appetizer comes with lemon-truffle aioli and balsamic ketchup.