Food trends and recipes to keep menus fresh


Giving salad a fresh spin

The 50-foot salad bar at Souplantation/Sweet Tomatoes is a big draw for guests who come to create customized salads. But the 125-unit chain also offers four varying “recipe” salads tossed fresh every 20 minutes in exhibition kitchens at each location. The most recent of these is the Grilled Steakhouse Salad.


Q&A with a sandwich master

As corporate executive chef of Bruegger’s Bagels, Philip Smith knows a thing or two about making sandwiches. The 305-unit bakery café serves sandwiches all day.

The limitless possibilities of making a meal between two slices of bread have catapulted the sandwich into new menu territory. Breakfast and lunch sandwiches still dominate, but these days, bars and late night menus are featuring mini ethnic sandwiches and full-service restaurants tout overstuffed dinner-size versions.

Whether you source them from a local orchard, farmers market or your produce supplier, apples are a clutch ingredient for fall and winter menus. These restaurants are showing off the fruit in everything from classic apple pie to not-so-classic pizza pie.

Greg Atkinson was buying and promoting local foods long before it became the routine thing to do for top chefs. The former chef of Seattle’s Canlis then took time off from cooking in restaurants to teach culinary arts and write about food. Now Atkinson is back at the stove in his newly opened Marché on Bainbridge Island in Winslow, Wash., where he’s again preparing the most indigenous ingredients he can get his hands on.

Chefs and foodservice operators are encouraging socialization with menus, presentations and venues that maximize interaction and the eating experience.

The formidable Duane Reade drugstore chain is stepping up its challenge to restaurants by including a made-to-order salad station in its latest store.

With the launch of its "Nutritious & Delicious" menu this summer, Lazy Dog Café got off the couch. The Southern California casual dining concept created a slimmed-down roster featuring 10 items, all 650 calories or less.

Many Asian restaurants rely on imported dried and canned ingredients to create dishes close to the originals. But that’s not the way chef Gregory Gourdet cooks at Departure, a modern Pan-Asian spot in Portland, Oregon.

Chia is the new superfood. Yes, that chia, of the “pet” craze in the 1980s. Favored by the Aztecs, this herb is still popular in Mexico, where the whole seeds are mixed with fruit juices to make chia fresca.

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