Gastronomy 101, a blog about food and Los Angeles restaurants

MISC.: Let's Play ... Guess the Next Food Trend

Okay, I started to write a post about dates that was going to be very educational and blah, blah, blah ... but I got bored just thinking about writing it. So screw it. I'm still going to do a post later about something delicious you can do with dates, since this is L.A. and dates are in plentiful abundance just now.

But today I am feeling both entrepreneurial and generous. So I'm going to talk business for a minute. I've noticed that we here in Los Angeles all seem to gravitate toward the same foods at the same time, resulting in very distinct and particular food trends, with everyone raving about the same food at the same time. Usually some kind of dessert item.

I don't know why we get so excited about particular food items and spend so much time and energy trying to obtain and consume these particular foods. Perhaps because it's a good way to kill time and is cheaper than: a movie, a cocktail, a club, or dinner. Who knows?

The most recent wave began with cupcakes . It started with cupcakes from stores that sold many foods. And then, as the craze grew in frenzy, suddenly there were shops solely dedicated to cupcakes. But as this desire for cupcakes grew, so did our bellies, hips, thighs and asses. It was inevitable that after consuming all of these delicious sugary cakes, we would need to inevitably go another, slimmer direction.

And then we discovered Pinkberry. A delicious desserty snack that is supposedly real frozen yogurt, with only 100-200 calories (not counting toppings) per serving. It also comes with a healthy dose of nostalgia for the late '80s when fro-yo was the meal of choice for young women with body issues everywhere. Now Pinkberries and pseudo-Pinkberries are everywhere and luckily, thanks to foodblogging, we even have an exact chronicle of the moment when yogurt defeated cupcakes for the foodtrendy crown.

But I say ... forget trying to keep up with the Pinkberries. A smart businessperson will be busy thinking up the next trend. Now, I am not in any hurry to be starting my own business, but I am full of fantastic ideas, so let me offer up an idea for the next big thing to some eager beaver: donuts.

I think that now that we're all filling our guts with (maybe) active probiotics to eat away that extra pudge, we will soon be ready for something indulgent again. May I offer donuts? Donuts are ripe for "trendizing," by which I mean, beefing up and making more special and gourmet so that citizens of Southern California will just HAVE to have them.

First, you have to offer different sizes: regular doughnuts for those lucky bastards with speedy metabolisms who can fully indulge in sinful sweets; baby donuts for those who love the handy ring-shape but need a smaller dose; and donut holes for an even smaller portion and mucho cuteness. You make these in exotic flavors with fresh ingredients infusing your icings and glazes. How can it fail? I even have a model for you to steal from. Just as cupcakes migrated west from Magnolia Bakery, perhaps potential donut entrepenurs can study New York's Doughnut Plant.

The final touch: you need to offer people an incentive to stay when all that sugar and fried-ness starts to catch up with them. So you offer healthy pseudo-donut alternatives, like those little fruit and nut balls that make for sweet yet healthy treats, and which aided Ms. Uma Thurman in losing 50 pounds in order to kick ass Kill Bill-style. (Can that be right? I can't imagine where Uma found 50 extra pounds on her, but since it was baby weight, I'll just accept it. But ... really? 50 pounds? She's so thin!)

There, now you have everybody taken care of, now all you need to do is get a couple of movie stars to like your donuts. Consider donating money to worthy causes and then getting someone to whisper it in the ear of a certain Ms. Jolie. Or find the thinnest, most starving looking celeb (may I suggest Nicole Ritchie? I think she's down to weighing about ... 2). Once they smell "fried," it's all over. Now sit back and count your money.

What do you think? Other ideas/guesses?

UPDATE: LA Times staff writer Betty Hallock seems to think the next big thing is actual cakes. I tend to disagree, if only because cakes are a group activity that also require some manual labor (cutting and distributing) that is totally not going to fly with your average trendsetting Angeleno, who will need a low-maintenance snack that can be enjoyed in any of several varied social scenarios and will serve a rainbow of individual tastes. "Cake" means "occasion" and many young hipsters are just too busy being hyper-cool and having good times to have any times for "occasions." I think cakes will maintain a steady level of popularity.

DISCLAIMER: I am in no way, shape, or form "cool" or "trendsetting," so my opinions have very little value in this regard.


Just yesterday, I saw a picture of a wedding cake,
it was a pyramid of donuts.

You should ask Grandpa K if he has a secret donut recipe
hidden away in the family lock box.

said by Sooslo at 11:47 AM Delete

Wow, a donut cake sounds FANTASTIC.

I would be really shocked if Grandpa had a secret recipe for anything (other than gunpowder).

said by KT at 11:50 AM Delete


said by Sooslo at 12:04 PM Delete

I'd be pleased to discover a spate of new beignet shops.

said by Vaguely Urban at 2:08 PM Delete

Oui, oui! C'est une bonne idee!

Especially if they serve chicory coffee, too.

said by KT at 2:22 PM Delete
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
said by Brian Gage at 10:22 PM Delete

I thought Donuts were the trend before cupcakes? (I'm thinking of the Krispy Kreme resurgence from the early 2000's, and the Grace/Lucques/AOC/Sona gourmet doughnut era, etc.)

Hmm... what else could we latch onto?
I remember this place in New York that was the 31 flavours of rice pudding. I don't think enough people like rice pudding though.

Maybe gourmet cereal? Smores?

said by Colleen Cuisine at 10:23 PM Delete

Oh yeah, I forgot about Krispy Kremes. But I was thinking more of "gourmet"donuts in unusual flavors, etc. that you would buy in a shop, as opposed to eating at an expensive restaurant. But you're right ... it's not really brand new.

But cereal could be good ... I also remember seeing something on TV once about some ex-lawyers that opened a gourmet PB&J place, with all different varieties of peanut butter sandwiches. But that doesn't seem healthy enough, or unhealthy enough!

said by KT at 10:35 PM Delete

Well, I have heard that Americans are back to eating breakfast (when did we stop?) The fast food joints are in a race with each other to ramp up their breakfast offerings and even serve some of them 24 hrs a day. Cereal bars popped up (although I've not heard of one in L.A.).

Maybe you should create a savory doughnut that's filled with your choice of "scramble" (ham, cheese, bacon, etc.)EEeewwww--I just grossed myself out!!!

said by Acme Instant Food at 8:06 AM Delete

Hee! Kind of like a donut Monte Cristo.


Sadly, there are people out there who would totally eat a donut, bacon and egg sandwich. With cheese.

said by KT at 9:40 AM Delete

my friend was really excited one day because he got drunk and grilled up some krispy kreme donuts and had the grand idea that they should replace hamburger buns. hmmmm. next big trend? remember flavored popcorn? there used to be stores devoted to that.

said by French Toastie at 11:10 AM Delete

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