Top Ten Things Seen at Saturday’s National Restaurant Association Show – our view of the first day of the Show Floor!
1. The venue â€“ McCormick Place offers a great facility to showcase the best of the restaurant world.
2. The people â€“ Lots of energy as people came to learn and share. These are people who are seriously serious about their food.
3. Trends â€“ the coolest one today was about Water and Food Pairings. Yes, water. There’s something about this new Evian sparkling water â€“ called Badoit – that makes it like a crisp wine, able to help cleanse the palate and keep flavors clean and fresh. Badoit is a natural mineral water, with a unique mineral composition, abundance of fine, long-lasting bubbles and light taste.
4. Rick Bayless of Frontera Grill and Topolobampo in Chicago (and opening a third venue, Xoco). Author, celebrity chef, restaurateur, TV star, travel expert â€“ and one of America’s leading authorities on authentic Mexican cuisine.
5. Oregon in Chicago. Picture sitting around a fire pit, tasting amazing Oregon food and wine specialties, in the midst of the busy Chicago downtown. A true breath of fresh air.
6. Germs. That’s right â€“ Sal Monella, Ryan O’Virus, Lizz Teria, Ann Fluenza, and Eli Coli.
7. The Ice Cream Bloke. Interesting equipment that brings the hottest trend in desserts (the cool ice cream) to life â€“ all with the same machine. Produce gelato, frozen custard and Asian-style frozen yogurt (watch for that trend to develop).
8. Chicken Twists. All breast meat turned into something akin to curly fries. An on-trend, craveable snack item that gives you an old favorite. . .with a twist.
9. The Culinary Scene from the NRA. Here’s where it is all happening â€“ demonstrations each day, where you can see the latest food ideas acted out. Don’t you wish you were here?
10. Fruit Creations from Sabroso. At the end of the day, go for the latest trend in all-natural fruit products and ask your favorite hangout to pour a cold smoothie or mix it up in a drink. Flavorful and a great way to spread your dollar further in a tight market.