The Ten Worst Dining Trends

And why I love half of them.

By Eat Beat Team October 26, 2009

Dear Onion Blossom: I love you.

The recently bankrupted Chicago Tribune identified the ten worst dining trends of the last ten years, and to my own surprise: I love most of them.

Here they are, and here’s how I feel about them.

Trend One: The Fried Onion Blossom. Thelin verdict: Love it.

This a play on the classic onion ring with a fun new shape. The only caveat is that one must visit the likes Outback Steakhouse to enjoy it. Don’t shoot the messenger dude. Fried onions are delicious.

Trend Two: Molecular Gastronomy Thelin verdict: TBA

This refers to using technology to produce high falutin’ food in the form of foams, (illiteration not intended) powders and the like. If executed well, molecular gastronomy can leave a diner speechless. The problem is, most who dabble have no idea what they’re doing. Owning a copy of Thomas Keller’s Sous Vide does not make one a molecular gastronomist.

Trend Three: The $40 Entree Thelin Verdict: Hate it

Trend Four: Communal Table Thelin Verdict: Love it

Communal eating is routinely hated by food writers over the age of 50.

Trend Five: Proudly Obnoxious Fast Food Thelin Verdict: Love it

I don’t eat fast food often. When I do, alcohol is usually involved. In these circumstances, the likes of triple cheeseburgers and KFC’s obscenely caloric Double Down elicit a one word response from me: Awesome!

Trend Six: Knee-Jerk Online Reviews Thelin Verdict: Hate ’em

These days anyone with a cable modem is a food critic. Most online reviews on sites like Yelp are either very positive or extremely negative which leads me to believe that only dining experiences of both extremes motivate readers to hit the send button.

Trend Seven: Foam Thelin Verdict: Hate it

No explanation needed.

Trend Eight: The Menu as a Book. Thelin Verdict: Hate it

Menus Should be small, light-weight, and easy to fold so food writers can easily steal them.

Trend Nine: The Chef as a Media Whore Thelin Verdict: Love it.

I have friends in PR who need jobs.

Trend Ten: Deconstruction Thelin Verdict: Depends.

Do what you like to my food. As long as it tastes good, I’ll like it, intellectualized or not.

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