Out With the Old ...
It seems impossible that another year has passed, but by next week 1991 will be as dead as many a Miami restaurant trend (not to mention many a Miami restaurant). So many culinary fancies come and go each year that it's easy to miss them if you're not paying close attention. For those who haven't been, here's a list of some of the year's most memorable food fads and fading memories:
What's In: Tropical and Creole cuisines.
What's Out: Cajun, chere.
What's Out: Angel-hair pasta.
What's In: Industrial-size rigatoni. It must be the recession - we suddenly need to eat BIG food.
What's In: Open seven days.
What's Out: Closed Mondays. There's that recession, rearing its ugly head again. Who can afford to take a day off?
What's In: Amuse-gueles, those ubiquitous, complimentary hors d'oeuvre.
What's Out: After-dinner mints.
What's In: Full bars with great retro drinks (this is especially valuable for those in search of the perfect mojito).
What's Out: Wine bars - they were more decorative than useful anyway.
What's In: Red wine.
What's Out: White wine.
What's Out: Big, garish wine lists.
What's In: Wine! Some restaurateurs and sommeliers finally got the idea that time devoted to deciding on a color scheme for the leather wine-list cover would be better spent choosing the wines. The big losers: vinyl salesmen everywhere.
What's In: Dessert wines (and dessert-wine lists, natch).
What's Out: Desserts.
What's In: Creme brulee.
What's Out: Flan.
What's Out: Classic Spanish cuisine.
What's In: Nuevo Spanish cuisine from Barcelona.
What's In: Johnny Rockets (cf. "Cafe," December 1953 - it was in then, too).
What's Out: Johnny's (not to mention Southside Johnny's).
What's In: Souffles.
What's Out: Tiramisu.
What's Out: Menus carved in stone.
What's In: Ever-changing menus that reflect the season, the current harvest, the chef's mood....
What's Out: Perrier and Evian.
What's In: Tap water.
What's In: Chicory and oak-leaf lettuce.
What's Out: Arugula and Boston lettuce.
What's In: Mexican imports from Homestead.
What's Out: New York branches in Miami. (A little South Florida jingoism never hurt anyone.)
What's In: Focaccia.
What's Out: Baguettes.
What's Out: Steamed white rice.
What's In: Risotto.
What's Out: Black beans (they went with the rice).
What's In: Pasta e fagiole (it goes better with risotto).
What's In: Purple Peruvian potatoes.
What's Out: Idaho spuds (doesn't anybody buy American any more?).
What's In: Boniato fries.
What's Out: French fries (made from American potatoes).
What's In: Business cards.
What's Out: Matches.
What's Out: Smoking sections.
What's In: "Please Refrain" signs.
What's In: Grilling with Florida oak.
What's Out: Grilling with mesquite.
What's In: Chinese food, Hong Kong style.
What's Out: Chinese food, American gloppy.
What's Out: Valet parking, one-hour-limit meters, and high-price lots a long trek from the restaurant.
What's In: Free, protected parking, and plenty of it. (Okay, okay, I'm fantasizing.)
What's In: After-dinner strolls.
What's Out: After-dinner shows.
What's In: Sun-drenched, Mediterranean decor.
What's Out: Art Deco (ho-hum).
What's In: Dinnertime conversation.
What's Out: Too-loud, piped-in tunes.
What's In: Fresh herbs.
What's Out: Parsley.
What's In: Green chilies.
What's Out: Green peppers.
What's Out: Japanese haute cuisine.
What's In: Japanese everything else.
What's In: Microwaveable doggie bags.
What's Out: Aluminum foil and Styrofoam. (A little more seasonal wishful thinking on my part. Sorry. If there's one thing South Floridians love, it's their Styrofoam.)
What Would Be In (in a perfect world, that is): Plenty of great restaurants with consistently good, fresh food, affordable prices, magnificent views, free parking, and (most important) a good recycling policy. I can dream, can't
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