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The Crumb for March 24th, 2017

Lori Bailey / March 24th 2017

So long winter, and hello spring! Next up... patio season.

It's Friday! Pull up a comfy chair, and settle into this past week's food news.

Veganism takes to the streets
Whatcha up to this weekend? Chowing on plant-based street food in sunny Los Angeles, perhaps...? For the third year running, Vegan Street Fair is happening in LA—and, this year, it promises to be bigger and better than ever before. The fair has grown from 44 vendors in its first year to 150 vendors this time around; crowds doubled from 2015 to 2016, so it's safe to assume that this year there'll be plenty of mouths to feed. Leading the lineup this year are such favorites as Ridiculous Baking Co., Word of Mouth Truck, and by CHLOE. Not on the West Coast? Don't worry—they're taking the fair to New York this summer, so everyone can get their chance to #EatAllTheVeganThings.

To deliver, or not to deliver?
So many great restaurants, so little time...and folks seem to have less time and bigger appetites than ever. With food delivery on the rise, food businesses are having to grapple with what the effects of that cultural dining shift may look like across menus, operations, packaging, and the delivery experience. But how big of a shift are we talking? Huge, apparently, spelling opportunities for sharp players and devastation for the weaker links. Let the games begin.

No show no-go
Restaurants operate on notoriously tight margins. Unfortunately, that 7:30 party of four didn't think about that when they flaked on their reservation. This is the headache restaurants are currently struggling with, as booking tables gets ever more convenient, yet cancellations remain largely unenforced (although an Australian company rocked the boat last month by introducing a "blacklist" that penalizes no-show diners). Some speculate that, as interactions are increasingly digitized, making and canceling reservations has become impersonal. Perhaps something a little slap on the wrist—or differently designed digital experiences—could cure.

Long live food writing
Many mourned when Lucky Peach announced its imminent demise. However, despite the myriad challenges of producing forward-thinking print journalism, indie food publications are popping up everywhere. Many are spearheaded by chefs and restaurateurs; some are grassroots creations by passionate individuals who are just trying to save the world. So rest assured: the publications may come and go, but it's looking like food journalism will be sticking around for a while.

The beef with beef
Not to shame our bovine friends, but they're kind of a gassy bunch. And, as it turns out, that flatulence contributes to lot of greenhouse gas emissions. However, a newly released study indicates that Americans' consumption of beef has dropped by 19% between 2005 and 2014, which could account for an estimated reduction of 591 million megatons of carbon dioxide emissions. Consumers' reasons for eating less beef include alternate protein choices, high prices, and perceived health concerns. Add "reducing our carbon footprint" to that list.

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