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The Crumb for April 21st, 2017

Lori Bailey / April 21st 2017

4/20 has come and gone, but forget the bud—here are some foods that ought to be illegal.

 

It's Friday! Sip on something cold and frosty, and settle into this past week's food news.


Starbucks, meet Twilight Sparkle Princess

On Wednesday, Starbucks rolled out its hyper-limited edition Unicorn Frappucino, and the world blazed with the light of a million iPhone flashes glancing off the beverage’s multi-hued sprinkles. This blended drink is a response to the very of-the-moment unicorn trend, as seen in everything from hair dye to spandex tights to cupcakes. Starbucks’ riff ma-a-a-gically changes colors and flavors, from pink and fruity to purple and tart. And the response has been… frankly staggering. Love it or hate it, one has to hand it to Starbucks for this crushing victory—a social media slam dunk, as well as an intriguing foray into experiential food. Next time, though, maybe provide the poor baristas with some protective gear (you know, hair nets, riot shields) before sending them into battle.

 

Turn that washing machine into a multi-tasker

...By making dinner in it, of course! Sounds wacky, but design student Iftach Gazit figured that the appliance’s steady heat and constant circulation could be used much like a sous vide. So far he’s come up with three different packaged meal options: teriyaki salmon, mixed vegetables with olive oil and garlic salt, and a garlic-herb steak, all of which can apparently be cooked to perfection using different cycles on your washing machine. And, when dinner’s done, you’ll be halfway to a clean load of laundry! Clean clothes, wholesome food, time savings, and water conservation... for a busy, hungry consumer on their third laundry day outfit, that’s design for good.

 

Better luck for food trucks

A popular option for low-overhead, higher-risk food business endeavors, food trucks have seen a steady rise for years. As the market gets increasingly saturated, operators are looking for ways to continue to grow—but face obstacles in the form of strict local and state laws governing when and where they can go, park, and sell their delicious wares. Mercifully, some states (Washington, Utah, Maryland, we see you) are revisiting or relaxing those laws with the intent of opening new avenues for growth. Will it work, or is the industry destined to stall out? Remains to be seen, but here’s hoping food trucks keep trucking on.

 

Foraging for authenticity

Scavenging forest floors for rare and tasty mushrooms might still seem somewhat quaint (and a bit dangerous), but foraged foods from fungi to wild greens are popping up on menus like wood ears on a tree. However, like anything that reaches trend status, foraged items now face the issue of integrity. How do you maintain standards across safety, quality, and authenticity? Can customers trust a “foraged” label? Chef and restaurateur Rob Connoley sheds a little light on the trust issue between restaurants and customers, and how foraged foods crop up right in the intersection. The boiled-down solution? Stick to ethical sourcing, and we’ll all get along.

 

Food with flourish

In this most recent installment of food-meets-sensationalism, food purveyor Dean & Deluca is plotting a new fast-food-theater concept cafe in New York City. They gave it a test run at Design Miami with a pop-up prototype, and the cafe is expected to open later this year. They’re taking the theater theme pretty far, too, saying employees will “assume the roles of cast” in “creating an interactive spectacle of making, offering and consuming.” Sounds pretty fancy, particularly for fast food (quote-unquote). Dean & Deluca’s been trying new things to inject some excitement into the business, and they’re betting this new concept will set the stage for greater success.


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