Banquet of the Surreal

Step right up for pickle ice cream, a bleeding beet burger, latte served in a carrot and much more!


There aren’t many things in the world that can make me laugh with joy and shake my head in disbelief quite like food fads. Remember the cronut? This croissant-doughnut hybrid pastry, basically a layered fried doughnut, actually had to be invented by New York chef Dominique Ansel. He not only got worldwide food fanatic acclaim but went on to create the Chocolate Chip Cookie Shot, a warm shot glass-shaped chocolate chip cookie filled with vanilla bean milk, and the frozen smoked S’more Pop. And speaking of doughnuts, we actually survived the era of The Luther, a cheeseburger served in a glazed Krispy Kreme. Not to mention the artery-clogging fun fair that is deep fried everything, from candy bars to sticks of butter to beer. Fried pretzel pockets filled with beer.

This year’s crop of faddy, fatty food is no less strange. How does soft-serve pickle ice cream grab ya? Head for New York’s Lucky Pickle Dumpling Company. According to The (Philadelphia) Inquirer, the City of Brotherly Love has become a weird food haven with the likes of the very site-specific Philly Taco: a cheese steak sandwich from the 1939-founded Jim’s Steaks, wrapped in a slice of pizza from Lorenzo’s.

Orlando was recently introduced to a Canadian delicacy, the beavertail (at BeaverTails at Vineland Premium Outlets), a gob-filling plank of fried dough covered with sugary treats including the Triple Trip of chocolate hazelnut spread, Reese’s Pieces and peanut butter.

Not so much a fad as a puzzle: the Beyond Burger. Crafted from peas, beets and potato starch, the BB purports to look, cook, taste and even “bleed” like a meat burger … without the meat. Call me confused, but why would someone not eating beef, by choice, want a meal that supposedly matches beef in every way? According to Beyond Meat’s locator, the vurger (I made that up) is available at BurgerFi in Winter Park, TGI Fridays at Millenia, and at Publix for your at-home meatless pleasure.

And finally, java lovers in Sydney, Australia, are quaffing coffee out of carved out of carrots. Insert Australia-based comment here.

Also in the News:

* According to researchers at Harvard, chimpanzees prefer cooked food to a raw substitute and, given the proper tools, could very well cook for themselves. Tell that to your 9- year-old.

* The South China Morning Post reports that Jiamener, an all-you-can-eat hot pot spot in Chengdu, offered an unlimited monthlong eating option for around $19. The predictable result: two weeks of non-stop frenzied dining, $78,000 in debt and a bankrupt restaurant.

What’s your favorite food fad? Send me a note. Stay in touch at and access a comprehensive list of my print and online reviews here!


Categories: Savor Orlando