Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development

On Trends 2017 – part two Street-level research reveals creative sparks that can flame menu innovation


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Boozy Milk: Hopefully Not For Breakfast

An enticing presentation of “Boozy Milk” adds a fresh note to any brunch menu. Cinnamon Toast Crunch milk is spiked with spiced rum at Nighthawk in Los Angeles.Gerry Ludwig | Flavor & The Menu

An enticing presentation of “Boozy Milk” adds a fresh note to any brunch menu. Cinnamon Toast Crunch milk is spiked with spiced rum at Nighthawk in Los Angeles.

A single-unit restaurant that captivated us during our Los Angeles research was Nighthawk in Venice, Calif., a “breakfast bar” concept specializing in highly creative takes on traditional breakfast fare and an offering of “breakfast-themed cocktails.”

The food menu features a greater number of deftly executed, chef-driven signature dishes than can be listed here, but standouts include: a Duck Egg Scramble with foie gras, wild mushrooms and a duck-porcini jus; Benedict Fries topped with shaved country ham, melted raclette cheese, sliced Peppadew peppers, a sunny-side egg and smoked paprika hollandaise; a Duck Confit and Purple Potato Hash topped with a 63-degree egg and habanero relish; and a Breakfast Burger featuring candied bacon, crispy potato strings, a sunny-side egg, fried sage leaves and cracked peppercorn aïoli.

Even more impressive was the cocktail menu, which includes a whimsical assortment of drinks such as a Bloody Mary Slushie, an Orange Mimosa made with Tang, and a Banh Mi Michelada that combines beer with housemade tomato juice, nuoc cham and gochujang, with a shaker of MSG served alongside.

The true highlight of the menu, however, was a delicious offering of “Boozy Milk”—cereal-infused milks spiked with various liquors. The idea of “cereal milk” is not new, having been conceived and even trademarked nearly a decade ago by Christina Tosi, chef and owner of New York’s Momofuku Milk Bar chain. But the addition of alcohol puts a decidedly adult spin on the concept.

The liquors are well matched to the cereal milk flavors and include: Cinnamon Toast Crunch with Spiced Rum; Honey Nut Cheerios and Bourbon; and Cocoa Puffs with Vanilla Vodka. The milks are kept chilled in clear miniature milk bottles, with the liquor added to order. A straw finishes the presentation.

The bright flavors of these craveable spiked milks make other dairy-driven cocktails such as the White Russian or Brandy Alexander seem pedestrian by comparison, and their addition could provide significant differentiation for virtually any brunch menu.

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About The Author

Gerry Ludwig

Gerry Ludwig is corporate consulting chef at Gordon Food Service, where he creates trends-based culinary solutions for operators, conducts seminars and workshops and hosts trend-tracking tours.