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10 Food Trends We’re Totally Over (And What to Eat Instead)

Looking at you, avocado toast.

By / September 22, 2017
   Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer.
   Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer.

The last couple of years have gifted us some amazing food trends we don’t know how we ever lived without and don’t ever want to give up. Poke bowls, plant-based “meat” products, rotisserie chicken everywhere, zero-waste restaurants, and acai bowls have all made our lives better… and tastier.

Unfortunately, there are a couple of trends we just can’t with anymore–including, definitely, that expression. But for our purposes, we’re concentrating on food trends. Dishes that are over done, over-the-top, and just plain over.

Here are 10 food trends we’re ready to see 86ed.

Avocado Toast
It’s been a few years since people decided that adding mashed or sliced avocado to their toast was the best thing since the invention of the thing without which it would not exist. And sure, avocado toast is tasty, healthy, and (sigh) pretty to look at on Instagram (we’ll get to that later), but it’s also just AVOCADO ON TOAST. Yes, sometimes it’s topped with other yummy things, but really, it doesn’t get more basic or boring than this overpriced snack on which Americans spend over $900,000 a month.

What to eat instead: Try banana on your toast. It’s more affordable than avocado, pairs well with sweet and savory, and still looks pretty on Pinterest.

Cookie Dough Shops
One of the best things about making cookies is sneaking a bite or two of the dough, but a bite or two is literally all anyone needs to eat of the stuff. And yet, despite that, cookie dough cafes that serve safe-to-eat raw cookie dough for $6 a scoop are popping up all over the United States. It’s like the cupcake trend of the early aughts except your sugar high comes with a side of tummy ache.

What to eat instead: If you are craving the nostalgia of eating cookie dough… go all in and make cookies at home. Or grab a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream. Both will provide just enough cookie dough indulgence to leave you sated.

Sunnyside Restaurant

Rectangular Plates and Plates Without Edges
While a rectangular plate and plates without edges may enhance the look of a dish, they almost always make eating the dish more difficult than it needs to be. Rectangular plates often don’t leave enough space for cutting and rearranging, and plates without edges, well… that’s self-explanatory. When it comes to dishware, form should definitely follow function… even if that form is gorgeous handmade ceramics.

What to use instead: You don’t have to sacrifice the style of beautiful pottery just because the dishes are round.

Fancy S’mores
Nostalgia is all the rage lately, and chefs are making the most of that trend by attempting to pull at our heartstrings by creating elevated versions of childhood favorites. And for anyone who spent their summer nights sitting around a fire, that means an ooey gooey s’more. The only problem is that 10-year-olds really, really, really like sugar, but that trio of graham crackers, roasted marshmallows, and chocolate can be major overkill for an adult palate. It’s cute in theory, but almost never translates in execution.

What to eat instead: By all means, get your s’more fix on once a year or so. Just make it yourself at an actual campfire. Tasty trick: add a thin layer of peanut butter to the graham cracker. The entire situation will make your teeth ache from sugar-overload, but it’s super yummy… for a couple of bites anyway.

Unicorn Everything
Turns out we don’t want to taste the rainbow. Whether it’s donuts, toast, cupcakes, bagels, ice cream, or a sickly-sweet Frappuccino from Starbucks, the whole concept of unicorn-fying food by dyeing it into pastel colors is a marketing gimmick that’s got about as much life as a fictitious creature with a spiraling horn coming out of its forehead.

What to eat instead: Macarons are the original unicorn food: colorful, delicate, and delicious.

Gabriel Garcia Marengo

Shared Plates and Large Format Dishes
In theory, tapas-style dining is a great idea because it means you get to taste a little bit of everything. In practice, it often means a pricey check at the end of a meal that leaves you hungry. And large format dishes are just so… presumptuous. Good luck being the person who has to break it to everyone else that you don’t really want to share that huge leg of lamb.

How to dine instead: Restaurants need to figure out that people don’t want to eat like it’s Thanksgiving every night of the year and that not everyone loves to share. More eateries need to start offering dishes that are intended to be enjoyed solely by the person who ordered them. 

Deviled Eggs with Excessive Toppings
Fact: Deviled eggs are delicious. Also fact: They’re so delicious that they don’t need all of the weird fancy toppings that seem so ubiquitous these days. Looking at you caviar, anchovy, smoked salmon, olives, and yes, even you bacon.

What to eat instead: A good old-fashioned Deviled egg with a sprinkle of paprika. Like God and your grandma intended.

Waiting in Line
From “freakshakes” (which also need to die a quick death) to ramen to barbeque to just plain old brunch, people seem to take pride in waiting an hour or more in the pouring rain or sweltering heat just to… eat. It’s almost like people see people lining up and decide they need to line up as well. Which just feeds the monster. Especially since there’s always something equally as tasty nearby that *doesn’t* require a wait.

What to do instead: Don’t believe the hype; go somewhere without a line. Waiting in line does not make you cool–and it doesn’t give you bragging rights.

Robo-Restaurants
Touchscreen technology is replacing servers, and while we appreciate the idea of removing potential human error from a dining situation, what we appreciate even more is human interaction and job creation.

Where to eat instead: If you’re looking for a quick meal, fast casual spots with great food are popping up left and right.

“Doing It for the ‘Gram”
Sharing photos of food is not going anywhere, and that’s fine: a great photo of a delicious dish is an easy way to learn about a new spot you might want to check out. That’s all fine.

But what has to stop is the concept of ordering something just to Instagram it. You know what we’re talking about: those fake foodies who post ice cream cones with 13 scoops towering precariously or buy seven burgers so they can stack them on top of each other in front of a colorful background.

Frankly, the whole Instagram/food scene has just gotten really gross. Wasting food in exchange for likes is never okay. And while we’re on the topic: if you’re taking so many pics of your food that it’s getting cold, you’re doing it wrong. And you’re disrespecting the chef.

If you order a tasty dish, by all means, share it. But don’t order something just because it’s going to look cool when you hold it in the air. That’s the reason half the annoying trends on this list exist in the first place.

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Daisy Barringer moved to San Francisco when she was six years old and though she considers herself a “local,” knows better than to ever call herself “a native.” She resides in the Upper Haight/Cole Valley, but spends a lot of time in Tahoe with her 150-pound Saint Bernard, Monkey.

More articles by Daisy Barringer

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