Paris was once the undisputed capital of dining but there has been a big shift over the past few years, with countries like Spain, Italy, and the United States holding highly coveted spots on the World’s 50 Best list (Eleven Madison Park in the heart of New York City currently holds the top spot). Multiculturalism, variety between regions, and a growing interest in health, aligned with purchasing power, mean that the U.S. is leading the way in many innovative concepts that are resonating with the demands of increasingly savvy diners.
Food with a Mission
Sustainability is a value that is driving the way a number of industries work – including the tourism and gastronomic sectors. Around two thirds of all travelers have expressed a desire to support green hotels; over 90% of Conde Nast Travel readers believe that travel companies should protect the environment, and local food industry is bigger than ever, having grown from $5 billion to $12 billion in worth between 2008 and 2014. Across the nation, vegan, farm fresh, and even raw food restaurants are growing in numbers. Farms & Craft is one restaurant that focuses strongly on healthy, sustainable food with a huge wellness focus. Their innovative concept offers a ‘wellness menu’ featuring four different ‘paths to optimal health’: anti-inflammatory foods, probiotics, antioxidants, and stress reduction. Founded by restaurateur Ryan Hibbert, it offers an almost spa-like experience in which health is approached from an integrated perspective.
We are a busy society that all to often succumbs to related illnesses, including obesity and diabetes. Research indicates that Nature is a powerful antidote to stress. With time being of the essence and restaurant dining sometimes our only adventure outside the home or office on a given day, it makes sense to opt for a restaurant with a view. Pallaw Snowcat Dinner in Mammoth Mountain, CA, is making headlines for offering a front row seat to the dramatic Sierra skyline, as well as creative international cuisine. It is just one of many experiences that combine nature experiences with meals in great company.
Vegan and Vegetarian Flair
It is for no small reason that Forbes recommends that businesses go vegan. What was once considered ‘boring’ or ‘strange’ is now ‘hot’, with a plethora of vegan and plant-based success stories plastered on headlines across America. Sales of plant food topped $3.1 billion last year, but people don’t only want to prepare vegan food at home. They also wish to enjoy it while lunching or dining out. Beefsteak in Washington, DC is one example of how to base a menu around vegetables, creating appetizing dishes that are anything but bland. The restaurant isn’t vegan per se but offers so many dishes in which veggies play a starring role, that the most popular dishes aren’t made with meat. Take the Frida Kale bowl, containing rice, kale, sweet potato, spicy tomato sauce, black bean sauce, as well as corn nuts, pumpkin seeds, cranberries, and a lemon-honey dressing. Sound tempting?
Plant-based menus, sustainable dining and al fresco meals are big in the United States as well as the rest of the world. With a growing realization that health cannot be sustained on a fast food diet, we are finally coming to understand that health and flavor are one and the same thing. It’s all a matter of refining the palate.