November 19, 2016
Authentic Mexican Trend Heats Up
Make no mistake: Mexican and other familiar Latin cuisines are hotter than ever on mainstream menus. But it’s not just familiar fan favorites like quesadillas and guacamole that have become more prevalent. As the Hispanic culture continues to grow in the United States and consumers become more comfortable with once-exotic ingredients like chiles and cilantro, Latin food is becoming more exciting. Mexican food, in particular, is undergoing a transformation, from standard Tex-Mex burritos and combo plates to more authentic regional specialties and creative, chef-driven interpretations.
In the meantime, ingredients such as tomatillos, chorizo sausage, Latin cheeses (cotija, queso fresco), and chipotles en adobo (smoked jalapeños in a spicy sauce) are showing up in both Latin specialties and in cross-cultural concepts, such as Beer and Chorizo Queso Dip. It’s all part of the search for flavor, and it’s happening in various kinds of food service segments all over the country.
Did You Know? Minor’s® has a number of Flavor Concentrates that can bring Latin flair to recipes, without worrying about sourcing or handling chiles.
California Pizza Kitchen features tortilla soup and Chicken Tequila Fettuccine. Applebee’s has Loaded Brisket Enchiladas and a Quesadilla Burger. There’s a Fire Roasted Tomato Ancho Soup and an Anasazi Bean Burger on the menu at Burgerville. And any number of fast-casual “better taco” concepts are ramping up their offerings to include fillings such as carnitas, barbacoa, pulled pork, picadillo, and more.
Baja Grill, an à la carte facility in Schurz Residence Hall at the University of Missouri, in Columbia, specializes in the spicy cuisine of South America and the Caribbean. Specialties include carne asada, quesadillas, and fish and chips, as well as a large selection of different chips and dips.
Even breakfast foods are getting a Latin twist. Egg-based taco fillings as well as plated menu items such as huevos rancheros and chilaquiles are becoming more popular on menus of all kinds.