FSD editors share their bests

Every year we ask our readers to share the bests they’ve encountered in a variety of aspects that make up the non-commercial market. This year, we turned that around on ourselves and came up with a list of our bests from places we’ve dined and operations we’ve visited. 

Editor Becky Schilling’s Bests

Best dessert
The deconstructed s’mores at The Butcher and the Boar, in Minneapolis.

Best bar food
Fried cheese curds from Public House, in Chicago.

Best brunch item
Jambalaya and eggs, from Sugar Freak in New York City.

Best meal of 2013
A six-course tasting menu at Daniel, in New York City. I’ve never had so much good food—and wine—in one meal.

Best new food item I tried this year
Chicken wings. Now, I know what you’re thinking: An editor of a food publication has never eaten chicken wings? But hear me out. I grew up in Texas and as a child I saw my fair share of people at county fairs gnawing on turkey legs with the juice from the meat running down their arms. It thoroughly disgusted me and turned me off to eating anything that required me to eat meat off a bone. But I’ve evolved and discovered the wonderful world of chicken wings. Pass the napkins!


Editorial Director Paul Kings’ Bests

The best example of sustainability I’ve seen
In general, I am impressed with the variety of ways institutions find to grow their own. But culinary services at Kennesaw State University, in Georgia, employs an amazing number of methods to demonstrate and promote sustainability on campus—including having two mini-greenhouses in The Commons dining center to educate students about plants and growing methods.

The best example of healthier meals I’ve experienced
I can’t believe I’m admitting this, but I am really impressed with what Applebee’s has done with its 500-calorie menu. The items have eye appeal, are tasty and, best of all, do not look like they have only 500 calories.

The best comfort food
For me, it’s meatloaf with mashed potatoes and carrots.

The best culinary experience I’ve had in an airport
Le Grande Comptoir, at Houston’s Bush International Airport. Several years go, while waiting for a connecting flight, I wandered over to this wine bar to escape a family with rambunctious children at my gate. I ate nothing, but had a wonderful chat with the server behind the bar and was introduced to malbec.

The best food tour I’ve been on
A 2010 tour sponsored by the Chilean Fresh Fruit Association. We saw a variety of fruit farms, saw first-hand how fruit is processed for shipping overseas, toured a winery, visited the shipping port of Valparaiso and experienced some of the warmest hospitality I’ve ever had outside of the U.S.


Associate Editor Megan Warmouth’s Bests

Best meal of 2013
The five-course meal prepared by students of Portland’s Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts during the 2013 IFEC conference.

Best dessert
Magic happened when two Chicago shops combined forces—Dazed and Infused’s red velvet donut filled with Black Dog cajeta gelato

Best pasta dish
Green Noodles Alforno (spinach fettuccine with spinach and mushrooms, topped with baked dry ricotta cheese) at Bella Notte, in Chicago

Best new restaurant I tried
Parson’s Chicken & Fish, in Chicago

Best brewery I visited
Deshutes, in Portland, Ore.

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We’re currently piloting a Salad Bar Happy Hour 
in Cafe 16. Due to Health Department regulations, any self-serve salad bar items must be disposed of after service. The salad bar goes “on sale” for 25 cents an ounce post-lunchtime to help reduce waste as well as offer value to customers.

Menu Development
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Adding an entirely new cuisine to the menu can feel daunting. But what if you could dabble in international flavors simply by introducing a few new condiments? For inspiration, FSD talked to operators who are offering a range of condiments plucked from global regional cuisines.

“Most ethnic cuisines have some sort of sauce or condiment relishes that go with their dishes,” says Roy Sullivan, executive chef with Nutrition & Food Services at UCSF Medical Center in San Francisco. Condiments offered to diners at UCSF Medical include chimichurri (Argentina), curry (India), tzatziki (...

Ideas and Innovation
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Give leftover brine new life by adding it to vegetables. In an interview with Food52, Stuart Brioza, chef and owner of State Bird Provisions in San Francisco, says that he adds a splash of leftover brine while sauteeing mushrooms to increase their flavor profile. “We like to ferment turnips at the restaurant, and it’s a great way to use that brine—though dill pickle brine would work just as well,” he says.

Menu Development
side dishes

Operators looking to increase sales of side dishes may want to focus on freshness and value. Here’s what attributes consumers say are important when picking sides.

Fresh - 73% Offered at a fair price - 72% Satisfies a craving - 64% Premium ingredients - 56% Natural ingredients - 49% Signature side - 47% Something familiar - 46% Housemade/made from scratch - 44% Something new/unique - 42% Large portion size - 42% Healthfulness - 40% Family-size - 40%

Source: Technomic’s 2017 Starters, Small Plates and Sides Consumer Trend Report , powered by Ignite

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