The top 5 food trends to find around the country

Forget cupcakes and kale – these foodie trends are so yesterday. There’s a new batch of decadent bites that are tearing up the nation, and people with an adventurous palate are traveling to new cities across the country just to get a special sampling for themselves. If you’ve had enough of cutesy cupcakes and oven-roasted kale chips, check out these tasty eats of 2013 and discover where you’ll be most apt to find them.

Ever tasted a Big Mac? Imagine a similar sandwich, but now picture it a dozen times more delicious and packed with intense flavor. The cemita is the Mexican version of the fast food burger, in the same way that the Vietnamese have the banh mi and Cubans have the meat-filled cubano. Cemitas have made their way into the lunchtime canon, according to Bon Appetit, especially among those who love finding pop-up vendors and food trucks during their sightseeing afternoons. If you’re vacationing in the West Coast, you’re in luck. Mexican-style restaurants and casual eateries abound in sunny California, like Nido Kitchen & Bar in Oakland. A sesame-seed roll, pulled chicken, Oaxacan red mole sauce, avocado…are you drooling yet?

Mexico seems to be sweeping the latest food trends, as these fresh fruit pops called paletas also derive from the vacation spot below the U.S. border. Paletas are big in Mexico, but they’re even growing in popularity in the states, too, especially with summer around the corner. Both Boston and Chicago are embracing this new treat, with mom-and-pop shops that boast these classic summer staples. In the New England city, Culinary Cruisers found its niche with Ocean Ave Pops, a business on bicycle that offers exotic popsicle flavors with fresh chunks of fruit inside. Ginger grapefruit mint, red or white sangria, pumpkin pie and classic strawberry are only a few of the combinations the cruisers tote around Boston to those in need of a hydrating and sweet snack. If you find yourself taking vacations in Chicago, you can sample a similar variety at Paleteria Rosy in downtown West Chicago.

Seriously, forget cupcakes. You don’t need them. When you have the kinds of donuts that gourmet bakeries are rolling and glazing these days, the sweet, frosted mini cakes are a thing of the past. Although donuts have been around for decades, the latest baker’s dozen sees a whole new variety of flavors that challenge the traditional honey-glazed and chocolate-frosted types. Instead, pastry chefs are concocting exotic combinations like sea-salted bourbon caramel, chipotle chocolate and a fan favorite, maple bacon. The trend has swept the nation from East to West, with bakeries like Legendary Doughnuts in Auburn, Washington, and Union Square Donuts in Somerville, Massachusetts, introducing wild flavors you’ve never even dreamed of. The result is so, so sweet.

Coffee might typically have more caffeine, but tea has a class all its own. Whether you choose to embrace it or not, the upcoming craze in the foodie realm is bound to be tea, and your stomach will thank you. Tea tends to be much more soothing on your digestive tract than coffee, and its floral, sweet aromas can certainly put a pleasant skip in your step in the morning before work. When you’re traveling the country, be on the lookout for tea-centric cafes and shops in trendy spots like Brooklyn, New York, which will offer rows upon rows of flavorful leaves and blends. According to The Food Channel and Bon Appetit, this trend is on the horizon.

Goodbye, gluten
Gwyneth Paltrow might have been the straw that broke the camel’s back, but it officially seems like gluten is on the outs. According to NPR, one-third of Americans say they’re trying to avoid the wheat protein, and food expert Harry Balzer of the NPD Group told the news source that the number’s even higher. If you’re inspired by health nuts like Paltrow and are kicking gluten to the curb, you can rest assured that restaurants will cater to your new diet restriction.

About the Author: Lynn Elmhirst'