The 13 Most Overcooked Food Trends of 2013: #2 Overpriced, Pretentious Wine/Beer Pairings

Categories: Rants

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There are wine pairings dinners, and then there are wine pairing dinners. Do you see the distinction?
The world of gastronomy is as subject to the whim and whimsy of the "trend" as any industry, from fashion to music. Some foods are eternal, like pizza, and others come and go from our midst, for better or for worse.

So, we got together all of the food writers we could find and asked them what they thought the most overdone, needs to come out of the oven, stick a fork in them already food trends of 2013 were.

Since 13 is our lucky number (we like to live on the edge), that's exactly how many we came up with. Some we loved, some we hated, some we loved to hate, and others we just couldn't resist loving until we hated ourselves.

See Also: The 13 Most Overcooked Food Trends of 2013: #3 "Reality" TV Cooking Shows, a la Amy's Baking Company

Here are thirteen food trends that have become ubiquitous and shed the sheen of novelty -- now they're just dull and sometimes annoying, in spite of an exciting debut.

(To keep things interesting, we've included a few food trends we hope continue into 2014 and beyond. See if you can identify which trends or innovations were welcome additions in 2013.)

Coming in at number 2...

Overpriced, Pretentious Wine/Beer Pairings
I enjoy tasting menus, long lunches, and dinners that give a kitchen staff ample opportunity to demonstrate its inventiveness and technique. Of course, wine is a must with such meals. Often, a lot of wine. A table of four can easily empty three or four bottles during the course of a tasting menu. And it is fun to peruse a good list and select a bottle or two. I prefer to find a wine that originated near the restaurant in which I am dining. At Arzak, I drank Basque wines and one from Rioja. In this manner, one can locate value wines and bottles that, more often than not, sing with the food. (And at Arzak, I was not even told about the wine pairings, but was, with grace and respect, allowed to read it on the menu all by myself.)

Lately, however, I have noticed something extremely annoying: an overabundance of overpriced wine and beer pairings that are "curated" and pushed on diners in an aggressive and pretentious manner. A recent example: A bar that serves food put on a beer dinner that included a six-course dinner paired with six beers and charged people $130. For bar food. On another recent evening I sat down to an eight-course tasting menu and, before I could even unfold my napkin, was forced to sit through a lengthy explanation of the restaurant's wine program, and told that only by ordering the pairings (at $110) would I be able to fully appreciate the food. Listening to this somm (which is how I imagine he refers to himself), I got the impression that the food was playing second fiddle to his magnificent selections. After politely enduring the presentation, I ordered bottles of white and red, selections that I knew to be of good value. The meal was fine, and I was able to enjoy a few hours of stimulating conversation, all uninterrupted by the incessant switching-out of wine glasses and dissertations on terroir and the merits of biodynamic agriculture. I hope, for the sake of knowledgeable diners everywhere, that this trend is short-lived. -- James Brock

You can contact Rebecca Dittmar, Arts & Culture Editor/Food Blog Editor at rebecca.dittmar@browardpalmbeach.com.





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