Trendy food topics in 2012
BY NICOLE MARSHALL MIDDLETON World Scene Writer
Wednesday, January 02, 2013
1/02/13 at 5:55 AM
Homegrown tomatoes had a great summer, and high-end grocery stores sprouted throughout south Tulsa.
Several Tulsa-area notable cooks drew national, and even international, attention showcasing their talents on TV.
Meanwhile, local craft brewers and barbecue cooks helped build brands for Oklahoma.
All in all, it was a good year for food.
Here are 10 top trends looking back at 2012.
After a dismal tomato season last year, home growers were rewarded in the summer of 2012 with bountiful crops that weighed heavy on their tomato plant vines.
Lisa Merrell, aka "The Tomato Man's Daughter," even called it a perfect tomato season. Merrell carries on the tradition that her father, Darrell Merrell, started by offering heirloom tomato plants at the Old Home Place Farm, 2208 W. 81st St.
This year the plants matured early, so Merrell opened a week ahead of schedule. She closed the nursery after selling the plants and then reopened to sell plants for the fall harvest.
Home growers were so proud of their tomatoes, we received dozens of tomato photos from Tulsa World readers.
Local craft beers are booming
TOM GILBERT / Tulsa World
Oklahoma craft brewers have made a name for themselves. About every month, another brewery opens or a new beer premieres.
The state's bigger brewers, like Marshall Brewing Co. of Tulsa, are expanding into the surrounding states and the region.
This summer the Krebs-based Choc brewery won a silver medal at the Great American Beer Festival.
And in November, Mustang Brewing Co. reached an agreement to purchase the OKCity Brewing Cooperative. Three companies operated at the cooperative - Redbud, Anthem and Black Mesa brewing companies - and will continue to do so. Plans call for Mustang to move a portion of its brewing into the facility at 1354 W. Sheridan Ave. in Oklahoma City, as well. They plan to work together as an Oklahoma brewing co-op.
Part coffeehouse, part bar, part restaurant
A trio of coffeehouses that also offer beer, wine and food have either opened recently or will open soon downtown.
Phoenix Cafe has opened at 1302 E. Sixth St., and Hodges Bend at 823 E. Third St. and Chimera Cafe at 121 N. Main St. are hoping to open this month.
The combination of coffeehouse and bar is a national trend that has taken hold in Tulsa, and the owners and operators have been creative with their offerings.
For example, The Phoenix has a full bar, six beers on tap, smoothies, Brooklyn-style boiled bagels, tabletop fondue and s'mores made on a tabletop hibachi with house-made marshmallows.
Farmer's Markets have been growing in popularity here in the last few years, and local diners and food shoppers have also joined the farm-to-table movement.
Justin Thompson, owner and chef of two downtown restaurants, Prhyme and Juniper, said a lot more of his guests want to know where their food comes from and how it's grown or raised.
"Educated diners encourage business owners to be selective and also to train their staff more rigorously," Thompson said. "It makes for a much better food scene in this city, which is what Tulsans deserve."
Oklahoma food divas on TV
Country singer Trisha Yearwood announced in January that her cooking show, "Trisha's Southern Kitchen," would premiere on Food Network. The first season ran in the spring, and the second started in the fall. Yearwood, a Grammy winner and best-selling cookbook author, lives near Tulsa.
The third season of "The Pioneer Woman," which features Ree Drummond and life with her family on her Osage County ranch, premiered in July on Food Network. Filming for the fourth season was set to begin in October.
And Tulsa's Kerry Vincent landed a spot as a judge on a network cooking show, "The Great Australian Bake Off."
Vincent, who is originally from Australia, founded the Oklahoma State Sugar Art Show at the Tulsa State Fair. She is also a judge on the cooking show "Food Network Challenge."
Lola's food trailer at 11th and Peoria. MICHAEL WYKE / Tulsa World file
Food truck events
For the past couple of years, food trucks have made our year-end lists as an emerging trend in Tulsa.
But this year they made the list for a new reason: They are collaborating.
In September, a few trucks gathered for the Food Truck Festival at the Tulsa Air and Space Museum.
Then in November, there was the Eat Street Food Truck Festival at the Blue Dome District. The trucks offered foods ranging from Mexican to Vietnamese, Greek to Japanese cuisines, and other favorite street food fare such as hot dogs, pizza, tacos and tamales.
Also in the fall, Lola Palazzo, owner of the The Gypsy Caravan Trailer, shared her space at 1347 E. 11th St. with several other food trucks on selected evenings.
Green Acres Market opened in August in Jenks. MATT BARNARD / Tulsa World file
High-end grocery stores
South Tulsa and its suburbs gained several upscale grocery stores this year, starting with The Fresh Market, a high-end grocery. The Fresh Market opened in late June at 81st Street and Yale Avenue.
The Green Acres Market opened in August at the Village on Main in Jenks. This market has a produce section, a deli and bakery area, bulk foods, and a wide variety of vitamins and supplements. It also carries a growing number of niche items for gluten-free, raw food, organic and other diet lifestyles.
And in November, Reasor's opened a supermarket in Bixby that offers higher-end foods and amenities.
A second Whole Foods location in Tulsa will open at 91st Street and Yale Avenue in 2013.
Sole Veronique is served at Becks Fresh Mediterranean. JAMES GIBBARD / Tulsa World file
Mediterranean food craze
The heart-healthy Mediterranean diet remains a hot topic on the food scene.
Our own food critic, Scott Cherry, chose Beck's Fresh Mediterranean, 6808 S. Memorial Drive, as one of his Top 10 new restaurants of the year. And there will soon be more choices for Mediterranean food in the Tulsa area.
Miranda and Phil Kaiser, owners of Cosmo restaurant in Brookside, plan to open a Middle Eastern-Mediterranean restaurant in the Brady District.
The restaurant, to be called Laffa-Medi-Eastern Restaurant & Bar, will be located at 111 N. Main St. It will be in the same building as the new Fairfield Inn & Suites but won't be part of the hotel.
Over in the Brookside entertainment district, ZoÃ«s Kitchen should open soon in the former Flying Burrito Co. structure at 3629 S. Peoria Ave. ZoÃ«s serves Greek-inspired food, such as kabobs, sandwiches and salads at its 60-plus locations nationwide, mostly in the Southeast.
Barbecue isn’t new to Oklahoma, and you can’t call
it a trend because it’s here to stay.
But the momentum for building Oklahoma’s own
brand of barbecue, putting it on the map with the likes of Kansas City, Memphis and St. Louis, surged in 2012.
Northeastern Oklahoma barbecue cooks win big on
the national circuit. And our barbecue competitions
draw the rest of the best here to compete with the
masters on their home field.
A couple of decades ago, the cook-offs were few
and far between. Last year, there were 19 Kansas City Barbeque Society-sanctioned events in Oklahoma.
The Bixby BBQ ‘n’ Blues Festival was named one of
23 tour stops for 2012 by the KCBS. And local cooks
pointed out that there are four Oklahoma teams out
of about 22 total that have won the World Championship Jack Daniels barbecue competition in Tennessee.
Yes, there is much more to the social media site Pinterest than food. You can pin everything from home-remodeling projects to clothing to music and more as a way to stockpile things that you like, want or want to remember.
But what Pinterest has done for home cooks is amazing.
By clicking the food photo, you can save the recipe for later instead of trying to remember what cookbook you saw it in or where you filed the recipe card. It also serves as a way to see what recipes are trending.
In 2012, Pinterest became the third most popular social network on the web, behind Facebook and Twitter, according to the marketing service Experian.
Original Print Headline: Trendy food topics
Nicole Marshall Middleton 918-581-8459
CHRISTOPHER SMITH / Tulsa World