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Overrated and Underrated Trends Around SF

By Tamara Palmer
November 1, 2013
Photo by: Flickr/telstar

Which trends give you grief and which ones don't get enough attention? We asked and you answered - and the results are both lively and illuminating. Did we leave off a trend that is your personal pet peeve, or would you like to share your thoughts on trends that should be bigger with the group? Please leave your ideas in the comments.

  • Photo by: Tamara Palmer

    Overrated: Cupcakes

    Cupcakes often seem like the most maligned food in town, but shops peddling them keep opening. While some might applaud them as portion control in action, others see them as a potentially socially isolating snack. "Cupcakes are for selfish people who don't have people to share cake with," says reader Roman Federico.

  • Photo by: Flickr/apasciuto

    Underrated: Soft-Serve Desserts

    Bi-Rite Creamery made a dedicated line for its popular soft-serve ice cream, and the new Fog City restaurant is getting raves for its frozen custard with toppings like Flavor King plum syrup and egg yolk caramel sauce. Some diners feel it is a simple treat that should appear more on restaurant menus. "While standard ice cream has recently achieved epic levels of deliciousness in San Francisco," writes reader Troy Sheets, who is a fan of Fog City proprietor Bruce Hill's soft serve at his other restaurant Zero Zero, "it is still hard to beat the luxurious, creamy texture of traditional soft serve."

  • Photo by: Tamara Palmer

    Overrated: Foam

    There was a time when foam was a tool for chefs to show off a rudimentary knowledge of molecular gastronomy, but it seems that too many plates are now buried in what looks, at best, like a day at the beach. "Disgusting visually, as if the cat got sick," tweets reader Steve Silberman, who's clearly not a fan. "Weird mouthfeel; yet so popular among high-end chefs."

  • Photo by: Flickr/telstar

    Underrated: Ramen

    The city has gained some lovely ramen shops such as Waraku and Men Oh Tokushima Ramen in recent years. But it's still San Mateo and San Jose, and not San Francisco, that typically are thought of as the places to go for the best bowls. "Many major cities around the country have plenty of ramen, even places like Miami, Phoenix and NOLA are jumping on the bandwagon," reader Amy Sherman points out. "While the South Bay has great ramen, San Francisco is only now starting to see restaurants focus on it, with several places having opened just this year. Not to mention the seemingly endless wait for Hapa Ramen to open..."

  • Photo by: Tamara Palmer

    Overrated: Fake Rationing

    Ramen burgers and Cronuts and big lines - oh my! It seems that the latest snack trend is often accompanied by a strict limit that might be calculated for maximum hoopla. "I don't like the fake rationing of stuff, i.e. Cronuts and limited edition hamburgers ('only XYZ available at TK time') and anything that's designed, cynically, to create a feeding frenzy," writes reader Meredith Brody. "Also not fond of 'secret' off-menu items. Cook enough for everybody! Let everybody know they can order it!"

  • Photo by: Flickr/telstar

    Overrated: Food Trucks

    With more-straightforward and less-intimidating city paperwork for mobile food, the last three years have seen an incredible proliferation of food trucks on the streets of San Francisco. And while many trucks are turning out restaurant-quality meals on the go, the quantity of trucks doesn't always mean quality. "There are some great ones, yeah," admits reader Matt Fisher, "but is anyone getting tired of being charged two times as much for a clever name and half the amount of food that at the end of the day is merely average?"

  • Photo by: Flickr/garysoup

    Underrated: Authentic Taco Trucks

    Reader Lisette Titre's nomination suggests that amid the overall food-truck glut, the old-school authentic taco trucks have been buried in the noise. Across the bay, the trucks that line Oakland's Fruitvale Avenue are the true pioneers in this region, while in San Francisco people in the know still go to trucks like El Tonayense.

  • Photo by: Flickr/smreilly

    Overrated: "Farm to table"

    As the Bay Area remains a world center for utilizing fresh produce grown on farms, it might perhaps be time to look for a more useful term to describe a practice that is truly wonderful at heart but lost in hype. "Stop it already," tweets reader Dave Noble. "The best restaurants worldwide have had local suppliers of diverse, fresh, top-class produce for years."

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