Spring Dining Trends: Mediterranean, Neon and CBD

Watch where you tropic; Anne Marie Panoringan

While we aren’t up to speed on our fashion, our appetite for dining out is second to none.  Trends aren’t always about what’s new. To us, trends are what people are talking about and what others are doing all of a sudden. Here are a few that caught our eye as of late.

 

Plato's Salad Bowl from Falasophy
Still a favorite; Anne Marie Panoringan

Mediterranean Dining

We recently covered a Bay Area food truck that is now brick-and-mortar in a Grub Guide column. SAJJ Street Eats is still a truck, but their stand alone concepts expanded to include Rancho Santa Margarita earlier this month. We wish them well on their new location. However, Rashad Moumneh at OC-based Falasophy did the exact same thing when they moved into 4th Street Market. His expansion continues when Irvine Spectrum completes the next phase of their construction.

San Diego brand The Kebab Shop planted roots off Irvine Center Drive’s Los Olivos, also fully operational as of this month. Their 10th Mediterranean comfort food launch is slated for Irvine again, at the corner of Harvard and Main. Yet we can’t forget long-time player Panini Kabob Grill (renamed from Panini Cafe), also found in the Los Olivos shopping plaza. Their Corona del Mar spot pre-dates everybody we’ve already mentioned, with over a dozen locations populating LA and Orange County over the years. Mediterranean cuisine has been around, but it’s definitely made a bigger splash this year already.

 

Shiny, happy signage; Anne Marie Panoringan

Neon Neon Neon

To the casual eater, this design detail may seem unimportant. But if you know a thing or two about social media trends, this is the bread and butter of recent storefronts. Mr. Matcha’s green and black signature desserts don’t photograph nearly as well without “We’re a matcha made in heaven” in the background. Fans of Paper Lantern Dumpling House want to tell their friends “I like it juicy”. The Cerritos branch of Cauldron Ice Cream proclaims, “It’s not gonna lick itself”.  Our favorite signage so far is a toss up between Milk Box’s catchy neon (pictured) and All Coco’s nod to Snoop Dogg. We admit it’s not always the easiest to capture without ideal lighting conditions. The money shot is there, though.

 

Green is good; photo courtesy Farm & Culture Co.

CBD/Cannabidiol Upswing

As someone tried to explain to us, CBD is like doing marajuana without the crazy after-effects. No, it’s not an illegal drug. And yes, there is more scientific distinction between this and THC (the substance that does get you high). But science was never our strong suit. We encountered this at Natural Products Expo West, with Barlean’s Ideal CBD Hemp Oil. Promoted as a dietary supplement, it is also known to help with inflammation and anxiety.

Our other experience with CBD was during a visit to Farm & Culture Co. at The OC Mix, specializing in fermented foods. Now carrying items that contain CBD, we left with gummy bears and lollipops with low doses of the stuff. After one stressful evening, we tried out the bears; we were relaxed and ready to snooze within the hour. While we’re not quite ready to check out a dispensary, we see throwing back a CBD green juice our gateway drug of choice. 

A contributing writer for OC Weekly, Anne Marie freelances for multiple online and print publications, and guest judges for culinary competitions. A Bay Area transplant, she graduated with a degree in Hospitality Management from Cal Poly Pomona. Find her on Instagram as brekkiefan.

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