5 Food Trends to Love in 2017

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New Jersey might be famous for its iconic foods (think: classic diners, chewy saltwater taffy and Taylor ham/pork roll), but its burgeoning food scene means you’ll also find a trendsetting eateries, artisanal coffee shops or gourmet food stores. Spend your next vacation experiencing some of the best new food trends throughout the state.

1. Craft Beer
Think beyond your standard six-pack with a visit to one of New Jersey’s breweries or brew pubs, where innovative beers fill the on-tap lineup.

  • The River of Beer in Bloomingdale, a roster of 20 taps features continually changing beers, from black IPAs to imperial stouts to ciders.
  • New Jersey Beer Co. in North Bergen, take the free brewery tour, and then enjoy a series of samples of the beer brewed onsite, such as Garden State Stout and Weehawken Wee Heavy Ale.
  • Double Nickel Brewing Company in Pennsauken Township offers an expansive list of specialty brews. Take a tour of the facility, and then sip your way through the innovations, such as the malt-forward Vienna Lager or the Marbled Buffalo: rye ale aged for six months in Buffalo Trace Bourbon barrels.
  • Or, take a free, guided tour of Cape May Brewing Company, and then sample a flagship beer such as the Cape May IPA or a seasonal brew such as Bicsuits and Honey, an extra special strong bitter beer.

2. Artisanal Meats
When it comes to meat, variety matters — and so does location. That’s why farm-to-table restaurants across the state are paying extra special attention to their meat selections, offering hyper-local options and unique varieties.

  • Located in a 1800s farm house in Hopewell, Brick Farm Tavern’s menu offers an array of thoughtful dishes centered around carefully sourced ingredients, such as Double Brook Katahdin Lamb and Thistle Creek Devon Beef.
  • In Montclair, Pig & Prince offers locally sourced meats from New Jersey’s LL Pittenger Farm in Andover, as well as unexpected items such as turtle Bolognese.
  • In Avalon, fill up on everything from Creekstone Farms short rib to New Jersey-caught fluke at The Diving Horse, a trendy bring-your-own-beer/wine restaurant.

3. Locally Sourced Produce
“Eat local” is a mantra that also applies to produce — and what better place than in the Garden State?

  • Princeton’s Agricola restaurant has its own farm, the Great Road Farm — where it sources seasonal, sustainable ingredients. Browse more farm-fresh fruits, vegetables and freshly pressed juices at local farmers markets.
  • Berlin Farmer’s Market is open year-round Thursday through Sunday and features more than 85 vendors.
  • Cowtown Farmers Market (Pilesgrove) is open year-round on Tuesdays and Saturdays, featuring hundreds of vendors.

4. Small-Batch Coffee
Caffeine connoisseurs will perk up at the trendy, new coffee shops popping up all over the state.

  • Stop by the hip storefront of Modcup Coffee Company in Jersey City for a cup of coffee made from house-roasted single-origin beans sourced from across the globe.
  • Turnstile Coffee Roasters in Belmar, indulge in a super-creamy cold brew coffee “on nitro.”
  • Opt for a pour-over made with locally roasted beans at Endgrain Coffee Bar in Pitman.

5. Healthy Foods – Organic, Vegan, GMO-Free
Whether you’re “eating clean” or whatever the latest buzz word is, fill up on fresh-made options at these health conscious locations.

  • Start your day off right at Ocean Organics Juice Bar & Café in Toms River, named “Best Brunch” spot by Asbury Park Press “Readers Choice” awards. Try the avocado toast or a veggie-loaded wheat bagel.
  • Killer Vegan in Union, take your pick from plant-based sandwiches, soups and sides for lunch or dinner.
  • In Teaneck, Veggie Heaven prepares flavorful Asian dishes with tofu or vegetarian “meat” substitutes, so indulge in your favorites like basil chicken, Mongolian beef or orange chicken — without actually eating any meat.