food du jour in hipsterland
July 23, 2014 4:51 AM   Subscribe

Hipsters and hipster observers around the globe, please tell me about the best or most confusing food, ingredients, dishes in the hipster diet.

Need ideas for a party. We had "Hair", "Hat" and "Mustache" themed parties already where dressing up was par of the course but food was neglected, so this time I am looking for authentic food ideas and not mocking "stick-a-mustache/stick-a-bird-on-it" suggestions, please. Thank you!
posted by travelwithcats to Food & Drink (62 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
It's usually small servings on small plates. Generally classic American or some sort of fusion. That or an overpriced arepa from a food truck.
posted by Think_Long at 5:28 AM on July 23, 2014

posted by k8t at 5:29 AM on July 23, 2014 [3 favorites]

Kale. It's hipster cabbage.
posted by floweredfish at 5:33 AM on July 23, 2014 [6 favorites]

Sriracha everywhere, nose to tail goodies like trotters or tongue or tail, high concept cocktails, kimchi, local and unusual fruit (gooseberries? Paw paw? Whatever you got) all scream hipster and delicious to me....
posted by Lisitasan at 5:44 AM on July 23, 2014 [4 favorites]

When you can get kale chips while waiting on line at Whole Foods, I think it's officially gone mainstream (or at least been appropriated by the Whole Foods crowd). Swiss chard is the new kale (maybe).

Home fermentation is big -- so yes, pickles, and also sauerkraut, kimchi, kombacha, etc.

Weird fruits. Gooseberries are in season right now at many local you-pick places! They are inedible out of hand, but make a nice sauce for something like homemade goat milk ice cream.

I think one of the overarching trends right now is an imagined authenticity -- the kind of little-known foods that would have been popular with your grandparents (gooseberries, currants, ugly tomatoes), or that are known to select groups (chia, maybe, although that's almost fully appropriated -- I think quinoa, like kale, has been mainstreamed at this point.)

For a cocktail I'd probably use pickled sweet cherries with bourbon and soda or similar. (But note that you are making pickled sweet cherries, which may be an abomination against nature. Not sure. I haven't tasted them yet myself, but the early reports aren't promising. That being said, they seem to be going big.)

If you want to make your own pickles but don't can and don't feel safe with home fermentation, you can either look for fresh pickle recipes or just grab a canned recipe and store the finished jars in the fridge for a week or more to cure.
posted by pie ninja at 5:55 AM on July 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

My 60 year old suburban mom eats kale. Kale is so out.

donuts with unusual flavor profiles and toppings

People are right about pickles. Pickle all the things.
posted by phunniemee at 6:13 AM on July 23, 2014 [2 favorites]

Homemade pop tarts. Drinking vinegars.
posted by wizardpants at 6:18 AM on July 23, 2014 [2 favorites]

The hipsters in my town are probably behind the times. They're still on bacon.
posted by Bentobox Humperdinck at 6:23 AM on July 23, 2014 [5 favorites]

It's a little played out in the hipster scene at this point, but Korean Tacos are actually quite tasty and I've thrown successful parties around a make it yourself fusion taco bar. My local hipster scene doesn't really have a food trend at the moment other than localvore food with either PBR or local craft beer or fancy updates to classic cocktails. Fancy bitters are a thing right now.
posted by Candleman at 6:26 AM on July 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

I am just outside Toronto and our pioneer heritage is really close to us in time. So the foods of the pioneers are really popular: wild foods. They would pair nice with toast (you do know about last year's toast trend, right?) Hyper-local food is always popular, especially if it can be made on a pizza (local favourite is caramel used onions, thinly sliced onions and thai sauce). Also, the life changing bread .
posted by saucysault at 6:29 AM on July 23, 2014

Serious question OP: which definition of hipster are you asking about? Brooklyn-based graphic designers? Art school kids? Fashion-forward thirtysomethings? Anyone with a tattoo?

I suppose the current food trends in a non-haute cuisine way are:
  • burgers (still)
  • hyper-nerdily over obsessed simple food, like this bread & butter or artisanal toast (which is a bit played out now)
  • Hyper-local, low food mile stuff does well, especially the simpler the better. Think Italian (actual italian) food - very simple, fresh, high quality ingredients presented with a drizzle of flavour. But a bit fussier.
  • Pie ninja's definitely onto something with the imagined authenticity of grandparent food. "It's what your grandpa did" was everywhere last year. Though I think it appeals more to a younger crowd, say 18-25.
The White Rabbit in Dalston, London is probably a decent example.
posted by Magnakai at 6:37 AM on July 23, 2014 [4 favorites]

Toast, butter in espresso drinks, foraging, offal
posted by tofu_crouton at 6:39 AM on July 23, 2014 [5 favorites]

"2013 was definitely the year of kale. (...) Kohlrabi is the perfect food to take off in 2014. It is pretty ugly looking, but also kind of quirky, which probably boosts its appeal to the foodie-hipsters of the world."

Also: smushi: kind of retro, small serving, hybrid name.
posted by iviken at 6:40 AM on July 23, 2014

Curing your own meat seems to be a thing. Home-made hot sauce. Home-brewed beer.
Kombucha (whatever that is). Avocado on everything.
posted by winterportage at 6:42 AM on July 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

a few more:

artisanal honey
homemade condiments
posted by phunniemee at 6:46 AM on July 23, 2014

Craft bitters
posted by mmascolino at 6:47 AM on July 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

>An injera party would be cool!!

I don't think this is neccessarily hipster-ish or anything, but in my mind Ethiopian food is well loved and considered fairly adventurous. People could bring lentils, meats, salads, vegetables...

Full disclosure: I live in Ethiopia!
posted by maya at 6:50 AM on July 23, 2014 [3 favorites]

Seconding: offal, kombucha, homemade bitters, homemade pickles, home-cured meats. High concept cocktails, kimchi. Kale and Ethiopian are over, but maybe high enough in the popular imagination to work well. Grandparent food--think vienna sausages and cheese on a toothpick, celery with pimento cheese. Every party I've been to recently has had deviled eggs. Also, expensive, precious things, like Luxardo cherries or jamón ibérico de bellota. Macarons (not macaroons) are still pretty hip, but also artisanal whoopie pies.
posted by MrMoonPie at 7:06 AM on July 23, 2014 [2 favorites]

Coconut water sipped directly from the nut.
posted by brujita at 7:10 AM on July 23, 2014

Magnakai: "Serious question OP: which definition of hipster are you asking about? Brooklyn-based graphic designers? Art school kids? Fashion-forward thirtysomethings? Anyone with a tattoo?"

Whichever hipster group you belong to or have observed. If you know what the hipsters in Kampala,Uganda or Hyperbad, India dig, even better. Might not be super recognizable at a party, but still interesting.

Haha iviken, I have a couple kohlrabi at home. :-)

Thanks for all the awesome suggestions so far, folks!
posted by travelwithcats at 7:25 AM on July 23, 2014

Since these things are so ephemeral, I would pick something random and just say it's the next hipster trend. For example:
Pizza Bagels
Artisanal Cole Slaw
Single-origin Organic Milk Tasting Menu
posted by FreezBoy at 7:28 AM on July 23, 2014 [13 favorites]

Nthing home fermented things: pickles (and not just cucumber), sauerkraut, kimchi. Also kombucha and other home fermented brews (alcoholic or not). Homemade soda. Homemade cheeses, particularly aged cheeses. Anything you could call artisanal or handcrafted.

I agree that kale is on the outs. Not sure I agree that kohlrabi is on the rise; I'd argue that callaloo is, but that could be a local variation.

Super local is a good call. You could try to do an entirely locally sourced small-plates kind of thing.
posted by carrioncomfort at 7:38 AM on July 23, 2014

Oh, and put those pickles and coleslaw in mason jars. I recently paid $4 for a 16-ounce mason jar of iced tea. Artisanal iced tea, of course.
posted by MrMoonPie at 8:01 AM on July 23, 2014 [3 favorites]

In Amsterdam:
* American-style BBQ (à la Bar Brouw)
* Fancy burgers (à la Burgermeester and Burger Bar)
* Brunch (à la Little Collins and G's Really Nice Place)

These are probably all already passé for American hipsters, but they're uncommon in non-hipster Dutch food culture, so they're still novelties.
posted by neushoorn at 8:17 AM on July 23, 2014

I came to say Korean tacos, and I see those are covered. I can also (from a food truck) get a giant California burrito but with kalbi and toppings.

And now! There is sushi burrito.
posted by Lyn Never at 8:22 AM on July 23, 2014

Chicago has had, like, five different fancy fried chicken restaurants open in the past year or so. Fried chicken is definitely posed to become the next bacon, or whatever, which pisses me off because fried chicken is fucking delicious and how dare you ruin it.

Anyway, fried chicken pairs really well with pickles and hot sauce, so I think fried chicken + homemade pickles + hot sauce would be the ultimate menu.

As far as drinks go, bartenders and industry people are really into strong-tasting, botanical, bitter, herbal digestifs as shots; because they can be so off-putting there's a kind of "well are you really into fancy cocktails because if so you will totally be able to drink this without grimacing" aspect to it. It's definitely trickling down to the average bar patron or whatever as the bartenders popularize their favorite liqueurs.

Here in Chicago, the undisputed king is Jeppson's Malört, a bäsk which is so popular that local craft distillery Letherbee made their own version of it which is even more hipstery but also kind of awful due to a heavier hand with the anise (they had to stop using the term malört and started calling it "bësk").

Fernet, an amaro, is also incredibly popular; if a bartender friend asks you if you want a free shot, the likelihood that it's Malört or Fernet is super high. A local cash only bar, Parts+Labor, gives out a free shot of Fernet (which they have on draft) if you have to use their ATM and save the reciept.
posted by Juliet Banana at 8:24 AM on July 23, 2014 [3 favorites]

Korean or Hawaiian style fried chicken (plus sauces and kimchi/coleslaw) seems to be a big thing in Seattle right now.
posted by joan_holloway at 8:29 AM on July 23, 2014

Hummus. I was introduced to it in college, and kept it around if only because I knew no one else in the house would eat it. I've had hipster employees suddenly pop up behind me in the H.E.B. to make suggestions about my selection.
posted by Selena777 at 8:31 AM on July 23, 2014

I'm in London, so we might have different hipsters, but the trend seems to be taking something that is sold for £1 at your local café/fast food emporium and making it 'artisanal'. First there came the ironic dirty burger, then the ironic hot-dog served at a bar which dealt only in hot dogs and champagne, and now we have the ironic fried chicken. The latter is particularly odd, because fried chicken shops are MASSIVE in south London due to them being very cheap, open late and halal, and I can't see that you can fancy them up that much - I don't like it, but I think those who do like it for the greasy dirtiness of it.

Vietnamese seems to be popular too. Banh Mi shops are popping up everywhere.

I reckon it would be funny to take a very basic food - toast? Meatloaf? Findus Crispy Pancakes?- and make it fake 'artisan'. Can you make toast wanky?
posted by mippy at 8:39 AM on July 23, 2014 [2 favorites]

Hi! I'm a hipster (Chicago flavor). Or a yupster? A hipster old enough I went under the label 'alternative' in high school and my joints sometimes hurt?

To be totally honest, just good food. Everyone I know loves the same food that everyone non-hipstery loves. I can't think of any 'authentic' 'hipster' food. Just the stereotypes. Here is the rundown of what I've eaten in the past week or so:

1. Dinner last night: grilled steaks from Trader Joe's, couscous, & canned Green Giant carrots.
2. A few days ago we had Taco Bell.
3. Brunch on Sunday was "Malt Griddle Cakes - klug farm peaches, brown sugar creme anglaise, crystallized walnuts"
4. Dinner sunday was tuna fish sammiches with chips layered on 'em (for that crunch).
5. Lunch on Saturday was from the local taquería. Burritos.
posted by Windigo at 8:40 AM on July 23, 2014 [2 favorites]

Foraged greens and mushrooms, something baked from the Tartine cookbook, something cooked sous vide. Make sure to talk about Slow Food all night.

For coffee, make cold brew. Not super hipster-y, but you can get obsessive about the right roast on the beans, the proper grind, and insist everyone drinks it black to experience it properly.
posted by inertia at 9:08 AM on July 23, 2014

On my corner they sell artisanal homemade ring-dings. (Also known as ding-dongs.)

RIP my corner.
posted by RJ Reynolds at 9:15 AM on July 23, 2014 [4 favorites]

Be sure to describe anything you touch during preparation as "hand crafted."
posted by Short Attention Sp at 9:15 AM on July 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

I'm in London, so we might have different hipsters, but the trend seems to be taking something that is sold for £1 at your local café/fast food emporium and making it 'artisanal'. First there came the ironic dirty burger...

FWIW I don't think there's anything 'ironic' about hipster food. But anyway, according to Time Out the week before last (so, already doubly out of date) the latest thing is fancy grilled cheese sandwiches - not toasties, mind you, but American style grilled cheese sandwiches. A better source of information, however, is probably this blog by a food futurologist called Morgaine Gaye. According to this interview she did with the AV club, salami is going to be big, as are 'puffed up' foods.
posted by Acheman at 9:30 AM on July 23, 2014

In L.A. hardcore juicing is pretty big right now.
posted by Room 641-A at 9:33 AM on July 23, 2014

I live in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. All of the food items sound spot-on for hipsteritude. But the other element that will really elevate you to hipsterifficness will be the ability to tell the story of each food's origins. "Yeah, this bacon was cured in Old Joe's basement, you know, Old Joe who used to run the speakeasy on Jeppet Street in 1927. It came from a pig farm north of Albany that only raises two pigs at a time and prays the Ananda Marga over them as they administer a humane killing agent."
posted by Liesl at 9:34 AM on July 23, 2014 [11 favorites]

nthing: pickles, deviled eggs, bitter cocktails, juice, tacos, grilled cheese, improbable donuts, and house-made anything.
adding: ice cream and boozy slurpees for dessert. both must (natch) be homemade, but can be either complex and sophisticated flavors or can double down on artificiality and be an homage to the deliciousness of the kind you get at the gas station.
posted by dizziest at 9:40 AM on July 23, 2014

OH YES--I had a boozy banana pudding milkshake just a month ago. Very hip.
posted by MrMoonPie at 9:50 AM on July 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

Cashier at the N Williams New Seasons in Portland told me a few weeks ago that mustard was going to be the new bacon.

Also: drinking vinegar, experimental chocolate, rare meats, and Korean and Peruvian are the new Ethiopian.
posted by Lutoslawski at 9:57 AM on July 23, 2014

I thought grilled cheese was kinda done, but when I go for it I always go to Gorilla Cheese (menu is pretty awesome and should give you some ideas). I've been to a few "embrace your inner-hoser" parties where the stuff that wasn't cool in high school was all over the place. hipsters and hoers kinda look the same here, anyway. So, maybe also look for the un-cool food to serve? Also, this thread is making me toots hungry and I am going out now for bibimbap, but I am not sure if it would be condsidered hipsterish enough because it is pretty common Korean food.
posted by saucysault at 10:00 AM on July 23, 2014

Yes: Drinking vinegar (I thought this was played out in Portland, but it seems to be newish in the Bay Area so it's your call), heavy meats that are not bacon but are artisinal gently-killed etc., I guess avocado on toast if you call it "avo" and are a lace-wearing field-loving hipster, waffles (eep, I just got into this so maybe I'm more of a hipster than I thought), tea leaf salad, organic heirloom tomatoes, collard greens.

Maybe: weird donuts, brussels sprouts.

No: Grilled cheese, booze milkshakes (these are on the way out but are super fun so you can probably still swing it), kale (!), hummus (?!), Korean-Mexican fusion, cupcakes (I know no one suggested them but I just really want to reinforce this point).

Source: lived in Portland, now live in the East Bay, speak hipster.
posted by c'mon sea legs at 11:12 AM on July 23, 2014

Chicken & Waffles. (Outre in some parts of the country, but going strong in others.)
posted by stoneweaver at 11:19 AM on July 23, 2014

Start raising your own chickens to serve at the party now.

If you live in an apartment all the better.
posted by yohko at 11:34 AM on July 23, 2014 [8 favorites]

No matter what you decide to serve, start referring to yourself as a "provisioner" when you talk about the party or your role in it. Or, make some lofty reference to your specific food - you can be a "small-batch vinegarist" if you serve drinking vinegar, which, ugh, but anyway, you get the drift.
posted by pdb at 11:59 AM on July 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

OH and Miracle Fruit. You can get it in tablet form from Amazon. Tasting party of all the sour foods.
posted by stoneweaver at 12:01 PM on July 23, 2014

I just saw this in the kickstarter newsletter and it is so sincere that it borders on parody - raw coconut jerky (link to their site, not kickstarter). It's vegan, paleo, small-batch, gluten-free and from Brooklyn.

Here are directions to make your own, typically in a dehydrator. This one includes oven instructions.
posted by O9scar at 1:10 PM on July 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

Sour things.
posted by The corpse in the library at 6:07 PM on July 23, 2014

Salmon candy.
posted by The corpse in the library at 6:11 PM on July 23, 2014

Nettle soup (seasonal)
posted by The corpse in the library at 6:16 PM on July 23, 2014

Fermented everything. Anything you have to grow and cultivate yourself. I'm currently working on my own sourdough starter and ginger beer. Everyone is making their own kombucha- it's the new pet. My sister makes her own yogurt. DIY pickles fall under this as well.

Ooh, ooh and the weird meats! Tongue tacos. I was at a party and there was a straight up slab of lard on the cheese plate.
posted by bobobox at 9:18 PM on July 23, 2014

As long as your guest's taste in beer runs closer to "lowest common denominator" than "beer snob" PBR remains inexplicably a hipster staple.
posted by deadwater at 11:17 PM on July 23, 2014

Foraged everything, from wild-picked greens and blackberries to mushrooms picked in the mountains surrounding where I live. I recently had ponderosa pine needle infused butter made by some hipsters, too.

Put an emphasis on everything at your party being "handpicked" or "local". Brownie points if the food actually is, but it that's not possible you can play it for lolz. If I were throwing a hipster party I would put a sign in front of a bowl of Doritos or something similar saying "locally sourced chips with an aged cheese dressing" or whatnot, because irony.
posted by mollywas at 1:07 AM on July 24, 2014 [2 favorites]

Oh, and toast. Maybe on the outs in the bay area, just getting hip in Portland.
posted by Lutoslawski at 11:51 AM on July 24, 2014

Here's a good menu.
posted by MrMoonPie at 12:01 PM on July 24, 2014 [3 favorites]

Lots of great ideas here. To go full hipster, there is something about waiting in line, due to the perceived scarcity or specialness of the food that appeals to a certain crowd. So maybe have some limited edition items that you make people line up for.
posted by at 1:19 PM on July 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

Fancy ramen is slightly past it's hipster prime, but it's definitely got some legs (doubly so for brothless ramens, like mazeman). If you want to look ahead of the curve, the food truck rally near my apartment in Brooklyn has three different artisanal grilled cheese trucks; that may be the next big thing.
posted by Itaxpica at 3:22 PM on July 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

>>As long as your guest's taste in beer runs closer to "lowest common denominator" than "beer snob" PBR remains inexplicably a hipster staple.

PBR is a rare beer that is readily available, American-owned & union made. My HipsterHistory is a little shaky, but I know that's what all the lefty kids in Iowa City were drinking in the late 90's (maybe before? I had no connections before ~'98), and I can see how that scene shifted pretty fluidly to hipsterdom.
posted by worstname at 8:23 PM on July 24, 2014 [2 favorites]

Oh! An argument about slow food vs. organic vs. local vs. sustainably grown vs. authenticity is a natural fit.
posted by worstname at 8:25 PM on July 24, 2014

vs Raw food
posted by Room 641-A at 8:47 PM on July 24, 2014

Excellent ideas, thanks everyone! FYI: Raising chickens takes 6 weeks (learned that here).
posted by travelwithcats at 9:48 AM on August 7, 2014

Start raising your own chickens to serve at the party now.

Just keep them away from the apiary.
posted by Room 641-A at 6:52 PM on August 18, 2014

If you were a REAL hipster you'd have started raising chickens in your apartment before you even considered having a party.
posted by yohko at 2:08 PM on August 27, 2014

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