Heating Things Up for Summer

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Hot Peppers

What do you need to do this season to keep up with the
chains? Spice things up. If you own an independent restaurant, there is always
the competition with the franchises to worry about.  However, what they can do with their size,
you can do better with your personal attention to detail.

Spicy flavors are popping up all over the food industry.
From jalapenos to ghost peppers, hot is in and with summer turning up the heat
outside, it’s time to do the same inside. But don’t worry; no matter how much
heat you add, you won’t be risking your restaurant furniture.

Cover Your Basics

Offer your guests the standard kinds of spice food they
expect. Buffalo wings, buffalo spiced chicken in salads, pepper jack cheese on
burgers, and so forth. These items are good solid spicy foods that most diners
enjoy when seeking a bit of heat. If you aren’t sure what is trending, take a
look at fast food menus.

As for sandwiches, meats are consistently going fiery. You
can mix in spice in a variety of forms. Rubs and marinades are perfect for cuts
of meat or fish. Let the flavors infuse for several hours and then smoke them –
this taps into the additional trend to smoke just about everything this year.
Just wait until you lay some of these dishes on your restaurant dining tables;
your guest will clamor for more.

Play with New Tastes

Everyone likes the opportunity to try something new.
Bartenders are introducing spice in new drink combinations. The combination of
hot and cold is very appealing. The key, in this case, is to let the heat
enhance the drink, not overpower the palate.

Side dishes and condiments are a safe bet when it comes to
delivering a punch. Spicy barbecue sauces, coleslaw, and even fries are lots of
fun. Add some adobe chili to your mashed potatoes or some habanero in your
polenta. The more unexpected, the better guests seem to like it.

Another great place to try your hand at spicing things up is
dessert. Cayenne
in chocolate desserts isn’t surprising, but it is certainly delicious. However,
the newest trend is heating up ice creams, cookies, and other desserts as well.
Go mild with cloves, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg or go bold with various
peppers instead. Strive for balance between the sweet and spicy flavors and you
will have a winner.

If you really want to heat things up, take the time to set
up an outside dining area. Even a few small café tables on the sidewalk are a
good start if you don’t have room for a full-fledged patio. It will give your guests
the opportunity to people-watch, enjoy the weather, and the longer days.

If you do have the room, make it special. A portable
fireplace will keep guests toasty as the sun goes down, twinkling lights set a
romantic mood, and a bit of spicy and cool cuisine will satisfy their cravings
for this new trend.