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MenuMasters: Old Bay Hot Chocolate, Beyond Fried Chicken and squid-free calamari

Plus a chain’s interpretation of quesabirria, beef tartare with oysters and a new low-carb noodle

One of the many, many food predictions for 2022 is that plant-based chicken will be the next frontier in meatless eating. KFC has pushed that forward with the nationwide launch of its Beyond Fried Chicken, available now for a limited time.

But Americans still love chicken, certainly more than they love squid — not that there’s anything wrong with squid — so the chef at Vaso in Columbus, Ohio, came up with the clever and low-food-cost idea of using the poultry instead of the seafood in his version of calamari.

Mexican chain Taco Cabana has jumped on the quesabirria trend, but has renamed it for a broader audience to Birria Quesadilla.
THB Bagelry and Deli in the Baltimore area has teamed up with McCormick Company, which is based in Baltimore, to offer a hot chocolate spiced with Old Bay seasoning. Locals are reportedly loving it.

Noodles & Company, the fast-casual noodle chain, is continuing its barbell approach to menu innovation, introducing lighter items more-or-less alternately with more indulgent ones. Having rolled out stuffed tortelloni last year, now it’s testing low-carb pasta called LEANguini.

Beef tartare has swung back into fashion, and at The Madrigal in San Francisco it comes with fried oysters. Read on to learn why.

Contact Bret Thorn at [email protected] 

Follow him on Twitter: @foodwriterdiary

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