Hot Instagram Food Trends and Where to Find Them in Sonoma County

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The Impossible Burger at Gaia’s Garden in Santa Rosa looks, tastes and eats like a beef burger. Mostly.  (Heather Irwin)

It’s hard to dine out these days without seeing at least a couple of people hovering with smartphones over their plates. Taking a bite before it’s been immortalized on Instagram is pretty much a cardinal sin. Gone are the days when a well-thumbed copy of Zagat served as the restaurant bible. Today, #foodtrends and #foodporn are the new guiding principles. But, in the ever expanding Instagram universe, it’s hard to keep track of what’s new and what’s old: one day, unicorn cake and cloud eggs are hot; the next, they’re not. To give you a taste of the latest foodie fad, we’ve rounded up the new kids on the block: the hottest Instagram food trends (at least at this particular moment) and where to find them in Sonoma County.

Impossible Burger: This burger is the real deal. Well, sort of. Crafted from wheat, coconut oil, and potatoes, it is bound to make even a carnivore drool. The secret ingredient? Heme - a molecule that gives ground beef its color and taste (when derived from blood's hemoglobin) but that can also be found in plants. Plant heme makes the Impossible Burger not only taste but smell, sizzle, and cook like, you guessed it, angus beef. Don't believe us? Try it for yourself. Gaia's Garden in Santa Rosa serves up this meat-free burger with a variety of toppings, including pesto aioli and vegan coconut "bacon," and tops it with a house-made whole grain bun. Sign us up!

From top, macaron ice cream sandwiches Cookies and Cream, Ube Coconut and Blueberry Matcha from Izakaya Kitaru restaurant in Petaluma.
Matcha 2.0 (John Burgess)

Matcha 2.0: In Japan, matcha has been around for centuries as part of the traditional tea ceremony - in the Instagram world, the finely ground green powder has been hot for at least a year, or two. Matcha first took social media by storm in the form of hot tea and latte, now it's popping up in new iterations like macaroons and parfaits. "Traditionalists" can find matcha tea at The Taste of Tea in Healdsburg, and matcha latte at Brew in Santa Rosa, and Acre Coffee in Santa Rosa and Petaluma (Acre source their matcha from Samovar Tea in San Francisco). Want to add a new twist to your matcha fix? Try Blueberry Matcha macaron ice cream sandwiches from Izakaya Kitaru restaurant in Petaluma.

Gut-Friendly Foods
Gut-Friendly Foods (Alvin Jornada)

Gut-Friendly Foods: According to research, fermented foods and drinks like sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha and kefir can help strengthen your gut microbiome (the 100 trillion bacteria and microorganisms that live in your digestive tract) by giving your body a healthy dose of probiotics. As it turns out, fermented foods are not only good to your gut, they might make you happier, too. If you'd like to take care of your gut, you're in luck: Sonoma County is pretty much the capital of fermented foods (and we're not only talking wine and sourdough). There's an annual Fermentation Festival and plenty of probiotic-rich foods and drinks, found in local stores and restaurants. A few to check out: fermented drinks from Revive Kombucha and The Kefirysauerkrauts, kimchis, fermented live shots, salsas and sugar-free srirachas from Wildbrine, and fresh pickled vegetables from Sonoma Brinery.

Charred Cucumber Salad with yogurt, nasturtium, marigold and watercress from SHED chef Perry Hoffman in Healdsburg.
Edible Flowers (John Burgess)

Edible Flowers: They may have been around for a while, but edible flowers never seem to wilt on Instagram. This 'gram is all about aesthetics, which makes edible flowers fit right in with the rest of the #foodtrends, while also standing out among them with their vibrant color. In Sonoma County, they're a regular on farm-to-table menus. Healdsburg SHED grows their own flowers year-round at Home Farm (pictured) - Anise Hyssop, Borage, Calendula, Chive Blossoms, Cornflower, Dianthus, Johnny Jump-Ups, and Nasturtium are a few of the flowers you can find on their menu. Other local spots for flower loving foodies include Single Thread and Barndiva in Healdsburg, Farmhouse Inn and Restaurant in Forestville, Kendall-Jackson Wine Estate & Gardens and Zazu Kitchen + Farm in Sebastopol.

Turmeric (Courtesy of Sonoma Magazine)

Turmeric: Turmeric, a spice commonly used in India, Southeast Asia and the Middle East, is being touted for all of its (potential) health benefits. From fighting inflammation to aiding digestion, it's is the latest "must-have" for healthy people. The Pharmacy in Santa Rosa, a source for "thoughtfully-crafted foods that nourish and enrich our bodies," serves up two food trends in one - turmeric and gut-friendly probiotics - with turmeric ginger kefir and turmeric ginger lassi. Want to make a cup of soothing Golden MilkHealdsburg SHED has got all the spice you need. Crave more turmeric? Insta health gurus are getting creative with turmeric French toast and turmeric rice noodle stir fry, showing how versatile this spice can be.

Acai Bowls
Acai Bowls (Courtesy of Sonoma Magazine)

Acai Bowls: Instagram health nuts have been obsessing over bowl food since... forever (even the British royals have caught on to the trend: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle served it at their wedding reception). Among the latest bowls to be added to the foodie trend list are those containing acai - paired with fresh fruit, nut butters, coconut, chia seeds and even collagen. Acai, antioxidant-rich purple berries from Brazil, also happen to be counted as a "superfood," and the health claims are many: in addition to boosting energy, these magic berries are supposed to improve sleep and aid weight loss. As with most health trends, none of this has been scientifically proven, yet. Incredibly healthy or not, acai bowls are pretty delicious. In Sonoma County, you can find them at Lala's Creamery in Petaluma (pictured), The Nectary in Sebastopol and Healdsburg, El Huerto in Sonoma and Jamba Juice in Santa Rosa.

Salmon poke bowl at Miso Good Ramen with avocado, sprouts, cucumber in Santa Rosa.
Poke Bowls (Heather Irwin)

Poke Bowls: Another bowl that's caught the attention of Instagrammers, this Hawaiian delicacy pairs cubed raw fish with pretty much anything (with the emphasis on "healthy.") From ahi poke to "deconstructed sushi," in the form of a California roll bowl, there's something for every palate (including vegan tofu options). In Sonoma County, Santa Rosa Raw Seafood Bar and Grill offers a poke bowl with Ahi sashimi, capers, roast bell peppers, parsley, and good old extra virgin olive oil. Other local spots that serve poke include T4 and Poke, Zoftig Eatery and Miso Good Ramen (pictured) in Santa Rosa. For a warm Sonoma summer day, any excuse to avoid the oven is exactly what we're looking for.

Avocado Toast
Avocado Toast (Courtesy of Sonoma Magazine)

Avocado Toast: Before you call this article "fake news," hear us out. Yes, in the world of fleeting food trends, avocado toast is not as hot as it used to be. But, in California - the promised avocado land - it can never totally go out of style. While a snap of a perfectly sliced avocado or a shot of a green, creamy smoothie may be cool, nothing beats the beauty of a simple "avo" toast. For a taste of an Instagram trend that never goes cold, visit Brew (pictured) or The Pharmacy in Santa Rosa, El Huerto in Sonoma, and Della Fattoria in Petaluma.



This article was originally published on Sonoma Magazine.