12/13/2011 02:24 pm ET | Updated Feb 12, 2012

Formulating the Foolproof Foodie Menu

This is the latest installment from Foodie Underground.

The signs are clear.

You can name the five local artisan cheeses served at your neighborhood wine bar, and you have come to accept the fact that one of them comes from more than 100 miles away. At your dinner parties, you inevitably hear "You should start a restaurant!" at least once before the main course is even served. Your liquor cabinet includes various home distilled bottles that verge on being illegal. You've eaten at least one dessert or baked good made with butternut squash in the last week. You drizzle olive oil on your ice cream. You scoff at fellow diners who do not instinctively question the origin of their meat, or inquire after the cow's/chicken's/salmon's name.

Yes, the time has come: You're ready to channel your foodie chops into a full time gig.

But before you go scoping out the latest empty warehouse space and decorate it with minimalist salvaged furniture and soy tea lights, take some time to focus on your menu. Foodie Underground has put together a foolproof guide to help you along your way to launching a successful business, one that's sure to get you plenty of write-ups in the blogosphere and, more importantly, tweets from food nerds.


Bourbon, bitters and definitely something infused, preferably with bacon.

Champagne and elderflower.


Choose either a dynamic or intentionally plain name for this section of the menu. Anything in French will do, or simple phrases like "small plates." Then make sure to have at least two of the following:

Wilted bitter greens.

Some type of carb with crust cut off.

A basket of bread studded with as much farmhouse cheddar or bacon as possible. Rosemary is so 2005.

Goat cheese. Preferably on beets, but other roots will do in a pinch. Think parsnips or rutabaga.

Braised greens on brioche. Both are on foodie menus everywhere, but in such an inventive pairing? Sure to get you a write up.

Main course

May also be referred to as "Mains."

Creamy polenta. Garnish with bacon.

Roasted [free range chicken or alternatively, any extremely tiny poultry] with heirloom [insert root vegetable] atop fennel [emulsion, sauce, or stew]. Garnish with bacon.

Pan-fried offal seared in duck fat. Garnish with bacon.

Cured [insert pig part] with medium-rare [insert fatty pig part] and grapes.

Something Scandinavian would be nice, like pickled [anything] with an aquavit, lingonberry, dill sauce, but call it glaze.

Something French, that includes at least two prepositions written in italics.

Something soulful. Mashed fingerling potatoes with macaroni and cheese is a great start as long as you garnish with bacon.

Something that inspires the diner to use the word "locavore" in a sentence.

More tips here.

Images: Anna Brones