warning Hi, we've moved to USCANNENBERGMEDIA.COM. Visit us there!

Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

Famous Foods Of 2013

Kelli Shiroma |
December 22, 2013 | 3:41 p.m. PST

Food Editor

There are many “Cronut”-like pastries that can be found in L.A. (Photo Courtesy of Forage L.A.).
There are many “Cronut”-like pastries that can be found in L.A. (Photo Courtesy of Forage L.A.).
2013 was an interesting year in terms of food. It was a year of crazy, trending food hybrids—like the ramen burger—and condiments that had unprecedented popularity. As the year comes to a close, here’s to a look back at some of the items that made food history.


Whoever knew that a donut-and-croissant hybrid would become a global sensation? Dominique Ansel’s trademarked Cronut was born in May and has been sparking spin-offs and look-alikes worldwide ever since. For those who have not tasted a Cronut yet, this pastry can be made in different ways with many different flavors, but the main jist is that is features the soft, doughy-ness of a donut with a delicate, flaky exterior characteristic of a croissant. 

SEE ALSO: Top 15 ‘Cronuts’ in L.A.

Kale was seriously the new quinoa. While this vegetable has enjoyed more widespread use in the last few years, this year, its popularity soared. Making the perfect kale salad became an obsessive art form as well as the go-to, healthy salad meal, and including kale in dishes ranging from spaghetti to mac and cheese became the norm. 


When Taco Bell debuted “Doritos Locos Tacos” featuring the famous chips’ taco shells, it immediately became the chain’s most successful product launch. However, sales increased further when the company introduced the “Cool Ranch” flavor on March 6—a day earlier than expected—and the newest “Locos Taco” addition became a best seller. 

The “Ramen Burger” was more popular than some expected (ManEatManila /Flickr).
The “Ramen Burger” was more popular than some expected (ManEatManila /Flickr).

The ramen burger seemed to come out of nowhere and ended up taking the world by storm. This tasty twist on the burger features a prime beef patty cooked medium-rare to well-done, arugula, scallions and a “secret” shoyu sauce, all sandwiched between two grilled “buns” composed of ramen noodles. Still doubt the burger’s tastiness? When chef Keizo Shimamoto brought his creation to Torrance’s Mitsuwa Marketplace in early September, more than 1,000 people lined up to try the latest burger trend. 

SEE ALSO: Ramen Burger Sparks New Food Hybrid


Fanatics went ballistic when there was a shortage of Speculoos, the addictive cookie butter sold at Trader Joe’s. Likened to a peanut butter spread—but with the crunchy, gingerbread-like texture of cookie bits—Speculoos comes in several different flavors (the original flavor, “Cookie & Cocoa Swirl,” and “Crunchy”). While the product has been around for a while (it was at the top of Trader Joe’s “most popular products” list of 2012), it has still enjoyed immense popularity this year. In fact, some Trader Joe’s stores could not even keep the Speculoos spread on their shelves for longer than a few hours in the early morning. 

When Carl’s Jr. debuted this new twist on the ice cream sandwich in July, it instantly became a hit. Even though these cold delicacies can easily be made at home, there was something about the simple vanilla ice cream-and-strawberry-pop-tart combo that kept the orders rolling in. 


Sriracha is currently the world’s coolest condiment … because it’s just so hot. From potato chips to candy canes, it seemed like sriracha could be found in just about anything. Even Subway added two sriracha-themed sandwiches to its menu in November.

Lobster rolls have become a hit on the west coast (SimonDoggett / Flickr).
Lobster rolls have become a hit on the west coast (SimonDoggett / Flickr).

Freshly made lobster rolls are no longer an East Coast exclusive. Lobster rolls have been popping up in various So Cal eateries, including Hinoki & the Bird, The Hungry Cat and Littlefork Restaurant & Bar. Each eatery’s version of the lobster roll is different, but each combination presents a medley of unique flavors.  


Speaking of ramen burgers and the like, bigger and better burger buns—like hearty pretzel buns—took the stage this past year, making gourmet burgers bigger, better and tastier than ever. 

Reach Kelli Shiroma here or follow her on Twitter



Craig Gillespie directed this true story about "the most daring rescue mission in the history of the U.S. Coast Guard.”

Watch USC Annenberg Media's live State of the Union recap and analysis here.