In Japan, there’s a custom not just of celebrating seasonal ingredients, but of anticipating them with food or shapes that remind us that those cherished items will soon be available. For example, a cocktail in late winter might be garnished with a pickled cherry blossom in honor of the fact that those flowers are about to bloom.
Some American chains seem to be taking up that custom since, although it’s late winter, the flavors of spring and summer are on their menus.
Shake Shack, for example, has introduced a line of lemonades, and SweetFrog has chosen mid-March as the right time to roll out dairy-free watermelon soft-serve.
Strawberry Oreo shakes are available at sister chains Hamburger Stand and Wienerschnitzel, and other strawberry items, harbingers of spring, are on offer at Modern Market, Paris Baguette and Pinkberry.
Others, possibly understanding that their customers couldn’t celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day in bars, are making it a week-long celebration with items like corned beef & cabbage at Black Bear Diner, a green matcha drink at Peet’s Coffee, a shamrock-shaped doughnut at Voodoo Doughnut and a Reuben Taco at Velvet Taco.
Both Sonic Drive-In and Firebirds Wood-Fired Grill have burgers with bacon jam on them. Coincidence? Almost certainly.
Bartaco is continuing its month-long Margarita celebration, this week with one made with grapefruit and cherry, Farmer Boys has made its limited-time chicken sandwiches permanent, Mazzio’s and Pie Five have new pizza crusts, Buffalo Wild Wings is expanding its burger and “Dirty Dub Tots” platforms with new iterations, and Tim Horton’s breakfast sandwiches are now made with freshly cracked eggs.
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