This Winter's Hot New Food Trend: Tater Tots

Nostalgic trend alert: tater tots are the hot new (old) thing.

A Yelp search for the tiny potato fritters turned up 62 pages of establishments that have them on the menu in New York City alone.

But are tots really making a comeback, though? It’s questionable they ever went away.

They have been a kid favourite for decades. Never really gone from our collective conscious, crispy morsels have emerged as a trendy alternative to that potato stalwart, the french fry, on the urban restaurant scene.

The Associated Press (via CNBC) is hot on the heels of the trend this week:

The comfort (and kid) food staple, which celebrates its 60th anniversary this year, has been making it big on the bar scene, showing up as a crispy snack recently everywhere from neighbourhood holes-in-the-wall to upscale craft bars. Meanwhile, home cooks and haute chefs alike have been inspired to come up with their own tweaks on the Tot.

Barbecue bacon wrapped Tots. Breakfast burrito Tots. Pizza Tots. Totchos — think nachos only with Tots instead of tortilla chips — and the rather meta Tots-topped baked potatoes.

Cale Weissman, a fellow Business Insider employee, detailed what he loves about tots (which he says he’s been eating for at least 15 years) on Twitter:

Weissman also says that “the best are the smaller ones, because they’re crispier” and “artisanal tater tots are a sham.” Indeed, higher-end tots, in our experience, are often too soft. They are more likely to contain sweet potato or some other starch that doesn’t absorb moisture the way that a regular old Idaho potato does, which creates a less satisfying crunch when fried. (Let’s be honest: fried crunch never goes out of style.)

Tater tot-as-trend may be cyclical. It’s certainly not the first time since millennials were tots themselves that there’s been a resurgence in popularity of the potato poppers. Last time, about a decade ago in Portland, according to twitter, probably had something to do with the release of the cult classic Napoleon Dynamite:

So what do you think? Tater tots: hot new trend or sleeper fan favourite? Tell us at the comments or write to me at [email protected]

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