Dragon Milk was the last goddamned straw—seeing the dreaded words in an emailed press release nearly caused flames to rise in my throat as if I was one of Khaleesi’s treasured pets. It was the latest in the mythical-food craze, that colorful, viral-thirsty collection of rainbow bagels, mermaid toast, galaxy cakes, fairy bread and unicorn lattes that has dominated Instagram feeds for the better part of the past year.
RECOMMENDED: See more New York rants
And listen, I’m all for food that looks good; plating and presentation are key components to the dining experience. The real bother, however, is when the visuals are the sole appeal, a gourmet offense made even worse by the fact that rainbow and galaxy aren’t so much flavor profiles as they are mere excuses for excess sprinkles. It also doesn’t help that the types of food that routinely undergo such Pimp My Ride–esque parquetry are of a supremely banal sort. Give me a gold-leaf–covered carpaccio any day of the week, but I don’t need my morning toast to arrive looking like something out of Ariel’s under-the-sea treasure trove or shellacked in enough glitter to decorate this season’s entire cast of RuPaul’s Drag Race. Just slather that pullman slice in Paula Deen levels of yellow butter and call it a day.
But the mythical-food problem goes deeper than its admittedly pretty surface. New York, you are the land of Dominique Ansel, Wylie Dufresne, Alex Stupak, Ignacio Mattos—creative, compelling chefs who can take sugar, spice and salt and transform them into edible Surrealism. You are one of the most formidable food cities on the planet, and as residents of such a culinary powerhouse, we are better than Lisa Frank fantasy foods and cheap bids at social-media fame. Taste the rainbow? I’ll pass, thanks.Share the story