Frankenfood, the over the top food trend that has yet to die. Perhaps it’s the Frankenstein-science of the stitching together of two disparate foods that breathes life into the dishes, or, perhaps it’s our sick fascination with dishes that most resemble Mary Shelley’s famous character on a slab. Yeah, it’s probably the latter. We all remember the great cronut movement of 2013, where hundreds of New Yorkers would wait hours everyday just to get a taste of the donut-croissant hybrid dream of a pastry. But it hasn’t stopped there. Since then, the foods have gotten weirder, the tastes more complex, and the appearances, well, interesting. Though some of the creations in this trend may look like an experiment gone wrong, the people are eating it up and they’ve spoken up. Spoiler alert: they’re delicious. So here is our list of frankenfoods that we actually want to eat and you should too.
Let’s start at the beginning, shall we? In 2013, New York City pastry chef Dominique Ansel of Dominique Ansel Bakery wanted to add a new product to his bakery menu. He considered creating a donut as he had none on his menu, the problem was, he didn’t have a recipe, so he decided to make his own. Starting from the croissant that he was familiar with, Ansel experimented with the recipe for two months before he decided to bring it to the public. Since then, his trademarked Cronuts sell out within a few hours every morning, with each month bringing a new flavor. In 2013, the Village Voice declared the Cronut to be Ansel’s “masterpiece,” and TIME Magazine named it one of the best inventions of 2013. You can buy the Cronut from Ansel’s flagship bakery in New York, or you can find a great replica at The Donuttery in Huntington Beach, either way, you should see what all the fuss is about.
The Donuttery is located at 17420 Beach Blvd, Huntington Beach. You can visit their website here.
Dominique Ansel Bakery is located at 189 Spring St., New York, NY. You can visit their website here.
2. Ramen Burger
It’s almost hard to believe that another frankenfood creation could become as popular as the ubiquitous cronut, but Keizo Shimamoto has done it. Growing up in LA with a Japanese heritage, Shimamoto developed a love for both parts of his culture. While studying ramen in Japan, he encountered pork sandwiches that were served with ramen buns. Inspired by the burgers he always loved back home in LA, he saw the opportunity to blend the two things he loved, the two parts of his culture. Thus, The Original Ramen Burger was born. The Original Ramen burger now has a permanent home in Queens, New York but you can also try out the creation at Musubiya Balls!? & Burgers in Santa Ana.
Musubiya Balls!? & Burgers is located at 3701 S Harbor Blvd, Santa Ana. You can visit their website here.
The Original Ramen Burger is located at 13-13 40th Ave, LIC, NY. You can visit their website here.
3. Yaki Dog
Dogzilla in Irvine is becoming a master of the frankenfood trend, but in their own way. It’s creating a bit of culinary evolution of an American staple, the hot dog, by using unique ingredients and combinations to provide the public with an adventurous plate of flavor. A must try is their Yakisoba Dog, a spicy cajun pork link topped with yakisoba noodles, okonomi sauce, ao nori, and red ginger, all served on a King’s Hawaiian roll bun. Who knew the fusion of hot dogs and noodles could be so delicious? It’s definitely “not your typical wiener,” but we love it.
Dogzilla is a local food truck that changes its location and times scheduled. Visit their website here to view their current schedule.
4. Far East Nachos
Voted “Best Wings in Orange County,” it can be hard to order away from the wings menu at Wingnuts, but order away from that menu you shall. Why? We have three words, Far East Nachos. Crispy wonton chips topped with teriyaki chicken, fresh tomatoes, olives, green onions, and lots of melted Cheddar, served with a side of creamy ginger dipping sauce, this creation is a delicious east meets west vision in cheese we can’t wait to dive into.
Wingnuts is located at 3030 Harbor Blvd, Costa Mesa and at 1520 N Mountain Ave, Ontario. You can visit their website here.
5. Sushi Burrito
Yo Pratioto has been a chef for over 16 years, first starting in his home country of Indonesia where he would serve to a largely Japanese clientele. Working with a sushi chef from Japan while in Indonesia, Pratioto developed a love for Japanese cuisine, bringing along this passion to his own restaurant when he moved to LA. Unfortunately, when his business wasn’t doing so well, he had to come up with something else. But he already had a popular dish that he had been serving in his restaurant, so with the explosion of food trucks in the LA area, he decided to take that dish to the road, and the Jogasaki food truck was born. Pratioto loved the idea of sushi burritos because it made his beloved food portable and easily distributable to the public. In 2012 LA Weekly named Jokasaki Sushi Burrito the Best New-School Food Truck in LA. Some of the local favorites are the Lobster Burrito, Spider Burrito, and the Shrimp Fiesta Burrito, but a word of warning, they are massive, but that’s kind of the fun part.
To view the Jogasaki Sushi Burrito Food Truck menu and schedule, visit their website here.
6. Spaghetti and Meatball Sandwich
Yes, we’ve all had the traditional spaghetti and meatball pasta, a perfect blend of delicious, quick, and easy. You may even have had the second day meatball sandwich with a couple of noodles thrown in. You are not, however, prepared for The Carving Board’s version of the spaghetti and meatball sandwich. A riff off of the wildly popular ramen burger, this creation replaces sandwich bread with two “buns” made from fried spaghetti. In the middle of the parmesan flavored “buns” are delectable all beef meatballs topped with a homemade marinara and melted mozzarella. The Spaghetti & Meatballwich is a delightful creation that takes a classic meal that we all know and love, and turns it on its head.
The Carving Board has three locations throughout LA. You can visit their website here.
When the light and flaky texture of the croissant was blended with the sensibility of a muffin, the Cruffin was born. Though the earliest mention of the Cruffin was found in 1993, it was in 2014, that it was popularized in San Francisco by Australian pastry chef Ry Stephen and co-owner Aaron Caddel of Mr. Holmes Bakehouse. Since then, Stephen has opened up locations in both Seoul and Los Angeles, bringing his cream and jam-filled treats to the world’s stage. Cruffins come out at 9AM and, as seen in the Cronut craze, can sell out very quickly, so get there early and enjoy!
Mr. Holmes Bakehouse is located at 101 S Ave 59, Los Angeles. You can visit their website here.
8. Waffle Sandwiches
It seems almost silly that it took so long for waffle sandwiches to become a “thing.” I mean, it’s the perfect blend of practicality and taste. Just as the divots in a perfectly made waffle cradle hefty pours of syrup into tiny pools, so too can the grooves cradle cheeses, sauces, and toppings into glorious mounds and valleys. The folks at Bruxie, have mastered the art of this sweet and savory concoction with a menu of both savory and dessert waffle sandwich selections. The Original Fried Chicken & Waffle sandwich takes the traditional breakfast duo and takes it to the next level. Made with a seasoned fried chicken breast, chili honey, and cider slaw served in a taco-shaped waffle, this is a breakfast, lunch and dinner treat that is sure to please.
Bruxie is located in the Oxford Plaza at 14376 Culver Drive, Irvine. You can visit their website here.
If you’re expecting a churro-donut hybrid when we talk about the Chonut, then you’re like me and would be sorely mistaken. It’s still amazing though, we promise! Popularized by Kimchi Smoke Southern Barbecue, the original NYC Chonut consisted of smoked brisket, bacon, runny egg, American cheese, and Fatboy Bourbon Chipotle Sauce assembled on a buttered fried brioche with powdered sugar. However, no one was prepared for what was to come next. The Chonut giant has now partnered with Glaze Donuts of New Milford, NJ, to create the Chonut 2.1. You might want to sit down for this one. The Chonut 2.1 consists of smoked brisket, pulled pork, Fatboy Bourbon Chipotle Sauce, smoked kimchi, cheddar cheese, and scallions, piled between two, get ready, salted caramel glazed donuts. It’s a heart attack waiting to happen, but it’s a risk we’re willing to take.
Kimchi Smoke Barbecue is located at 301 Center Ave, Westwood, NJ. You can also order online on their website here.
Some frankenfoods seem to defy the laws of biology. The turducken, a turkey-duck-chicken hybrid, is one of them. A creation so weird that it actually works in the mainstream, the turducken has been popping up everywhere even outside of the holiday season. From grocery stores to meat shops, it’s really easy to get this frankenfood today. If you are looking for a special dinner treat, Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen in Anaheim’s Downtown Disney District serves a Turducken Entree as part of their Thanksgiving Special Menu. With chicken stuffed inside a boneless duck, stuffed inside a boneless turkey, it’s the triple threat of meats.
You can visit the Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen website here.