The Eater Atlanta blog last week interviewed brilliant chef-restaurateur Linton Hopkins, who operates Restaurant Eugene, Holeman and Finch, H&F Bakery and H&F Burger at Turner Field. He’s planning more casual venues at the Botanical Garden and the Ponce City Market. His food is consistently among the best in Atlanta.

Hopkins also announced that he’s been working with Chick-fil-A to develop a new bun for their sandwiches:

“I’ve gotten to know Dan [Cathy, president of Chick-fil-A]. Dan’s big focus is how could he be the food of American families and that’s really important to him. Regardless of all the stuff around definition of family, he really wants to [do good by] American families and since they’re an Atlanta company, they had asked me to look at our bun.”

Food and family is one of Hopkins’ persistent themes, but we all remember Cathy’s hateful language about gay marriage two and a half years ago. It provoked demonstrations and boycotts. Cathy later said he regretted entering the political fray, but that his opinions remained the same. In fact, when the Defense of Marriage Act was struck down by the Supreme Court, he infamously tweeted (and later deleted): “Sad day for our nation; founding fathers would be ashamed of our gen. to abandon wisdom of the ages re: cornerstone of strong societies.”

How should we greet this news? I never cared for Chick-fil-A’s sandwiches, although I enjoy its advertising featuring stupid cows. It will be interesting to see how gay people respond to Hopkins.

Biggest trends of next year: Did you know fast food sales at places like McDonald’s are shrinking? The big deal now is “fast casual” spots, like Ansley Mall’s Moe’s, Panera, and Bantam and Biddy. Those are mainly what will be featured at the new Ponce City Market, which will also include Linton Hopkins’ burger joint.

The most explosive culinary trend is Asian-style food, often fused with other ethnic cuisines. The most recognizable example, already a cliché, is food-truck-style Korean-Mexican kimchi tacos. But ramen, dim sum, and curries featuring sourced ingredients are also showing up, in spots like Makan in Decatur, Ah-Ma’s at Midtown Promenade, and Spice to Table at Studioplex. Among the most eagerly awaited is Big Boss Chinese in Decatur. It will feature Cantonese-style cooking by Guy Wong, owner of Miso Izakaya, a groundbreaking restaurant in our city.

“Cannabis Cuisine” is making lists of the hottest trends for 2015 in some of the western states. We’re not talking brownies and cookies. We’re talking everything from entrees to gluten-free baked goods. Never mind that weed-feed might cost more than foie gras. Meantime, a rumor’s going around that pop-up dinners featuring ganja are in the planning here.

Interestingly, the popularity of affordable multi-ethnic cuisine is often attributed to Generation Z, the late Millennials. They are in their teens, but being hugely multi-ethnic themselves, preferring farm-to-table food and having grown up in a recession, they are overwhelmingly attracted to these fast-casual spots.

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