Glizzy + 17 Other Terms for Your Post Foodie Era
Don’t call me a foodie, but do let me know if that "revamp" is "mid"
Those of us who love to eat know the feeling well: you’re being introduced to someone, or perhaps a friend is teasing you, and suddenly you’re being referred to as a “foodie.” Shudder.
The timeworn term was coined in a 1980 review by the late restaurant critic Gael Greene, and subsequently gained popularity over the next couple of decades to characterize food-interested folk who did not fit into the previous era’s archetype of the snobbish, gluttonous gourmand. Foodie was more democratic than the formerly employed French words such as “gourmet” and “gastronome,” and its rise spoke to how both eating in restaurants and cooking at home were becoming more accessible and obsessable in mainstream American culture. This is only more true today, which is exactly why the word has crash landed into cringe territory.
In 2023, foodie is cheugy — a vague and cloying catchall that has finally run its course. The term also represents the type of eater who is a late follower of food trends. They Instagram once popular appetizing towers. They wait in long lines for viral pastries. They take desperate measures to secure tables at spots past their prime. None of these things are particularly egregious in their own right, and yet – just as the term foodie itself implies – they’re suggestive of a diner who cares less about the food and the experience than they do about chasing the latest fads and then flexing about them on TikTok. Of course this might not be the case, but self-identifying as a foodie can muddy one’s dining motives, thus rendering one guilty until proven innocent.
Thankfully, there are plenty of other words and phrases that are currently in vogue. What follows is our rundown of what’s being said at restaurants, on social media, and in group chats among the culinarily clued-in. We call it: The New Food Glossary. Read it, memorize it, use it, and we promise you’ll never feel out of your depths at dinner again.
Anything can be mid (read: mediocre), from the latest Adidas collab to the weather, but it’s a particularly useful adjective for dishes and decor.
Gas, Fire, Slaps
How do we praise a particular dish these days, extolling its virtues in the most no cap manner possible? Enter the new holy trinity of suppertime superlatives: Gas, Fire, and Slaps. As in…
— “What are you talking about? The fries at Fanelli’s are not mid. They’re gas.”
— “Damn, that khao soi is fire.”
— “I always get the shrimp cocktail here. It slaps.”
“Phone Eats First”
It might be annoying, but it’s also fact: the phone eats first, so don’t you dare take a bite of that tuna tostada before the shots are snapped.
What was once a nifty Resy feature is now an essential tool for snagging hot tables. I.e., “How’d you get a reservation at Corner Bar?” “I got it off Notify.” Act fast!
Third Culture Restaurant
Fusion is a dirty word. So how do we describe deeply personal styles of cooking that incorporate various influences, like dosa-battered onion rings and pizza topped with housemade Goan sausage served in a Silver Lake sports bar? Third culture, which refers to people raised in cultures other than that of their country of nationality, is a useful term here. Some of the most exciting restaurants right now, like Pijja Palace in LA and Bonnie’s in Brooklyn, are Third Culture Restaurants.
“Pop-up” is a vastly overused term to apply to a wide swath of food projects without brick-and-mortar roots. Takeovers, however, are clear-cut and fun: when a chef or a team takes over a restaurant that is not their own.
Hot dogs are back, and they’re now called glizzys. The moniker was originally slang for a handgun within the hip hop community, and in 2020 became adopted to refer to hot dogs, given their similarities in shape. Viral TikTok trends involving hot dogs (e.g., Glizzy Gobblers) followed suit.
Classic restaurants never go out of style, and after the pandemic, we held on dearly to our old-school institutions. The trendification of this notion can be seen in the proliferation of revamps: when a restaurateur revives a time-honored dining room into something new. See: Gage & Tollner, Dear John’s, S&P, the soon-to-open La Dolce Vita. The list goes on…
Preorder Sally Rooney’s next novel to find it on your doorstep the day of its release. Also preorder a cake for your best friend’s birthday, the most alluring of which are made by local bakers who conduct business over Instagram.
Gin, Tito’s, extra dry, with a twist, dirty. Whatever which way, we all drink ‘tinis now. (Relatedly: Hat tip to E. Alex Jung for coining “the winning combination of martinis and French fries” as the New York Happy Meal.)
When every other new restaurant is a wine bar, there are no wine bars. How, then, can we refer to the elegant little places where you can share delicious little plates, drink off thoughtfully-curated beverage menus, and still leave hungry (more often than not)? Those are Snacky Spots.
AKA the reason many restaurants are open four or five days a week (and only for dinner) instead of all seven, and why you may have to order at the counter at a sit-down restaurant.
These days, vibe > food is a common requisite for those seeking restaurant recs. The people want vibey restaurants with high aesthetic value, packed dining rooms, and cool clientele. Think Balthazar in SoHo and Jones in West Hollywood. It’s not that their food’s not good, it’s just that the overall atmosphere (both of which these two joints have perfected) can count more than the cuisine.
Upcycled, Byproduct, Fermented
Upcycled ingredients are created from food scraps that would’ve otherwise gone to waste, including byproduct — the secondary product made from the production of something else (like fruit pulp and peels from making juice, or spent grain from brewing beer). Oftentimes, byproducts can be incorporated into ferments — any fermented product, such as vinegar or jam — which aim to extend the shelf life of seasonal produce, make use of imperfect ingredients, and add flavor to dishes. Expect to see more of these words on menus as restaurants seek to educate diners on more sustainable ways of eating.
To prove you dined in a hot restaurant, post a selfie from its coolly designed bathroom rather than a picture of its most-talked-about dish.
Orange wine, also called skin-contact wine, is made from white grapes with the skin on, adding color and body and flavor, and is widely produced by natural winemakers. House wine refers to the wine a restaurant is offering cheaply and in abundance — an especially common practice in European countries like Italy and Greece. House wine + orange wine = house orange. Voila! “I’ll have a glass of your house orange,” says the diner at the table next to yours at Kiki’s in Dimes Square, and it’s clear that natural wine is no longer a trend — it’s the new norm.
There are three main reasons why it’s hard to get into a restaurant in these trying contemporary times. 1.) The kitchen is helmed by a star chef. 2.) The establishment in question has received a glowing review in the paper of record. 3.) It’s a TikTok Restaurant. As in, one TikToker and then many TikTokers have obsessed over a specific dish, causing a flood of customers to flock to the restaurant (and also TikTok it). You could join the party by doing so at places like Saint Theo's and Nusr-Et, but, remember, following such a well-trodden trend might make you a…foodie.
When you dig a Mother of Pearl spoon into a pool of caviar, plop a dollop of tiny black eggs on your fist, and slurp it up, that’s a caviar bump. The poster child of contemporary high-low food culture.
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Emily Wilson is a Los Angeles-based writer with bylines in Bon Appétit, Eater, Los Angeles Times, New York Magazine, Resy, and more. Find her on Instagram and Twitter at @emilyjwils.
fun - some random associations that came to mind when reading these:
1. I've heard "middling" and use it myself
3. "phone eats first" -> "for the gram"
5. similar to "third wave coffee" -> craft coffee
12. short-staffed -> pretty much everywhere, be nicer when eating out
What word preferable to foodie