National Restaurant Show Favorites 2014

  • 2
  • May 21, 2014

This week, I had the opportunity to attend the National Restaurant Association Show as well as the International Wine, Spirits and Beer event in Chicago. These trade shows are intended to showcase products, operational equipment, services, food and beverage items from over 1800 exhibitors for those who have some connection to the restaurant space. As someone who is very familiar with the International Housewares Show, this show offered me a different perspective on the world of cooking and housewares.


Here is my list of items that I found while walking the show that you might find delicious/enticing/helpful and just fun to have.


1) Gardein Vegan Fishless Filets

There are so many options for vegan or vegetarian meat substitutes that I didnโ€™t think these would be any different from what I am used to having. They are! They are delicious. Make a little tartar sauce or whatever dipping sauces you prefer for an added splash of flavor.

A few details about the products: they are made with non-GMO soy and wheat, ancient grains and veggies, no cholesterol or trans fat and are kosher-certified.  You can find this brand at your favorite stores. So, check their website for the location closest to you.

Inspiring Kitchen National Restaurant Show Favorites 2014



2) Sweety Drop Peppers

Beautiful red, shiny, little teardrop peppers that have a pop of sweet flavor to each crunch. Found in the Amazon Rainforest of Peru and relatively new to the U.S., these peppers are a great snack, put in salads, pizza, pasta, rice, stir fries or just eaten out of the jar. Atalanta Corp is the exclusive importer of these peppers. And we are so glad we donโ€™t have to go to Peru to find them! They even won the 2014 Food & Beverage Innovations Award for Sweety Drop Peppers!

Inspiring Kitchen National Restaurant Show Favorites 2014


3) A new use for Tabasco

How does chocolate, chipotle infused soft serve ice cream sound to you? Well, that is what they were serving at the show. If you are a Tabasco fan, you will love this treat! Itโ€™s creamy with a smoky taste and a little kick at the end. Check out their website for more ideas of ways to incorporate Tabasco into your recipes.

Inspiring Kitchen National Restaurant Show Favorites 2014


4) Mountain Valley Sparkling Water

If you are a sparkling water fan, look for their Blackberry Pomegranate flavored water in the green bottle. The water is sourced in Hot Springs, Arkansas. It is a refreshing change from the lemon and lime you typically find in the market. You can order it online too at

Inspiring Kitchen National Restaurant Show Favorites 2014


5) Gluten Free Crackers

While I am not gluten free, I have heard all the comments about the taste of gluten free products and how difficult it is to find items that are truly tasty. Well, have I got a solution for you! You may be familiar with a brand of crackers called WiseCrackers. They are typically found in upscale groceries and specialty stores and are fantastic. Thankfully, they have gone and done it again with a delicious GLUTEN-FREE cracker called Free For All Kitchen Gluten Free Crackers. The ones I tasted were the Roasted Garlic Rosemary variety. Wonderful and no hint of them being a gluten free product. Check them out and let me know what you think. For more information, see their website:

Inspiring Kitchen National Restaurant Show Favorites 2014


6) Lodge Cast Iron

As many of you know, Lodge has been around forever and is made in the United States. This is the product that is passed down from generation to generation. Lodge products are used commercially as well as at home which you may have experienced firsthand. Cast iron cookware is known for its superior heat retention, heat consistency, cooking/versatility and durability. This is cookware that will not chip or break.


What Lodge introduced at the NRA Show is their new heat-enhanced, seasoned cast iron cookware. This means that you can put this cookware in the dishwasher! And not worry about it rusting! That is great news for folks who want that option.


Finally, you should look for Lodgeโ€™s new cookbook, Cast Iron Nation, which just launched this year. The recipes are enticing, the new seasoned cookware is out in the marketplace and it has finally stopped snowing. All reasons to celebrate! Plus, if you are from Chicago, then you will recognize one of the recipes created by GT Fish & Oyster Chef Giuseppe Tentori on page 201. Enjoy!

Inspiring Kitchen National Restaurant Show Favorites 2014


7) Grey Goose Vodka

New flavor: Le Melon

New favorite cocktail:  Le Melon Moscow Mule

Perfect for spring and summer warm weather relaxation and celebrations.

Inspiring Kitchen National Restaurant Show Favorites 2014


8) FiftyEight Products

To end my list of favorite finds from the 2014 NRA show, just take a look at the picture below. These adorable bowls and pitcher just make you smile. If you are interested in seeing their full collection, visit them here:

Inspiring Kitchen National Restaurant Show Favorites 2014


I am in the process of gathering information from the company and will share with whomever is interested.




I would love to know what you think of my findings. Did you attend the show? What did you discover?

Thanks for stopping by!



  • Sandra Lynn says:

    What lovely finds you’ve discovered ๐Ÿ™‚ So glad to be including them at “Your Top 8” ๐Ÿ™‚ Sounds like you had a lovely time at the show! Thanks for sharing ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Carol Rogers says:

    I just discovered your website and am loving all the tips you are sharing. I went out and bought some of the items you listed here and am so glad you recommended them. Fishless fish? Who knew that existed! Kids love them. And for the adults, Grey Goose Melon. Happy family.

  • All of those products look so awesome! But I would really like some of the FiftyEight products! They look amazing!

  • That’s such an interesting show! I absolutely love those dishes with the faces on them. They’re so cool!

  • Jesica H says:

    I have been to a trade show once, here in Wisconsin We got lots of new ideas and food options. I would love any excuse to get to Chicago, what a great city!

  • I actually think that gluten free tastes better than food with gluten in it. I have also realized that my ADHD child does much better with his behavior on a gluten free diet. Thanks for all the tips! I can’t wait to try some of the things you recommended.

  • Maggie Branch says:

    This looks amazing! Chicago has such fabulous food and culture and it looks like you had a great experience!

  • uprunforlife says:

    Wow Tabasco ice cream…no thank you. I don’t like mixing sweet and spicy. However, give me McDonald’s French fries and ice cream and I’m game. :(.

  • Vera Sweeney says:

    I have switched to gluten free eating and have been looking for new products!! All of these sound like good finds, would love to go to a show like this!

  • Lynndee says:

    Those bowls and pitcher are adorable indeed! I can’t help but smile. ๐Ÿ™‚ How I wish they have that kind of event here too. Would certainly check it out if ever.

  • What a great list of products! I love the idea of adding tabasco to ice cream and other items. Thanks for the idea!

  • I attend a ton of tradeshows here in NYC, sometimes I feel like the convention center is my second home! LOL They are always fun to attend and it’s a great way to get introduced to new products. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • I love hot sauce and I’m always looking for ways to use it to spice up my recipes!

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