With 2013 year-end lists now behind us, we look forward to what’s going to be on our plates over the next 12 months. Various outlets came out with predictions for 2014 food trends. Here’s what could be popular in the next year and where you can get it in the city.
Predicted by: NPR, The Canadian Press, Eating Well Magazine, Food Network, and Maclean’s, which dubbed it super-hot back in September.
Reason: The Maclean’s 700-word ode praised cauliflower for its versatility. It can be grilled or fried as a main; blended with cashews to make vegan cheese; grated as a rice substitute; and even made into desserts. It also helps that it’s grown within Ontario.
Where to eat it: Pizzeria Libretto recently seared some as a special pizza topping, but cauliflower is also found braised on its regular menu in the mascarpone polenta. Tabule flash-fries their cauliflower and then adds tahini. New Harbord Village restaurant Harvest Kitchen serves curried cauliflower as part of their starter tempura pickle plate. Old timey Geraldine adds almond and toscano cheese to theirs on the dinner menu. Amaya Express serves the classic Indian dish aloo gobi, which is a cauliflower and potato curry.
Trend: Devilled eggs
Predicted by: The Canadian Press
Reason: Nostalgia mixed with delightfully trashy whimsy. The bar snacks are also easy and relatively inexpensive to make.
Where to eat it: Bar Isabel adds salt cod and black pudding to theirs, The Gabardine spices theirs with a dash of paprika and Worcestershire, Cocktail Bar serves them with n’duja, and brunch favourite White Brick Kitchen does a southwest version dressed with crispy tortilla sticks and green olives.
Trend: Fancy chicken
Predicted by: Baum+Whiteman consulting group (roast chicken), The Canadian Press (roast chicken), Forbes (chicken wings)
Reason: CP argues that the proliferation of artisan butcher shops across the country has shown people that a good roast chicken is easy to make at home. (Swiss Chalet is way ahead of the curve, people.) Still, chicken isn’t hot everywhere: McDonald’s failed flight in the wing market last year resulted in 10 million pounds of unsold wings.
Where to eat it: Dundas Park Kitchen is well-known for their $25 take-home whole roast chicken with sides deal; The Chase goes all-out with a $72 bird stuffed with foie gras for two; Crown and Dragon has dozens of beloved wing flavours; and, after conquering the U.K., South African piri-piri chicken chain Nando’s is opening a downtown location at 832 Bay St. (at Grenville) this month.
Trend: Noodles, specifically ramen (you thought this trend was over, didn’t you?)
Predicted by: The Houston Chronicle, The Canadian Press, Seattle Times
Reason: Alright, ramen restaurants in Toronto aren’t new, but the Houston Chronicle says a return to starches will help sustain the popularity of noodles. The Seattle Times, on the other hand, says the non-supermarket packet kind is just taking off there.
Where to eat it: Touhenboku Ramen for its chicken broth, Santouka Ramen for its pork jowls, Sansotei Ramen for its tonkotsu broth, Kenzo Ramen for the big and spicy King of Kings bowl, and Kinton Ramen‘s just-opened second location at 668 Bloor St. W. (at Manning) for the spicy jalapeño bowl.
Predicted by: NPR, Forbes, Sterling-Rice consulting group
Reason: Nutritionally dense and valued by carb-shunners, snack-lovers, and the dairy intolerant, nuts are being used to make butter and milk in addition to being a healthy snack.
Where to eat it: Live Food Bar uses nuts throughout its menu—be it walnut taco meat, walnut and sweet-potato pizza dough, or nacho-cheese sauce made from cashews. Recently opened Indian restaurant Pukka makes an unconventional (but popular) kale salad with a cashew dressing. Those who just want some to munch on at home should check out Nuthouse, which has a big walnut on its storefront. —Karon Liu
Photo: ANDREW FRANCIS WALLACE/TORONTO STAR