The Food Trend Power Ranking is our semi-regular checkup on Toronto’s most pervasive food and restaurant trends. See the last ranking here.
1) Tacos (no change)
Top-notch taco shop Rebozos now has a second location at 424 College St. (at Lippincott). On a larger scale, the parent company of Taco Bell reported a sales boost with help from a more upscale Cantina Bell menu in the states. Tacos: Our No. 1 hope for keeping the global economy afloat.
2) Food trucks (no change)
A new, non-taco truck is roving Toronto streets. The Feisty Jack serves British food like scotch eggs with mango chutney, kebabs, and alcohol-infused cupcakes. More spots have also opened up for trucks (like the Sony Centre), and the annual Chef’s Challenge for a Cure fundraiser have also tapped trucks to help raise money for cancer research.
3) Bacon (up from No. 4)
Turns out the worldwide bacon-shortage thing is just hogwash. Reports are now saying that bacon stocks will still be healthy (but still bad for your actual health) over the coming months. That sound you hear is the CNE uttering a sigh of relief.
4) Donuts vs. cupcakes (up from No. 9)
Rachelle Caldwell’s back-door donut business is gaining traction as it branches out to Sam James’ Coffee Bar (297 Harbord St.) and Sanagan’s Meat Locker (176 Baldwin St.). New hot dog shop Fancy Franks (326 College St. at Major) is also making donuts. Meanwhile, Team Cupcake loses MVP the Cupcakery (1034 St. Clair W.) as For Rent signs are now taped to their windows.
5) Vegetables (up from No. 6)
It’s fall, meaning markets and design stores have one thing in common: tons of vaguely phallic decorative gourds in all shapes and sizes. Fill your house with them now or face the wrath of Martha Stewart.
6) Burgers (up from No. 8 )
Gangster Burger (607 Queen St. W.) opened up while local giant Big Smoke Burger opened their sixth location in King City (12001 Hwy 400 Northbound). If that’s not fancy enough, you can find chef Daniel Boulud’s famous DB Burgers at the new dbar menu (60 Yorkville Ave.).
7) Tasting menus (new)
Keriwa Café is now exclusively doing tasting dinners and have also paired up with Nyood to launch the West Queen West restaurant’s weekly dinner series starting Oct. 24. Temporary restaurant The Feasting Room (580 College St.) is wrapping it up with one last service on Nov. 18.
8 ) Charcuterie (new)
Enoteca Sociale’s chef Grant van Gameren is now producing his own line of cured meats for retail; his Crown Salumi products are currently available at Sanagan’s Meat Locker (176 Baldwin St.) and Cheese Boutique (45 Ripley Ave.). They’ll also be available at his upcoming restaurant, Crown Cooks (797 College St. at Shaw). Chef Carl Heinrich’s just-opened restaurant Richmond Station (1 Richmond St. W. at Yonge) is also offering a charcuterie plate on its menu. It’s also on the menu of dbar, Daniel Boulud’s restaurant in the new Four Seasons (60 Yorkville Ave.).
9) Pop-ups (down from No. 7)
The chilly weather means afternoon pop-ups in alleyways and sidewalks are coming to a halt this season. But, The Bellevue (61A Bellevue Ave.) is giving chefs without a restaurant a home for a few days this month to take over dinner service.
10) Sushi-free Japanese (no change)
No word on what’s happening with Nejibee Izakaya (24 Wellesley St.), which was supposed to open months ago. Ninki Izakaya (133 Richmond St. W.) did just open but it’s more akin to a regular Japanese restaurant, a sign that izakayas are so popular that it’s verging on “café” and “bistro” territory in terms of being adopted as a vague restaurant descriptor. No moving up for you.
Honourable mentions: Pumpkin-spiced foodstuffs, festive specials,
Fallen off the power ranking: Pizza (down from No. 5), Creative cocktails (down from No. 3).—Karon Liu