The Food Trend Power Ranking is our semi-regular checkup on Toronto’s most pervasive food and restaurant trends. See the previous one here.
1) Sushi-free Japanese (up from No. 10)
For those who’ve lost track, here’s what opened over the last months:
September: Momofuku Noodle Bar (190 University Ave.), Sansotei Ramen (179 Dundas St. W.)
November: Santouka Ramen (91 Dundas St. E.), Ramen Raijin (3 Gerrard St. E.), A-OK Foods (930 Queen St. W., at Shaw),
December: Ryoji Ramen (690-692 College St., at Montrose)
2) Creative cocktails (new)
Insert shameless plug for The Grid Guide to Holiday Cocktails. But! Many dozens of bars and restaurants have come up with winter-themed drinks to numb/brighten the month of compulsory gift-giving.
3) New Korean (new)
In addition to ramen, the just-opened A-OK Foods (930 Queen St. W.) also serves snacks with touches of head chef Chris Jang’s Korean background thrown in, along with a mix of Chinese and Mexican flavours. And the brothers behind Swish By Han also opened a faux dive bar called Oddseoul (90 Ossington Ave.t) with their take on Korean barbecue.
4) Pop-Ups (up from No. 9)
The owners of the Monarch Tavern (12 Clinton St.) have opened up their kitchen to a rotating roster of pop-up vendors in hopes of finding a permanent fixture. Rock Lobster Food Co. is the latest pop-up venture to become a brick-and-mortar restaurant (110 Ossington Ave.). And last week Fidel Gastro’s threw a mega-party celebrating its first year in operation by paying it forward and hosting other up-and-coming pop-ups.
5) Donuts vs. cupcakes (down from No. 4)
Prairie Girl Bakery is opening a third location of its cupcake shop on the western edge of Yorkville next spring (150 Bloor St. W.). Meanwhile, Dlish Cupcakes recently opened its second shop nearby on the other side of Yorkville at 848-A Yonge St. (at Yorkville). Not as cool: urine cupcakes.
6) Tacos (down from No. 1)
It’s been weeks since we’ve heard of a new taco place opening in Toronto. Still, Taco Bell reported last week that its American stores sold 10 million Doritos tacos in just 10 weeks. Canucks, here’s how to make your own Doritos Locos Tacos: Dump taco fixens in a bag of Doritos. You’re welcome.
7) Vegetables (down from No. 5)
Guy Fieri was in town last week to host the annual Chefs’ Challenge fundraiser for Mount Sinai Hospital as well as film some segments of his Food Network show Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. Considering his show features foods of the cheese-filled and battered variety, it’s unlikely a vegan salad bowl will be getting much love.
8 ) Bacon (down from No. 3)
A bacon-centric sandwich shop called Rashers (948 Queen St. E.) just opened in Leslieville. Unique? Yes, but right now it’s all about the turkey for the next three weeks.
9) Food trucks (down from No. 2)
The trucks have slowed down as the roads start to get icy and going out for lunch becomes a harrowing feat. Still, a new contender will be rolling out soon. Kung Fu Taco (not to be confused with similarly named San Fran Chinese taco truck Kung Fu Tacos) has announced plans to launch a truck to serve Toronto and Hamilton in February.
10) Tasting menus (down from No. 7)
Keriwa Café (1690 Queen St. W.) got rid of its short-lived tasting menu in favour of more a more approachable a la carte menu.
Honourable mentions: Gingerbread-spiced foodstuffs, Kwanzaa Cake
Fallen off the power ranking: Burgers, charcuterie
Photo: Amy Pataki/Toronto Star