The Food Trend Power Ranking is our semi-regular, unscientific checkup on Toronto’s most pervasive food and restaurant trends. See the last one here.
1. Sandwiches (new)
They’re the greatest thing since sliced bread. Here are some of the new lunch spots that have opened recently with sandwiches on offer.
—Dundas Park Kitchen
—The Clubhouse Sandwich Shop
—Okeedokee’s Sandwiches and Stuff
—Completo (at the back of the 214 Augusta food court in Kensington Market)
Also, Porchetta & Co. has signed up to do delivery, and while a steamed bao isn’t really a sandwich, OCAD students now have Mean Bao in the Grange Village for a cheap lunch option.
2. Donuts (unchanged)
While Paulette’s Original Chicken and Waffles has closed, the Delica Kitchen that replaced it is still selling its donuts due to overwhelming popularity. Speaking of popularity: since the cronut-burger controversy at the CNE, the donut burger of 2011 fame has regained its crown as most gluttonous midway food. Oh, and check out the donut showdown at the Harbourfront’s Hot and Spicy Food Festival this long weekend.
3. Octopus (unchanged)
There are many, many tasty ways to serve octopus, as seen in this week’s issue of The Grid. You can also get it in a steamed bao at the new food-court stall Mean Bao at the Grange. The cephalopod continues to float steady at No. 3, as it has not yet reached bacon-levels of culinary bastardization.
4. Fried chicken (unchanged)
The newly opened Home of the Brave by the La Carnita team serves one delicious fried-chicken sandwich (another score for No. 1) with the chicken’s foot attached. (It’s up to you to decide if that’s an asset or liability.)
5) Vegetables (up from No. 6)
Asparagus season, shmaspargus season: That news is so old it might as well be a restaurant that opened two months ago. Suck it, asparagus—we’re moving into the fall months with new buzzy and hotly anticipated produce: Artichokes, crabapples, cranberries, apples, and pumpkin-spiced stuff. Support your farmers by buying local and organic pumpkin-spiced lattes.
6. Barbecue (down from No. 1)
Sneak in that one last barbecue this weekend before the clock strikes midnight and your grill turns back into a pumpkin and those Korean-marinated wings turn into regular, uncool wings. Going forward, learn the finer points of hot pot at the newly opened Celebrity Hot Pot in Chinatown. Pro tip: Cook the beef and lamb first to satisfy immediate hunger—that will also flavor the broth before you add noodles and vegetables.
7. Food trucks (up from No. 8 )
A few more food trucks, like Localista and Bestia, have popped up on Toronto streets this summer. Still, the city is being rather hesitant about letting them loose across town. The pilot food-truck program gave the green light to five (not exactly high-traffic) areas for trucks to park: Sherbourne Common, Roundhouse Park, Canoe Landing, Allan Gardens, and Woodbine Park, the latter of which was kiboshed due to residents’ noise complaints. Those people probably should avoid Fort York on Sept. 21, when about 50 of them gather for AwesTRUCK.
8. Tacos (down from No. 7)
While there’s been a slight pause in taqueria openings, Taco Bell’s Doritos Loco Taco—the taco with a Doritos shell of which Americans ate 500 million in the past year—is coming to Canada next week. Before you get up on your authentic-taco high horse, know that this taco boosted the morale of a small, heartbroken Alaskan town and created 15,000 jobs. Soon, these crispy, mostly beef vittles will be our currency and the foreign-currency exchange stall will ask if we want our cash in USD or DLT.
9. Burgers (up from No. 10)
The good news is that the cronut burger itself is (sort of) safe for human consumption (see No. 10 below), but it’s doubtful that it’ll recover from the barrage of bad press…as well as the three-snaps-in-a-Z-formation from cronut creator Dominique Ansel. It’s now up to the Walhberg funky bunch to reclaim the good name of the burger with next year’s opening of Mark, Donnie, and Paul’s (he’s the head patty slinger) burger chain Walhburgers at the SoHo Metropolitan Hotel. Yes, it’s odd to have a burger chain in the same building as Sen5es, but hey, the internet seems to feel its vibrations.
10. Bacon (down from No. 4)
Three words: maple-bacon jam.
Honourable mentions: Did we already mention the cronut, because… food-poisoning jokes!
Fallen off the power ranking: The Junction