Trends of 2015

Jennifer Waldera

From food trend agency The Food People to McCormick’s global team, and nearly every food publication on the magazine racks, experts are all forecasting the major trends of 2015 and answering the important food questions: Is sriracha on its way out? (Short answer: Not even close.) And what’s the next “it” veg? (Probably kalette.) But, besides the fact that those minutiae may be fascinating to trend-following home cooks, chefs, and product development teams, why do the rest of us need to know what’s on the food horizon? To decide where to dine, naturally.

 

With Baltimore’s restaurant kitchens filled with so many highly creative and talented chefs, we know these up and coming flavors should be expected to show up on our plates this year. Here are a few of the top trends and some of the best places to find them showcased this year.

 

 

Asian Flavors

 

Japanese 7 Spice, with nori, sesame, orange, chilies, and other components, rated high as a potential component to cuisine, but overall both Japanese and Chinese influenced cuisines are garnering a lot of excitement amongst trendsetters.

 

Which local joints should you check out? We’re particularly excited about brand-new Japanese restaurant Azumi in Harbor East, whose kitchen is headed by ambitious Michelin star seeking Executive Chef Eiji Takase, as well as the new appetizing and affordable Japanese Prix Fixe Menu from Roy’s, also in Harbor East.

 

Looking for more of a fusion style incorporation of Asian spices? Dooby’s in Mt. Vernon is the spot to stop for bites like Toasted Sesame Edamame Hummus, Pork Buns with gochujang aioli and kimchi, and Curry Chicken Pot Pie made with golden Japanese curry. We’re also beside ourselves with anticipation of the opening of Pique, Chef Cyrus Keefer’s new French-Asian inspired restaurant slated to start service right on 36th Street in Hampden. And, by the way, if you’re as excited as we are about Pique, you can consider supporting Keefer’s efforts by contributing to his Kickstarter campaign to get the restaurant up and running at: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1584030908/pique?ref=nav_search.)

 

 

Middle Eastern Mezze

 

Small plates and shared eating experiences have taken center stage on many menus for years, but now those specifically with Middle Eastern flare are expected to be the stars of 2015.

 

This is lucky news for brand new Mare Nostrum, the new Turkish/Mediterranean BYOB spot on Broadway in the heart of Fell’s Point which features primarily kebabs, fish, and a mouthwatering long list of cold and hot appetizers. Unexpectedly, in the heart of Little Italy, another Middle Eastern style gem can be found in Ozra. Opened over a year ago on a corner spot in the cozy community, their authentic menu ranges from kebabs to stews and fish to beef tongue.

 

 

Fermentation

 

Preservation of vegetables to extend their life (particularly for use in the off seasons) has, of course, existed for centuries, but has greatly increased in popularity in conjunction with the farm to table trend. Pickling has been one of the most endeared forms of treatment of foods for long term preservation, but fermentation is on the rise.

 

One of the top spots in Baltimore to feed your fermentation fix is Hex Ferments. Located in bustling Belvedere Square, the spot boasts some of the best kimchi, krauts, and kombucha, all made from locally grown ingredients. Looking for some kimchi or sauerkraut on a sit down menu? Besides the obvious suggestion to stop in to any of the incredible and authentic local Korean BBQ joints, we recommend heading over to the aforementioned Dooby’s where kimchi can be found on its own, served on a burger, or incorporated into collard greens and even potato salad. Love some sauerkraut? Some of the best in Baltimore can be found at Sophia’s Place at the Broadway Market, and we’re fairly intrigued by the pumpkin sauerkraut on the menu (alongside Coffee BBQ Pork Shank) at Bryan Voltaggio’s newest addition to Baltimore, Family Meal.

 

 

Smoked Flavors

 

Smoky spices and smoked foods in general are expected to be a hit globally in 2015, and given Baltimore’s increased love affair with restaurants serving smoked meats in the last year or two, we think this one is right on point.

 

If you’re looking for all things smoked, we suggest immediately heading to Neopol Smokery at Belvedere Square. Sure, there’s smoked salmon and there’s smoked charcuterie, as might be expected. But who expected a whole smoked honey glazed duck, or smoked chicken confit? And if you’re looking for smoked meat at a local restaurant, we’re sort of in love with the Smoking Swine’s pop up (maybe permanent, if we’re lucky?) at Smokehouse Canton (previously JD’s). The pulled pork is our favorite, but the brisket is pretty tasty as well. And smoke, or no smoke, the Slap Yo’ Mama Mac and Cheese has a spicy kick (spiciness: another 2015 trend…) that is a spot on accompaniment to all things smoked at this joint.

 

 

Bone Broth

 

So, those in the know may already be aware that you can hit up some spots around the country now and grab a cup of bone broth for double what you might pay for your morning latte. Does this sound crazy? Maybe initially. But a further inspection reveals that bone broth might have a whole lot more than double the benefit (outside of the coffee buzz) of your daily caffeine fix.

 

We know that Mom’s chicken soup is considered a cure-all when sick, and matzo ball soup is nicknamed Jewish penicillin, so it shouldn’t be such a stretch to think that a bone broth could do have some serious health benefits. In fact, multiple research studies suggest that bone broth can ease digestive issues, aid in complications from osteoarthritis and osteoporosis, and potentially fight cancer.

 

So where can you find this healing savory concoction in Baltimore? Well, we do know for sure that Saigon Today in Canton makes a complex and tasty broth for their pho using both bone marrow and bones. But if you want to sip your broth from a steamy cup, pop in to Parts and Labor where they’ll even garnish it with a slice of marrow.

 

These are our picks of the top trends and restaurants to find them. We know you have your favorites, too. Have a suggestion? Leave us a note!


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