Food Trends: What We Want to See in 2014December 30, 2013 8:00 am Ayana Wilson
2013 brought us some amazing additions and innovations in the food world, which expanded our culinary horizons and took us on tasty, tantalizing adventures. CLICK HERE to review a few trends that we enjoyed in 2013.
Meanwhile, in the upcoming year, we will see even more creative ventures as entrepreneurs, cooks, and artisans push their own boundaries even further. Here are some trends we’d definitely like to see grow in 2014:
Beer Pairing Dinners
Wine has always been treated as beer’s classier cousin. It’s the choice for celebratory toasts, the perfect gift for your hostess, and the ideal drink for a fine meal. In 2014, we’d like to see that change. We live in an age where we not only have access to great beers, but they’re made right in our backyard. There are over 10 breweries just in the Columbus area alone, all making unique concoctions that can easily pair with the most elegant of dishes. In addition, we have a store of highly talented chefs in the city who can adequately meet the challenge of brew and banquet. Brews Café, 101 Beer Kitchen, and Matt the Miller’s Tavern have all hosted Beer Dinner Pairings in 2013, and we can only hope that we have more opportunities for these events in the upcoming year.
Elevated Cheap Snacks
There are few things diners enjoy more than an ultimately satisfying dish at a great price. These dishes don’t have to be something lavish, or use fanciful ingredients. Indeed, some of the best plates can include pretty pedestrian ingredients handled expertly so the finished product is much more than the sum of its parts. In 2013, we noticed a few places leading this new trend we can’t have enough of – cheap eats. Bacon-laced Popcorn, Spiced Nuts, and House-Marinated Olives and Pickles have graced the menus of some of the city’s top restaurants, including Latitude 41, Milestone 229, and Spagio. In 2014, we hope it gets taken even further: chocolate-covered cereal, fancy ramen noodles, maybe even baked avocado halves stuffed with everything from chicken confit to grilled ratatouille. The possibilities are potentially, and deliciously, endless.
Locally-Sourced Seasonal Menus
Ohio’s farmers have enjoyed a wonderful year, despite some crop shortages and late harvests. That’s because many restaurants across the state, and in Columbus as well, have really taken the farm-to-table idea to heart, offering menus that are driven by the seasonal availability of primary ingredients. Chefs have relished in creating dishes from what’s available rather than searching for elements to fit a pre-written recipe. From refined restaurants like Barcelona, to more casual joints, like Sunny Street Café, sourcing locally is the new direction, and we couldn’t be happier about it. In 2014, we hope more eateries follow suit, and maybe even take a page from The Ohio State University who partnered with Levy Restaurants this year to create a zero-waste program for the Ohio Stadium. Supporting our own, and reducing our waste, can only mean better for Ohio’s consumers, so a move in this direction pays for itself in the end.
Pop-up restaurants are enticing because of their ephemeral quality. They’re there for a short while, usually offering unique fare for reasonable cost, and when they’re gone, they’re gone, leaving nothing but the memory of taste on the tongue. In 2013, Erik Till hosted a Lobster Shack Pop-Up at Double Happiness, Brittany Brewer operated Yeah, Baby, Tacos in the evening at Best Breakfast & Sandwiches, and The Little Eatery and The Press Food Cart have done their own versions of the pop-up in The Hills Market Downtown. This is a trend we could use more of as it begins to pick up in Columbus. Pop-ups not only offer future restauranteurs the chance to sell themselves and their point-of-view to a potentially fickle public, but it’s a chance for foodies of all kinds to try that new thing first.
This past year could easily be labelled “the year in craft” as artisans of all kinds introduced themselves to us. From gourmet soda from Rambling House Soda Pop, to artisanal treats from J-Pops Gourmet Ice Pops, and even small-batch, aged vinegars from Tavern Vinegar Co., Columbus does not want for innovation, and in 2014, we’d love to see more. Tommy’s Jerky and Smokie Outlet opened just this past November on campus, and already, we think they’ve hit on the next big thing in crafting: jerky. Tommy’s sells the quintessential grab-and-go snack in regular beef flavors, but also offers exotic imaginings from kangaroo, elk and alligator. Jerky is relatively easy to make, delicious, and malleable to a lot of big flavors, making it ideal for start-up. In 2014, we hope to see the rise of the jerky, underappreciated for its satiating nature, pure protein punch, and addictive texture.
Of course, there are several other trends in food and drink out there, and the only way to discover if you support them or not is to get out there and try them all. Columbus is a growing food town, and in 2014, we hope it make leaps and bounds. Stay hungry Columbus!
Photos by Mollie Lyman, Erin Bloodgood, Walker Evans and Ayana Wilson.