Julie Van Rosendaal's food trends for 2015
Waffles, fermented foods and the return of the steakhouse expected to be popular
Every December we reminisce about the year that has passed while looking ahead and predicting what’s to come — especially when it comes to food.
We have great appetites and an amazing food scene in Calgary, so here’s what we can expect to see more of in 2015.
Breakfast is back (did it ever leave? Calgarians are known for their love of brunch), and waffles are on the horizon.
Watch for the opening of Buttermilk Fine Waffles on 17th Avenue S.W., right beside Cilantro, in the space that was previously CRMR at Home. A day and evening joint with the feel of a Scandinavian ski chalet, it will be dedicated solely to the beauty of the Belgian waffle.
It’s the brainchild of Sam Friley (brother of Billy Friley, who brought us Village Ice Cream), who travelled to New York and Belgium in the name of waffle research.
Buttermilk Fine Waffles, 330 17th Ave. S.W., buttermilkfinewaffles.com, @buttermilkYYC
Calgary is comfortable enough with its culinary past to embrace the old-school steakhouse again.
The reopening of Hy’s downtown brings back luxe plush oxblood booths, bananas foster, steak tartare made tableside, a mighty fine porterhouse and the same cheese toast they’ve served since 1955.
With this sort of culinary theatre you can even order Chateaubriand for two — filet mignon grilled and presented with vegetables, bearnaise and red wine jus, carved and served tableside.
Hy’s Steakhouse, corner of Eighth Avenue and Third Street southwest, hyssteakhouse.com, @Hys_Steakhouse
Multitasking eateries are also popping up this year. The brand new Corbeaux Bakehouse is a good example of a multifunctional eatery that’s open from 6 a.m. until after midnight.
Its offerings include a full coffee bar (owners are the brothers behind Fratello Coffee Roasters) and a bakery producing daily artisan breads and stunning pastries, cakes and other baked goods. There is also a rotating sit-down breakfast, lunch and dinner menu on the restaurant side and an interesting cocktail menu for late-night guests.
Corbeaux Bakehouse, 730 17th Avenue S.W., corbeaux.com, @CorbeauxBake
Peruvian food is said to be an up and coming food trend. In Calgary, the newly remodelled Inti Peruvian Restaurant is worth a visit for their lunch buffet. The menu is loaded with hearty soups and stews, Puerco Rostisado (rotisserie pork) and Pollo a la Brasa — some of the best rotisserie chicken in the city.
They also serve homemade desserts (think flan and alfajores with dulce de leche) and cocktails made using Pisco, a grape brandy produced mainly in Chile and Peru.
Inti Modern Peruvian, 3132 26th St. N.E., 587-352-5599, inti-restaurant.com, @intirestaurant
Pie is poised to take over the dessert scene (although cupcakes will never leave).
In a classic case of what’s old is new again, people are embracing comforting home desserts served with a side of nostalgia, like handmade pie. Made with lard, if possible.
Cookies (and brownies) are finally being given their due. Watch for bakeries to pay more attention to this classic comfort food.
Small plates and family-style food
The generation who began their foray into restaurant dining with potato skins and cheese sticks at Earls have evolved to appreciate sharing menus, like tapas and other small plates. And many restaurants have started offering family-style menus designed for sharing.
It’s more social and we tend to be more adventurous when dining out than we used to, or interested in trying new dishes rather than settling into our usuals. The menus at Anju (344 17th Ave. S.W.), Taste Restaurant (1210 First St. S.W.) and Ox and Angela (528 17th Ave. S.W.) have menus that are particularly well-suited to sharing.
Last year was all about coconut water. This year the U.K. Telegraph predicts coconut sugar will be the sweetener du jour.
In the past, agave nectar has been a popular, pricier sweetener for “healthier” baked goods. This year we may see coconut sugar hit grocery store aisles, along with still-popular coconut oil.
Cauliflower (and brassica veggies)
Cauliflower is the new "it" vegetable, finally bumping kale (sorry, kale). Cauliflower’s colour and flavour make it infinitely versatile, and cruciferous veggies are particularly nutrient-dense. (Brussels sprouts have become more popular year- round too, especially with alternative preparations, like slaw.)
In fact, veggies in general are finally being recognized for their back-to-basics health benefits — vitamins, minerals and fibre with relatively few calories. There are plenty of new cookbooks coming out full of interesting preparations, and people are eating more of them, even the carnivores.
Fermented foods are hitting their stride, although they have existed for thousands of years.
Things like yogurt, kefir, miso and kimchi are becoming more recognized for their probiotic cultures and how they benefit our digestive system.
Similarly, vinegars and pickled things are becoming the flavour of choice — sour and tangy — although not all pickles are fermented. Many are merely preserved in a vinegary brine.
In the new year we’ll see home cooks using a wider variety of vinegars beyond white, balsamic and apple cider.
Cocktail menus are starting to be more than just Tom Collins and whisky sours. Eateries are paying more attention to their cocktail programs, the drinks themselves created with a culinary mind, using (and concocting) ingredients from the kitchen.
In Calgary, check out the cocktails at the Off Cut bar in The Nash in Inglewood (925 11th Street S.E.), Raw Bar in the Hotel Arts (119 12th Ave. S.W.) and Model Milk (308 17th Ave. S.W.).