Bar nights used to only mean pints and wings, but in recent years wine and tapas bars see sommeliers, not bartenders, pairing a medium bodied, semi-sweet wine with a charcuterie and cheese platter. Popular wine bars such as Moriarty’s, Lit and Somerville are following the trend set by 4th & Vine, Bibo and Tzin. This renaissance has also inspired creative light starters and, more recently, beer pairings.
The Cupcake Bubble
Cupcakes with fashionable hats of icing are the first thing that comes to mind when speaking of food trends from the last five years. In 2006 FussCupcakes opened in the west end and in the years following, so did Flirt Cupcakes, Whimsical Cupcakes and Enjoy Cupcakes, to name a few. But how long can this trend last? Are we living in a cupcake bubble – blissfully believing that the cupcakes can continue forever, when there is only so much the market, and our stomachs, can bear? We think it’s just a matter of time before little pies take the reign.
Move over coffee – tea shops are on the up and up. Steeps, with its laid-back, independent feel cropped up in the late ’90s, but in the last few years Tea Fusion, DavidsTea and others have reared their heads. High tea has also found its way into the mainstream with places like Dauphine Bakery (formerly the Queen of Tarts)and Rutherford House. And cafes selling bubble tea – an Asian-American shake that’s not really tea at all – are reaching beyond Chinatown and opening in many neighbourhoods.
Thankfully, carbs are no longer pass, just carbs that aren’t whole grain. Even Kraft Dinner caught onto that. In the past five years, not only have grocery stores started stocking a variety of whole-grain breads, bakeries such as Breadland and Buns & Roses offer nothing but that. Even restaurants and delis are doing takes on cold salads with nearly every grain within reach.
On the Move
Street food is no longer a once-a-year, deep-fried phenomenon. Now food trucks serving Belgian liege waffles (Eva Sweet and Wannawafel), pork belly (Filistix) and duck confit (Drift) are available, and they’re using Twitter to announce their locations. With the possible return of What the Truck?! festival, the university campus becoming a target for mobile restaurants and the loosening of vendor restrictions in Churchill Square, expect to see more meals on wheels.