Top 11 Food Trends for Summer 2014
1. Brazilian Cuisine
This year, all eyes are on the upcoming host of the 2014 FIFA World Cup: Brazil. South America's most populous nation combines it's European, Indigenous, and African elements, translating into the delicious homemade cooking of present-day Brazil.
Read more: Around The World in 17 Dishes
Brazilian cuisine varies upon the regional state, consisting of enticing dishes such as stewed black beans, coxinhas, açaí berry desserts, and all-you-can-eat churrascarias with all kinds of meats, which have recently taken off in the United States as a trendy, must-try cuisine.
You’ll be seeing a lot more Brazilian-fused restaurants and churrascarias pop up in the years to come as Brazil also prepares to host the Rio Summer Olympics in 2016.
Looking to try it? Check out Brazilian Bowl in Chicago featuring the famous Feijoada, the National dish of Brazil; Brazilian Cowboy Steakhouse in Dallas featuring the Two Meat Plate served with Brazilian rice and black beans, and Pão de Queijo; and Midwest Grill in Boston featuring Moqueca de Camarão (Shrimp Stew; native to the coastal states), Grilled Ribs, Casava Root with Sausage, or the make-your-own Brazilian BBQ Combo with your choice of three meats.
Image: Midwest Grill in Boston
2. Contemporary Jewish Delis
This summer 2014, the new up-and-coming contemporary Jewish deli puts a spin on the traditional Jewish comfort food.
A recent popular reform, New York style delis are getting tastier and healthier, including the use of high quality ingredients, many sticking to grass-fed, antibiotic-free meats with no added sodium.
You'll also notice that your authentic Jewish favorites will be presented in smaller menus than what you might be used to. But don’t worry, you’ll still find Reuben sandwiches, stuffed cabbage, and potato knishes as good as your Bubbie’s.
Browse through some of our menus for dishes like the Corned Beef Reuben from Cindi’s New York Deli & Restaurant in Dallas; The “Disheveled” Brisket Dirty Sandwich from Michael’s Deli in Boston with your choice of bread, horseradish sauce, and stuffed with jalapeno heat chips; and Turkey Pastrami Sandwich, and Reuben on Rye with 1000 Island Dressing from Manny’s Cafeteria & Delicatessen in Chicago.
Image: Cindi's New York Deli in Dallas
3. Alcohol-infused Desserts
Believe it or not, dessert just got better.
Taking their recipes to the next level, adventurous food-loving bloggers and worldwide renowned chefs are now enhancing their sweet desserts with alcohol including Margarita Cupcakes, Sangria Upside Down Cake, Whiskey Bacon Pecan Pie, Orange Banana Bourbon Loaf, and Orange Butter Biscuits with Cointreau Glaze.
Craving a sweet treat? Binge on these desserts, available for delivery via DiningIn.com, including Kickass Cupcakes in Boston making The Mojito Cupcake (Rum soaked cupcake with sugar cane lime frosting and fresh mint); Ra Sushi in Chicago featuring the Fried Banana with Kahlúa (Chocolate stuffed, fried banana with Kahl ú a caramel sauce and chocolate ice cream); and Alma de Cuba in Philadelphia serving Chocolate Flourless Cake with Sangria Sorbet (chocolate cream, cherries, black sesame, and cocoa nib tuile.)
Image: Kickass Cupcakes in Boston
4. Ancient Grains
The ancient grains have been sprouting up in restaurant menus for some time now, though this year, they’ll take center stage with full force.
Farro, quinoa, and chia seeds, some of the most popular ancient grains today, were a crucial source of food for ancient civilizations such as the America’s Incas, Aztecs, and Mayans, Ancient China, and the Babylonians in early Mesopotamia.
They’re filling, healthy, and extremely versatile, and are widely highlighted for their essential benefits as a good source of amino acids and high protein.
Order your next dish from Bountiful Eatery in Chicago featuring Warm Latin Quinoa Bowl with black beans, white onions, tomatoes, corn, jalapeno, Greek yogurt, and avocado; Bread + Butter in Boston serving their Kale + Farro Salad; and My Fit Foods in Dallas with their herb-roasted Scottish Salmon & Quinoa with baby garbanzo beans and broccolini.
5. Coconut Water
Coconut water is this year’s trendy beverage.
Today, many folks are replacing sports drinks with coconut water, which is said to replenish the body with potassium, antioxidants, and minerals.
Though it’s been around for a while, being a popular drink in many tropical regions of the Pacific, Africa, Caribbean, and much of Latin America, coconut water has become an alternative hydration drink for the health-minded consumer, wanting to steer away from your average sugary-packed sodas, yet craving a little more than water.
You can find summer 2014’s popular drink in Boom Juice in Dallas, featuring the 9 oz. Doctor U Juice (cold- pressed pineapple, mango and coconut juice), and in Sataza in Chicago.
6. Exotic Meats
The use of unusually-delicious exotic meats will be one this summer's most exciting food trends.
American chefs and foodies accross the country will flirt with this daring concept, moving away from chicken and pork while exploring a wide-range of meats such as wild boar, venison, bison, lamb, alligator, and pigeon.
You'll see more and more of these leaner meats in restaurants presented as hearty stews, chili, or entire steaks. After all, they may just like chicken.
Here are a few places to try them out for delivery: Chicago q Restaurant in Chicago serving a Blackened Farm-Raised Alligator appetizer; Sunda New Asian in Chicago serving Pho (Bison short rib, bone marrow, sliced wagyu, rice noodles, sprouts, basil, mint, and cilantro); Cafeteria in Boston serving Lamb Burger (ground lamb, tzatziki, black olives, tomatoes, romaine, and feta on griddled bun). Kozy 2 Day in Dallas serving the Chef's Venison Cajun Pasta (Venison sausage, chicken bell peppers, onions, celery tossed with spicy Cajun cream and penne pasta); FORUM in Boston serving Braised Wild Boar Pappardelle (wild boar ragout, basil, and peccorino Romano).
Image: Wildfire in Chicago and Minneapolis
7. The Pizza-Flatbread Hybrid
This phenomenal mashup will be found in nearly every Italian menu this summer 2014.
A great appetizer, the flatbread pizza will be the ideal meal starter to share with one or two people, or act as a meal for one. Even though it's slightly healthier than a regular pizza, it's taste will never be sacrificed.
Plus, the pizza-flatbread hybrid will usually be piled with all-natural veggies, light sauces or spreads (ex. drizzle of BBQ sauce, pesto), using lean ground meat, low-calorie cheeses (ex. goat cheese), and freshly chopped herbs topping a creative crispy thin-crust made of anything from cornmeal to cauliflower.
Get yours for delivery: Minneapolis' The Tangiers Restaurant serving the Bianca Flatbread, and BBQ Chicken with Pineapple Flatbread; Boston's Flatbread Company serving the Mopsy's Kalua Pork Pie Flatbread; Minneapolis' Pinstripes serving the Ahi Tuna Flatbread; Chicago's EPIC serving a Lamb Sausage & Feta Flatbread.
Image: Pinstripes in Minneapolis
8. Gluten Free
The gluten-free diet is here to stay. Gluten-free foods were originally aimed at those with dietary restrictions and celiac-related sensitivities, they've been adopted by many as a weight loss program, making it's way into the National Restaurant Association's "What's Hot in 2014."
According to About.com, "gluten is usually defined "a protein in wheat, barley and rye," but really, gluten is a mixture of two types of proteins: prolamins and glutelins. Gluten is found in all grains, but while the prolamins in rice and corn gluten are safe for celiac patients, the prolamins in wheat (called gliadin), barley (called hordein), and rye (called secalin) are not."
That means most breads, cereals, pastas, soups, beer, matzo, soy sauce, and potato chips are out. Instead, gluten-free menus will be filled with fresh fruits, veggies, black beans, eggs, nuts, almond flour, rice noodles, polenta, potatoes, corn tortillas, and other substitutes.
See what restaurants serve gluten-free dishes from DiningIn.com: Wildfire in Chicago and Wildfire in Twin Cities featuring Gluten-Free Thick Prime Angus Burger; Uno Chicago Grill in Boston featuring the Faroe Island Salmon with Chimichorri; and Taverna in Dallas featuring the Risotto all' Aceto Balsamico con Pollo.
Summer 2014’s ramen noodles are not to be confused with the microwavable, instant ramen noodle cups that got you through college finals.
This next breed of fancy Japanese ramen noodles are cooked fresh, and divided into four different categories: shio ramen (sea salt), shoyu ramen (Japanese soy sauce), miso ramen (light miso broth), and tonkotsu ramen (pork bone broth).
Restaurants may add their own broth variations according to it’s toppings, which can vary from bamboo shoots, mushrooms, shredded nori, Chinese cabbage, bean sprouts, corn, pickled ginger, and high-quality meats/protein like braised pork, roasted chicken, pork belly, oxtail meatballs, seasoned tofu, spicy shrimp, hard boiled eggs, and crabmeat.
These ramen noodles will taste even better than how you remembered, and they’ll still be a great rainy day comfort dish.
Here are some of our favorite available for delivery via DiningIn.com.
Nom Nom Ramen in Philadelphia serving Karai Tonkotsu Ramen and Vegetarian Miso Ramen; Wagamama in Boston serving Chili Chicken Ramen and Wagamama Seafood Ramen; Slurping Turtle in Chicago serving Roasted Chicken Shoyu Ramen; moto-i in Minneapolis serving Classic Pork Ramen, Abura Ramen, Maitake Ramen, and Vegetable Ramen.
Image: moto-i in Minneapolis
10. Mediterranean Spices & Herbs
Mediterranean fusion is the new Asian fusion.
Connecting Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East, the Mediterranean Sea is a new inspiration for a melting pot of ethnic cuisines, spices and herbs.
Many restaurants are intergrating the taste of Spain, Italy, Morocco, Greece into their summer menus, using more herbs like Parsley, thyme, mint, rosemary, oregano, and Mediterranean/Middle Eastern seasonings like ginger, nutmeg, paprika, saffron, cardamom, and turmeric to give their dishes flavor.
Check out some Mediterranean dishes from your favorite restaurants: Not Your Average Joe's in Boston featuring Mediterranean Turkey Kabob (marinated in spiced yogurt and grilled on a skewer, served with a curried ziziki sauce and pesto, artichoke and Feta orzo); Zoes Kitchen in Dallas featuring Spinach Roll-Ups (Tortillas, mozzarella, fresh mushrooms, feta, sun-dried tomatoes, scallions, dipping salsa, fresh side)
11. Citrus Fruits
Varying from sweet to sour using oranges, grapefruit, tangerines, lemons, limes, you’ll come across this growing niche in various forms such as freshly squeezed juice to the zest, fruit preserves, starring in desserts, topping seafood, or simply drizzled over your kale salad.
Citrus fruits, with their natural tanginess and acidity, are cleverly built into light summer menus perfect for anything from alfresco dining and family parties.
Try it Boston’s BLUE Restaurant and Café serving Roasted Beet Salad with orange-truffle vinaigrette, and Orange-glazed Scallops & Bacon; Chicago’s Shaw’s Crab House serving Parmesan Crusted George’s Bank Haddock with Lemon Butter; Chicago’s Tavernita serving Halibut with Grapefruit Salsa; Dallas’ BJ’s Brewhouse serving Crispy Fried Artichokes with Lemon Garlic Aioli; and Minneapolis’ The Tangiers serving the Hummus Plate (Basil-pesto-chipotle-lime hummus).