Of the 1,197 dishes tasted during this year’s research for the On Trends 2017 feature, the team’s favorite was the Avocado Confit served by chef Jordan Kahn at his Los Angeles breakfast-and-lunch spot Destroyer. Kahn slow-cooks avocado halves in olive oil, tops them with a crunchy coating of fried teff and burnt onion powder, and serves them in a pool of the cooking oil with toasted bread. While avocado in its natural state is delicate and creamy, this cooking method produces a wonderfully unctuous texture that is close to softened butter.
While we have encountered many meat dishes featuring liquor-based roasting and grilling glazes, Andrew Brochu, executive chef of Chicago’s Roister, takes the concept a step further by creating a glaze made from the Dark & Stormy cocktail. Brochu reduces a combination of dark rum, ginger beer and fresh lime juice and brushes it on braised pork butt, which he serves on a bed of red peas and tops with chopped fried pecans.
BeefBelly, a new fast-casual concept in Chicago, is turning the classic Chicago Italian Beef sandwich on its ear, serving globally mashed-up versions that retain the classic shaved beef/au jus/Italian roll elements but are spiked with flavoring ingredients such as chipotle, sambal oelek, Dijon mustard and red wine demi-glace. All of these variations work wonderfully and could make unique additions to a wide variety of sandwich menus.