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Dining and Drinking

Food Trends: What to Expect in 2015

Look for One-Item Restaurants, More Veggies and a Nordic Invasion

In 2014, ramen burgers, kale and quinoa reigned supreme.

What will grace your plate this year? Here's a peek at some delicious trends you may see on the menu for 2015.

Nutritious/Chef-Driven Fast Food

Fast food chains have gotten hip to the health craze, adding more nutritious menu items alongside their burgers and fries. Healthy, locavore chains, such as Chop’t, Sweetgreen and Tender Greens, say they plan to expand in 2015. Star chefs will also get in on the fast-and-fresh game: Roy Choi and Jose Andres plan to open nutritious spots in major U.S. cities. Choi's chain, Loco'l, will focus largely on healthy dining in low-income neighborhoods.

Nordic Cuisine Comes Stateside

René Redzepi’s legendary Copenhagen restaurant Noma put new Nordic cuisine on the culinary map. In 2015, expect more chefs across the United States to trade space-age molecular gastronomy for traditional techniques (smoking, curing and pickling), to incorporate foraging into their ingredient sourcing and to commit to being hyperlocal in the produce they select. Kelp and rye, here we come.

Green Juice Goes (Even More) Mainstream

In 2014, green juice went mainstream just as its health benefits were being challenged. To make the bitter greens more palatable, some producers add more fruit juice than veggies, packing the drinks with sugar. At the same time, the juicing process can remove valuable fiber content of the fruits and veggies. What does that mean for 2015? Smarter juicing, with the addition of nutrient-packed chia seeds for fiber, calcium and protein, and a return to smoothies, which provide the nutrients of a juice while still retaining fiber content. We’ll also see innovations like The Daily Good, from the wellness startup Aloha. It's an affordable, powdered green juice with nutrients such as spirulina, wheatgrass, peas, spinach, wild blueberries, coconut water and mushrooms, all in a tiny packet that can be mixed into water, smoothies or any other liquids. Drink up!

Vegetable-Driven Restaurants

Nose-to-tail, meat-heavy menus have long dominated the foodie scene, but meat-focused chefs are turning over a new, locally-sourced leaf. The folks behind Austin’s Contigo have opened a spot called Gardner that focuses on seasonal vegetables. Michelin-starred chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten is opening a vegetarian restaurant in New York. And Danny Meyer of burger empire Shake Shack has started Creative Juice, a series of raw food/juice spots. Expect more chefs to get on the leafy green train in 2015.

The Rise of the Gourmet Food Hall

No longer the province of dry pizza and MSG-laden Chinese food, food courts have upped their culinary game. From L.A.'s Grand Central Market to Seattle's Melrose and Chicago's French Market, food courts are now the spaces where up-and-coming chefs and artisanal food purveyors launch their businesses. Think of them as extensions of the food truck craze. New York City has 10 gourmet food courts now, with several slated for 2015.

Single-Food Restaurants

All meatloaf, all the time. That’s the name of the game at Chicago’s Meatloaf Bakery, one of a recent wave of restaurants serving up just one type of dish. From New York City’s Meatball Shop to California’s Xooro (an all-churro spot), eateries have been taking a laser focus, centering menus around variations of just one special item. Expect 2015 to be the year of the one-entrée eatery. Why mess with a delicious thing, right?

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