So, what else? I find myself asking that question a lot this time of year, as my gaze shifts from retrospective mode during the holiday season to more forward-looking as I embrace the returning grind. Sure, Remedy just opened, which sounds great with its ice cream sundaes and sandwiches, but what else can I look forward to in the coming year?
No matter what you throw at it today, hunger always returns tomorrow, and in an effort to sate that hunger, I thought I'd take a look way out on the horizon and do my best to predict what dishes, people and restaurants stand the best chance of shaping this year's dining scene. If I'm right, we're in store for 12 months of great eating, and if I'm wrong, you get to track down this column this December and give me my lumps. Either way, it's a win -- for you at least.
Avocado toast It's almost counterintuitive that something so simple (avocado flesh mashed up like under-adorned guacamole and spread on a slice of toasted bread) could obtain such popularity, but life's great pleasures are often found in simplicity. And that's typically how avocado toast is done, with tender fruit, minimal embellishments, a thick slice from a pedigreed loaf of bread and nothing more. You could make it at home a second but you're far more likely to order it out when you see the chunky purée float past to a nearby table.
Gweneth Paltrow brought avocado toast in from the West Coast when she opened her temporary holiday store goop, and avocado toast is almost as popular and cold-pressed juicing in New York City. It's only a matter of time before Avocado toast outpaces avocado served with tortillas here in Dallas. You can already find it at Clark Food and Wine, and Ascension, where it's served with poached eggs for breakfast.
Deep Ellum Greenville had its time to shine as a new restaurant leader; 2015 will be known as the year that Deep Ellum absolutely blew up. As soon as the minefield along Elm Street is cleared and a few trees are planted, this neighborhood filled with bars and restaurants is going to warrant plenty of new attention.
To help kick things off, Brian Luscher is set to open his hot dog and sandwich wonderland Lucher's this year and the man behind Meddlesome Moth and Lark Shannon Wynne will open Braindead Breweing sometime this year. More restaurants will surely follow.
Yet another young crop Remember what James St. Peter at Hypnotic did to the doughnut? And then what Andrew Chen and his partners did to noodle soup at Monkey King? Creative, young, driven cooks are taking dishes that are typically overlooked and throwing a lot of effort into making them as good as they can possibly be.
I think we'll see one or two more new young guns show up in a tiny space somewhere and introduce us to a dish we thought we already knew. Maybe it will be a small deli at the farmers market that sell the best Reuben and pastrami sandwiches this city has ever seen, or maybe someone will take on Thai with so much heat it could blister the paint on a car.
Either way, customers have demonstrated they are ready and willing to embrace business owners who are willing to gamble on a new concept. That's all it takes to bring enterprising cooks out of the woodwork.
Grilled cheese Mom made it, then you made it and now we're all going to spend ten bucks so that someone else can do it for us. And we'll do it because grilled cheese is one of those heart-warming that are just impossible to say no to. Two grilled cheese dedicated restaurants are slated to open this year already. Look for the golden sandwiches to start popping up on menus at other restaurants, everywhere.
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Macarons This one's a long shot, and I'm really only adding this because I hope a few people read it and macaroon bakeries start popping up on every corner through the magic of self fulfilling prophecy. Macorons are light and delicious, don't way you down, and give you the satisfied feeling that can only otherwise be achieved by eating an entire slice of chocolate cake.
It's not that much of a long shot, you know. Joy opened last year in Oak Cliff, and soon Bisou Bisou will be open in the West Village. We could be paving the roads (OK, maybe filling the potholes) with macarons soon.