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John Golden

John Golden writes about food and has a highly opinionated blog, The Golden Dish.

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Posted: December 31, 2014

What’s in, what’s out for 2015 in Portland, America’s foodiest small town

Fasten your seat belts. 2015 is ripe for food firsts and innovations as novel as looking into the heart of an artichoke and diving the ultimate canape.

Written by: John Golden

Instead of the usual recipes featured in Wednesday’s Golden Dish (haven’t’ we had enough to eat in the last month?) I thought I’d focus on food trends – what’s in and what will be out in 2015 – make some far-flung predictions and give a nod to people, places and dishes that made it all happen and will continue to do so.

Out in 2015

Vegetarianism, gluten-free and kale – These should go by way of the aardvark. And unless you’re a member  of the Women’s Weaving Society, then natural, sustainable and sourcing are old hat, too

Nitrate free.  Let’s admit it, bacon made with nitrates is far tastier than those healthy versions.

The fattiest food in this part of the 21st century  has to be  pork belly – fat, fatty and fattier.  And as much as we love sausage gravy, even foodieswho only exhale organically – have tired of it.

The many faces of Maine diners

They had faces then and now as seen at (top row) Ebb and Blow, Five Fifty-Five, Sur-Lie, Nebo Lodge and Hugo's

They had faces then and now as seen at (Top)  Ebb and Blow, Five Fifty-Five and Boda; (Bottom), Sur-Lie, Nebo Lodge and Hugo’s

I have mixed feelings about small plates, which are still all the rage in Portland restaurants, though the Big Three (Central Provisions, Lolita and Sur-Lie) keep it all divinely fine.  But tasting menus are just sheer bloat hoisted on us by sadistic chefs. After the fourth course with more to come, it’s just too much.  And while we’re at it, let’s call smoked salmon lox.

In theory I love grass fed beef and pastured anything, but you have to admit, dry, dry, dry.

Local – I’m beginning to wonder if it mean  a crazy person who only eats in the ‘hood? And lets stop with the mac ‘n cheese. It’s macaroni and cheese, pure and simple.

And all that no reservations BS has only to do with restaurants who don’t want to pay for a front of the house person to manage reservations.

Craft cocktails are an interesting notion for both discerning boozehounds and lanyard artisans who like a bad mixed drink.

Thin-crust pizza is no better than hashtag musings: burnt, overdone and overpriced.

Mario Batali, Bobby Flay, the James Beard Awards, wood ovens, ramen and quinoa are the old gospel of an old dress that makes you look like you’re going to stand up and sing – or worse, recite haiku a capella.

In for 2015

Stewed plums, the best of Fannie Farmer, bite-sized breakfast goodies and turtle soup will make a big splash in the New Year as must-haves in 2015. And watch for a resurgent beef Wellington, coulibiac of salmon, Russian cuisine (pre-Bolshevik) and women in evening gowns with long gloves, all of which will also welcome back cupcakes big time as world-wide gluttony takes hold.

We will finally master the art of boil cookery, especially as it pertains to turkey necks, Eastern European cuisine and wild grapes. But look out as well for an emergent Appalachian cooking, Nashville chefs and Midwestern haute cuisine.

Selfies are firmly out but food selfies will be big.

Asian fusion, a dark world that continues unabated, and more of it is on the way from the likes of Tempo Dulu that will be in the reconstituted Danforth dining room where not another New American restaurant will give way to Southeast Asian daring-do.  It’s still top secret but the forthcoming dining froth at the Press Hotel will make its debut with the promise of fusion finery, East to West in style.

Maine’s varied dining scenes

Clockwise: Vinland, Eventide, Miss Portland Diner, Vinland beet chip, In'finiti, Gather,

Clockwise: Vinland, Eventide, Miss Portland Diner, Vinland beet chip, In’finiti, Gather, Five Fifty-Five, Ebb and Flow, Boda, Petite Jacqueline, The Great Lost Bear,  former Miyake Diner, Sur-Lie, Empire and Yours Truly 

National Food-World Predictions

Rachel Ray develops food allergies, notably EVO.

The Barefoot Contessa admits to being  a commoner and also to being a billionaire.

TV food shows felled by sex scandals.

Hummus hits the mainstream.

Kohlrabi is the new kale.

Local Predictions

General stores and farm stores replace food trucks and food co-ops.

Legal Sea Foods finally succumbs and opens in Portland only to be shunned by locals.

Harding Lee Smith opens his fifth room, The Nonesuch Room.

Cannabis Cuisinethe new watchword in dining if marijuana legality makes headway; look for weedy crab cakes and mile-high lemon meringue pie.

Portland City Council bans craft cocktails in favor of low-income barrooms.

And finally, a zillionaire investor buys out the Eastern Prom’s Portland House condo complex, tears it down and puts up a fine dining establishment and marina and a 40-story glass and steel residential tower erected above it, touting views of Portugal on a clear day; Keep Portland Unlivable loses its court battle to stop it and the planning board passes it unanimously, though Landmarks is mystified.

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