Dining A La King: Seven predictions for 2016

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By: Marshall V. King
mking@flavor574.com

J. Tyler Klassen/The Elkhart Truth

Another year of eating is ahead.

Sure, as they read this, some people are on diets. That’s what some do to counteract holiday excess as the new year starts.

Not everyone is dieting. For many, with the gray skies and arrival (finally) of winter there will be comfort food, including burgers, wings and hearty breakfasts.

With the new year comes new meals, new chances to try things.

We’ll eat. We’ll laugh. We’ll flock to new places. And if the coming year is like every other, there will be new places.

And as the new year begins, I have predictions. Here are seven things I think will happen on the local food scene in 2016.

Indian food will come to Elkhart

Mishawaka has had Indian restaurants for a long time. Maple Indian Cuisine has done well since opening in 2014 in Goshen, and people regular express delight at having an Indian buffet in that city. I think by the end of 2016 there will be an Indian restaurant with an Elkhart address.

More food trucks

South Bend passed an ordinance in September to better regulate food trucks and try to get them downtown. In Elkhart County, there are already a handful. More are likely to come. It takes time to build one, to retrofit a vehicle into something that can serve food or drink. As one chef who’s exploring the idea told me, it’s a lot easier to find the capital to get a food truck done than to do a brick-and-mortar restaurant. Customers are aware of them and are excited by them. Elkhart County has been ahead of the game in getting these approved. St. Joseph County is on its way. Kosciusko County already has a coffee truck in a VW bus. Look for more food trucks in 2016.

Curry will pop up in unexpected places

Curry is a spice blend common in Asian and Indian cooking, but it’s starting to find its way onto other menus. In Elkhart County, Goshen Brewing Co. has a curry dish on its new winter menu. I expect that it may become popular in other spots too, perhaps on wings or in sauces. It’s been possible to find it on northern Indiana menus, but it’ll become more apparent in 2016.

Sous vide will heat up

Smoking, frying and boiling are ways we know of cooking food. For a while, chefs have been sealing food into bags and cooking it in water maintained at a regular lower temperature for a longer period of time. Crooked Ewe Brewery & Ale House is already serving one-hour eggs made with this method. Home models of sous vide cookers are hitting the market in greater numbers, and I think more chefs will put out dishes in the coming year experimenting with the cooking method.

The landscape in downtown Elkhart will change

At the start of 2015, there were high hopes for Krāv, The Daily Grind was serving coffee and Pumpernickel’s was still pumping out pretzels. Krāv has become more of an event space and Pumpernickel’s is gone. The Grind became The Electric Brew. Nearly every year has comings and goings, but there’s room for more restaurants in downtown Elkhart. The Old Style Deli is closed until early March and I expect there will be ongoing changes in the what’s available for breakfast, lunch and dinner in downtown Elkhart.

Cocktail culture will take a turn

Finding a Manhattan or negroni around these parts isn’t as tough as it used to be. Craft beer sales are likely to keep growing. But as restaurants become more accustomed to thinking of spirits as a culinary venture, and as customers continue to experiment, look for mixologists to start to put their own spin on local cocktails. The classics will get localized.

Sunday brunch will keep expanding

It’s a lot easier to find interesting food on a Sunday than it once was. Even Allen’s Bristol Street Cafe said that opening on Sundays was huge for business. More places started offering Sunday brunch in 2015 and I’d look for even more in the coming year.

Will the predictions come true? If so, how many? If history is any indication, only time will tell.

I’m hungry. Let’s eat.

Marshall V. King is food columnist for Flavor 574 and community editor for The Elkhart Truth. You can reach him at 574-296-5805, mking@flavor574.com, and on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
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