Denver Dines Ahead: The Future of Food is Now in the Mile-High City

BY Steph Wilson

SHARE

The New York Times released its predictions about how we’ll eat in 2024. Here’s a taste for you: 

“Meals are so 2023. This next year will be all about snacks. Small, delicious bites are a 

low-stakes way to explore new cuisines. They’re a canvas for cultural hybrids like shawarma crunch wraps.” 

But here in Denver, we’re already munching on the future. Take the shawarma crunch wrap phenomenon. Hops and Pie tossed their hat into the ring with their  Chicken Shawarma Crunchwrap—a fleeting but unforgettable “artisan sandwich of the week” back in October. This Tennyson Street titan may not have etched it into their menu stone (yet?), but their Krunch Wrap Superior remains a mainstay. Think chorizo meets avocado lime crema, pico, and homemade queso, all swaddled in a crispy tortilla embrace. Pro tip: Keep your eyes peeled on @hopsandpiedenver for their weekly culinary curveballs.

The next big splash? Water. Yes, water. Denverites could’ve told you that. Our air’s thinner, our atmosphere drier. Hydration isn’t just a trend; it’s our lifeline. Here’s a fun fact: Eldorado Natural Spring Water, a local hero, strutted off with top honors at the Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting. It’s not just water; it’s a symphony of taste, born from a journey through the Continental Divide and protected by acres of natural beauty.

But wait, there’s more: water sommeliers, premium hydration, and even wearable hydration sensors (gadgets for our perpetual thirst, anyone?). Step forward, Anistacia Barrak-Barber, Colorado’s sole water sommelier. A proud MSU Denver alumna, she’s armed with certifications from Germany and Columbia University. Denver restaurateurs, the ball’s in your court—someone needs to hire her.

Cathy Strange from Whole Foods might be preaching the buckwheat gospel, but Denver’s culinary wizards have been conjuring magic with it for ages. Kelly Whitaker did a whole exploration of the ingredients at The Wolf’s Tailor during one of the recent seasonal menus. And Beckon, Annette, Frasca Food and Wine, and a host of other Denver hotspots? They’re all aboard the buckwheat bandwagon, crafting dishes that are anything but ordinary way before the “trend” took root. 

What Next?

Next up: “It’s gonna be buckwheat’s year,” said Cathy Strange, the Whole Foods Market ambassador of food culture—not that she has to tell Denver’s top chefs that. Beckon, Annette, Frasca Food and Wine, Tocabe, HashTAG, Rioja, Sunday Vinyl, Death & Company, and other top spots also feature the ingredients on their menus in novel ways. 
And as for those “meal-flavored cocktails,” the NYTimes says we’ll all be all about in 2024? Been there, done that. Natural fermentation, cold-pressed oils, burgers from nuts and legumes: we’ve got those, too. Artificial intelligence makes an appearance on the list, and even our brewers are on top of that trend, entering beers in the 2023 Collaboration Fest made from AI-generated recipes.

The NYTimes also says that “wildflowers will abound,” but they’ve been abounding in Denver forever now. Just ask Wildflower.

And as for the dish of the year? It’s soup. “Soup is bone broth’s more interesting younger sibling and the perfect vehicle for cross-cultural mash-ups, like menudo tonkatsu ramen,” writes Kim Severson. We like ours in dumpling form from ChoLon, in ramen form at Uncle, as red chili wonton soup at Nana’s Dim Sum & Dumplings… We like it all. 

In Denver, we don’t just follow trends; we set them. What’s next on our culinary horizon? Whatever it is, we bet it’ll be delicious.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Steph Wilson

Steph Wilson is a writer, editor, and creative maximalist in Denver. She makes magazines for a living and throws color around the world like confetti for fun.

More For You

May 24, 2024

Heard: A Bite of News Served on May 24

May 23, 2024

This Spring Lean Into Lovely Lavender All Around Denver

May 21, 2024

As Restaurants Change, Cafe Brazil Remains a Neighborhood Staple, For Now

May 20, 2024

Swipe Right For These Dating App Hot Spots

Search

COPYRIGHT © 2009–2024, DININGOUT. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED