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5 Fall Food Trends-Ignore the Winter Weather

5 Fall Food Trends-Ignore the Winter Weather

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Despite Chicago’s bone-chilling temperatures, my calendar reminded me that winter doesn’t actually start until December 21st. That means that we technically have a full month of autumn left to savor all the great fall flavors that are still in season. Last week I attended LuxeHome’s CHILL Food and Wine festival at the Merchandise Mart for an evening of browsing high-end home furnishings, sipping wine from around the world, and eating my way through many of Chicago’s favorite restaurants. This year, over $250,000 was raised to support CHILL’s charity partners, Respiratory Health Association, Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras, and the Lynn Sage Foundation. As I made my way from bathtub tiling to ovens and stovetops I noticed several big fall food trends that kept repeating themselves in the bites served that evening. Each of the fall-themed dishes gave me great ideas for my own recipes and I hope they inspire your fall menus as well!

#1- Squash Squash of any kind and any form was a very popular item amongst the offerings at this year’s event. Ada Street served spaghetti squash salad with toasted hazelnuts, apples, and Capriole Farms Goat Cheese; Coco Pazzohad pumpkin ravioli with a brown butter sauce; Davanti Enoteca featured a sweet treat with pumpkin budino with milk chocolate, and maple mascarpone cream; deviled eggs even showed off butternut squash with gala apples in Farmhouse’s dish; and Kinmontserved a seafood dish with smoked mackerel, rye and Heirloom squash.

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Kinmont's seafood squash dish

#2-Holiday Nuts Nuts always seem to become very popular around the holidays and several restaurants at CHILL served both sweet and savory dishes with a nutty addition.Ada Street’s dish had toasted hazelnuts and Bistronomichad a sweet offering incorporating hazelnut into chocolate bars with a citrus sauce. Francesca’s Restaurantsserved apple bread pudding with brandy butter sauce and candied walnuts; and Glazed and Infused donuts featured a pumpkin pecan donut.

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Bistronomic's chocolate hazelnut bars

#3- Braised Meats It’s about that time of the year when people are taking out their slow cookers and spending the day inside, under a cozy blanket, maybe warming up with a Hot Toddy. So not surprisingly, slow-cooked or braised meats were a popular dish this year at CHILL. Deca Restaurant and Bar served braised and smoked pork belly, pickled mustard seeds, soy caviar, micro shiso and a crispy pork crumble; Filinihad braised pork belly or braised short ribs with creamy polenta; Signature Roomhad braised short ribs with Tabbouleh salad; Morton's did a braised meat slider with short ribs on a brioche roll with sour cram and chives; and the Chopping Blockserved crispy salmon skin and teriyaki braised pork belly with a cucumber salad.

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Morton's beef short rib sliders

#4- Seafood Always a popular choice seafood really stole the show at this event, with more than 10 restaurants showcasing a seafood heavy dish. A few of my fall favorites included: HUB 51’s ahi tuna poke which is always a crowd pleaser; Hubbard Inn’s lobster roll; IO Urban Roofscapehad cold charred Hamachi with black rice chis, wasabi pickled cucumbers and avocado puree; McCormick and Schmick’s had an inventive pan seared red curry miso marinated scallop on top of a cauliflower puree; and Proseccohad jumbo lump crab, dice red peppers and scallions, black truffles, sun-dried tomato mascarpone brioche and a white truffle citronette.

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IO Urban Roofscape plates up a beautiful terrarium-like hamachi

#5- Goat Cheese I always find that around the holidays at least one kind of appetizer at your Friendsgiving or Ugly Sweater Party will have goat cheese incorporated. Several restaurants at CHILL this year confirmed my suspicions of this trend: Café des Architecteshad an offering of savory macaroons, my favorite being a honey and goat cheese with black pepper; mkhad a fall mushroom salad with aged Capriole Farms Goat Cheese, mint and balsamic vinegar; and Ada Street, who in the end had components meeting three of the fall trends!

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Savory macaroons from Cafe des Architectes like goat cheese and honey with black pepper

All photos from R25 Productions

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