“So, what do you want to eat?”
It’s a phrase uttered daily in every household and workplace, asked between perplexed couples, antsy coworkers or even muttered hungrily to oneself. In the fair city of Omaha, there are places a plenty to satisfy any number of palates, and restaurants are offering delicious dishes that echo many of this year’s culinary trends.
One great trend in the culinary world is the focus on veggie-centric dishes. Who would have thought that the greens and legumes we avoided at all cost as kids are now the stars of the plate? Pinterest is replete with zucchini lasagnas and asparagus salads that are tasty enough to hold their own as a main dish, and not just as a side to be snuck to the dog. Local restaurants like Ika Ramen in Benson offer multiple pathways into veggie bliss; their Vegetarian Ramen offers an umami rich mushroom broth, which when made spicy (upon request) is life changinging good. Not to be missed and just across the street is Virtuoso Pizzeria, who sometimes offers an amazing veggie slice on thick focaccia, get it with the extra marinara and thank me later.
Another culinary trend is breakfast, and not just your basic green eggs and ham. Think globally inspired flavors and healthier ingredients, balancing what tastes good with what helps you feel good as well. Whether it’s a colorful smoothie bowl, heart healthy overnight oats punched up with blueberries or that oh-so-Instagramable avocado toast, breakfast is indeed a very good thing. For an unforgettable breakfast experience, find your way to the Saddle Creek Breakfast Club. Not only do they offer the yummy comfort classics, but they also highlight international flavors like the Kimchee Omelet and the stupidly delicious Market Frittata featuring local produce and crème fraiche. They also offer a fabulous vegan menu, complete with tofu scramble and Banana Bread French Toast. One of my favorite spots for breakfast though is Culprit Café, particularly the one downtown. The coffee is perfect, the Steel Cut Oats remind me of home, and the restaurant is elegant, comfortable and great for people watching.
You can’t talk about culinary trends and not mention Veganism, it’s everywhere. In fact, some celebrities love the lifestyle so much, that they’ve offered a chance of winning lifetime concert tickets if you commit to going green. Some choose the vegan lifestyle because of their love of animals or because of the health benefits, and it may even help you slim down. But no meat, no dairy and no eggs does not equal no flavor. My buddy and crazy talented writer Sarah and her husband David are longtime vegans, and they make some incredible grub, especially nachos. If you’re looking to explore this trend for yourself, Modern Love (100% vegan restaurant) in Midtown is an excellent place to start. They also offer a pretty mean Nachos Molo with a smooth cashew cheddar sauce and the Mac and Shews with the roasted veggie amazingness is a certified winner. Kitchen Table is also another can’t miss place, especially the Central location. Where else can you see a great movie (say yes to Film Streams) and be able to nosh on Vegan Snack Mix, Hummus with grilled bread and even Vegan Nut Butter Cookies?
There are a host of culinary trends you can try this year, like going Keto, trying a delivery service or even snacking on seaweed (if you’re into that). Why not get a jump on the trends and try one of the Nebraska Tour Company’s Culinary tours? Both the walking and chauffeured tours are excellent ways to get a taste of Omaha and maybe start a few trends of your own.