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The Top South Florida Food and Drink Trends of 2015

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Ah, it's that time of year again, a time when a plethora of "best" and "worst" lists looks back at the the culinary world. Everyone seems to have an opinion, and we're no different. Especially when it comes to looking at the best and worst food trends of the year.

While some trends stick, others don't. Those that manage to hold our attention morph into classics, all the things we love that never really go out of style. Others take up space in our memories, a reminder of something we once went crazy for, and now we can't even stomach the thought of. 

As 2015 comes to a close, New Times decided to take a look back at all the things we ate and drank in the past 12 months, a sort of highlight reel of South Florida's food trends, if you will.

Here it is: the top 2015 food trends we loved (and loved to hate) in Broward and Palm Beach counties.

1. Cold Brew Iced Coffee 
When Starbucks announced earlier this year that it would be adding cold brew to its menu, we knew it was only a matter of time before everyone would be ordering the drink like it was something new and different. For those of you still not 100 percent sure exactly what cold brew is, here's some clarification: Cold brew is coffee steeped using cool water over a long period of time, anywhere from six to 24 hours. Traditional iced coffee is made by brewing hot coffee at double strength, served over ice. These days, there are quite a few places specializing in it, bottling it, and even kegging it, including Oceana Coffee in Tequesta, Warsaw Coffee Co. in Fort Lauderdale, and Rabbit Coffee in West Palm Beach. In fact, it became such a thing in 2015 New Times dedicated an entire list to the best places in Broward and Palm Beach County to find cold brew.

2. Octopus 
Pretty much any restaurant in South Florida serving seafood has its own iteration of octopus. By now, we've tried it so many times, we can't decide if we love it or hate it — and it seems like diners can't decide either. Despite all these chefs that love it, octopus was cited as one of the least favorite food trends of the year, according to Zagat. That tells us that customers are over it, despite the fact that you'll find it across Broward and Palm Beach at places like Boatyard and 3030 Ocean in Fort Lauderdale, all the way north to Avocado Grill in West Palm Beach and El Camino in Delray Beach.

3. Charcuterie 
This year, cured meats made a major comeback. According to Cafe Boulud executive chef Rick Mace (whose in-house charcuterie program includes a stellar foie gras terrine and house-cured lomo) this lost art of preserving meat still deserves the attention it's getting now. In 2015, a number of restaurants across Broward and Palm Beach agreed, embracing the trend, and — as a result — New Times featured the best local charcuterie makers in South Florida, establishments that specialize in offering specialty American-made, imported, and in-house charcuterie. Moving into 2016, expect to see more creativity on the cutting board, says Mace, with things like turkey jerky, lamb bacon, and salt-cured scallops.

4. Herbal Liqueurs
Craft cocktailism is a standard thing at most bars in Broward and Palm Beach. There aren't many places that aren't advertising house-made concoctions, infused libations, and muddled this or that for your drink. Heck, one of our favorite cocktail bars even started their own mobile craft cocktail catering company recently, brining next-level ish to the South Florida craft movement. To shake things up a little bit more in 2015, bars whipped out the heavy-hitting herbal liqueurs to bring a next-level flavor profile to the masses. In the past year, mysterious ancient blends of botanicals — flowers, spices, citrus peel, herbs, tree bark — are new again. That means green and yellow chartreuse, maraschino, and absinthe (which add body and depth to inventive cocktails). And don't forget those bitter medicinal-like liqueurs from Italy, things like Amaro, Fernet Branca, Averna, CioCiaro, Ramazzotti, Cynar, Punt e Mes.

5. Juicing 
OK, juicing is certainly not a new trend in 2015, but it did continue its viral spread. In the past 12 months, several independent juice shops have set up shop across Broward and Palm Beach County. It has made the transition from niche trend reserved for the wealthy to favored weight-loss trick of the masses with millions of Pinterest posts. Hotels, upscale supermarkets, and delis are getting in on the action, adding "lifestyle" juice bars for patrons to get their health fix on. That includes Miami's Jugofresh, which recently partnered with Whole Foods Market (and just scored the No. 5 spot on The Daily Meal's list of "25 Best Juice Shops in America") to bring their cold pressed concoctions to multiple locations in Broward and Palm Beach counties, including Boca Raton and Fort Lauderdale. Sure, we could all use more veggies in our life. I guess that's why local chain Raw Juce has been rapidly expanding, adding locations in East Boca Raton, Miami, and Palm Beach Gardens. At least New Year's resolutions are going to be a lot easier this year.

6. Peruvian Food
This year, it seemed like everywhere we turn in South Florida, a new Peruvian restaurant is popping up. The cuisine has become increasingly popular over the past several years, mostly thanks to its fusion of Japanese, Italian, South American, and Chinese influences, making for a flavorful and colorful array of dishes. Some of our favorite Peruvian places right now include Runas Peruvian Cuisine in Hollywood, which scored the No.1 spot on our list of best restaurants in Hollywood. Of course, we can't forget La Huaca in Hollywood, C-Viche in Pembroke Pines, and newly-opened SuViche in Fort Lauderdale where an in-house pisco bar makes for a truly unique experience.

7. Craft Spirits (not just beer!)
With more than a dozen craft and microbreweries operating in Broward and Palm Beach, it's no secret the craft spirits world is growing. Most recently, South Florida welcomed its first cider works in November with Accomplice Brewing & Ciderworks in West Palm Beach. And earlier this year, Fort Lauderdale-based Fwaygo and Riviera Beach-based Black Coral Rum — both local distilleries — made headlines as the first of their kind to open in each respective county. So what are we looking most forward to now that the craft beer bubble has burst? We're hearing rumblings of a meadery headed for Lake Park, so that works for us.

Nicole Danna is a food writer covering Broward and Palm Beach counties. To get the latest in food and drink news in South Florida, follow her @SoFloNicole or find her latest food pics on the BPB New Times Food & Drink Instagram.

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