Is Kale the Next Big Food Trend?

Short Order has noticed more and more kale popping up on menus all over Miami. We are wondering why this slightly bitter vegetable, in the cabbage family, is suddenly so popular. Is kale the next big food trend?

According to chef Dewey LoSasso of the Forge, kale is here to stay. His new menu features the vegetable in two dishes: kale and spaghetti, and kale salad. Why is he using so much? "I love the slight bitterness of kale," he says. "Especially when you add elements like Parmesan cheese, currants, and truffles. Kale is superhigh in vitamin A. One cup of kale -- boiled but not overcooked -- gives you double the daily value of vitamin A. You'll also get a generous amount of calcium." Is your mouth watering yet?

While this all sounds healthful, how does it taste? Recently, Short Order was invited to the Forge to sample both kale dishes. For the salad, the crisp kale is tossed with dried currants, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, and lemon vinaigrette. This salad was a hit with our tablemates, but we found it to be too bitter for our palate. However, it was more complex than the usual offerings of iceberg wedges and spinach salads.

We fell in love with the spaghetti and kale, which is dressed with slivered pieces of roasted garlic, Parmesan cheese, and a poached egg. The waiter told us to break the egg into the pasta and allow the slightly cooked yolk to penetrate the dish. It was egg-o-rrific. "The earthy flavor of the kale really gives the whole dish a sexy texture," LoSasso notes.

The only downside of this kale fest is that inevitably some of the greens get stuck in your teeth. (It happened to one of our guests.) Despite the potential for green teeth, these kale dishes are worth trying. Not only is it a strong antioxidant, but also it has been eaten all over the world for centuries. Here in Miami, we predict kale will show up on more trendy menus very soon.