Ramen may be all the rage in the Los Angeles and New York food scenes, but I'm quite certain that I know the next Big Thing. It isn't Cambodian food, or Bolivian or even Australian (Outback has that covered, right?). It's Canadian.
That's right. Canadian food will be huge in 2014. You're welcome. You heard it here first.
Because, seriously, I can't even count the times I've had a craving for Canadian food and then faced the inevitable disappointment and embarrassment resulting from the fact that there is no good Canadian food to be found in this town. It's just a matter of time, and that time is now. If our food scene is going to compete with the big metro areas, then we need Canadian food, and we need it now.
It's ironic, considering the massive influx of Canadian visitors that descend upon us each year. One would think that some enterprising chef would cater to their needs. Who doesn't love Canadian food?
I'm not talking about poutine -- that's Quebecoise, and Quebec might as well be its own country. I'm talking about hearty, home-cooked Canadian fare, the kind that all Canadians grew up with. You know, maple leafs, Tim Horton's doughnuts, back bacon, and whatever the hell else Canadian people stuff their faces with in between hockey games, cold mugs of Molson, and doctor's appointments in their socialized medical system. One might falsely argue that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police are cool because of their horses, hats, and red coats, but I attribute their coolness to their steady diet of Canadian food. There's no other plausible explanation.
I've always been intrigued -- and more than a little bit suspicious -- of Canadians. For the most part, they look just like us, although they tend not to fare as well in the sun. They're elusive and sneaky; you don't hear about Sheriff Joe rounding up Canadians because, other than their sunburns, they blend in until they open up their mouths. Canada loves Arizona, so it surprises me that our culinary scene doesn't better cater to their needs.
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I've been to Canada only once, and it was only to patronize the myriad strip clubs in Windsor, across the border from Detroit, known as the Windsor Ballet. It's a nice place; friendly people with rosy cheeks. From what I saw, they're a very flexible people. I didn't eat much, because strip clubs aren't known for their cuisine. But, had I ventured out, I'm sure that the Canadian fare would have been delicious.
So, I ask you this: Are we, as a community, serious about being a food destination? Do we want to be known as a place of culture and culinary diversity, or are we going to be just another suburban sprawl of bad chains and predicable food? Because, if we're serious, then I implore you to demand that someone (I'm looking at you, Pavle Milic) lead the way and get on the Canadian food bandwagon before we miss out.