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Marijuana-Laden Desserts, Fancy Ice, a Doughnut Swell: Friends of Eater Offer Headline Predictions for 2014

Sugar Mill
Sugar Mill
Photo: Adam Larkey

Amanda Faison, 5280 Magazine food editor: More vegetables. Sharable plates—not small plates but family-style dishes such as those at Acorn and Session Kitchen. Local spirits tasting rooms. More fancy ice. An uptick in health-focused eateries along the lines of Zeal, Native Foods, and Modmarket.

Penny Parker, Black Tie Colorado: Restaurants and the media will drop the "farm to table" phrase because nearly every restaurant will be employing that standard. The term will become redundant.

Andra Zeppelin, Eater Denver editor: The Year of the Rabbit: The Bunny Hops On Denver Restaurant Menus.

Emily Hutto, Denver Eater contributor and author of Colorado's Top Brewers: Colorado Breweries Highest Per Capita In The USA, and anything and everything related to the fermented malted barley that Colorado can't get enough of.

Kris Browning-Blas, Denver Post food editor: A record year for restaurant openings in Denver.

Laura Saffioti, Eater Denver contributor: "Bobby Stuckey to be on the 2016 Presidential Ballot"; "Max MacKissock Opening His Own Spot in Early Spring(either a multi-course chef's counter or something Asian-inspired)"; "The Source to Host Hospitality Conference: Ruth Reichl and Joan Nathan to be Keynote Speakers"; "Goodbye Cupcakes. Hello Brittany: the Kouign Amann Takes Over the Mile High City"; "August Poehls Named Sexiest Man Alive by G.Q."

Megan Barber, 303 Magazine contributor, Curbed Ski editor: More craft cocktails. I think instead of a more new breweries in Denver, we're going to see more and more distilleries.

Tucker Shaw, Denver Post features editor: I hope it's "Welcome back, France." Call me old-fashioned (so many people do) but I long for a fancy French restaurant, one you have to wear a jacket and tie to, with gorgeous wines on the menu, a beautiful blanquette de veau, rigid waiters and too many forks. I'm all for innovation, but classics are classics. To me, the chef that stands out isn't the one who thought to put asafetida on the rabbit saddle, it's the one who executes a pristine, perfect sole meunière.

Adam Larkey, Eater Denver photographer: 2014 is going to be like tryouts for Varsity in the Restaurant scene here. With restauranteurs moving in from out of town and the talent base growing here, mediocre places with bad service aren't going to cut it anymore...and that's good thing. Cheers to the New Year!

Ruth Tobias, Zagat Denver editor: Trying to guess the next big vegetable is like doing those logic puzzles in which you have to guess the last in a string in a numbers or letters. What comes after beets, brussels sprouts, and kale? I keep trying to make celery happen—not the root, the actual stalk, and not as a classic behind-the-scenes player, but as the centerpiece. Ace Eat Serve has its signature celery salad, but admittedly that's the only exhibit in my case so far. Maybe it'll be eggplant, still my favorite vegetable (OK, actually a fruit). Braised, fried, stewed, baked, it's used in Asian and Mediterranean cuisines use it all the time and is flavor and texture make it a great meat substitute, yet Americans tend to think of it as applicable only to a couple of dishes like parmigiana.

Grace Boyle, Eater Contributor, author at Grace(full) Plate: Rebirth of the bitters world and even craft cocktail bars following suit. Artisan / craft everything as brands and restaurants turn to those "buzz" words and shift in mentality.

Lori Midson, Westword food editor: More pop-ups; independently owned restaurants spreading to the suburbs; the proliferation of quality, fast-casual restaurants; a doughnut swell; the continuation of craft breweries and taprooms; hyper-local, super-sustainable sourcing; crowd-funded food/farm/restaurant projects; in-house butchery programs; and proteins that go way beyond beef, pork, chicken and lamb. If you have a pet bunny, keep it close.

John Lehndorff, host of Radio Nibbles on KGNU, former dining critic at the Rocky Mountain News:Despite a forecast that includes periods of heavy kale, 2014 will be a breakout year for less familiar proteins including yak, elk, boar, wild turkey and non-farmed, non-endangered seafood species. With legal sales of marijuana, I predict a significant increase in the purchase of restaurant desserts and slower table turns attributable to diners' inability to make a decision.

PJ Hoberman, Denver Off The Wagon: "Denver overtakes New York in James Beard Awards."

Jeremy Kossler, Denver Burger Battle founder: Union station restaurant projects will be the loudest buzz, more gourmet condiments produced in Colorado, a renewed focus on steak restaurants in Denver.

Brittany Werges, 303 Magazine Food & Booze Editor: I think places that focus on the sweeter side will take Denver by storm. There's a lot of room for growth and with places Voodoo and Sugarmill opening up. I can easily see decadent desserts becoming the next thing to watch.

Jessica Hunter, Eater Denver contributor: Union Station attracts international recognition. Denver continues to grow RiNo, LoDo, NoDo, LoHi (pick an acronym, any acronym), and Highlands as a culinary oasis.

Elaine St. Louis, Colorado Homes & Lifestyle art editor: Denver eating better!

Pat Miller, the Gabby Gourmet: Just lots of openings, closings, and hopefully better service to go with the great food in all places.

· How would you describe the 2013 scene in one word? [EDen]
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· All Year in Eater Coverage [EDen]