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Trout roe tarts at Anelya Photograph: Terrence Antonio James/Chicago Tribune

What is that flavor? Fried onions? Cumin? Oregano? If you’ve been dining in Chicago this past year, chances are you’re tasting nigella seeds, their intriguing pop showing up in a beet salad at John’s Food & Wine, an egg mayo at Anelya, and a freshly baked pita at Sifr. If this is a small trend, then a huge one is cacio e pepe, the pasta sauce made with pecorino cheese and black pepper that runs through the veins of Chicago’s chefs, which has jumped the noodle and now appears on bagels (Tilly Bagel Shop) and tavern-style pizza (Bungalow by Middle Brow). Trout roe — beadier and milder than salmon roe — is also everywhere; just check out Donald Young’s Duck Sel pop-up or Anelya’s memorable tartelette. While we’re on fish eggs, farmed sturgeon caviar comes as a supplement to whatever you desire — from the pão de queijo at John Manion’s new Brasero to the tortilla española at Asador Bastian. What else? Look for Asian shaved-ice desserts like the halo-halo at Boonie’s, bolted vegetables (just wait for summer), miso cocktails (looking at you, Warlord), and housemade snack cracker knockoffs — move over, Esmé’s Cheeto, Atelier’s Chicken in a Biskit has arrived.