food trends for the new year

Food, like fashion, has it’s trends come and go. Here is what has determined to be the Top 10 Food Trends for 2009

1.    “Value” is the new “Sustainable”

These days, the economy dictates our cooking and shopping decisions: Bargains are in, no matter where they come from.

2.    The Compost Pile is the new Flower Garden

Growing your own now refers to vegetables, not just herbs, and that
will in turn help feed the gardener’s compost pile. Live worm
garnishes, however, will not make it to the house salad.

3.    Peruvian is the new Thai

You thought Peruvian cuisine was all about seviche, maybe? Guess again:
Peru boasts culinary influences from Spanish, Basque, African, Chinese,
Japanese, Italian, French, and British immigrants. Pisco Sour, anyone?

[side note: if I could eat lomo saltado every single day, I’d be a happy happy woman!]

4.    Noodle Bars are the new Sushi Joints

With some seafood being suspect or overfished and raw fish prices high,
noodles make complete sense. If there’s no ramen, udon, or soba shop in
your neck of the woods, there will be soon.

5.    Ginger is the new Mint

Move over, mojitos. Ginger beers and ginger cocktails (like the Ginger
Rogers, Gin Gin Mule, and Ginger Smash) are bubbling up at places like
The Violet Hour in Chicago, the Clock Bar in San Francisco, and
Matsugen in New York.

[side note: if you ever find yourself wandering Sunset Blvd. with a ginger craving, get a “Butterfly Kiss” martini at Chateau Marmont or down the hill at Bar Marmont. They also have ginger candies on the bar… ah the memories.]

6.    Smoking is the new Frying

You know how everything tastes better fried? Well, almost everything
tastes better smoked, too, and that includes cocktails. Bartenders are
smoking their bourbons (Eben Freeman at Tailor, for example), and
chefs, recognizing the national craze for BBQ, are smoking more than
just salmon and ribs: nuts, salts, even smoked steelhead roe (at
Chicago’s Alinea). Who says smoking’s bad for you?

7.    Regional Roasters are the new Starbucks

It’s come full circle. What started as a local coffee phenomenon
migrated to other cities and turned Americans into java junkies. Then
the chain overexpanded and overreached, and the little neighborhood
coffee roasters thrive again, like Stumptown (Portland, OR), Bluebottle
(San Francisco), and La Colombe (Philly).

8.    Portland (Maine) is the new Portland (Oregon)

Abundance of great chefs, restaurants, and local foodies? Check, check,
and check. Want examples? Visit Five Fifty-Five, Hugo’s, and Fore
Street to start.

9.    Rustic Food is the new Molecular Gastronomy

Wacky-weird-science cuisine that requires fancy-schmancy equipment
doesn’t necessarily make food taste better, and more often than not it
adds needless complexity (there are exceptions). Most importantly, no
one really wants to do this at home. Expect to see comfort food stage a
comeback. Again.

10.  “Top-Rated” is the new “Critic’s Pick”

Power to the people; single critics are a dying breed. Why believe what
one person says when you can read and reflect on what hundreds think?

[side note: HOORAY FOR YELP!]