Here's a list of food and trends compiled by the editors of www.Epicurious.com:
"With the dawn of a new presidency, a deepening recession, and a fine-dining culinary culture that sometimes veers into the impossibly surreal, soberness is setting into the food world. Gone are the behemoth restaurants, $1,000 omelets, and ice cream made of dehydrated chile flakes. Hallmarks of 2009 will include a return to families cooking together and eating at home more than they have in decades, a premium on high-quality, seasonal ingredients that provide good value, and an emphasis on simple food for the people, by the people."
- "Value" is the new "Sustainable"
These days, the economy dictates our cooking and shopping decisions: Bargains are in, no matter where they come from.
- 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.
- 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?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- "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?