On the Menu: 2010 Food Trends

crystal ball Just about every foodie forum has prophesied what we’ll see on our plates next year, so we thought we’d get in on the act, too. Behold, the James Beard Foundation’s predictions for 2010 food trends! Meatballs: When we heard that a meatball shop will soon open in New York City, we got a gut feeling that they will be rolling onto many a menu next year. (Seeing this slideshow on the Bon Appétit website confirmed our suspicions.) Given that mouths everywhere have yet to grow weary of the upscale burger trend that shows no signs of stopping, a drift toward these other hand-formed mounds of ground meat seems inevitable. Also: Tim Love says so. Home-based food producers: We watched the CSA trend pick up steam in 2009, sprouting alphabet soup spin-offs like the CSM, CSP, and CSF (meat, pie, and fish). Consumers want to buy food straight from the source, and that’s why we think more and more people will open up shop in their own kitchens, building small-scale, homemade-food businesses to serve their community. We’ve already seen two women start a small-batch ice cream company called Milkmade; they dream up unique flavors and even deliver pints to their East Village neighbors. Brussels sprouts: Lately we’ve been noticing these studded stalks for sale in grocery stores, and more and more New York chefs are celebrating them on their menus. We especially like Jonathan Waxman’s mandoline-shaved Brussels sprouts “crudo,” accompanied by lemon, walnuts, and Pecorino; the Vanderbilt, a new eatery in the Prospect Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn, dresses them in lime, honey, and sriracha, the fiery Thai condiment that was inescapable in 2009. Which brings us to… Korean cuisine: If we may be so bold, we’d say it’s poised to be the new Thai. Saveur deemed kimchi a miracle food in its November issue; New York Times dining critic Sam Sifton reviewed Madangsui, a Korean barbecue joint, last week; and during appearances on the Today Show and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, David Chang held up bags of kochukaru (Korean chili paste) and bottles of usukuchi (Korean soy sauce) before millions of American viewers. Watch out, pad thai. Gourmet hot chocolate: Ok, so City Bakery put out high-end hot chocolate 15 years ago, but we think this toasty, soul-lifting drink is really going places in 2010. (Besides, if a restaurant did something before a gossipy blog or chirpy tweet could announce it, did it even happen?) Organicoa has a running start, using Dagoba organic cocoa powder, milk and cream from local farms, and a slick Italian machine to churn the mixture. Macarons: Dainty canvasses for many flavors and even more colors, macarons will charm the dining public in 2010. We think they will proliferate in bakeries, macaron boutiques will open up, and, with the release of I Love Macarons, more home bakers will work up the courage to make them. Maybe New York magazine says it best: the macaron is the new cupcake.

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