In years past, the rise and fall of food trends seem to correlate with the arrival of newly invented tastes and luxurious offerings from half way around the world. But today’s foodie fads are no longer based on what gets our mouths watering. Perpetuated by a nail-biting economy, environmental concerns, and the stretch of our belts, these delicious food trends of 2013 have been introduced to menus across the country and are projected to only get bigger.
1. Local Foods.
Forget organic – what people really care about is what’s local (but if it’s organic to boot you won’t hear complaints). Continuing from the past year, local foods are the top projected trend of 2013. Besides becoming continually more conscience of the affects of their purchases, restaurant goers can certainly taste the difference between what’s farm stand fresh and what’s been shipped 2,000 miles.
They haven’t flown the coop. While it might not sound as elegant as other entrée options, chicken has evolved into a great tasting meat at the fraction of the price as beef and pork. With one of the worst droughts in modern history affecting corn, experts suspect that the prices of such meats will continue to rise, making poultry more desirable than ever. But a flashy price tag isn’t the birds’ only alluring quality. Chicken rules the roost in being the most versatile option out there, so chefs need not worry about plating a bore.
It’s creamy and rich and luxurious and delicious and healthy (mostly). Sure, the avocado gets a bad rap because it’s high in fat – but they’re the kinds of fats that are heart-healthy and they’re loaded with antioxidants. You’re used to having it as guacamole, but prepare to taste it in your sandwich or as dessert.
4. Game Meats.
Tired of pork and beef? Have no fear: game meats are here to revive menus across the country. Unlike many commonly consumed meats, game meats offer a bigger, better, bolder flavor, mainly due to the animals’ diets and life styles. In many places, the game is easily spotted from restaurant windows, giving patrons the impression that their meals aren’t being transported far, so it seems safer.
5. Sustainable Seafood.
There’s plenty of fish in the sea…or there used to be. Due to overfishing, many species are no longer plentiful and face rough waters headed straight for endangerment. National Geographic estimates that by 2048, all of the world’s fisheries will have collapsed. So, sustainability is important. Many restaurants have responded to this crisis by only providing seafood that is sustainable. If you want to get a look for yourself, check out Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch, which lets you know what’s okay to eat in your area.
6. Hyper-Local Restaurants.
What’s better than local? Super-duper local. Many restaurants concerned about their carbon footprints are taking “local” a step further by harvesting vegetables, herbs, and leafy greens from their own gardens (some on their rooftops like 51 Lincoln in Newton, MA). And in these times of recall-ridden foods, seeing your gourmet salad come from a garden and delivered to your plate is a delicious comfort.
7. Non-Traditional Fish.
In the past, bycatch (or fish that are caught unintentionally) have been discarded. But with high food costs, the looming realization of the effects of overfishing, and the creativity of chefs, these D-list swimmers are turning up on plates everywhere. Get ready to embrace invasive lionfish, over bearing green crab, and mild tasting pollock in creative dishes you’ll actually enjoy.
A decade ago, basically no one heard of celiac disease, the epidemic that now plagues around 2 million Americans. But while they physically can’t eat gluten, there are about the same number of Americans who avoid gluten too – even though they don’t have to. The rise of this diet choice is pushing restaurants to create meals that offer tasty solutions without a hint of wheat.
9. Better Kids’ Meals.
Step aside gooey grilled cheese and grease-drenched personal pizzas – restaurants aren’t dishing out the junky kids’ fare of old. Parents’ pleas for healthier options have been answered with the introduction of whole wheat pastas and sneakily incorporated vegetables.
10. Barrel Cocktails.
Say good-bye to frothy draft brews, this new drink is a barrel of fun. In the late 19th and early 20th century, barrel-aged cocktails were all the rage, and luckily for us, they’re back! Just like they sound, these elixirs are cocktails that are placed into barrels, stuck somewhere dark, aged, and revealed when a bartender deems it ready. Like other barrel-aged drinks, these cocktails gain complexity and the alcohol inside them is softened, so it’s smoother.
About the Author:
"Katie Straw" is the writer at Cheesecake.com, which provides an epic cheesecake experience, and currently resides in Manchester, New Hampshire.