Break out your crystal ball, look into its depths and envision the future. What food and drink trends do you see coming up for 2013? If you don't have your own predictions, you will find numerous articles making their own predictions. It happens every year but if you review the previous year's predictions, you will likely realize that most of the predictions probably never came true. Our prophetic powers seem to be lacking. It would be futile for me to predict a list of trends which might occur in 2013.
Instead, I want to offer my wishes for which trends I want to see, though it may be doubtful that these trends will actually occur. I believe my wishes address gaps in the local food and drink scene, and which present opportunities for adventurous entrepreneurs to capitalize on. Too many trends extend for far too long, becoming stale and trite, because they seem safe. I am hoping more people choose to take a risk by leading the way in a new trend rather than following others like sheep.
1) Bread Pudding: I am so tired of cupcakes, especially as it seems many are average or lower quality. A good bread pudding can put those cupcakes to shame, and bread pudding is so versatile, available in a myriad of tasty flavors. Maybe you would enjoy a moist chocolate bread pudding or a light bourbon bread pudding with caramel sauce. Why don't more restaurants offer this dish on their dessert menus? Why isn't there a local bakery that specializes in different bread puddings? Can you make a bread pudding out of all those mediocre cupcakes? My favorite dessert of 2012 was a Pineapple Bread Pudding and I would love to see more restaurants creating their own compelling bread pudding.
2) Meatloaf: I am also tired of burgers. I love a good burger but I think we are over saturated with burger joints, with even more coming in the near future. When is enough enough? Why not use all that ground beef and create some amazing meatloaf recipes? I admit that meatloaf never did much for me but The Painted Burro has changed my mind, showing me the potential of this comfort food. Their Yucatan Meatloaf was stunning, a blend of alluring flavors that won't remind you of the bland meatloaf you might have once had as a child. I want other restaurants to step up to the plate and create their own unique meatloaf recipes, recipes that will change the mind of even meatloaf haters.
3) Filipino Restaurants: There isn't a single Filipino restaurant in Boston and the closest restaurant appears to be in Quincy, JnJ Turo Turo. Where is the love for Filipino cuisine? This isn't just a Boston problem as there are less than 500 Filipino restaurants across the country. However, it can be a delicious cuisine, with a rich history, so it is very strange that there are so few restaurants. This is a great opportunity for a Filipino chef to blaze a trail in Boston. Bring on adobo, mechado, kare-kare and more!
4) Peruvian Ingredients: Peruvian cuisine is under represented in the Boston area despite the myriad of fascinating Peruvian ingredients which exist, from thousands of potatoes to numerous indigenous fruits. Chef Jose Duarte of Taranta, an Italian/Peruvian restaurant in the North End, has opened my eyes to the vast potential of Peruvian ingredients. He has created some superb dishes and I am perplexed why more chefs are not delving into the treasure trove of Peru, using such ingredients to enhance their dishes too. Let us see lucuma, auyuma, panca pepper and more.
5) Sake: Sake seems to be growing in popularity, but very slowly. I want that trend to continue though I would prefer that the pace accelerates. It truly is a complex and wondrous drink with a rich history and culture. It is extremely food friendly and many more people would enjoy it if only they tasted it. I will continue my own campaign to spread my passion for Sake and hope others take up the effort as well. Come to one of my Sake dinners, tastings or classes in 2013 and learn why you should be enjoying Sake.
6) Fortified Wines: Sherry, Port and Madeira remain niche beverages, though they are worthy of far more attention. Consumers often possess misinformation about these wines and need more education to better appreciate them. For example, many think all Sherry is sweet yet a large portion are actually dry, like Fino and Manzanilla, and they are food friendly. Why not enjoy some oysters and briny Manzanilla? Port is great after dinner, yet it too can work well throughout an entire meal. Explore these fortified wines and learn the marvels they contain.
7) Spirit Paired Dinners: Wine and beer paired dinners have become commonplace but it is still a rarity to find dinners paired with spirits, such as bourbon, scotch, tequila, and rum. For example, Legal Sea Foods ran their first Scotch paired dinner this past year. I have attended several spirit paired dinners in 2012 and the pairings often worked quite well. People usually don't think of drinking spirits with dinner but they should give it consideration. Restaurants have the opportunity to present unique events by creating harmonious pairings with spirits. Show the potential to consumers.
What food & drink trends would you like to see in 2013?