Tess on the Town: Foodie forecast for 2013


Thank you for reading Tess on the Town in its nearly three years of existence. This will be the last column as I move on to other pursuits. Salude.

Sifting through the predictions for 2013 from the world’s food trends gurus, one is struck how many ways things can be resurrected and reborn in a new fashion.

From the pages of SF Weekly, The New York Times, FoodNetwork.com, Imbibe and many blogs and websites, these seem to be some reoccurring themes.

1. Beer and hard cider pairings. Even during the craft brewing renaissance, the hoppy beverage has rarely cracked the glass ceiling into fancy restaurants.

That appears to be changing, with high-end restaurants pairing the best brews with the finest fare they offer. And hard cider, a fermented apple juice, is already getting more attention. Cider bars are popping up in larger cities on the coasts, and Colorado has a growing number of hard cider brewers. In fact, I got a bottle of hard cider in my stocking last week from North Fork Cellars in Paonia.

2. More pop-ups, food trucks and fledgling food businesses. These type businesses are perfect for budding entrepreneurs and chefs who don’t have an enormous amount of money to plunk down on a brick-and-mortar food operation.

The latest generation of young adults seems to be eager to dive into creative, solo pursuits. The craft food businesses often hail back to grandma or grandpa’s recipes for jerky, pickles, jams, chutneys and barbecue sauce.

3. More quality chocolate. People are cutting back on sweets and when they do indulge, it had better be good.

Individual chocolatiers care about where they source their beans and avoid artificial flavors and fillers such as corn syrup or hydrogenated oils, thus making it healthier in the process. Expect some new savory flavors in your chocolate.

4. Co-op veggies. Popularly called vegetable boxes in the U.K., the idea is a simple and healthy way to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your diet and help the local farming community.

The once-a-week or once-a month boxes are delivered or picked up, and stocked full of whatever was picked fresh from the fields and orchards.

The only complaint I’ve heard about the boxes, was a friend who complained that he couldn’t find anything to do with kohlrabi. I’m not even sure what kohlrabi is.

5. Blue Curacao. Mixologists are reviving blue curaçao (orange liqueur dyed blue) for its bitter-orange flavor and funky neon color. The swirling blue liquid added to a drink evokes a tiki-bar feeling and might even resurrect some of the island drink fads of yore.

Personally, it reminds me of a bar scene in a sci-fi movie.

The orange taste is created by the infused orange peel of a citrus varietal grown on the island of Curacao. The bright blue color is just for fun.

6. Comeback cuisines. FoodNetwork.com asks, is the pu-pu platter about to finally get a little respect? After years of looking for authenticity in distant lands, we are coming to appreciate our own native, hyphenated cuisines: Italian-American, Tex-Mex, Jewish-American and Chinese-American.

Fantastic chefs are reviving forgotten Americanized classics from General Tso’s chicken to chicken Parm to fantastic effect.

7. Popcorn. Various sources predict popcorn will be the snack of 2013 with all kinds of flavor enhancements.

The flavor tastes will be sweet, sour and salty, much as the snack industry has done with salt and vinegar, barbecue, ranch and bacon potato chips.

8. Prix-fixe. The European-style prix-fixe (fixed menu) restaurant policy is making its way to American shores. More fine-dining establishments will offer a limited range of set choices.

It’s trickling down to the casual dining segment, too. Chains are bundling a selection of appetizer-entrée-dessert meals for two for a value price.

9. Vegetarianism. Second- and even third-generation vegetarians and vegans are being born all over the United States. Restaurants, menus and food products increasingly reflect that reality.

10. Brown liquor. Let’s see. We’ve have wine bars, beer bars, martini bars, cocktail bars, so what’s next? Craft distillers and imbibers think it will be brown liquor.

As described the urbandictionary.com, brown liquor refers to any number of brown-colored alcoholic beverages: bourbon, brandy, whiskey, scotch, brandy and cognac. It’s good for sipping, mixing or shots.

QUOTE: “Too much of a good thing can be wonderful.” — Mae West

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