Top 10 Food Trends for 2011
As expected...bacon in everything. DIY molecular gastronomy. Gentrified hot dogs. The growing popularity of Korean food as it continues assimilating into the American palate (just as Italian, Chinese and Mexican cuisines previously did).
The biggest trend? The continued appeal of vintage foods as seen in the resurgence of home canning and pickling, savory pies, potted meats and whoopie pies.
1. Savory Pies
Pies, in general, have been a big trend over the past couple years, but when Yuichiro Sato (a.k.a. The Flying Pie Man) won Best In Show at the KCRW's 2nd annual pie contest with a beef and porcini mushroom pie, it sealed the deal.
2. Potted Meats
With its potted Berkshire pork and salmon rillettes, Palate Food + Wine helped launch this trend in Los Angeles a couple years ago. This past year, we started seeing more pâtés, rillettes and other variations of meat-in-a-jar popping up at L.A. restaurants, most notably at Waterloo & City but also at recently opened l'Epicerie, where it's available for takeout.
3. Canning & Pickling
The vintage food trend continues with the increased popularity of home-canning and pickling. Developed long before the cooling compression system was a gleam in Jacob Perkins' eye, these techniques for preserving food during the fruitless (and often vegetable-less) winter months have long existed in numerous cultures. In modern-day Los Angeles, Chicks with Knives has raised the pickling/canning ethos to an art-form, teaching pickling classes, peddling a popular bacon jam (which resembles the onion compote atop a Father's Office burger) and even launching a one-day pickle pop-up shop, melding two of our annual trends (see #10).
4. Whoopie Pies
With cupcakes not yet passé (aren't we behind schedule?), yet another retro dessert takes its turn in the spotlight. We've spotted whoopie pies appear on an increasing number of bakery counters over the past few years, our favorite being the craggy chocolate/peppermint combo at recently opened SimpleThings.
5. Butterscotch Pudding
Ah, Mozza's butterscotch budino, the pudding that launched a thousand desserts. By now, Mozza pastry chef Dahlia Narvaez's heavenly concoction has become the most imitated dessert in all of L.A., and we're fine with that. Call it pudding, custard, pot de creme, even flan. We don't care. We never tire of this dessert, either in its original and still transcendent form at Mozza or in its many credible imitators, our favorite of which comes from Platine in Culver City.