F&W’s new recipe for Chicken-Fried Rabbit.
© Fredrika Stjärne
What do you want to be eating more of in 2013? Right now, in the midst of my post-holiday food hangover, my answer is “nothing.” My follow-up answer is “anything that’s associated with the word cleanse.” But I’ll get over that. So I looked in the crystal ball we have lying around at Food & Wine in anticipation of moments like this, and I discovered five foods and one kind of drink that will be on fire in 2013. So get out your soup spoons and Sex on the Beach glasses.
1. Wacky Ramen
It’s not like you haven’t already seen ramen joints everywhere. But now, experts—who generally obsess over the broth—are throwing non-traditional ingredients into their ramen bowls. At Dassara in Brooklyn, chef Marc Giroux celebrates the borough’s Jewish heritage with Deli Ramen, filled with matzo balls and Montreal-style smoked pastrami. Down in Baltimore, at PABU, Ken Tominaga serves Michael’s Chicken Noodle Ramen (it’s named for his business partner, Michael Mina).
Last year, I promoted squirrel as the great new sustainable meat (thanks to chef René Redzepi of Noma in Copenhagen for the idea). This year, in lieu of meat from trees, I’ll call out rabbit, on menus all over the place. SPQR in San Francisco makes a luscious rabbit roulade (if you’d rather eat rabbit at home, the recipe is in the new SPQR cookbook). Chicago’s The Purple Pig turns rabbit into salad with pickled beans and crispy capers; on the small plates menu at Contigo in Austin, rabbit livers are served over Anson Millsgrits.
3. Genius Tacos
If you could eat only one food in 2013, tacos would be a good bet. For one thing, they’re ubiquitous. They’re also becoming increasingly creative. At Manhattan’s El Toro Blanco, chef Josh Capon adds chipotle queso to his roast-chicken tacos (he goes old school, too, with the seasoned ground beef–filled Escuela Vieja). NYC’s Salvation Taco offers non-traditional braised-lamb tacos in naan bread. Comal in Berkeley serves wood-grilled rock-cod tacos with spicy pickled cabbage and avocado aioli; at Copita in Sausalito, the tortillas are house-made for tacos like oyster mushroom with pickled onions and epazote. (Copita also boasts that its entire lunch and dinner menus are gluten-free—something else you’ll see ever more of in 2013.)
4. Pasta Everywhere
Right now, every chef’s favorite new toy is his or her pasta extruder (one chef likened it to the joy you got as a kid with your super-deluxe Play-Doh set). At Nellcôte in Chicago, chef Jared van Camp mills his own flour in-house daily and makes over a dozen fresh pastas. In St. Louis, Gerard Craft has become such a pasta expert at Pastaria that he’s even making alphabet pasta (the kind you usually see in canned soups). At Manhattan’s new L’Apicio, chef Gabe Thompson is tweaking classic sauces for his house pastas, like adding pepperoni slivers to linguine with clam sauce.
5. Chocolate Cake 2.0
If there’s anything I love more than a Cake Wreck, it’s a really great version of an old-school chocolate cake. Battersby in Brooklyn has a tiny dessert menu that includes a superb version of Black Forest Cake, with brandied cherries on top. The Bakery at Cakes & Ale in Decatur, Georgia, is serving Marble Blackout Cake: vanilla, citrus and chocolate marbled cake with chocolate buttercream. (That’s just one of its many excellent retooled classics—Hummingbird Cake is another.) And at Sugar and Plumm in Manhattan, the Brooklyn Blackout Cake is currently served as part of the "Earthquake in a Fishbowl." That earthquake also includes key lime pie; butterscotch pudding; vanilla, chocolate and salted caramel ice creams; and whipped cream. (Wow!!)
6. Kitschy Cocktails
If there’s anything I love more than a great old-school chocolate cake, it’s a great tacky cocktail. In Manhattan, Mission Chinese Food just got its liquor license; one of the first drinks they’ll serve is Sex on the Beach. In Washington, DC, Firefly has a new drinks menu, and they’re bringing back that 1980s classic, the Cosmo.