Jan. 01--Alas, poor cronut, we hardly knew ye. Even as the cronut -- the croissant/doughnut mash-up -- continues to delight many, it decidedly is a 2013 food phenomenon. Though it may have legs in the new year, the cronut, along with ramen and quinoa, was among the most hyped foods of 2013.
What else plateaued in 2013? Kale, the juicing craze, brussels sprouts, Paula Deen and foie gras were among the things that were overexposed or over-trended last year, according to Urbanspoon.com.
What about 2014? As we begin a new year, here are some of the new things foodies can look forward to. And lest anyone think that the cronut can't be topped, a New York restaurant has created the cr'nish, a cross between a croissant and a knish.
1. Bringing food to you: Restaurants in retail stores are listed at the top of Baum & Whiteman's 12 hottest food and beverage trends for 2014. The food and restaurant consultants point out that Tommy Bahama's stores with restaurants generate two-and-a-half times the sales per square foot. Other examples of retailers adding restaurants: Urban Outfitters Terrain shop; Saks Fifth Avenue opening its first Sophie's global-American restaurant; Brooks Brothers building a steakhouse prototype in New York called Makers and Merchants; Restoration Hardware working to open a wine bar in its Boston store.
2. Noodles and rice: Starches will make a comeback, according to Technomic, a food-industry consulting firm. The ramen craze for buckwheat noodles is fueling this return to carbs. Pasta made with unusual ingredients, rice bowls (embracing jasmine, basmati and brown rice) and artisan breads also contribute to the coming carb-a-rama.
3. Simple shortcuts: According to "SupermarketGuru" Phil Lempert, 2014 will see the emergence of the "IndieWoman," 31 million strong. "The 'IndieWoman' is 27 and older, lives alone and has no children and spends $50 billion on food and beverages each year," Lempert reports. "They have no time, so look for more brands to offer more semi-homemade meals that use fresh, high-quality ingredients."
4. Make it spicy: Now that sriracha and kimchi have gone mass market, look for a new wave of Asian flavors and menu items, says international food and restaurant consultants Baum & Whiteman. Thai and Vietnamese fish sauce, shishito peppers, shiso leaves, Korean dumplings, gochujang (Korean fermented hot chili paste and soy) are all leaving their mark. Look for shichimi togarashi (Japanese seasoning) to be the new salt and pepper, Baum & Whiteman reports.
5. More creative: As the craft-cocktail movement continues to grow, look for flavor innovations such as infused ice cubes to come on strong this year. Marketing-communications brand JWT says mixologists are boosting cocktails with infused ice cubes that enhance drinks with fruits, juices, flowers, syrups, herbs, spices and even chiles built right into the ice. Instead of diluting the drink as the ice melts, these frozen wonders flavor the cocktail as they melt.
6. Grow it here: The movement toward embracing locally grown food has evolved "to the next logical extreme via window-ledge herb gardens, rooftop chicken coops, or backyard apiaries," according to Epicurious.com. The food website reports that the percentage of households growing at least some of their own food is up 24 percent since 2007, according to the National Gardening Association.
7. Or find it here: The hottest menu trends are local sourcing and environmental sustainability, says the National Restaurant Association. In its 2014 culinary forecast, the organization listed locally sourced meats and seafood as the top trend in restaurant main dishes. Farm- and estate-branded items are hot, as are locally produced beer, wine and spirits. "Today's consumers are more interested than ever in what they eat and where their food comes from, and that is reflected in our menu-trends research," said Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of the National Restaurant Association's research and knowledge group.
8. More than curry: According to the Food Channel, one of the ethnic-inspired food trends to watch is Indian cuisine. "We are seeing the flavor profiles of India coming out more and more, which perhaps is part of the globalization of food," Food Channel writes in its top 10 food-trends predictions for 2014. Think coconut, ginger and curry.
9. Spreads for breads: The creative bread basket has grown way beyond butter and olive oil. Restaurateurs are now serving whipped lardo, rosemary hummus, smoked ricotta, whipped beet butter, porcini oil, jalape?o oil and smoked eggplant dip instead of plain butter, according to food and restaurant consultants Baum & Whiteman. Houston's the Pass leads the way in creative spreads, according to the consultants, serving black garlic mostarda, vanilla tapenade and tomato jam. Look for more chef-driven spreads in restaurants.
10. Bring on the brine: Pickled, fermented and sour foods from all parts of the globe (Korea to Scandinavia) are demanding their time in the culinary spotlight. Food-industry consulting firm Technomic predicts that Korean kimchi and pickled onions, jalape?o, ginger and radish will be omnipresent. Also look for tart cocktails with pickled ingredients to muscle their way onto the bar menu.
11. You're eating what?: Andrew Zimmern of "Bizarre Foods" must be onto something, suggests Epicurious.com, which said that "eating what we once perceived as scary or gross is becoming more mainstream." Live octopus, fried insects, human placenta and rattlesnake are among things that American diners once scorned but are now savoring. Lamb's tongue, chicken feet and pigs ears are making their way onto restaurant menus. Let the edgy eating begin.
12. Make it with a little more fuss: The Food Channel predicts Americans will continue to demand more artisanal breads, which will continue to be a trend in 2014, even in the gluten-free realm. "Some of this is led by a return to home baked bread, but it goes beyond that to bread with benefits (flax seed, anyone?), salted bread, flavored breads and bread as the main course," Food Channel editors say. "Bread salad, breaded meatballs and meatloaf, bread pudding, muffin cups, flatbread pizzas, stuffing casseroles -- all of these are making us rethink how bread impacts a meal."