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Bon Appétit’s must-eat foods

/ Source: TODAY

From french fires to Mexico City, “Bon Appétit” magazine shares the top 2007 trends in indulgences, cuisines, destinations and desserts, as well as offer their predictions for what will spark our taste buds in 2008!

Indulgence of the year: French fries

The french fry has flown past fast food and come into its own at bistros, steakhouses and hot restaurants around the country. And with their new stature, come some fresh twists, like twice-cooked french fries and oven-roasted fries … and you will often find them with ketchup made in-house or other dipping sauces, such as aioli. How about a french fry-and-champagne party for New Year's day lunch? Comfort food and something sparkly rolled into one.

Dessert of the year: Pudding

Bon Appétit says luscious, satisfying, and delectable are the buzzwords for dessert. Our editors’ choice for dessert of the year is pudding, be it a bittersweet chocolate pudding pie with crème fraiche topping or coconut rice pudding with crispy coconut or cranberry-maple pudding cake, it’s perfect. They are relatively easy to make on the whole and really do have that comfort-food aspect going for them.

Dish of the year: Asian noodle soup

Ramen, udon, soba, and pho. Asian noodle soups, with tons more flavor than your average bowl of chicken noodle, are warming up restaurant-goers across the country. Because of their similarity to our classic chicken noodle, they are approachable and familiar, but with flavors and ingredients like lemongrass, Thai curry pastes, buckwheat noodles and fresh herbs like cilantro, they take on a whole new dimension of flavor.

Cuisine of the year: Modern Greek

Today’s Greek food is fresh and modern — just the thing for a great dinner party. Bon Appétit magazine visited New York’s Anthos restaurant to see what’s on the menu. Picks include smoked salmon tarama with pita chips, dried fig souvlaki, scallops with cauliflower, dried cherries and capers, Sun-dried tomato and garlic-crusted rack of lamb, roasted garbanzo beans and garlic with Swiss chard and spiced fresh orange and honey sorbet for dessert. It’s an approach that takes traditional Greek ingredients and combines them in ways that are new yet still identifiable with this cuisine.

Destination of the year: Mexico City

Food and travel are inextricably linked. We are adding Mexico City to our plate for its buzzing nightlife, energized art scene and thriving new-wave mod-Mex restaurants. Mexican cuisine pleases many with its layered hybrid of Spanish, Dutch, French and even Lebanese influences — it is very hard to define and varies widely among from region to region. However, you will often find the common denominator being the classic ingredients like corn, beans, moles, chiles of all sorts, mild to spicy, as well as ingredients such as cactus.

The trends that are beginning to pop for 2008

Technology helps us get food fast. Whether you think this is good or bad, the fact is that technology is affecting our relationship with food. If hubby is in the market and has a question about an ingredient, he can text you. People with fast-paced lives are even using their cell phones to call in orders to restaurants beforehand so food is waiting for them when they arrive. Unfortunately, about 30 percent of these orders are coming from people in their cars! We hope they aren’t driving. Supermarkets can be called ahead and have your order ready to deliver curbside. And in some sit-down restaurants, your card is swiped right at the table. Maybe all these new ways of doing business are getting food to us faster …. but are they helping us enjoying our food more? The jury is out.

Don’t call them bartenders … they are mixologists

There is a whole new breed of person tending bar, treating drinks as a chef would an important dish. These mixologists are pureeing their own fruits and vegetables for drinks — very often using organic produce; they are making their own simple syrup and infusing it with herbs, flowers and spices. They are making their own bitters. Tonic water used to be a cheap mixer — now boutique companies, at these mixologists’ insistence, are making small-batch tonic with purer ingredients. Superfruits like acai and goji berries are being put to use and many old-fashioned flavors are cropping up as well. Falernum, for instance, is an ingredient hailing from Barbados with flavors of almond, lime, sometimes even ginger, that only recently became available in the States again after a long absence. It enhances tropical drinks with a unique, classic flavor.

Gastro travel

People are planning their itineraries around food. Instead of going to Italy to buy Prada at the source, people are going to see how authentic prosciutto is made, visiting the local farmer’s markets and learning about what is being served in homes (and then maybe also shopping for Prada). Or they are going to help harvest olives and press their own oil and learning about the area’s terror and gastronomic history.

... And the trends that we might not need

Superpriced foods

$100 Kobe beef burgers with foie gras? Desserts that costs hundreds embellished with gold leaf or other pricey ingredients? In fact, I know of a restaurant that offers a $1,000 lobster and caviar omelet. I have a one-word question for this: WHY? I think the era of ultra-excess is past.

Molecular gastronomy

On the one hand this makes sense, because it is the science of figuring out why food reacts the way it does under certain circumstances, like applying heat or cold or steam. But the term has come to describe an approach where these understandings are then used to present food in whole new ways, and they are often ways that are very far removed from anything found in nature — such as being presented with a globe made from gelatin or sugar and inside is a flavored air. It’s edible, so I guess we can call it food. And it is intriguing and can be fun … but someone just give me a perfectly ripe peach!

For more information on these trends and next year's, please visit