Exotic fish! Arancini! Wild Greens! It's that time of year when every Tom, Dick and Mariani claim the hot new cuisine, ingredient, and dining trend. The only thing: Those lists are often comprised of things we're already seeing around Los Angeles restaurants, markets and kitchens, or have been for years. It's great that L.A. is no longer considered the red-headed stepchild of the country's culinary scene, but we're not always thought of as the trendsetters that we are. Here, then, our thoughts on where we're already ahead of the curve for 2012.
Among the many proclamations in Bon Appetit, Asian-inspired sandwiches--beyond the banh mi--will be huge. The kind of thing we're already seeing at The Spice Table, ink.sack, and myriad food trucks where kimchi or Sriracha aioli tops anything between sliced bread. Other BA trends Los Angeles is on top of: lap cheong, a pork sausage that chefs like Sang Yoon are making in-house (at Lukshon); finger limes, locally grown and sold at the Santa Monica farmers market; beer cocktails, mainstays at places like Big Bar and Harvard & Stone; and scotch eggs, deliciously spotted at the new Franklin & Co. The editors say caneles to be the next cupcake, and our favorite Atwater Village spot, Canele, has been handing out these little treats for free (at the end of your meal) for years.
John Mariani takes a stab at his own predictions for 2012 in Esquire, and includes the demise of Vegas restaurants, big expense-account dining, and small plates ("people will order one big plate and share"). He suggests that Peruvian food will "never" be a trend (we beg to differ, right Picca?), and that 2012 will be all about the dumpling. *cough* San Gabriel Valley *cough*.