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Road food? These aren't your father's mashed potatoes.

Just in case the thought of food isn’t already weighing on you on this traditional day of gorging, here are some predictions about the food trends we’ll find on our travels next year.

2012 will be the Year of the Custom Potato, says a San Francisco consulting firm. Andrew Freeman & Co. predicts that some restaurants will allow guests to select the mix-ins for their mashed potatoes (Cheddar cheese and chives? Truffle oil? Roast garlic and crème fraiche?), choose the cut and crispness of their French fries, and order custom cut chips with their choice of dusts and dips.

Another new twist on comfort food: Grilled cheese sandwiches will be the new hamburger, the company says, with some restaurants creating a signature sandwich and others devoting their menus to them.

The hot new ethnic trend: eastern European cuisine.

Remember how Mom used to disguise vegetables or sneak them into other foods? Mom is apparently influencing a lot of restaurant chefs because the study predicts they’ll be serving more desserts than carrot cake that have vegetables as ingredients. And if that’s not enough in the way of vegetation, cutting-edge restaurants will offer dishes flavored with infusions of pine needles, Douglas fir and eucalyptus.

Finally, some hot IN-gredients: Stroop, a Dutch treacle-like syrup; Yuzu Kosho, a Japanese spice; Isaan sausage, a Thai sausage that is allowed to ferment or sour; homemade flavored marshmellows; bone marrow; goose eggs; currywurst; lamb belly; crispy animal skin; date syrup; and Parisian gnocchi, made with pate choux dough instead of potatoes.

Better let the belt out another notch.

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Dixie Foote

Motivated by this, Bob added garlic and parsley to our mashed potatoes for Thanksgiving this year...yum!

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