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Here’s what’s in store — and restaurants — for this year’s menus, ingredients and tastes, according to the Boulder, Colo.-based Sterling-Rice Group:
- Food palates will move beyond sweet, salty and fatty, to tart, acidic and bitter.
- Chefs will exchange butter and bacon for broth and beef to create better-for-you food that tastes good.
- Asian cuisine will be in the spotlight, with the spicy and fresh flavors of Thailand, Vietnam and Korea.
- Vegetables will get their chance to star as main ingredients.
- Kids’ menus will evolve — mac and cheese and chicken nuggets will take a back seat to kid-friendly versions of adult dining options.
- The number of local artisans will increase, making it easier to think globally without the travel.
- Small plates for sharing will be replaced with smaller, single servings of meat, veggies or starches, for a truly customized dining experience.
- Look for fruit used with savory flavors, incorporated as appetizers and soups, and alongside meat dishes.
- From gluten-free to vegan, more restaurants will offer all-inclusive menus and services to accommodate all consumers.
- Popcorn will be the “snack of the year,” and will be served sweet or savory, such as in ice cream or as croutons.
By Bob Ingram